Saturday, December 2, 2017

Already a Fan - Two Nights at MO Taipei

Speaking of lounge and luxury travel... this time in Taipei we spent both nights at the Mandarin Oriental, courtesy of the hotel's PR team. And I must say our experience was perfect from the moment we arrived at the door to the time we (reluctantly) bid farewell.

Since I was travelling with just a light carry-on, I decided to use the new Airport Metro from Taoyuan International Airport to downtown, and after I got off at Taipei station the hotel was just a quick 10 minute cab ride away (even with peak hour traffic). From vacationing point of view, the hotel may not have the most central location, but we enjoyed our leisure scroll in the mainly business neighborhood a few times and we could reach the nearest metro station in just 5 minutes.

They put us up in the Club Deluxe Room on the top floor which was spacious and with everything you would expect from a luxury hotel of this caliber (walk-in closet, choice of pillows, marble bathroom, rain shower and bathtub, diptyque bath amenity set etc etc). And I was most amazed at the high ceiling and the crystal chandelier in the middle of our room and the high-tech light fixtures with motion sensors and intelligent controls. They did a fine job combining old-school luxury and modern comfort.

Our room package also gave us access to the Oriental Lounge, their executive club facility, with food and drinks served throughout the week all day long. I heard the hotel was fully-booked the weekend we were there but the lounge was never too crowded. We joked that one could just stay there all day and have breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner covered. We didn't quite do that but we did spend a considerable amount of time chilling and relaxing (and eating and drinking) as we were taking our weekend super slow with no fixed itinerary.

The breakfast at the lounge features more than a dozen Asian and western dishes cooked to order along with the buffet tables with morning pastries and a few hot dishes. There were the usual suspects like omelet or congee, but then there's also some fancier selections such as Eggs Benedict with crab meat, or the Taiwanese jianbing for some local flavor.

We dropped by for tea one afternoon and couldn't stop munching on their scones, macarons and financiers prepared by the excellent pastry team (their breakfast croissant was out of this world too!). In early evening, the buffet table was switched to a series of hot bar snacks along with cocktails to order. It's the perfect venue for a pre-dinner drink with some light bites, and it's true we never felt hungry at all throughout this weekend with so many meals and in-between meals. Next to the Oriental Lounge was the spa, gym and swimming pool, all of which were well-equipped and pretty - we only wish we got time (and better weather) to enjoy those this time.

The facilities were amazing enough, but what truly set the hotel apart was the friendly service by the staff and their attention to details. We were greeted by name by everyone at the lounge the moment we stepped foot in (well, I know, that's probably because we spent way too much time there), everyone we encountered wore a big smile in their faces and were eager to help, and for a few occasions it's as if they were able to anticipate our needs and took care of things without us asking. We have never seen a better and more efficient evening turndown when everything was spotlessly arranged when we returned to our room - even our phone charger and charging cables were wrapped with velcro ties and placed on the table, with our travelling Snoopy plush tucked in the blanket on our bed ready to call it a night. That's just a few examples of many tiny details they took care of for us during our short stay.

It takes both the "hardware" and "software" to make a truly great hotel and ones' travel experiences perfect, and I must say MO Taipei did so brilliantly on both fronts. They have just made two new fans in us and set the new standard in terms of our accommodation in Taipei. We look forward to our future visit, hopefully soon.

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