The hotel is the epitome of understated elegance and posh. Marble everywhere, with clean, modern lines. Opulent but never garish, the hotel's polished refinement design aesthetic is right up my alley.
Service is warm and genuinely so.We'd given them a list of must-eats in Taipei, and the concierge came up with a self-guided route for us to explore, replete with opening times, shortest queues, nearby landmarks, and even wrangled reservations for us at some insanely popular hotpot restaurant, and on a New Year's Eve no less.
Club Boulevard Suite
Both times we stayed at the M.O. Taipei, we opted for the Club Boulevard Room. Ask if the rooms on the top floor are available, the ceilings are higher there and gives the illusion of living in a luxury penthouse. We didn't get the top floor the second time we stayed at the M.O., Coldplay had apparently booked out the entire floor. Prices start at 48,000TWD per night.
The bedroom, swathed in calming robin's egg blues, cream and taupe, was an oasis of tranquility. The bed, while no Tempur, was comfortable (i.e. no resultant back aches for old fogeys like us). Check out the pillow menu, they offer a variety of pillows to rest every type of neck.
It's accessible through 3 doors, 1 to the bathroom, which you can close off with a sliding door.
1 from the left of the room, adjacent to the bathroom access, with you can close off with a double swing door.
And the other one on the right., also with a swing door.
The living area was spacious and inviting, this was where we had lots of room service meals (I know, I know, Taipei is choc-a-bloc with all-night food options, but we were too lazy to put on any pants to go out).
We were gifted with a confectionery sculpture to usher in the new year, together with the view. Polar bear plushie not included.
We were quite pleasantly surprised with the complimentary bottle of Pinot but that was a dud. We drank ours that we brought over from SG instead. The Hubs was a big fan of the welcome chocolates though, they were a lifesaver when we had no time to get in a proper meal between checking in and rushing off to catch the Coldplay concert.
It was little touches like this which we thought went the mile. I mean, I don't even roll up my wires like this at home!
The bathroom was a designer's dream, beautiful marble, double sinks, and that mini tv embedded within the vanity mirror was a lovely little bonus.
The tub may appear a little small from this angle but it was deep and large enough for the both of us to soak in comfortably without getting our limbs tangled.
The bathtub was flanked by the separate shower, which doubles up as a steam room, and the Japanese-style toilet. Here's to never having to use toilet paper ever again.
The entry foyer, with its floor-to-ceiling length mirrors (great for last-minute once-overs before you leave) , powder room (integral to a marriage especially if you have 2 "shitty" adults with extremely sensitive intestinal systems), and the mini bar.
I thought the hot water dispenser was so cute, considering we're in Asia.
The functional powder room, with piped-in music to drown out any, erm, ambient noise.
The room service at the M.O. was decent. We stuck to the Oriental selections, and while it wasn't crazy good, it was definitely adequate.
The Omelette (385TWD) with mushrooms and cheese, sided by a roasted tomato and bacon strips, was an all-day breakfast option. Well-executed, passed muster.
The Wok Fried Rice (550TWD) dotted with crystal prawns, conpoy, pine nuts, and egg white was excellent.
The Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (600TWD) with slow-braised US beef short ribs and beef tendon, was forgettable, considering the amazing one at Lin Dong Fang. The broth was just a little too rich and herbally, I dunked in the whole lot of chilli just to balance it out. That said, the beef short ribs were superb, melty and luscious.
The fork-tender Taiwanese Slow-Braised Black Pork Belly (600TWD) was fantastic too, slathered in a thick velvety oyster sauce gravy that went swimmingly well with the rice. This was paired with an oolong tea egg, stewed bamboo shoots, and a daikon soup.
There were a few items from the in-house Chinese restaurant Ya Ge, and the Wok Fried Prawns (1400TWD) tossed with crunchy asparagus in an XO sakura shrimp sauce was wonderfully balanced and robust.
But it was the simplest, most unassuming, dish that stood out, the Chicken Congee (330TWD) from the children's menu. This was comforting and refined and delicious.
A lot of friends are always amazed that we work out on holidays, but we find that's the time we actually have to work out. The Mandarin Gym is one of our favourite gyms: it's large, spacious and well-fitted. The Hubs, who uses more weights than the cardio machines was perfectly happy with the selection of weights.
I liked that the cardio machines faced the full-length windows, running while facing the Taipei city view was quite meditative.
There was a separate fitness room for classes and pad work. The full-length mirrors were great for watching your form while doing floor exercises.
The pool, which was on the same floor as the gym, was invitingly cool.
The hotel facade.
The club lounge was where we had breakfast (when we woke up early enough to make the breakfast hours). But we mostly spent time chilling at the open terrace with a cigar, or two.
The indoor dining area, where we saw the entire Coldplay entourage. And no, we didn't approach them for photo or autographs (although we were sorely tempted to). They were mostly with friends and family, and we thought it better to give them privacy.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
No. 158 Dunhua North Road
10548 Taipei City, Taiwan