Luxury hotels battle it out for foreign travelers

Luxury hotels battle it out for foreign travelers
New high-rise hotels under construction on the shores of Sun Moon Lake. The expected influx of Chinese tourists has sparked a construction frenzy at the famous scenic spot - a must-see for mainland visitors.

TAIPEI - A surge in overseas tourists to Taiwan is heating up competition among the capital's high-end hotels as they scramble to woo affluent travelers.

About 9.91 million foreign tourists visited Taiwan in 2014, up 24 per cent on the year, due partly to the growing number of Chinese visitors.

One of Taipei's newest luxury hotels, the Mandarin Oriental Taipei, is trying to take advantage of the increase in travelers. It seems to be performing well, maintaining about a 70-80 per cent occupancy rate since opening in May last year. According to the hotel, visitors from Japan, mainland China and Hong Kong each account for about 25 per cent of the guests.

The hotel, with its classic European-style architecture is castle-esque and captures the attention of camera-clicking passers-by.

It took eight years and 25 billion New Taiwan dollars (S$1.07 billion) to build the Mandarin Oriental Taipei, which has 17 stories aboveground and six below. The hotel's entrance is not on the street, giving guests privacy. In the lobby hangs a massive chandelier with about 50,000 crystals. A standard room costs NT$16,500 per night.

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