Revisiting Grand Hyatt Taipei - The Suite, The Lounge & The Restaurant

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Last year we visited Grand Hyatt Taipei and did a review on the hotel, you can read about the review here. Recently, we visited the hotel again to see the new changes, definitely a lot of rapid changes happening at the hotel, from service quality to the newly renovated guest rooms and suites, everything is happening at this iconic hotel. We stayed at the same suite as we did last trip, nothing changed at all, just like the way we left it at last. 



By the way, we took the Grand Hyatt Taipei's car service arrangement from TaoYuan airport to the hotel, it was around 11pm when we arrived, and received one of the best hotel transportation arrangement we've experienced. At the arrival, they had someone to meet and greet us, then they called out to the driver nearby, and by the time we walked out outside the terminal, the BMW 7 series sedan was already waiting for us and ready to go! The smooth and great service doesn't stop there, while driving into the city (about 45 minute ride from the airport), the driver was extremely friendly, courteous and welcoming, and also asked for type of music we prefer. Before you know it, we arrived at the hotel, with 3 people greeting us and help us with the luggages, and we went straight up to the room to complete our check-in(I don't know when the driver communicated with the hotel team, because the car was in silent mode the last 15 minutes, and the 3 of them waited for us outside the hotel when we arrive! Excellence in service.). We were absolutely blown away by this 5 star service, above and beyond our expectations. There were some new welcome amenities we enjoyed; first off, thanks for the 12 bottles of water scattered throughout our suite(helped us stay hydrated), a welcome fruit platter, a jar of assorted chocolates and a bottle of red wine. Thanks Grand Hyatt Taipei!


The next morning we visited the Grand Club lounge during breakfast hours, the lounge is spacious at 430 sqm and offered a wide range of food and drink spread. We were impressed by the coffee machine(coffee addicts like us, we dream to have this machine at home and office!) There were plenty of food, western and Asian(Taiwanese style), as well as a made-to-order food station for noodles and eggs/omelets. 








Also to note, if you book one of their Grand Club rooms and suites, you are entitled to the following complimentary amenities:
- Complimentary continental breakfast with hot and cold selection 
- All-day coffee and tea service with soft drinks 
- Evening cocktails and canapés 
- One-hour complimentary use of a club meeting room per day. (subject to availability) 
- High-speed Internet access 
- Complimentary pressing (One 2pc suit upon arrival) 
- Complimentary iPod speaker is available on request.

For lunch, we tried out the dim sum offerings at Pearl Liang, located on the second floor of the hotel. The restaurant is very well known in Taipei for authentic Taiwanese cuisine, fresh seafood dishes, as well as the Cantonese style Dim Sum with a Taiwanese twist to it during lunch hours! Menu created by Cantonese Sous Chef Yat Lung Lee, the dishes reminded us of memories in Hong Kong, but with the Taiwanese flavors. Interior designer Tony Chi is the master behind this restaurant (and many parts of the hotel), he designed Pearl Liang hoping to remind guests of their warm and comfortable home. We tried out 7 items that day, all super delicious, and definitely not pricey like other 5 star hotels. There are also a wide range of tea and wine selection (they have an impressive wine cellar at the hotel!) to accompany your meal, be sure to ask the server for their recommendations that best fit your choice of food. 

Bottom right: braised bean curd sheet roll, with prawn and banana, it's a new twist of flavors to a traditional dim sum. 

Left: baked BBQ pork bun with an almond crust on the outside, different from the traditional "Cha Shao Bao"

Highly recommend this post-meal dessert
Steam salted egg yolk custard bun, extremely hot inside but amazingly delicious.
During the happy hours, we visited the Grand Club Lounge again, to see what they have to offer in terms of cocktails and canapés. Blown away again, with more than 10 bottles of alcohol to choose from, a selection of seasonal fruits, made to order hot dishes, and various cold and hot canapés to pair with your wine/cocktail/champagne(or coffee and tea). Oh, and they didn't leave out desserts! You can grab a lighter Japanese dinner down at Irodori afterwards. 




If you are looking for some desserts for special occasions, or a glass of wine to unwind the day in your room, they have a wide range of selections down in the lobby floor, including boxes of hand made chocolates to bring back as souvenirs. Don't forget, you must try out their outdoor pool and the fitness center, Grand Hyatt Taipei has one of the best fitness club in Asia(including the wet areas in the change room), so make sure you leave some time to try out during your visit!

