There are a few things I’ll always remember about traveling: experiencing my first meal in Taiwan, trying out “Sweet Baby Cheesus” in Loleta, whitewater river rafting in the Sierra’s, experiencing the holiday season in New York. I have to add staying at one of the most expensive hotels in Taiwan, to that list.
I got to stay at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (香格里拉台北遠東國際大飯店 / xiang ge li la tai bei yuan dong guo ji da fan dian) in Taipei’s Da’an District (大安區 / da an qu). Along with the Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La is known worldwide for upscale comfort.
Here is a recap of my experience staying at the famous hotel.
After an entire day of checking out the sights and sounds in Taipei, we headed back to Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel to check-in.
One of the first things that I noticed is that pretty much everyone, interfacing with guests, speaks English. Normally, I would expect a 「歡迎光臨」 (huan ying guang lin) or even silence, but every time we came in and out of the hotel, there was always a super friendly “welcome” and offer of assistance. Attendants go out of their way to help you. We actually got asked many times if we wanted our bags to be taken up to our rooms in the lobby, but we decided that we would roll it in ourselves.
Inside our Premier King Room, it was slightly chilly (but nothing that a thermostat change couldn’t fix).
There was a walk-in closet on the immediate right of our entrance and a full-sized bathroom on the immediate left. Down the hallways was our king-sized bed.
Every night, attendants will do turndown service unless you request otherwise.
There was a menu, gently placed on our bed for breakfast along with a bookmark.
In the bedroom, there was a couch with a small coffee table in front of it. The bottom of the table included a box that had flatware for eating in-room.
Every day, there were new pieces of local fruit placed on the table—fitting with Taiwan being known for its fruit.
The room included a beautiful view of Taipei 101, a flat screen television, and a desk (where I would work in the early mornings).
Below is a view of the bathroom looking out towards the walk-in closet. Everything was covered in marble and the lighting had a golden tint to it.
Here is the view of the bathroom from the hallway/walk-in closet.
In addition to there being a shower, there was also a large bathtub with a screen in view. Perhaps the weirdest thing to me in this bathroom was the phone right next to the toilet seat.
There were a few toiletries provided in the shower. They were a little small, so we quickly went through a few bottles over the course of the long weekend.
Here is the screen if you wanted to watch something while relaxing in the tub.
Here are a few sundries included in the bathroom.
Is it just me or does “toothpaste” look weird spelled and positioned like that?
After settling in for the night and watching the city below, we passed out.
We planned on waking up early to check out the pool. I woke up even earlier to watch the sunrise over Elephant Mountain (象山 / xiang shan). The sight of the clouds rolling over the mountain was something straight out of a movie.
The pool is on the top level of the hotel. There is an adjacent spa inside the building as well as a patio outside of the walled pool area.
We mostly spent time in the jacuzzi as it was pretty chilly out. The wall that surrounds the pool helps keep the area warmer, but stepping out onto the patio, it was pretty apparent that it was going to be a cooler, windier day out in Taipei.
Here is a view of Taipei 101 from before the glass.
Here is a view of Taipei, including Taipei 101 from the patio area. There is another floor right below this view, so it doesn’t feel like you’re going to fall over, but it definitely looks like it.
I was impressed by the sweeping views of Taipei and New Taipei City as far as the eye could see.
Eventually, it was time for breakfast. We got special Horizon Club access which allowed us full complimentary breakfast.
Each day, they had two new specials. One option always seemed to be more western and the other eastern in flavor.
Inside the menu, there were a variety of other options available including beef noodle soup (牛肉麵 / niu rou mian).
The table setting was simple but comfy. There were fresh flowers on almost all of the tables.
In addition to putting in our entree order, we were also offered our pick of drink. We all chose a different pot of Taiwanese tea, including a local oolong.
Ready for more food photos?!
In true Taiwanese hotel-style, there was a buffet accompanying breakfast. You get your entree and you also get to select from a buffet featuring a variety of different foods: fruit, salad, baozi, dim sum, sweets, pastries.
I loved that there was a donut ring. Who doesn’t love a good donut?
I didn’t even notice those generously dipped, chocolate covered croissants at the time.
Here’s some pandan cake alongside an ensaymada—love ensaymada’s, especially the ones from Goldilocks.
The nuts included marker seemed a little out of place, but it’s good to see. Note that nuts doesn’t just mean peanuts. It means walnuts and macadamia nuts, in this case.
I’m not too familiar with what this coconut pastry is, but it looked cute.
This is just one part (probably 1/3rd of the buffet). I appreciated having the signage for each item, both in English and 中文.
Here is the dim sum part of this small buffet. The BBQ pork bun (叉燒包 / cha shao bao) was so good!
I’m not a huge congee fan, but I loved that they had this little congee bar with different items to to add to your bowl.
There was also a salad section where you could add a variety of items together to create your salad. I wasn’t too familiar with what the two items on the right were. Anyone out there know?
Next to the salad bar was a yogurt parfait and fresh fruit juice section.
The kiwi juice was super interesting and tangy. I never had pure kiwi juice before this.
This was the last section, a fruit bar. I tried some of the dragon fruit, just because but it still tastes rather bland to me (even in Taiwan). I loved that they had plum powder, which you can see at the bottom of the photo.
Shortly after we got our plate of goodies from the small buffet and sat back down, our main entrees arrived. Amongst the four of us, we shared a variety of different dishes.
Everything tasted so delicate and cute.
Pretty much everything that I tried, I loved with the exception of the waffles.
The waffles were great, but they didn’t compare to many of the other dishes out there. Then again, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a waffle that’s knocked my socks off.
Here is my friend’s poached egg on an English muffin—so pretty!
I tended to think that the eastern dishes were better than the western dishes. This braised pork over rice (台式爌肉飯 / tai shi kong rou fan) was delicious.
Here’s a plate from the buffet.
Between 5:30 and 7:30, The Horizon Club Lounge offers pre-dinner cocktails. We had time to drop by one of the days and were treated to a variety of pastries, cold meats, cheese, and other small foods.
Though they had a selection of beers to choose from, we elected to sip on wine and cocktails.
Watching the sun go down from atop Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, it was a beautiful way cap off an action-packed day exploring Taipei.
You definitely don’t get tired of this view.
Though part of the hotel feel on the older side, the rooms and service are amazing. If you’re thinking about having a staycation in a hotel, or simply looking to splurge a little, I would recommend checking out the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei. Enjoy!