Photo: Grand Hyatt Taipei's Grand Ballroom photo: © Grand Hyatt
Taipei has never been hotter as a meetings destination. Ever since Taipei 101 reached the pinnacle in 2004 as the world’s tallest building (a title it held until 2010), the city garnered much attention. The Taipei 101 building continues to hold a huge draw in the meetings industry.
For meetings, consider some sky-high vantage points at the acclaimed skyscraper. Take the VIP elevator to the 85th floor and the 210-seat Shin Yeh @ Taipei 101 — meaning, “flourishing leaves” — with its five private rooms offering Taiwanese-style cuisine. On the 86th level, the Taiwanese restaurant Ding Xian 101 occupies the entire floor. The large banquet room often nicknamed “weddings above the clouds” is popular among the bridal crowd. Styled in Art Deco accents with high ceilings and radiant crystal chandeliers, this special room for private events is tops in luxury, and the restaurant itself offers 11 private rooms for hosting intimate dinner meetings.
On the 36th floor, the Taipei 101 International Conference Center, ideal for hosting small meetings, banquets and conferences, features four multifunctional meeting rooms that can accommodate six different layouts, from a large theater-style format incorporating two rooms to banquet space encompassing three rooms. With unrivaled views of the metropolis, the conference center comes equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and provides IT support. For more jawdropping vistas, ascend to The Executive Centre on the 57th floor, offering a meeting room suitable for 16 persons.
Home to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Taipei 101 sits within a couple city blocks of just about every major multinational corporation headquartered in Taiwan. For accommodations and meeting spaces, consult Meet Taiwan’s online database with more than 680 suppliers.
“Taipei is diverse, international and safe,” says Angel Chen, deputy commissioner, Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government. “Located at the center of East Asia, Taipei is very accessible by air, and retail prices are cheaper compared to other Asian countries. These are all attractive to international trade shows.”
No wonder the MICE business in Taipei is booming. In 2012, the Taipei City Government reported $33 billion in revenue attributed to the meetings industry, which accounts for nearly half (46 percent) of the national revenue. Meanwhile, room inventory continues to grow. By April, the city boasted 20,078 rooms in 423 hotels across the city.
Chen further explains planners can choose from a myriad of venue options and accommodations including additional booking incentives. “In the hope of encouraging more conferences and exhibitions in Taipei [we] provide free MICE consultation and one-stop professional services,” says Chen. “We offer substantive customized assistance including tickets for the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101 Observatory, one-day TaipeiPass tourist passports, Maokong Gondola tickets and even Taipei key rings.”
According to Elaine Chin, director of sales and marketing, Taipei Marriott Hotel, “MICE activities are one of the fastest-growing industry sectors in Taiwan. Due to the industry’s aggressive development and heightened global MICE demands, major convention centers in Taipei City are extremely popular around the year, attracting nearly 200,000 international business travelers worldwide.”
Opened in July, the 320-room Taipei Marriott is the first Marriott hotel in Taiwan and the largest integrated complex in Taipei. “The Taipei Marriott Hotel has the largest state-of-the-art convention center in Taipei, with a maximum capacity of 1,200 participants in one single venue,” says Chin. “The pillarless multifunctional space can host up to 2,000 guests from small social events to large-scale conferences. The most iconic venue is the 13,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom, currently the largest pillarless ballroom in Taiwan’s international star-hotel category.”
Xinyi, meaning “honesty” in Chinese, is a highly sought-after business district surrounded by a crop of luxury high-rises and fine shopping centers and houses the 8,600-square-foot Taipei World Trade Center, or TWTC, as well as the Taipei International Convention Center, TICC. Only 2.5 miles from the airport, the 21,500-square-foot TICC offers meeting rooms suitable for large and small events, among them a 10,000-square-foot banquet hall accommodating up to 1,200 for cocktail receptions, and the smallest room, the 1,600-square-foot South Lounge holding up to 100 persons for cocktail receptions. The purpose-built venue on average hosts 800 conferences and meetings annually.
By day, the fast-paced city streets around Xinyi bustle with shoppers; by night, the façades of these modern buildings glow with illuminated billboards and brightly lit exteriors. Dubbed the Manhattan of Taipei, this trendy commercial district includes vibrant public squares popular for weekend concerts and events and lays claim to some of the best meeting venues in the city.
Look no further than Grand Hyatt Taipei. The much-anticipated completion of the luxury property’s renovation in April spawned great interest in the capital’s first international luxury hotel, which also celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Closely linked to the TWTC and the TICC, the 853-room landmark property features 13 meeting rooms, including the Grand Ballroom and the Grand Residence. Taipei’s unique residential-style multi-event venue can accommodate any meeting size from intimate eight-person board meetings to lavish conferences for up to 1,200 delegates.
Kai Speth, general manager, Grand Hyatt Taipei, explains the $100 million project was a renovation reinvention for guests. “We are striving for that ‘aha’ moment when a conference attendee steps into a meetings space, or a guest walks into a room, and realizes something fresh, something grand and something picture-worthy.”
In Xinyi, culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain convened at the W Taipei during the filming of The Layover. The chic design property continues to receive high accolades, among them Best City Hotel Taipei in the 2014 TTG Travel Awards and this year’s No. 1 Business Hotel in Taipei in the FinanceAsia Business Travel Poll. The 405-room venue overlooking Taipei 101 has wow views of the city’s landmark. With more than 26,900 square feet of event space, until recently it boasted Taipei’s largest unobstructed pillar-free ballroom. The 9,700-square-foot room features high ceilings and LED lighting and chandeliers. Every detail has been considered at this venue, from signature scents to mood lighting.
For classic Taipei with its nod to historic sites, venture to the Zhongshan District. The SPOT-Taipei Film House, a hub for cinema fans, features a cool U.S. connection. The white, two-story structure inspired by the American antebellum South served as the former residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Taiwan. The multifunctional building includes six meeting spaces suitable for small events. Outside, delegates can enjoy Chambers Park, a quiet oasis within the thriving capital. The intimate space with parasol table settings surrounded by lush greenery can accommodate up to 52 persons. Inside, select from rooms such as the multifunction arts hall for 70, the 83-seat cinema or the sleek Café Lumiere with its archways and white modern interior suitable for 50.
Large events such as the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo, the first internationally recognized garden festival to take place in Taiwan, took center stage at the Taipei Expo Park in Zhongshan District. Organizers report the successful show attracted 8.9 million visitors in the nearly six months it was on display.
Today, this large urban recreational facility covering around 59 acres offers nine pavilions that can accommodate international meetings and events. Among the pavilions, whose designs are inspired by floral themes, are the futuristic Expo Dome, with its petal shapes and floral benches, and the whimsical Expo Hall, resembling a beautiful bamboo basket.
With its innovative style and fast pace, it’s no surprise this East Asian city will reign as the World Design Capital in 2016 with the theme “Adaptive City – Design in Motion.”