Sunday, November 5, 2023

How The Journey Began...

"We travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more". Somehow, spending a week in Taiwan gave me new perspective of this beautiful island close to home, and in the process, found the joy in travelling once again in the post-COVID era. 

Spending a night at Regent Taipei as the first destination reminded me of the time a few years back when I made a half-day whistle stop in Taipei en route from Tokyo to Hong Kong and the only thing I managed to do was to have a bowl of the award-winning beef noodles at the restaurant in the hotel lobby (call this a bowl worth a detour!) Well, this time spending a little more time in town and in this hotel, my stay exceeded my expectation (and more on the topic of beef noodles for sure in the later post)

Regent Taipei, with its location in the middle of traditional business district, might be around since forever, but like a well-aged wine, is much polished in terms of service and comfort and personal touch, something that those newer, trendier hotels might be hard to catch up with. This time they put us on the Tai Pan Residence and Club floor (equivalent to the executive floor) completed with butler service that catered to our every needs. 

The executive lounge facilities (which is called Tai Pan Lounge) is one of the most spacious I have ever visited, with food and drinks served throughout the day til late. Personally I still preferred the huge breakfast spread downstairs at the Brasserie in the morning (with unbelievable selection), but if you are looking for something simpler and somewhere quieter, or you can't be bothered making the way down to the hotel basement, this is the perfect place to go. That's also a perfect spot for a view of the Taipei skyline especially the sides one was not able to catch from their own room. At the corner of the lounge we can see the iconic Taipei 101 building from afar. 

Room is well-appointed - standard junior suite set-up with couch to lift your feet up and a proper desk to work. The spacious work/study area (with the comfortable Aeron chair in every room!) and the large window facing the park next door were what I appreciated most, especially when I need to attend a late night online work meeting during my stay. The nice snack basket presented in the wooden box and the bottle of sparkling tea specially made for the hotel that the hotel sent to the room got me through the long night. 

There's no lack of choices of places to eat within the premise (whether that be part of the hotel or the galleria at the basement), and even more if you considered the surrounding areas. Robin's Teppanyaki is one of the long standing high-end restaurants in town and it was where we had our lunch upon touching down and arrival at the hotel in early afternoon. 

The 7-course tasting menu was prepared in the private room at the back of the restaurant at the teppan grill right in front of us. Both the seafood and meat was perfectly done, including the King Prawn from Penghu Islands and also the rib-eye steak. Pieces of abalone were carefully carved, covered with seaweed and then salt dome. The combination of steaming and grilling tenderized the abalone with the flavor from the seaweed and mirin well infused. It was then served with the port reduction sauce and black truffles. The fried rice was the course highlighted the showmanship of their chef team and they did so brilliantly, and I love the thin slices of bottarga on top to enhance the overall flavor. 

We experienced the impressive butler service first hand. When one of our friends casually mentioned about bubble tea as a perfect "digestif" after a meal, after dinner when we returned to the hotel, they prepared just that plus the special Boba Fresh Milk Donut made fresh from their patisserie, with Earl Grey Creme Chantilly and boba/bubbles filling, to be enjoyed at the lounge before we retreated back to our room.   

During our short stay we were touched by the hospitality extended which made our stay extra enjoyable. What a start to this amazing journey. 

No comments :