When I decided to take a holiday trip in Asia, I knew I wanted to start in Taipei, and I knew immediately where I wanted to stay. For this visit I wanted a hotel near Taipei 101, parks, good restaurants and shopping, and easy access to the metro. I had one property in mind: the Grand Hyatt Taipei, Taiwan. I heard marvelous things about this property from my Taiwanese friends, and couldn’t wait to enjoy the hotel for myself.
One of the questions I received when friends and family members heard about my most recent trip to Asia was, “Why Taipei?” Good question! I’m a frequent traveler to Asia and often visit more than one destination at a time. Over the years though, in choosing countries to visit, I had never been to Taiwan. Let’s just say my Taiwanese friends in California didn’t like that.
So it was finally time to visit the land and home of Taiwanese dim sum, bubble tea, and my favorite little green man! Looking back, I agree with my Taiwanese friends. Both Taiwan and my hotel of choice, the Grand Hyatt Taipei, created a super fun and memorable travel adventure. Here is my Grand Hyatt Taipei review.
Getting To The Grand Hyatt Taipei
After a smooth travel day having traveled to Taiwan from Los Angeles via Tokyo using award miles on Delta Airlines, I opted for a taxi to the hotel. Here’s one quick tip if you’ll be taking a taxi into Taipei from the airport. Actually, it’s a great tip no matter what airport you arrive at IF you’ll be using a taxi service.
I ALWAYS ask the hotel about their local taxi culture. I ask which taxi service they suggest, what the approximate cost would be, if the taxi uses a meter or has a flat rate, accepts credit cards, and where at the arrivals terminal the taxi stand is located. You might think this is going overboard in preparation but when I arrive, especially to an airport I’ve not been before, and I’m tired from a long flight and the invariable time zone changes, I prefer to be a girl scout and be prepared. I’d say 95% of the time this ritual of asking the hotel ahead of time saves me both money and stress!
Taipei is served by two airports, so be aware of their differences in distance from downtown. TSA is the closer in of the two airports. It’s a relatively quick under 30 minute trip to the Grand Hyatt, especially if it’s at an off hour. TPE, the other airport, is quite a ways outside the city center. Depending on the day of the week and time of day, it can either be a 45 minute ride to the Grand Hyatt or take over an hour. I found that Taiwanese taxi drivers definitely stay within the speed limit and in inclement weather they drive especially slowly.
History of the Grand Hyatt Tapei, Taiwan
Have you heard stories and rumors about the Grand Hyatt Taipei being haunted? Yes, hotels can be haunted. People I spoke with seem to have stories, either their own or ones they’ve heard from hotel guests who seem to be affected by the paranormal activity.
The hotel is reported to be haunted because travelers believe it is built on the site of a prisoner-of-war camp and that people were executed there. Apparently that’s not true. The Grand Hyatt Taipei is built on the remains of a military warehouse, but it was used to store munitions, not prisoners.
Haunted or not, the Grand Hyatt opened in September 1990 and was renovated in 2015. There are 850 rooms in total with 94 suites (42 Grand Suite/ 16 Grand Executive Suite/17 Grand Executive View Suite/14 Premier Suite/3 Diplomat Suite/2 Presidential Suite).
The hotel doesn’t actually feel all that big so I was surprised to learn how many rooms there are. For instance, there are multiple elevators, and even during the typically busy hours in a hotel, I never waited more than a few seconds for an elevator to arrive.
The Grand Hyatt felt like a destination for business guests as well as leisure guests. Guests typically include Hyatt loyalists but also many guests that want to visit this property because of its long-standing excellent reputation in Taipei and its location near Taipei 101 and the convention center. The average guest stay is around 2.6 nights. Given my five night stay, I really did have time to get to know both the staff and the property quite well.
The hotel is not only buzzing with convention and business functions, but there was a huge wedding being held at the hotel during the week. There are many restaurants on the premises that seemed popular with Taipei residents, and even the lobby itself seemed like a destination. Great venue for a celebration of any kind, if you ask me!
The Hyatt staff mentioned that guests do use Prive benefits, which I wrote about earlier this year. I was wondering if Hyatt elites favor this property. As I would have guessed, Hyatt Globalists frequent this hotel when they visit Taipei. I asked many of the Hyatt team members to recommend one of their favorite Hyatt properties that I’ve not yet been to, so for all you Hyatt fans reading this, they unanimously recommended the Andaz in Singapore and the new Hyatt Regency in Bangkok!
My Arrival and Check-In
Upon arrival at the hotel, check-in went smoothly. I arrived in the late evening, so my room was ready and the front desk area was quiet. During the day both the front desk and concierge desk are humming with activity! The hotel entryway is like a grand ballroom entrance. It’s an elegant spacious lobby with marble floors. This hotel lobby says “take your time, we’re in no rush here!”
