This city is hectic. Things happen fast here and time often escapes us! It’s so easy to get caught up in the Hong Kong hustle that it’s nice to be able to head off on a spontaneous trip and get away from it all.
Spoilt for choice, booking a hotel for you and the girls won’t be an issue! You’re never far from bubble tea or delish street eats, but finding the perfect location to call home for the weekend is key. With each district paying homage to different cultural aspects and buzzing city life, consider a hotel that’s central to all of these. The Grand Hyatt Taipei is adjacent to shopping hotspots and MRT access. And if you’re looking for a real #treatyourself getaway, consider snapping up one of their newly renovated Grand Executive View Suites (a celeb fave) for serious views of the city and luxe amenities. With exclusive access to the club lounge (happy hour and free-flow from 5pm!), take the party over to the hotel’s on-site club, ZIGA ZAGA and back to your suite to plan your next move.
During summer, the Grand Hyatt Taipei throws a series of pool parties that’ll have you soaking up the sun and sipping on refreshing cocktails. They also host the ideal hangover cure, complete with poolside yoga classes and a crazy good buffet brekkie that’s definitely worth checking out, no matter how fragile you’re feeling!
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Taiwanese food is delicious. Sure, stinky tofu might not be everyone’s go-to snack, but there’s so much more to the cuisine than first meets the eye. Similar to the street eats you may find here in Honkers, expect stalls brimming with grilled seafood on sticks, bowls of beef broth and my personal fave, ‘Gua Bao.’ Taiwan’s answer to the humble hamburger. Scoff down slabs of pork belly sandwiched between fluffy buns and filled with greens, crushed peanuts and sweet soy sauce.
There are endless food offerings available in Taipei. Great grub is available on every corner of the city, but if you’re looking for a real foodie adventure, grab the gang and spend the entire evening hopping from one night market to another. Probably the most popular, Shi Lin Night Market is the largest (conveniently located opposite to Jian Tan MRT stop on the red line) and will require a good scout of all the stalls before deciding on your dinner! But don’t forget to check out some of the smaller markets too; open-aired and frequented by the local crowd, there are some real gems to be found. You can’t visit without biting the bullet and ordering up a batch of Stinky Tofu Fries (you’ve got to try just one!) but don’t skip passed the ‘Ice Cream Runbing’ either. Soft spring roll papers stuffed with candied peanuts, vanilla ice cream and coriander this is one sweet and savoury snack to enjoy on your way home.
Food is undoubtedly one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a culture, so don’t be afraid to duck in to a cute café or scoop up a batch of fried chicken from a corner counter. From boozy brunches to decadent hotel buffets (Irodori at the Grand Hyatt Taipei is a must!), order yourself a traditional milk tea and dig in!
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Summer is upon us and I am definitely NOT prepared for sweaty and sticky Hong Kong days. I’m quickly stocking up on essentials and cotton outfits, only to hit a rock in the road when it comes to sizing. What is it with the tiny sizes here? I know there’s more to life than fitting in to your jeans, but having options is always nice! If you’re looking to swap your cable knits for cute dresses, Taipei’s shopping scene is seriously awesome. You could easily spend a day browsing the many malls in the city. High street brands that we can find here at home tend to have far more options and western sizing, and the prices are reasonable too. Taipei 101 is known for its designer labels and premiere brands (head on up to the observatory deck for 360 views!), but the Daan and Xinvi districts are packed full of shopping malls, and is a great place to start if you’re on the hunt for Taiwanese fashion trends.
If like me, you’re always keen to check out some of the local art and creative talent, Songshan Cultural Park houses exhibition halls and pop-up shops filled with gorgeous handmade jewellery and home items – but be sure to check out the website before you go to see what’s new and happening that day! This old converted tobacco factory is surrounded by Taipei’s, Baroque Gardens, which is perfect for a post-lunch stroll.
Taipei is chock-a-block full of spas and places to pop in for a good foot massage. Seriously affordable and open late, kick off your heels and treat yourself to a half hour foot rub before calling it a night. You only need to glance across the road to find somewhere suitable. If all that shopping and indulging has you beat, why not make a day of it and book in to one of the hotel spas?
The OASIS spa at Grand Hyatt Taipei is one of the top spots to settle in for a full day of pampering. With three treatment rooms to choose from as well as a steam rooms, saunas and a plunge pool (heavy Japanese influences will mean that you’re in the nude!) choose from a heavenly spa menu and meet up with the girls for a cocktail at the hotel bar afterwards. FYI – the lemon body scrub and aromatherapy massage is incredible.
Regardless of your agenda; hen-dos or birthday celebrations, the bar scene is ultra hip in Taipei. From trendy hotel bars to cool cocktail joints, there is something for all tastes. Xinyi is the heart of the city’s clubbing scene and Daan is known for its speakeasy-style bars, but if you’re looking for a casual beer, Zhongshan has the largest pub scene, while Ximending is known for traditional experiences, including markets and theatre.
I’ve heard great things about ‘Barcode’ and live music lovers will seriously thrive at ‘Revolver’. And if you (somehow) find yourself dancing on the bar in Carnegies here in Hong Kong, then you might also be pleased to hear that the branch has reached Taipei! We’ll just leave this here for the flight home…