Taipei has plenty of flashy hotels for wedding banquets and bustling family buffets. But only one hotel in all of Taiwan — Kimpton Daan — can say it’s on the shortlist for Wallpaper’s Best Urban Hotels, announced in November 2019.

I’ve been a fan of the Kimpton Daan since their Guest Experiences team contacted me back in July 2019. They were interested in stocking Hey Taipei to give as complimentary gifts for hotel guests traveling with kids. Great idea, I thought. Curious about this new hotel that had just opened, I dropped by to take a tour that same month.

Communal work desk in the lobby.
The casual lobby lounge area.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with the Kimpton brand. I’d heard of the name before (I think) but I didn’t realize they had 70 boutique hotels in 43 cities. The only other locations in Asia are Tokyo and Bangkok.

During that July visit, I was so impressed with how freaking nice the rooms were. As a long-time fan of staying in fancy, cool hotels (who isn’t?) I felt instant staycation pangs. But back then, I still had a 20-month old at home who was chaos personified, so I shelved the staycation idea for a later date.

Last Monday afternoon, the staycation finally happened. I strolled over to the Kimpton with my hotel-friendly two-year-old, and we checked in at 3pm for our overnight stay.

The outdoor patio.
Winnie checks out the view.

That afternoon we explored the Zhongxiao Fuxing area like it was new to us, and pretended like we’d escaped to Tokyo for the night. We enjoyed an early dinner of Japanese-Italian at Japoli Italian Bistro, then bought Japanese snacks and drinks from the SOGO supermarket: a seasonal Japanese beer for me and a Hokkaido milk carton for her.

Before her bathtime, we went up to the 12th floor to see the scene at The Tavernist, the hotel’s very hip restaurant and bar. I ordered a cocktail while she had some taro fries. If it wasn’t so chilly that night we would’ve checked out the rooftop terrace, but the atmosphere inside was bustling with locals even on a Monday night, just the way a hotspot should be.

My “Savory Sour” cocktail at The Tavernist for 450NT.
Taro fries with mayo for 280NT.

Of course, the room is lovely. It has all the comforts you’d expect wrapped up in an eye-pleasing, practical and minimalistic design. A few features I specially loved were the massive shower (it’s actually wheelchair accessible), the exposed closet and luggage rack, plus the in-room yoga mat and massage tool.

One thing I just have to say: I could feel instantly how kid-friendly the Kimpton is as soon as we walked in the front door. Every staff member said hello to us (very Disneyland-like) and genuinely looked happy to see my little girl bouncing around saying “wow” every five seconds. This mum was very impressed.

I’m not sure how common this is, but Kimpton is also totally pet-friendly. Pets stay for free and even get their own bed in the rooms. As you can imagine, the photos on Instagram are super cute.

During the stay, I kept asking myself: what makes the Kimpton a great urban hotel? Well, there were a couple of things I noticed:

The service was unlike anything else I’d experienced at a Taipei hotel. The attitude of every person who worked there made it clear they were comfortable and in control of everything happening inside the building. One thing that I feel is lacking in Taiwanese-style service is the concept of hospitality, but at the Kimpton you can sense it’s an important part of their culture. They’re actually happy to see you and serve you. It’s wild.

The hotel itself was a place to be, not simply a place to pass through. I realized this when I saw people settle in to work on their laptops at the communal table in the lobby. Also when we came back to the hotel as the 5pm to 6pm lobby wine hour was breaking up. Dozens of used wine glasses were patiently waiting to be cleared while a few guests lingered before they headed out to dinner. I’ll admit the scene made me feel just a little of FOMO.

While everyone’s talking about how Airbnb has been changing the hotel landscape, I think places like the Kimpton are doing even more. To understand how, I looked up the methodology behind the Wallpaper’s Best Urban Hotels list. Two passages stood out:

“Hotels have evolved into a destination not just for the overnight guests, but for local residents to enjoy the bars, the restaurants and the atmosphere. This becomes an attraction to overnight guests, allowing them to mingle without ever leaving the premises. This fusion is a template for the future of hospitality.”

“Where once you might have checked in to find a pool, a business centre, a restaurant and a gym and considered yourself to be living the high life, these days it’s practically de rigueur to expect a concept store, a bakery, an artisanal coffee joint and a herb garden, alongside a co-working space and a kitchen to cater for midnight munchies.”

Breakfast with main course, pastries, coffee, juice and yogurt for 650NT.
Dining room at The Tavernist.

Some may question the need to pack an overnight bag and stay at a hotel room in your own city. To those people, I say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s a perfect night out and a relaxed morning, all without having to take a flight, navigate airport security or deal with jetlag. I can’t promise that your kid (or your pet) will enjoy it as much as mine did, but hey, all bets are off when it comes to toddlers.

Now let’s talk room rates. The Kimpton Daan website says a standard room with one large bed starts from 6,175NT. A twin room with two beds starts from 7,125NT. Suites that sleep 3 people start at 11,875NT. Check out the Kimpton Daan website for exact rates for your staycation dates.

Our overnight stay was organized by the Kimpton Daan team, but I’ll happily pay to stay there again. We had such a lovely time. And needless to say, all opinions are my own.