I was upgraded to a spacious Grand Suite. The staff had obviously made note of my preferences because there were abundant bottles of water in the room and plenty of extra towels, as well.
As I entered my home for the next five days, three room aspects struck me immediately. One was that I would enjoy facing the pool, which I did. Second, the desk faced the window, which is my preference in a hotel room. Thirdly, there was very little artwork on the walls. The few pieces that did adorn the room blended nicely with the room color scheme.
The 8th floor suite had a peaceful quiet feeling and indeed this turned out to be true throughout my stay. I knew it would be easy to work through my jet lag in this comfortable suite.
Let’s dig in to the particulars of my stay, I have lots to share with you.
How I Paid For My Stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei
I’ll admit that I waffled back and forth about how to pay for this stay. I started making my reservation for this five-night stay six months ahead of time. At one point, I had a reservation using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit. I made this reservation long before Citi gutted that credit card benefit.
At one point, I considered using the cash and points rate and I also considered paying all cash. In the end, I decided to pay the cash and points rate for the stay, as the cash and points rate turned out to be the best deal for me. Interestingly enough, and this might be the first time this has happened, the rate on the cash part of the cash and points rate went down. The cash portion was around $103 USD so using all points or all cash would not have given me the best deal for my stay.
The Grand Hyatt Taipei is a category four award night property. One night is 15000 points, so cash and points rates would be 7500 points and half of whatever the cash portion is for the night.
Because I considered paying cash for my hotel stay, I gave Pruvo my reservation to monitor for price drops. Always remember to use Pruvo when you pay cash for your hotel stays.
Grand Hyatt Taipei Review
Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Grand Suite at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, which scored a 31 of 40 points.
For me, because I love to walk, this location is ideal. If you love to shop or be where the action is, the Grand Hyatt location will be favorable. It’s across the street from Taipei 101 and only a very short walk from two different metro stops. The hotel is only a 10-15 minute walk from Elephant Mountain, a park you will for sure have on your list of Taipei City sites to explore.
I did walk across the city center and back and averaged 6 miles a day of walking. For me, that means I enjoyed myself immensely. Taipei is a big, busy city and when the car traffic is heavy it’s not so much fun to walk. That being said, there are plenty of side streets to explore and city walking routes that are much less congested.
The room faced out to the pool and there were no buildings blocking the surrounding mountain view. Good natural light flooded the living room all day long. The lights were well placed but particularly in the living room, the suite could use a brighter reading light somewhere in the space. The desk light was good, and made the desk environment easy to work in. The bedroom was appropriately lit.
I actually prefer standing lamps to table lamps. Working when I travel means needing to be able to arrange lighting that suits me. I need a desk and good lighting and in a room or suite such as this one with only table lamps, I wasn’t able to move the lamps around to suit my needs.
The bathroom had two separate lighting systems. When both were turned on, it was super well-lit, giving the bathroom area more than sufficient lighting. Why is it though that more often than not the bathroom in a hotel room is the best lit space?
Window Access (4/5)
As mentioned, the livingroom area received good natural light. The bedroom not so much, which for me is fine. Good natural lighting in the livingroom is more important because after all, it’s likely to be where I spend more time. There were two different roll-up style curtains that were easy to set to whatever level of light you prefer.
Would have been nice to have a window that opened, even a bit. It’s so rare that a hotel window opens and yet it’s still the first thing I look for when I enter a hotel room. So rare when I see one, but makes such a difference. Even in winter, I love to start my day by opening the window.
Bed Comfort (2/5)
The bed was too hard, and if you follow my hotel reviews you’ll know that hotel beds being too hard are one of my pet peeves. Given I was going through jet lag, it would have been great if I could tell you otherwise about the bed’s comfort level. Even when the jet lag was well behind me, I couldn’t get used to the mattress firmness.
Another hotel bed mystery is why hotels only use a comforter. If it’s too warm in a room, there is no sheet-only option. The pillows, though, were fine. I’ll often try a few different pillows from the hotel pillow menu, but in this case didn’t need to. There were plenty of options for pillows. Wish hotels would do the same with options for mattresses, too!
This is a great bathroom! The bathroom layout and features work very well. By hotel standards, it’s a big, well-lit bathroom. The bathroom has marble floors and a large bathtub. There was a separate walk-in shower area.
There is one sink, which was deep enough so no splashing. The counter space is more than ample for sundries. The shower has great water pressure and water temperature is easy to regulate. This large tub would have provided a relaxing soak. There is a bathroom door for privacy, which isn’t always the case in hotel rooms.
