Arrival/Check-In: The Mandarin Oriental, Taipei is probably one of my favorite properties and in itself is a destination. The hotel is located about 40 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport via taxi and about 10 minutes from the city center, where Taipei 101 stands. I have been coming to Taipei my entire career, and the city has changed dramatically. This property is a reflection of the “beautification” of Taipei City.
We arrived and were greeted by the bellhop, who opened our taxi doors and took our luggage. From here we were swiftly taken to reception and then whisked to our room, where we were checked in. My colleague was on the floor above in a similar suite, and I can only say they were spectacular.
Guest Quarters: I was in suite 1227, and from the moment I walked in I felt I must be in one of the most beautiful suites in all of Taipei: tastefully decorated with magnificent chandlers in every room. The door opened to a small hallway and a nifty little butler pantry where I was able to leave my shoes to be shined and clothing to be cleaned and pressed. Butlers access this pantry from outside the room, which adds to a guest’s privacy.
The living area comprised a rather lavish bar (complete with a coffee and tea maker) on the right followed by a dining area with a small, round, marble-topped table. A nice touch at the bar was a full ice bucket at the ready. On the left sat a sofa, chairs and a coffee table which held a chocolate-sculpted room amenity; it looked like a museum piece but tasted delicious. Bookshelves lined the left wall, and I reviewed some volumes while enjoying a welcome libation.
Through a set of double doors, the beautiful bedroom featured a king-sized bed and a bathroom to die for. Heated floors in the bathroom added the finishing touch to getting everything right, and then some. Views from my room overlooked the front of the property, where a Ferrari car show was taking place. A large dressing room was located at the back and to the left of the bedroom.
Services/Amenities: There is no lack of eateries at the Mandarin, and club guests can partake of the Mandarin Lounge for a complete breakfast and happy hour cocktails at the end of the day. The duck liver pâté was a delicious appetizer with evening drinks. Please stop at the M.O. Bar, where the knowledgeable mixologists provide wonderful entertainment; the staff offered me a taste of Taiwan scotches! Bencotte offers Italian cuisine, and Ya Ge answers your cravings for classic Chinese. Café Un Deux Trois offers contemporary cuisine, and The Jade Lounge serves the city’s best high tea. A host of other restaurants are connected to the hotel and offer many dining options, including a lovely bakery where we purchased a client gift for a meeting.
As we were busy with meetings, we were unable to do everything and must return for the spa. The Mandarin is the place for elaborate Taiwanese weddings, with two ballrooms, one that can seat 1,200 and a smaller one for up to 600.
◆ Honestly, I wish I were not visiting on business!
◆ The hotel has lovely green pens, which I complimented at checkout. The staff offered me several to take home, and in exchange, I offered a Global Traveler pen as a sign of friendship.
Mandarin Oriental, Taipei
158 Dunhua North Road
tel 886 2 2715 6888
Even if you are not familiar with Chicago, you may already know the Wicker Park neighborhood is one of the city’s “eat like a local” destinations, especially among young professionals whose idea of local is actually quite global. After a decade of high-concept comfort food and gastro-pubs, the Tan family took over a homey space on North Avenue to mix things up with the opening of Cebu. Cebu is not just a Filipino restaurant, but one focused on Cebuano regional cooking along with its Chinese and Spanish underpinnings.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Miami’s South Beach is set to welcome a new luxury hotel.
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.