The W Hotel Taipei is New Taiwan all the way, from its sleek, big-box exterior to its elegantly appointed—dare we say almostfuturistic—boutique rooms with names like "Wonderful Room" and "Fantastic Suite," to the pool on the 10th floor complete with a bar serving drinks and tapas (because what's a 10th-floor bar without tapas?). Though there’s little in the way of Old World charm in this hotel (or in this neighborhood, for that matter), some folks say that guests who take the table in the northwest corner of the W’s rooftop bar and squint out the window catch occasional glimpses of the Generalissimo’s ghost hovering over the roof of the stately Grand Hotel across the river.
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There's nary a whiff of Taiwan’s famed stinky tofu to be found in the city’s Xinyi District, among the newest and priciest neighborhoods and home to Taiwan’s landmark Taipei 101 (for a time the world's tallest building and still a must-visit). There are plenty of trendy clubs and high-end watering holes in the area (two of them are in the W itself, the aforementioned Yen Bar and the 10th-floor Woobar). Though the Xinyi District is distinctly modern, it’s just a quick taxi ride away from the temples, incense, trinkets, and street-food stalls (including, of course, stinky tofu) of the venerable Raohe Market, the city’s oldest night market.
Need to Know
Rooms: 405 rooms. From $360. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Any great hotel in Taipei can boast at least one restaurant specializing in excellent Chinese cuisine, and the W is no exception. But don’t expect typical Chinese fare at the hotel’s top-floor Yen, with its innovative interpretations of classical dishes. On the Western end of the culinary scale, the Kitchen Table specializes in buffet-style meals, featuring crab legs, shrimp, and smoked salmon. The restaurant’s twin signature meat dishes—the roasted ribeye and roasted pork knuckle—are sure to please those with more carnivorous tastes. The Kitchen Table’s festive yellow-and-white decor is somewhat reminiscent of a favorite aunt’s dining room. Spa and gym details: The Away Spa has three private massage rooms with rainforest showers and private Jacuzzis. The 12th-floor Fit Gym is open to guests 24 hours and boasts state-of-the-art exercise equipment, Jacuzzi and steam room, and sweeping views of the neon-lit city.
Who’s it for: Travelers looking for a sleek, chic respite in the heart of Taipei’s toniest neighborhood. Our favorite rooms: The appropriately-named Extreme Wow Suite is a bi-level two-bedroom suite featuring a 270-degree view that includes the spectacular Taipei 101 and so much more, it'd be ridiculous to list it all here. But even the standard rooms at W are excellent, making the only real dilemma which direction to face. (Going for the corner room cuts the dilemma in half.) Table with a view: The top-floor Yen Bar epitomizes Taipei sophistication, offering a vast drink menu in an elite setting overlooking some of Asia’s priciest property. Get a corner table for the best view.