The toilet was a Toto Washlet, which I’m a big fan of. There are plenty of hooks for towels—YEAH! I rarely use the words plenty and hooks in the same sentence when talking about hotel bathrooms! Should you want one, the bathroom had a scale to weigh yourself. Anyone who weighs themselves, given the amazing Taiwanese food, is asking for trouble.
Interior Appointments and Furnishings (3/5)
The interior appointments and furnishings worked pretty well for me, but not great. I was disappointed in a few of the furnishings. The furniture was well laid out, however I felt a few of the pieces were not practical and not comfortable. There were single chairs in both the living room and bedroom that were pretty and in a decorative Asian style, but quite uncomfortable. The couch was hard and not welcoming, though again pretty with an Asian design theme.
The desk chair was very disappointing. The desk had two desk chairs, which is always a nice touch, but only if they are comfortable. Chairs were regular fabric chairs rather than true desk chairs. They were not adjustable and for me, of average height for a woman, in bad ergonomic relation to the desk. Hotels using chairs that are not proper desk chairs is now becoming a pet peeve of mine. As a health and fitness professional, good ergonomics when I work at a desk is important to me.
The carpet was in okay shape and looked a little dirty in spots. I’m not a carpet expert but it seems that brown carpet in a hotel room is a hard color to keep clean.
I did like the color schemes in the suite, finding the browns, beiges, and oranges both pleasant and relaxing.
One pet peeve I have in hotel rooms is that they often lack a full length mirror. This suite had one in the entry way, which to me is thoughtful placement for a mirror.
The TV screen was placed innocuously in the living room, which I appreciated since I don’t use the TV in hotel rooms. There was a pocket door that closed between the bedroom and the living room, which is often not the case in a suite. The closet provided ample space, with a set of drawers as well as the room safe.
There was very little artwork on the walls, which is something I liked about the room. The artwork was simple and in good taste and lent in a good way to the Asian decorative themed suite.
This was not the most generous room with outlets and plugs but certainly had enough. Interestingly, I didn’t need an adaptor for the outlet. That’s rare. The hardware outlets by the desk seemed old and outdated. It’s nice when lamps have plugs, which none of the lamps in the rooms did. The bathroom counter had several outlets as well, which would certainly come in handy for any grooming appliances. There was a TV in both the living area and the bedroom and the screen sizes were appropriate for the square footage of the spaces.
Snack and Minibar (5/5)
I love it when a snack and minibar area ranks 5 out of 5! The set-up in the suite was great and worked well. It was a spacious area with both a fridge and Nespresso machine. The staff was super generous with Nespresso pods and cream each time I requested refills, and they even stocked my favorite pod. The Grand Hyatt Taipei service was excellent. Always quick and helpful.
There was room in the fridge/minibar for your own items, as well as excellent counter space above the minibar. The book case design with shelves and counter space not only gave that corner of the suite a nice design, but also added a lot of counter space that’s often lacking in a hotel room.
Below the counter and to the side of the minibar were drawers filled with cups, saucers, and a kettle. Nice touch for tea drinkers.
Grand Hyatt Taipei Service
Rating service at a hotel can be tricky. There are so many factors that come into play. For instance, staying during high or low season, during the holidays, what kinds of services you require, and the culture of service in each country being different all influence service. I also find that length of stay matters because for longer stays the staff gets to know you better and can accommodate preferences more easily.
The true test for providing great service, which Grand Hyatt hotels are known for, happens when hotels are super busy, especially during holidays. During holiday times both guests and hotels want service to come off without a hitch. Being I was at the Grand Hyatt Taipei during the Christmas holiday season, I figured I would see the hotel in action, possibly during the craziest time of year. I was prepared for both extremes of good or bad service or maybe even just perfunctory service, but nothing special.
Turns out this is a hotel and team that excels at every aspect of service! The service at the Grand Hyatt Taipei is top notch, and all-around excellent. Even before my arrival, I needed assistance with travel plans, room choices, and some other logistical plans and received timely and helpful emails from the hotel.
Let me offer my experiences as examples of the high level of service you’ll receive at the hotel.
The bell desk and concierge teams at the Hyatt are an impressive group of well-seasoned professionals. There was never a question I had or a request for information that wasn’t handled well. You might say, “Well that’s their job”. That’s very true, yet there’s a big difference between doing a job and the attitude and energy that a seasoned pro brings to each task. When you spend as many nights in hotels as I do each year, these differences are easy to spot.
The concierge team was great fun to talk with. They offered up wonderful suggestions for where to eat, what to see, and what to do. I always enjoy talking with concierges about where THEY go on holidays and which, in this case, Hyatt hotels they enjoyed. FYI for all you Hyatt fans reading, the concierge team at this Grand Hyatt LOVES the new Hyatt Regency in Bangkok!
