Kimpton has arrived in Taipei and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve long had our sights set on Taipei, the vivacious capital of Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island). Earlier this year we welcomed the Kimpton Da An Hotel into the fold—located in Taipei’s Da’an District, a walkable neighborhood buzzing with energy.
Roughly the size of Maryland, the island lies 180 kilometers off the coast of southern China, at the intersection of diverse places, customs and peoples.
Today, the majority of the 23.5 million population live on the third of the island that isn’t covered by high mountains and lush jungles. That makes it one of the most crowded places in the world, but things run so smoothly here that you’d be forgiven for not noticing. Mandarin is the official language but most locals also speak Taiwanese Hokkien.
In with the Old
Keeping with the trend of adaptive reuse that has seen several historical Taipei edifices remodeled into hip new hangouts (we’ll introduce some of these below), we converted an apartment block into a worthy Kimpton sibling.
With 129 rooms offering stunning views and a 12th floor restaurant and rooftop deck looking out over the city and beyond, the hotel is a spirited addition to Taipei and the Kimpton family.
The Heart of Modern Taipei
The hotel is perched in a tiny residential neighborhood off one of the main drags of Taipei’s Eastern district. This is where you’ll find Taipei’s iconic sites like Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Elephant Mountain and bamboo-shaped Taipei 101. The latter may not be the tallest building in the world anymore, but it still maintains bragging rights for being the tallest green building and having the world’s fastest elevators.
We’re located just two minutes away from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, an intersecting point of major metro lines and roadways. The station feeds directly into two separate spaceship-like Sogo department stores. The surrounding boulevards are among the city’s liveliest and most glamorous, lined with high-end boutiques, luxurious karaoke parlors, restaurants, cafés, and cocktail lounges. The narrow lanes behind conceal a seemingly infinite number of food stalls, hot pot restaurants, 24-hour breakfast shops and barbecue joints–perfect for endless eating and exploration. If you want to be fully immersed in Taipei, this is your place to be.
Imagine Your Taipei Stay
Let’s start with a few tips for your trip, whether you have one day in Taipei, or several. The city cycles through all four seasons with 90+ degree summers and cool winters. We love visiting in autumn and spring, when rain is minimal and the crowds are manageable.
Taipei is relaxed-chic—you wouldn’t be out of place if you strolled one of Taipei’s best night markets dressed to the nines or in jeans and a t-shirt. Taxis are cheap and plentiful, but we recommend hopping on the MRT, rated one of the best metros in the world and lightning fast.
Here are a few things to add to your itinerary:
- Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Songshan Cultural Park, and 44 South Village: An old winery, tobacco plant, and army barracks, respectively, converted into fashionable arts districts.
- Ximending and Wanhua: Ximen is where the city’s young go to shop and hang out, while Red House Theater, Taiwan’s first public market, is home to a weekend craft market and Taipei’s best collection of patios and gay-friendly bars. Surrounding Wanhua district, the walled old city, is a treasure trove of historical temples and architecture.
- Raohe Night Market and Ciyou Temple: Get your temple and food fix in one go at one of the city’s best night markets, with a gorgeous temple dedicated to Matsu, goddess of the sea, at the entrance.
- Beitou Hot Springs: Soak in a steaming public pool or get your own private spring. Within city limits, these natural hot springs are a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.
- And don’t forget that Taiwan is small enough that you can get pretty much anywhere on the island in half a day or less. Some great options further afield include dramatic Taroko Gorge, trekking and tea plantation hopping in the Alishan high mountain region, or grabbing a quick flight from Taipei’s municipal Songshan Airport to one of Taiwan’s stunning offshore islands.
-This post was originally published on December 13, 2017 and has been updated.