The Grand Hotel is found in Zhongshan District. It stands out from the other buildings because of its unique design. Unlike other hotels in Taipei, this hotel is designed like a tall Chinese palace. Constructed using traditional Chinese architecture, the building is colored red and has a two-layered red roof with wooden brackets and flying rafters. It is such a splendid structure that its name is so fitting for its one of a kind exterior. At 285 feet high, the building is one of the highest structures in the world that fall under the Chinese classical building design. It also held the record for Taiwan’s tallest building from 1973 to 1981.
The hotel is owned by a nonprofit organization called Duen-Mou Foundation of Taiwan. This classic Taipei landmark has accommodated a lot of foreign dignitaries. The hotel was the brainchild of Chiang Kai-shek. When the political leader went to Taiwan in 1949, he saw the need to construct a hotel that was grand enough to welcome foreign ambassadors. Upon his wife’s suggestion, he ordered the construction of a new building on the site of Taiwan Hotel where the ruins of an old Shinto shrine also lay. He wanted the new building to look like a Chinese palace in order to showcase the beauty of Chinese architecture to foreign visitors, particularly those from the West.
Yang Cho-Cheng was the architect responsible for the hotel’s design. In May 1952, the Grand Hotel was established. The hotel went through a number of expansions in the following years, and in 1973, the building was finally completed.
At present, the hotel has 12 stories and 490 rooms. Oriental and western decorations are incorporated in each room’s design. The hotel has nine different kinds of rooms. The Standard Room, which is the most affordable, costs NT$5,700 a night. The Prestige Grand Suite, which is the most expensive of all rooms, costs NT$28,000 a night. There are five banquet halls in the hotel, namely, VF Golden Dragon Banquet Room, BF Banquet Hall, Auditorium, VF Multi-Functional Meeting Rooms, and The Grand Ballroom.
The hotel has three restaurants: Grand Garden Restaurant, which specializes in Chinese and Western cuisine; Yuan Yuan Restaurant, which specializes in Northern Chinese food; and Golden Dragon Restaurant, which specializes in Cantonese cuisine. The Golden Dragon Restaurant is decorated with bronze dragons gilded in 24K gold. These dragons were taken from the old Shinto shrine that used to stand in the area.
An interesting feature of the Grand Hotel is having two secret passages leading to parks within the vicinity. Each passage is 180 meters long. Their existence had long been rumored but not proven until 1995 when the building was inspected for safety purposes after a fire broke out and destroyed part of the main building. The secret passages can hold up to 10,000 people.
There are several ways to travel to the Grand Hotel. The hotel has an airport shuttle service that leaves at 20- or 30-minute intervals from airport Terminals 1 and 2. You may also take the MRT Danshui Line. Alight at Yuan Shan Station and take Exit 1. The hotel provides free shuttle service to and from this station. The hotel bus waits across Exit 1.