by Brendan M. Lynch | November 01, 2006

Taipei 101


On High:
Taipei 101
towers over
the capital
at 1,671 feet.

The island nation of Taiwan, about 100 miles off the coast of the Chinese mainland, comprises 14,000 square miles of rugged mountains, coastal plains and highlands. Since 1949, democratic Taiwan’s political scene has been dominated by feuding with the communist People’s Republic of China, but the nation’s history reaches back 10,000 years. Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist temples, along with other forts and shrines, dot the island, reflecting its unique mix of Cantonese, Chinese, Fujianese, Hakka and aboriginal cultures.

Modern Taiwan centers on the cultural and political capital of Taipei, which ranks among Asia’s most active business centers and now boasts the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101.

Opening June 1, 2007, is the 180-room Sheraton Yilan Resort, Taiwan, in the northeastern coastal city of Yilan, a mountainous region with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding tea plantations. The property will include 14,000 square feet of meeting space, eight restaurants, a health club/spa, an indoor swimming pool and 39 hot-spring houses. The driving distance from Taipei to Yilan takes just over one hour with the completion of a new expressway.

Hotel One Taichung, a 202-room Landis Hotels & Resorts property in the central coastal city of Taichung, opened this fall. Nearby, the 200-room Landis Taichung Hotel has renovated its lobby.

In the nation’s capital, the 856-room Grand Hyatt Taipei features 13 meeting rooms, a grand ballroom, a “unique, residential-style multi-event venue” called the Grand Residence, plus a meetings concierge and convention services team.

Close to Taipei’s main business and financial centers, the 350-room Sherwood Taipei, which features a Henry Moore sculpture in its forecourt, recently revamped its junior and executive suites.

This past Sept. 1, the 1,057-room Holiday Inn Asiaworld Taipei Hotel was reflagged the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel.

Taiwan’s major air carrier, China Airlines, plans to build a 360-room hotel at Taoyuan International Airport (formerly Chiang Kai-shek International Airport), the country’s main international gateway.

Convention center
The Taipei World Trade Center, in the Hsin-yi district (the political and economic center of the capital), comprises the 646,168-square-foot Taipei International Con-vention Center; the 1.7 million-square-foot, seven-story TWTC Exhibition Hall; an International Trade building, and the 856-room Grand Hyatt Taipei headquarters hotel. The TWTC facility is within easy walking distance of Taipei 101, which rises a remarkable 101 floors.

Air transportation
In February, EVA Air, one of the two main Taiwanese carriers, boosted its schedule between the West Coast of the United States and Taipei. EVA upped its service to Los Angeles from 14 to 17 weekly departures, and its San Francisco operation from 11 to 12 flights per week. EVA will soon introduce Boeing 777-300ER jetliners to service these routes.

Ground transit
Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system has been modernized and expanded in recent years. This July, the system’s Blue Line was extended with the addition of six new stations, reaching Tucheng, home of the popular Buddhist Chengtian Zen Temple.

Bureau news
Through the end of 2006, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is offering groups of up to 49 a souvenir and a travel brochure; groups of 50 to 199 receive a souvenir, brochure, cultural performance and welcome banner; groups of 200 to 299 receive the above plus a certificate of appreciation or address by an official of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau; groups of 300 or more receive additional offers.