Lucy Casley checks into The Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.
Getting there: The hotel is located in central Taipei — a short bus or train ride from Taipei Airport.
Check-in experience: My mouth dropped to the floor when we arrived at this hotel because of its classic Chinese architecture and decor. Everything is royal red, from the carpet, to the railings to some of the walls. Beautiful mosaics cover the ceilings and statues are dotted around the hotel. There is a wall of fame featuring photographs of presidents and royalty visiting the hotel from the 1950s onwards. We were welcomed very warmly and professionally by the manager and other staff and were able to check in immediately.
Room: I stayed in a Deluxe room, which had a beautiful balcony overlooking the city. It had two single beds, a desk that looked like it was set up for some serious business, a mini fridge, a kettle, fruit and two water bottles. The fruit was not free, nor was the water in the fridge, but the room-temperature water was complimentary. Having not checked the policy list, I went for the refrigerated water after a day in the heat.
Bathroom: The electronic toilet had a controller where you could adjust the heating of the toilet seat. There were a lot of other buttons but it was all in Mandarin, so I stuck to my usual toilet routine to be safe. There was also a bath and separate shower with good water pressure.
Toiletries: Very comprehensive including a dental kit, razor, bathrobe and slippers.
Facilities: Remarkable banquet rooms for special events, shops on level two, a restaurant, gym, sauna, swimming pool, tennis courts and a business centre.
The bed: Single and very cosy with crisp, clean white linen.
Price: $640 per night.
Noise: Low noise level. The other guests are very respectful.
Food and drink: We had a buffet dinner in the Songhe Room, which I will forever rave about. Think lamb shanks falling off the bone, fresh sashimi, and much more. Dessert was a variety of high-tea-styled finger-food and I tried many different sweets including macarons, chocolate brownies, blueberry cake, lemon cake, tiramisu, and followed them up with a self-serve blueberry icecream with sprinkles. There was also a professional DJ in the house.
What's in the neighbourhood? Once you get out of The Grand Hotel's large grounds, you're right in among the hum of Taipei City. What's so good about this place? You feel like royalty.
Perfect for? A special occasion weekend with easy access to the city.
Would I return? Absolutely.