Minutes after collecting our bags at Taoyuan International Airport, we were met by a friendly face from Le Méridien Taipei and escorted to a chauffeur driven BMW to be whisked off to Taipei in luxury; this has to be one of the best ways to arrive, stress free, into any city in the world.
The car was very comfortable, the journey was smooth and there was fast and consistent wifi to keep us entertained and help us continue our travel planning (in between watching the world stream by outside).
It was an impressive welcome to the city which was only continued once we arrived to check-in. We barely had time to make a few comments about some of the cool design features in the hotel before check-in was complete and we were being escorted to the lift with an invitation to the Le Méridien Club Lounge.
Once in the lounge our suspicions that the service in this hotel might just be perfect were confirmed, as the 2 very charming staff members who met us poured us drinks (they have vegan champagne) entertained us with conversation and shared parts of Taiwanese culture that were fascinating to our ears. They also helped with our travel plans and answered our questions efficiently making for an all round excellent experience.
Our room was comfortable and modern, equipped with everything we needed including a coffee machine and an ‘outside temperature’ display panel on the wall; this is definitely a feature that all air-conditioned city hotels should have and was incredibly useful.
There was also a gift of a complimentary culture centre pass, giving us entry to the must see Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei as part of the Le Méridien UNLOCK ART programme. This worldwide programme which “offers complimentary access to forward thinking galleries and institutions for the culturally curious traveller” (that’s us:) was an unexpected surprise that we were really excited by.
Our room also had a high tech shower that blasts several streams of water at us in all directions. We’ve taken a lot of showers in luxury hotels over our years of travel but we really fell for this one which has now become our benchmark of quality.
Add all of the above to the fact that there is a gym, an indoor heated swimming pool (great for exercising) and that it’s within striking distance of the iconic Taipei 101 observatory; Le Meridien Taipei quickly won our hearts.
The Vegan Food:
Our main experience of the food at Le Méridien was at breakfast in Latest Recipe, where the open kitchens show the chefs at work preparing a huge array of food. As we arrived and gave our room number we were offered shots of healthy concoctions (part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts ‘Eye Openers’ programme where they offer ‘destination-focussed’ drinks ‘infused with local flavour’. At Le Méridien Taipei this translated to shots of soy milk with peanut butter, coriander and chilli or winter melon with ginger and mint which were both vegan!
A delicious vegan treat even before we sat down for breakfast? Impressive.
We were swiftly handed over to another member of staff who seated us, told us she knew we were vegan (without us mentioning it) and then proceeded to show us around the buffet to highlight dishes that were already vegan (there were many) and order us extra dishes to be cooked freshly by the chef.
There was congee with extensive vegan condiments (the best bit about the congee station in our book) including gluten with peanuts, chilli bamboo shoots, Chinese donuts and roasted peanuts.
A soba noodle station allowed us to experiment with making our own healthy, complete protein packed (important for vegans) soba noodle salad with shredded vegetables.
The salad station had all kinds of enticing marinated vegetables including pumpkin that had a sweet, cinnamon flavour; juicy sliced oranges with mint and fennel and sweet plump tomatoes with an excellent vinegar layer to their taste. Throw in some crisp salad leaves, steamed sweet potato, healthy pumpkin with sunflower seeds and our vegan breakfast salad was complete.
There was plenty of food for us to eat without the chef preparing additional dishes but we couldn’t resist the plate heaped high with flash fried tofu and broccoli that was laden with spicy chilli and fresh garlic.
The Vegan Essentials:
Non feather pillows were available and in our room already so a vegan, feather free sleep was easy to enjoy.
The in room amenities were by luxury, natural brand Heyland and Whittle. The products don’t contain any harmful chemicals and are not tested on animals as they are made in the UK, but having emailed them they confirmed that only the soap was 100% vegan.
There is no spa at Le Méridien but there was a steam room in the gym and pool area.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Make a reservation at Le Méridien Taipei to experience some city centre vegan luxury delivered with faultless service.
Enjoy the contemporary art pieces around the hotel as well as a vegan banquet at breakfast where you can dine on local dishes as well as western options. Enjoy getting creative at the salad bar and experimenting with all the different ingredients on offer.
For that extra luxury experience book their chauffeur driven airport transfer to enjoy a stress free journey from the airport.
We were guests of Le Meridien Taipei but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Le Meridien Taipei
38 SongRen Road,
Telephone: +886 2 6622 8000
Cost From: £200 / $300 per night (November 2015)