The Grand Hyatt Taipei completed work on the first phase of a landmark renovation this month, unveiling 853 new rooms and suites in a design that pays homage to Eastern and Western cultural influences.
After a re-imagination of space that stripped the hotel to its concrete bones, the hotel redeveloped 14 categories of rooms and suites in its most significant overhaul since the hotel opened in 1990.
Beyond this first phase, the hotel will embark on a complete reconstruction of four of its nine restaurants, its grand club facilities, the outdoor approach, as well as behind-the-scenes infrastructural systems from air-conditioning to electrical.
The final touches will be put upon the hotel in the spring of 2015, leading up to the Grand Hyatt Taipei's 25th Anniversary.
"This reservation is tantamount to a ground-up rebuild," said Kai Speth, the hotel's general manager. "Once the work is done, the hotel will have the unique distinction of becoming the oldest and the newest luxury hotel in Taipei."
Elsewhere across Asia, Grand Hyatt is likewise refreshing its appeal with major renovations in Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing and Melbourne.
The Taipei renovation is concurrent with a rising interest in the destination around the world as the travel industry and major media turn to Taiwan as one of Asia's most exquisite gems. Indeed, the New York Times recently hailed Taiwan as one of the top destinations in the world for travel in 2014, citing its "bounty of natural and man-made wonders" and noting Taipei's robust art scene and selection as a World Design Capital for 2016.
That the world is taking note of Taipei at last has not been lost on the world's major hotel brands, some of whom are planning grand openings in the capital this year.
The Hyatt's new rooms showcase a marriage of Western and Chinese styles in the use of light-colored timber interiors and marble bathrooms with walk-in showers or tubs.
Guest rooms range in size from 33 and 40 square meters at the grand and deluxe levels to more than 83 square meters in an executive suite. The stunning new presidential suite commands more than 221 square meters and offers up storybook views of the iconic Taipei 101 Tower.
In its first generation, the Grand Hyatt Taipei garnered placement on some of the English-language media's most prestigious awards lists, including Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List and Travel + Leisure's T+L 500.
General Manager Kai Speth, who ushered the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi into the first rank of hotels worldwide during his 2008 - 2013 tenure at that hotel, believes the renaissance of his new Taipei post is shaping up as one of Asia's most remarkable debuts.
"When this hotel opened in 1990, we sparked development all over the Xinyi District," he said. "Today, as we steer toward a grand re-opening, our ambitions are no less lofty for Taipei, and all of Taiwan."
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