S Hotel & HYG Restaurant – a Philippe Starck designed hotel in Taipei, Taiwan
The first time I visited the S Hotel in Taipei, I was participating in a networking event. I loved the look of the hotel and so I looked into it and learned that the design (including in fact all the objects inside) was created by the famous Philippe Starck. I was intrigued to see more.
I was therefore very happy to be invited for a one night stay at this brand new hotel (it opened in June 2017) so that I could get to know it better.
The beautiful and warm lobby has been designed to feel like a living room and it’s working out very well! Stylishly arranged bookshelves, crystal chandeliers, colorful carpets and photo frames; even a fireplace!
I really loved the unique eclectic style; modern pieces mixed up with traditional ones and the mix of materials (black leather, tan leather, wood, red carpets, crystals, etc.).
The bedroom’s dominant color is white, with a touch of yellow stripes. I was there with my friend Chelsea so I had requested a room with 2 beds; they were in fact twin beds! The room was fairly large, specially for Taipei’s standards.
The beds are incredibly comfortable. In fact, I had my best night of sleep since I have been here. The pillows are amazing. We had down pillow but there is in fact a pillow menu. Yes. You can choose the material and firmness of your pillows! The down duvet was a dream.
The room is quite well equipped. There is a audio sound system for you to plug your iPhone and panels all around not only to control the lights, but also the shutters and the curtains.
Every room (there are 103 in total) is luminous, with large windows and lots of mirrors.
Yves Godard, the General manager, offered a little tour of the hotel, which we were happy to accept. We visited a few other rooms; they are all very spacious, luminous and they all have large windows.
The presidential suite has 2 bedrooms, a living room and a dinning room. This large suite can be use also for private dinner (up to 7 persons) and for small events (up to 40 people).
We also visited a small art gallery within the hotel featuring asian artists.
Our plan after the tour was to hit the hotel gym and later, have dinner at their restaurant HYG, which serves a Nordic cuisine that I was very much looking forward to!
The gym was very nice, all new and shinny, like the rest of the hotel! There was two elements of decor that were quite original for a gym – a huge rhino head and a fireplace. The changing rooms, all in wood and marble, are beautiful. You’ll find all you need : fresh towels, bottled water, and all you need to get cleaned up after your work out.
We would have liked heavier weights, but we adapted our work out routine in consequences! We liked it so much we went back in the morning!
After this, it was time to eat.
The restaurant is located below the lobby. Two dramatic staircases (one on each sides) will take you there from the ground floor. You can admire the gigantic bookshelves (on either side, I love this symmetry) with its moving lighting piece of art.
The lounge section is inviting, with its marble bar and green chandelier. You’ll find excellent cocktails here and a good wine list. I will definitely be back here often to hang out with a good glass of wine!
The restaurant decor is made of colorful chairs with a funky design, wood table and comfortable cushions.
The service was exceptional. The staff was not only extremely professional but also warm and friendly, with an obvious desire to anticipate your every need. Chelsea and I were both enchanted!
I have been finding the service quite different in Taipei compared to what I am used to, obviously because of the language barrier for one thing, but also culturally. Here, I felt like I was home, being taken care of in the best possible way!
Another thing I usually find different in Taipei is the bread (different from what we know as foreigners from Europe or America). Here, the bread was amazing, with a crunchy crust, we were happy to start with such a good quality bread (and the butter as well). A small detail worth mentioning!
We decided to try the fixed menus in order to try different dishes. We chose the HYG Menu (NT$1,800) and the HYG Signature Menu (NT$2,200). Before we started, we had some oysters because I LOVE them and I hadn’t had hardly any since I am here. They were amazing, huge, plump and delicious. The mignonette was very tasty as well.
As the cuisine is Scandinavian, we were expecting lots of fish, pickles and dill! We were not disappointed!
The first 2 plates were the Gravlax (served with a sweet and sour mustard sauce and radish salad) and the flame grilled salmon and its horseradish cream. They were both vey good. The Gravlax felt almost more like a sashimi to me – which is just as fine, but which probably means less sugar and less salt use to make the Gravlax compare to what I am used to taste in my North American version of it!
It was delicious an healthy!
The flame grilled salmon was amazing. The texture was delightful, the taste, fantastic. We really enjoyed both the unique and delicate sauce that came with them, so much in fact that we would have liked a bit more of it in our plate!
The second course for both menus was the pan fried octopus. The first one was served with green asparagus and black garlic dust. The octopus was perfectly cooked; tender, juicy and full of flavors. Once again, the sauce was amazing and this time, the portion was generous! A beautiful plate that I would take again any time.
The second octopus was served with delicious smoked potatoes, black garlic powder and watercress and was just as delicious!
For the third course of the HYG Menu, we were served a Lobster soup. A dream in a bowl.
As for the HYG Signature Menu, we had the tender pork belly, served with a raw cauliflower salad (refreshing) and summer truffle. If you dont mind the fat (it’s pork belly after all), you should appreciate this juicy, full of flavors dish. It’s quite a filling plate.
Then came the main course! We had the U.S Prime Beef Ribeye, perfectly cooked and so delicious with its mushroom and smoked bone marrow sauce, as well as the mackerel served with herbs, lettuce and peas. We were thrilled to see all the greens in our plate (it’s not always so easy to find in Taipei).
If you are in Taipei, yearning for a good steak like I’ve been for 2 months, now you know where to find one and so do I. The red Spanish wine I had chose from the nice wine list was such a good pairing for this delicious steak!
At this point we went to the open kitchen to give our complement to the chef, Pierrick Maire, whom, before working at HYG, worked 7 years in the kitchen with 3 Michelin’s star chef Yannick Alleno.
For dessert, we had the passionfruit and baked meringue. This pretty burned meringue hides inside a passionfruit sorbet and vanilla ice cream. Cute and totally delicious!
The other dessert was the mango and yoghurt; a mango salad, vanilla crouton and yoghurt sorbet. Mango + ice cream?! Yes please!
To conclude, my stay at the S Hotel was a fantastic experience. Great service, comfortable room, interesting design and great food and drinks at the HYG. I’d be happy to recommend this place to my visiting friends any time!
I feel like I will be back on a regular basis at the HYG restaurant & lounge!
S Hotel & HYG Restaurant
No. 150 Dunhua N. Road