Grand Hyatt Taipei Lounge
As a Hyatt Globalist, I was given access to the Executive Club Lounge. Spoiler alert, this was a tough week to be sampling and writing about the lounge. Remember, it was the week of Christmas right before New Year’s. Many people were in Taipei as a staycation and bought the lounge as part of their room plan.
There will be two circumstances under which a non-elite members might have access to the lounge:
(1) If guest has booked a standard room (for example: 1 King bed room upgraded to 1 King bed room with Club Access), the difference will be additional NT$2,600+15.5% daily. That’s about $86 USD plus tax.
(2) If guest booked a room with Club Access, guests are welcomed to invite other guests to join the Grand Club lounge. Due to the limited capacity, the staff appreciates knowing in advance of the number of guests. For breakfast there is a charge of NT$650 plus 10% service charge ($22 USD) per guest and NT$800 plus 10% service charge ($26 USD) per guest for evening cocktails.
To put it mildly, the lounge was always packed, sometimes leaving guests with long waits to be seated. Hungry people are impatient people, so it wasn’t always a pretty scene. It was often hard for the staff to keep up.
I don’t mean to fault the staff. It was one of those weeks where they were outnumbered and overwhelmed. I haven’t seen that happen too often during my hotel stays but when it does, it’s chaotic and not very pleasant. I was very impressed by the lounge staff. Their professionalism shined brightly despite the situation. They remained enthusiastic, calm, and did care about each guest’s experience in the lounge.
The lounge is a long rectangular space with many different seating options but during my stay it simply wasn’t enough. Many large groups and families stayed in the lounge for long periods of time so my impression was that seating didn’t turn over very quickly at all.
Okay, enough about the space and the staff. You’re wondering about the food in the lounge, I know!
Breakfast was a huge assortment of what I’d called European offerings: breads, cheeses, meats, olives, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, pastries, and cereals. There was always a hot food station with eggs and meat.
Though the Hyatt refers to their evening menu as snacks, I’d call their evening menu an assortment of dinner items.
There was soup, which I really enjoyed, along with other hot food items. The assortment of desserts, never less than four to choose from, were good. If you enjoy cheese and fruit after your main meal, the lounge offered a nice variety. There was a buffet selection of salads as well.
If I could give the lounge chefs some pointers, I’d wish for more Asian cuisine options both at breakfast and in the evening. Many more salad bar options as well. There’s more to salad than lettuce and tomatoes. For my tastes there is way too much fried food and too much cheesey au gratin type cooking. As mentioned, I did like the Asian soups at night.
Alcohol is complimentary in the lounge, and I appreciated the tea offerings which were always made fresh without using teabags. The fresh chamomile tea was particularly good.
I imagine that under more normal circumstances both breakfast and evening time in the lounge would have been much more enjoyable. I sense that regardless of whether you like the lounge menu, time of year at the Grand Hyatt really matters in what kind of lounge experience you’ll have.
Grand Hyatt Taipei Spa
It’s a full service spa and fitness center. The spa has a lap pool, fitness center, whirlpool, sauna, and steam rooms. When a hotel has a spa, I always like to check it out. I almost never have time to use the facilities, though. The pool is outdoors and looked so inviting, but alas, the weather was a bit cold and Taiwanese dim sum was calling. I do regret I didn’t make time to go for a swim.
As mentioned earlier, three letters describe the concierge team….W.O.W. As concierge teams go, this team ranked high and in the top teams I’ve interacted with. I made a myriad of requests and asked for help deciding where to go and where to dine. All my requests were handled wonderfully well.
The restaurants they suggested were great. Even their suggestions about what to order from the restaurant menus were perfect. Just take my advice and rely on them for whatever it is you’re needing. They help from the heart, which is what separates the great concierge teams from the good ones. You won’t be disappointed.
Given all the hotel stays I accumulate in a year, some of the rooms and hotels end up being good, some are great, and some become memorable. The Grand Hyatt Taipei was the perfect choice to begin my holiday trip through Asia.
Though for the reasons mentioned the suite wasn’t one of my favorites this year, ( I would ask for the Grand Executive Suite—that looks to be more to my liking, both in decorations and layout), the hotel itself and the team working there created a special memory for me.
Taipei is soon to get a Hyatt Regency, a Centric, an Andaz and a Park Hyatt all in the next few years. That’s a huge group of new options coming down the pike.
Until I know more about these new properties and their locations, I would absolutely stay at the Grand Hyatt when I go back to Taipei.
Any hotel stay starts with the people, and then gets filled in by the particulars of a room, lounge, and location. From the top down, this hotel ranks high. The staff teamwork is impressive and they enjoy working for Hyatt and creating a great experience for their guests. You may arrive as a guest, but you’ll leave as a friend!
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