Wine Shop at the hotel
Thank you Mr. Speth for this ultra artistic hand-written welcome card!
Amazing hand writing skills.
View of Taipei 101
View from the lounge (XinYi District)
No 2, SongShou Road, Taipei, Taiwan, 11051 
P. +886 2 2720 1234 

Text and images by Leon Yuan

Bow Tie Review: Park Hyatt Seoul - The Changes and Dining Experience at The Lounge & Cornerstone

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We're the biggest fan of Park Hyatt Hotels, and like mentioned in our previous features, we love Park Hyatt Seoul so much we return year after year for that relaxing city retreat in Seoul. Previously we've written about the hotel and services, as well as our dining experience, you can read about the hotel here, and the dining experience at The Lounge here

We recently returned back to Park Hyatt Seoul, and noticed a few changes, in particular with their coffee! The rooms are big, clean and spacious like always, same excellent service, and the Aesop amenities remain the same, but they've swapped out the French press coffee to a Nespresso Zenius machine in their rooms. Also, up at The Lounge, they've swapped out the cups for lattes as well; nothing major, just small observations, but since we're big fans of coffee and definitely enjoy these nice new upgrades at our favorite hotel. 



Cornerstone

Located on the second floor, Cornerstone is the hotel's main restaurant, specializes in the season's freshest grilled meats and seafood prepared in custom wood-burning ovens. We love the open kitchen concept of the restaurant, where you can see the chefs preparing and firing up the dishes. The spacious dining room provides privacy between you and other guests, and the floor to ceiling windows offering great city views throughout your meals, from dawn to dusk. We stopped this time to try out the new menus created by their new chef - Steffan Heerdt. Born in Germany, Steffan began his Hyatt cooking experience back in 2003, and have previously worked at Park Hyatt Hamburg and Park Hyatt Zurich before coming to Park Hyatt Seoul as Chef de Cuisine. 



We visited during lunch time and savored some of their new Spring/Summer dishes. To start, there's lighted toasted boule with butter to open up your appetite, and eat while you decide on the menu. 


Appetizer:

Mediterranean seafood soup Fennel, with dried tomatoes.
Cornerstone Caesar salad with Jeju pork belly and poached egg.


One great thing about dining at Park Hyatt is you never have to worry about the quality of food, since you are paying for the freshest ingredients available. We really like the Korean twist on Caesar salad by adding pork belly(삼겹살), made the dish more appetizing and flavorful. 

Entree:

We decided to go light and chose something unique and seasonal, as well as a light seafood pasta. 

Linguine aop, served with shrimps, zucchini, homemade paprika, and bottarga.
Seasonal mushrooms vol au vent, in mascarpone cheese and thyme. 


For side dishes we had sauteed spinach with parmigiano reggiano and some roasted organic seasonal vegetables.


Desserts: 

Saint Honoré time!. Created French patissier, Aesun Aune, the cakes is a mix of unique textures, taste, eye appealing presentation. This 200+ years classic French dessert is round and made with choux pastry filled with vanilla cream, and made in a more modern square or rectangular shapes, a puff pastry base with layers of choux, which are crunchy and chewy outside and soft and light inside. 

Caramel Saint Honoré features Korean distilled salt that brings out an extra layer of the bittersweet taste in caramel cream. 

Chocolate Saint Honoré is, like its name, flavored in chocolate, praline and cognac to bring out an interesting mix of rich and sweetness palette.


Both are served with a scoop of homemade ice-cream. Also, in both Saint Honoré cakes, there's a popping candy hidden under the whipped cream to create a pop and crackling sensation, adding another reason for you to try this dessert. The Park Hyatt Seoul Saint Honoré cakes also changes by the season, depending on the best ingredients of that season.

The Lounge

We've previously tried a few different dishes at the Lounge, and none of them ever disappointed us, so we decided to come again to try some new summer specials as well as other classic dishes. When you are in Korea, you really should not miss out the cuisine there, it's very healthy and Park Hyatt Seoul made them one of a kind! 



With an order of any food at the Lounge, they begin with a fresh seasonal vegetable bowl with homemade dip to open up your stomach. 


It was a meaty kind of day for us, so we picked the Kalbi Gui, which is grilled Australian beef rib, with roasted Songi mushroom and pine nut, all layered on top of green scallions for great presentation. The other option was a fish dish, the Jeju island Eun Galchi Jorim, it's a braised hairtail fillet cooked with turnip, potato, and chilli. This is a very tradional Korean dish, spicy fish with radish, extremely refreshing in the summer and healthy for your body as well. Whichever you pick, meat, fish, or bibimbap, they come with 4 side dishes, steamed black rice and green cabbage bean paste soup; you can't get much healthier than this! Oh and in case you are lazy and don't want to leave your spacious room, you can order all these for room service and dine at your very own in-room dining table feeling relaxed and private.



For all the vegetarians out there, you must try the Kimchi MalYi Guk Su, its a handmade cold noodle dish, lots of fresh seasonal vegetables layered on top of the noodle, then they pour their secret homemade kimchi sauce over the whole dish(watered down from their own kimchi and some extra seasoning). Not only is the presentation amazing, but the flavor is a surprise as well, the sweet and spicy notes well compliment each other so you won't feel one over powering the other; and since it's the summer time, who doesn't want a refreshing cold noodle dish to cool off the heat?? Trust me, you'll likely leave wanting to come back for more!


