5 Taipei hotels with megabucks art collections
A tour of Taipei's top hotels can be a surprisingly cultural endeavor.
From the stylized grandeur of China's war-lording past and surreal splendor of Salvador Dalí to dramatic displays of contemporary digital design flare, Taiwan's highbrow hoteliers have amassed an impressive gallery of treasures.
Ju Ming sculptures at Le Méridien Taipei
Value: US$1.38 million for the pair
From mobile chandeliers made with more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals in the foyer to Yong-Liang Yang's painting-with-a-statement masterpiece in the restaurant, Le Méridien caters to creative guests.
Owned by the hospitality arm of My Humble House, a prestigious Taiwan-based antiques dealer, the hotel boasts a dedicated gallery space in addition to works of art under a "Lights and Shadow" theme.
A shadow sculpture designed by Belgian Fred Eerdekens presents lines from the children's story "The Little Prince" on the wall. On the mezzanine floor, fluid tai-chi energies are immortalized in a pair of Ju Ming's bronze sculptures, captured as an enigmatic snapshot of movement in time.
Le Méridien Taipei, 38 Songren Road, Xinyi, Taipei; +886 (0)2 6622 8000; www.lemeridien-taipei.com
Qing era artefacts at Sheraton Taipei
Value: US$1.89 million paid for a similar Qing Dynasty parade armor set
The Sheraton houses priceless Chinese treasures, pottery and jade artefacts.
Boisterous laughter is captured in Eastern Han Dynasty tomb figurines, while a set of Kesi silk tapestry panels dating back to the Qing Dynasty portrays an Oriental idyll of flowers and birds.
A regal suit of armor which belonged to a prince from the Plain Blue sector of the Manchu's Eight Banners during the Qing era is displayed in the Art Promenade
The multi-part Imperial blue satin ceremonial suit of armor comes complete with dragon features embroidered with gold thread and a round mirror to protect the heart, accessorized with a bow cover and quiver set made of red velvet and inlaid with copper.
Sheraton Taipei, 12 Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei; +886 (0)2 2321 5511; www.sheraton-taipei.com
Electric art at W Taipei
Value: Commissioned specifically for the hotel
W Taipei follows a "Nature Electrified" design narrative, formulated by splicing the W brand DNA with the location of the hotel.
Artists are handpicked to create design installations that tickle guests' senses, including "The Chain" stainless steel installation at the main entrance to symbolize the anchoring of the property to the city, while "Purple Target" represents the hotel's locale, smack in the heart of the swanky Xinyi district.
At first glance, "To Light You Fade" is just a panel of dancing lights, but the 21st-century shadow technology actually interacts with moving objects in front of the W's reclaimed wood lobby wall.
Developed with a customized choreography program, the installation uses organic light-emitting diodes from Germany.
W Taipei, 10 Zhongxiao East Road, Xinyi, Taipei; +886 (0)2 7703 8888; www.whotels.com/taipei
Dalí sculptures at Hotel Éclat
Value: US$1.75 million for the pair
Built by a Hong Kong-based real estate tycoon, Hotel Éclat showcases several items from the owner's private art and furniture collection, making it more reminiscent of a rich uncle's eclectic mansion than a boutique hotel.
Chinese artist Gao Xiao-Wu's satirical statues smile infectious grins, and a Jean-Jacques Henner sfumato painting titled "Salome" hangs seductively behind the reception desk.
Andy Warhol's "The Queen" graces one of the private dining rooms in the hotel's signature restaurant, with Queen Elizabeth II keeping a watchful eye on guests.
In the lobby, two Salvador Dalí sculptures -- Mercurio and Alma del Quijote -- act as gatekeepers to the elevator, flanking the doors in all their golden contorted glory.
Hotel Éclat, 370 Dunhua South Road. Sec. 1, Da'an, Taipei; +886 (0)2 2784
Wine collection at Villa 32
Value: US$310,700 for one jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945
The posh hot springs spa hideaway has welcomed bigwigs in the past, including the King of Nauru and Bvlgari's global president, but the real hotshots can be found hiding out in the cool of Villa 32's wine cellar.
More than 30,000 bottles of vintage wine from owner Chiu Ming-Hong's private collection are on display, the labels reading like a wine connoisseur's wet dream: Château d'Yquem 1865 from the collection of the Imperial Family of Russia and bearing the Tsar's original seal, Romanée-Conti 1945, Château Lafleur 1945, Château Petrus 1947, Château Cheval Blanc 1947.
The bottle you don't want to break, however, is the jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945, which is one of the most expensive in the world.
Villa 32, 32 Zhongshan Road, Beitou, Taipei; +886 (0)2 6611 8888; www.villa32.com