The Kimpton Da An Hotel Is an ‘Inner Sanctuary’ From the Busy Streets of Taipei

02.19.20 | By
The Kimpton Da An Hotel Is an ‘Inner Sanctuary’ From the Busy Streets of Taipei

With Taipei fast becoming one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, it’s no surprise that hotels are getting in on the action. Kimpton has planted its flag – picking the trendy district of Da’An for its first hotel not only in Taiwan, but anywhere in Asia.

Conceived by Shanghai-based architecture practice Neri & Hu as a quiet sanctuary away from the busy streets of Taipei, the Kimpton Da An Hotel sensitively balances calm and tranquillity with the vibrancy of its urban context: cosmopolitan cool with traditional vibes and living like a local while enjoying local hospitality.

“Every aspect of the hotel reflects the guiding concept of the “inner sanctuary,” say the architects. “Guests begin their journey on the ground floor by entering the lobby, greeted by an intimately scaled reception lounge. The key element of the ground floor lobby design was to insert a carved mass, letting natural light inside to play with light and shadow. The sculpted high/low ceiling offers different spatial experiences – a cocooned space for the lounge area and the double-height atrium at the arrival.'”

Polished concrete, shiny brass and chrome, with accents of red, green, and blue make the overall scheme feel contemporary, but Taiwanese touches, such as the vintage tiles and metalwork patterns inspired by the backstreets of Taipei, keep it grounded in both geography and history.

“The tiled walls with curated openings which frame the garden outside are a nod to the ubiquitous tile work often found in the alleys of Taipei, providing a quiet backdrop,” explain the architects. “Intricate metalwork takes inspiration from the layers of craftsmanship found in window and façade details in the surrounding neighborhood.”

Unusually, bedrooms are entered via their en suite bathrooms – all equipped with high-tech TOTO loos, and some with deep square bathtubs that surely double up as miniature plunge pools in the absence of a hotel pool, given Taiwan’s humid climate.

Bright white tiling, stainless-steel, and blonde wood, conspire to create a spa-like atmosphere that sets the right tone as guests kick off their shoes and head into one of 129 rooms and suites set across 12 floors.

The muted color palette continues into the bedroom where a wood, white, and grey scheme, combined with brass and verdant green accents, feels understated and yet indulgent.

“The guest rooms offer the most intimate and personal experience of the sanctuary concept,” say the architects. “Wooden insertions, expressed as thresholds, sectionalize the room to create in-between spaces.”

“Enclosed in between the thresholds, this space offers a momentary retreat – an introverted space for contemplation,” they continue. “Punctured openings and windows in light-colored wooden thresholds offer optional views internally and externally to the outside.”

This approach was developed in response to the challenges of converting a residential building into a hotel and the idiosyncrasies of the resulting plan. “To work with the many variances across the room types, bespoke wooden millwork elements were strategically tailored to each room type to create various functions catering to the guests’ needs,” say the architects. “Windows and doors are integrated into the wooden millwork giving access to the balcony and revealing views to the exterior.”

On the 12th floor, the Tavernist, headed up by ex-Noma cook James Sharman, offers breakfast and dinner, while a bar on the same floor provides Taiwanese Kavalan whisky cocktails into the night. “The restaurant is a celebration of the communal dining experience as an extension to the rich street life culture of Taipei,” say the architects. “Different communal areas are divided by continuous enfilade walls creating a series of interconnected spaces, a common arrangement and typology often found in Asia.” The fried chicken with seaweed mayonnaise – Sharman’s take on a local street food delicacy – is not to be missed.

What: Kimpton Da An Hotel
Where: No. 25, Lane 27, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Da’an District, Taipei, 106, Taiwan
How much: From $199/night
Highlights: Embrace Taipei’s skyline from the rooftop terrace before heading into the Tavernist for Tawainese–British–fusion dining.
Design draw: Borrow the hotel’s free bicycles and explore the buzzing neighborhood’s too-cool-for-school boutiques and see-and-be-seen restaurants.
Book it: Kimpton Da An Hotel

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Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.