Ok, finally, BINSU TIME! 
We've waited months to try out Korea's best Binsu, and we can't wait to dig in! Binsu a very popular dessert in Korea, you can get them at a lot of chain cafes and restaurants in the warm months. The most well known - Pat Binsu is basically shaved ice then layered with red beans, toppings and condense milk or other flavor sweeteners. Once again, Park Hyatt Seoul was able to twist this tradition dessert into the nation's best Binsu place! This year they've created 4 Binsus on the menu: 

Berry Bingsu
Honey Bee-ingsu
Bi-trus (Citrus Bingsu) 
Pat Bingsu



Each order is served for 2 people, and the portion is big, so come hungry and leave happy!

For purpose for trying out different flavors, we ordered the Binsu Combination, which you can pick 2 different flavors to try. They come in a smaller portion, but loaded with toppings on each, great for couples we have different ideas in mind. 

We picked Pat Bingsu, which features thick homemade sweet red beans, chewy Injeolmi (Korean rice cake made from glutinous rice coated with bean flour), soft green tea jelly and sprinkled with rice crispies on top, providing a mix of flavors and textures. Also, if you like extra toppings, you can ask for additional sweet red beans, condensed milk and rice crisps on the side for a richer flavor.


For the other option, we picked Berry Bingsu, which features a ton of fresh berries, including raspberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, redcurrants and strawberries. To spice up your tongue palette, they come along with dark chocolate chunks and crushed pistachios on top, creating a sensational sweet and sour experience in your mouth, trust us, you've got to try it out! Extra chocolate sauce, berry compote and whipped cream are upon request if you're in for a deeper and sweeter taste.



Overall, not only was our stay terrific at our favorite Park Hyatt Seoul, we absolutely loved the food at both restaurants! It felt like we've tried almost everything at the hotel, but apparently there are still a ton to explore at this hotel! The gem waiting for you to discover them, so why not give it a try yourself next time you're in Seoul?



606, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu
Seoul,  South Korea, 135-552
(+82) 2-2016-1234

Text and images by Leon Yuan
Images also by Park Hyatt Seoul


Hello? Definitely 5 bow ties for Park Hyatt Seoul!

Chanel's 2014 Métiers d’Art - Paris-Dallas

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For Chanel's 2014 Métiers d’Art, they invited 800 guests from all over the world to Dallas Texas, all for a very good reason - the successful comeback of Chanel into the fashion world in the 50s, with the help of her American editors and retailers friends. Most notably, Stanley Marcus of the now Neiman Marcus invited Coco Chanel to his Texas ranch and honored her with a Neiman Marcus Award back in 1957. Since then, she’s forever grateful to this city and state, and hence the reason why Karl Lagerfeld decided to build a “fashion town fair” in suburban Dallas to honor this historical event in Chanel’s book.


In case you are not familiar with Chanel’s Métiers d’Art, about a decade ago, Chanel bought a few small Paris ateliers, including Lesage embroidery and Michel millinery, in an effort to save and preserve these spectacular craftsmanships. 

At the event, there was a 50s drive-in theater, with concession stands and rows of vintage cars lined up to welcome each guest. Sat in a vintage convertible, Mr. Lagerfeld came in to the venue accompanied by Anna Wintour. “The Return” made by Mr. Lagerfeld of Coco Chanel rolled out for the first time. 
You can watch the short film below.  



After the short film, guests moved into the show venue draped with American, French, and EU flags, wooden flooring covered with hay, and an ambience resembled like an old Texas arena. 



Our Favorite Looks






The collection evolves around the “old Texas”, the cowboy styles even before the Civil Wars broke out. The designs surrounds romanticism, with mix details from Texas and Mexican, overall a fresh and younger concept to the Chanel we use to know. The knee length skirts across the board showed us the relation of this collection to the 50s, overall conservative. Lots of fringes and native knitted patterns, in case you missed them, on both mens and women’s; and when you design something with Taxas in mind, you really can’t miss out denim, and certainly there are lots of denim in this collection. Stars are another focus, you see them on the garments, part of the accessories, and also act as details (like that dress made out of star sequins). Overall, a very Americanized romance collection in a dark tone of brown and red, just everything Chanel-ized. 






New York Flagship
15 E. 57th Street, New York, NY, 10022
(1-800) 550 0005

Shanghai Plaza 66 Store
Suite 113-115, 1266 Nanjing West Road
Shanghai, China, 200040
(021) 6288 0505

Text and images by Leon Yuan, phone & video also courtesy of Chanel