In July 2019, I checked into the Da An Suite at Kimpton Da An Hotel, situated in Taipei’s buzzy Da An district known for its lanes and alleyways of shopping and dining experiences. The first Kimpton hotel launched in Asia, the 129-room property is three minutes away from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, and just a short bicycle or taxi ride away from nearby attractions such as Yong Kang Street, Raohe Night Market, Da An Forest Park and Taipei 101.
IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite members will receive a NTD$600 Raid The Bar voucher (can be used for expenditure at the Honor Bar, The Tavernist and the minibar) and enjoy 15% off F&B spend, while Platinum Elite members enjoy the same discount and a NTD$300 Raid the Bar voucher.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Modern chic meets conviviality and warm hospitality in Da An.
The must-dos (if any): Take photos of the gorgeous property, attend Social Hour at Honor Bar, have drinks at The Tavernist.
KIMPTON DA AN HOTEL TAIPEI
Occupying a former apartment complex in the Da An neighbourhood, the stylish property is designed by Shanghai-based architectural design firm Neri & Hu (also behind Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur and The Shanghai EDITION). The beautiful hotel plays it all Grafunkt meets Kinfolk across its various spaces with its arched doorways, contemporary stylings and bold colour choices. In rather stark contrast, the lobby channels the relaxed, homely vibes of a cosy residence and plays it decidedly low-key and minimalist zen with water installations, concrete finishings, an outdoor oriental garden with its own pond as well as vintage white Taiwanese tilework on the walls. Service is distinctively Taiwanese in congeniality without ever crossing into Stepford territory. Being a pet-friendly property with pet amenities accentuates the residential charm and is a big selling point for the hotel – I observed almost every third guest bringing with them an adorable pooch (think fat corgi and proud shiba inu).
The warm living room atmosphere is heightened in the evenings at the lobby’s Honor Bar during Social Hour, when free-flow wines and small bites are served while guests engage in conversation with the bubbly and energetic hotel team, enjoy live performances from local artists (classical guitarist Yi-Te Chang performed during my visit) as well as allow their pets to roam freely and make new friends in the lobby. It was such a unique, memorable and totally unexpected vibe for a hotel, and I could not have enjoyed it more.
The property offers fairly minimal facilities, with only a small fitness centre and no swimming pool or spa. However, the hotel does conduct various yoga and fitness classes, and each room is equipped with a yoga mat. Complimentary designer bicycles are available for use to explore the neighbourhood.
DA AN SUITE
The 58sqm Da An Suite (referred to on the IHG app as a ‘Standard Suite’) blends different wood textures with stone, marble and brass accents, while the clash of colours is striking and aesthetically pleasing. While most of the hotel’s rooms have walls which wear a distinctive deep teal, the dramatic shade only features as the colour of the curtain which partitions the bedroom area from the living room. The living room area is equipped with a couch, two plush seats and two coffee tables of different heights, while both the bedroom and living room areas have their own 50” LED television connected to a Bluetooth-enabled soundbar. The pantry area, designed with the same white tiling on its walls as the reception area, comes with a Lavazza coffee machine, a kettle as well as teas from TWG and local brand Emperor Love. Elsewhere, the minibar (IHG Rewards Club upper tier members can use their Raid The Bar voucher credit) is stocked with a range of beers, wines and spirits. The room features an open closet design, with an in-room yoga mat provided for private flexibility challenges.
The Polly Pocket-esque, pale yellow-walled bathroom is a sight. The bathroom features rainfall shower facilities, a stone bathtub big enough to act out the “Rub a Dub Dub” nursery rhyme, double vanities as well as a Toto washlet, with bathroom amenities from Grown Alchemist. The suite appears to be designed for couples with minimal physical boundaries – random mesh windows peer into the bathroom from the living area, the flimsy thinness of the shower curtain and lack of a bathroom door converts a casual shower to a burlesque silhouette dance performance, while the half-mesh toilet door adds Orange Is The New Black-esque prison fun to the simple act of doing a poo.
Upon checking in, I was greeted by not one but two different welcome cards, signed off by the General Manager and a Front Office team member respectively.
Breakfast is served at The Tavernist, a restaurant and bar concept on the 12th floor of the hotel. Helmed by ex-Noma chef James Sharman, the menu is inspired by local cuisine and uses organic local ingredients extensively. Dramatic archways partition the various dining spaces, which are segmented by colour scheme: the main dining area is decked in the property’s signature teal tone, with overhead lighting in the central dining area which resembles a pearl necklace; the communal dining area in front of the open kitchen has brick red walls; the bar and lounge area adopts dark navy blue and indigo shades.
The breakfast features a small buffet and a modest à la carte menu covering both Western breakfast classics such as Full English Breakfast, Eggs Royal and Eggs Florentine as well as Asian dishes such as Daily Congee and Poached Egg and Chicken Noodle Soup with Chinese Rice Wine. My favourite item was the French Toast with Honey Comb & Roasted Apple, which offered a comforting sweetness across various textures and temperatures.
On the bar front, the confident cocktails take inspiration from Asian flavours and Taiwanese snacks, with the menu spanning across aperitifs, digestifs and signature cocktails. Digestif Cheeky Monkey (Laphroaig 10-year Islay single malt, Cynar, cantaloupe melon, sea salt, drunken red date) could pass off as a Chinese New Year packet drink gone very, very wild, while the playful signature cocktail Taking The Biscuit (peaty Scotch whisky, dry sherry and tropical fruit) is inspired by Taiwanese pineapple tart cakes.
Despite its dearth of facilities, Kimpton Da An Hotel provided a memorable experience with its beautiful interior design, warm hospitality and convivial atmosphere. Highly recommended.
Kimpton Da An Hotel
No. 25, Lane 27, Section 4, Ren’ai Road