The Grand Hotel
Few structures in Taiwan
are as instantly recognizable as Taipei’s Grand Hotel. Set on a hill on the northern bank of the Keelung River, the Grand seems less a hotel and more an imperial sentinel keeping eternal vigil over the metropolis to the south. Among the world’s tallest classical Chinese structures, the hotel’s 285-foot red columns hold high a curvaceous burnt umber, temple-style roof topped by carved dragons. This classical Chinese motif continues inside the hotel, with dragons, lions, plum flowers, and other symbols of Imperial China woven throughout. Guestrooms are stately, though more functional than plush. All are decked out in imperial gold and red, and each offers carved teakwood chairs alongside other furnishings reminiscent of bygone dynasties. South-facing rooms all have balconies with city views so visitors can enjoy quiet meditations while looking out over the meandering river separating Taipei’s quieter north side from the more frenetic south.