eslite hotel: a luxury hotel in Taipei built on books, with a soul

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eslite hotel

eslite hotel

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's eslite group started out selling books and has expanded into Hong Kong and China as an iconic bookstore chain, with an ever-growing cadre of fans, before the group created a media sensation by opening its elegant and luxurious hotel featuring alluring interior design and upscale services.

Nestled in the quaint Songshan Cultural & Creative Park, the hotel initially drew its fans across Hong Kong, China, and Macau through word of mouth for the past three years, it now receives guests from more countries who are seeking an extraordinary accommodation experience.

It is not news to the world that some luxury hotels accommodate book collections, but eslite is the first of its kind in Taiwan. The library presents books in four main categories: architecture, lifestyle, arts, and literature, while storybooks are available for children. The book collection of more than 5,000 books was selected from its bookstore's recommendation list, said hotel General Manager Tony Wang (王本仁) in an exclusive interview with Taiwan News.

Surrounded by book walls and a large floor-to-ceiling window, the roomy lounge is adjacent to the lobby, allowing hotel guests to sit engrossed in books, to rest their bodies, and recharge their souls.

(Image courtesy of eslite hotel)

The hotel building was conceived by Pritzker-winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito with a slightly curved 19-story exterior that imitates the gesture of opening arms to welcome and embrace, and a six hectare green space gives a warm greeting to guests.

It is adjacent to an urban pond rich in biodiversity, and a baroque-style garden surrounded by indigenous trees. The pond and garden are inside a park and within a short walking distance from the hotel . The green space has a rich reserve of biodiversity, with sounds of birds, frogs, and insects permeating at night.

The hotel building itself was built using the concepts of energy saving and energy efficiency. For example, adoption of large, floor-to-ceiling, glass windows allowing natural light into each room, and a shaded balcony with architrave that could offset some sunlight, preventing the rooms from becoming too hot. All 104 guest rooms in the hotel have spacious balconies which outshine its rivals in Taipei.

(Image courtesy of eslite hotel)

In merely three years, the young hotel was rated "wonderful" at one of the best hotel review sites, with facilities, cleanliness, comfort, and staff scoring higher points than its international brands' rivals in the highly competitive Taiwan market.

The favorable guest comments also reflect its emphasis on the guest service throughout their whole journey with the hotel.

"The late founder of the hotel Robert Wu (吳清友) was hoping that each guest will be served in a fashion superior to what they have received from international hotel chains: being offered a unique Taiwanese style of service in helpfulness and catering to our guests' needs," said Wang.

Apart from the hotel services that emphasize Taiwanese hospitality, the hotel also accommodates different types of artwork created by Taiwanese artists in the forms of paintings and sculptures, and located throughout the hotel from the lobby to the guest rooms. Valuable artwork is an integral part of Taiwanese lifestyle. Every floor features works by local artists and photographers.

(Photo by Sophia Yang/ Taiwan News)

(Photo by Sophia Yang/ Taiwan News)

With membership topping 2.5 million persons across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and China, the hotel initially drew fans of eslite bookstores from these regions, among others who value a unique and personalized accommodation experience. Their positive reviews after staying help entice tourists from other regions.

"Demographics of our room guests has increasingly become more diverse, in 2017 alone, 40 percent of our guests came from Hong Kong, Macau and China, 27 percent from Taiwan, 25 percent from Singapore and Malaysia, 5 percent from Japan and 4 percent from the United States," said Wang.

Attention from international media and best hotel review sites also give a boost to the young hotel's diverse demographics: it became a recommended hotel in 2018 by Forbes Travel Guide, and is described as a book lover's retreat.

As several international hotel brands are expanding their footprints in the Taiwan market and are set to open this year, including the Hilton in Banciao, New Taipei City, the hotel management veteran, Wang, told Taiwan News that he believes it will be a good year ahead for the design-centric hotel: "The occupancy rate has increased significantly over the past two years, and our value has been recognized worldwide on different review sites and publications."

"A hotel has a soul, it must have a life beyond its physical walls; it should be managed and serve people with more than a standard operating procedure, but with a heart to feel the needs of our customers. Our value is there," he concluded.

eslite hotel General Manager Tony Wang (Photo by Taiwan News)