Getting hitched is easy but turning your dream wedding into a reality is another story.
The Grand Hyatt Taipei, one of the city's premium banquet planners, believes it has the perfect setting for that fabulous wedding.
"This is the culmination of our two-year project," hotel General Manager Shaun Treacy said at the unveiling of the Hyatt's 500-square meter multi-event venue christened "Grand Residence" yesterday.
The facility is the first venue of its kind in the country, the five-star property said.
"We have always been pushing for new products and services in Taipei, and the Grand Residence is one of those. It's a unique venue (since it can be tailor-made to meet our clients' requirements)," Treacy continued.
Costing NT$100 million to build, the posh facility was the brainchild of world renowned designer Tony Chi. At the Grand Residence, the New York-based artist deftly used various materials - from wood and glass to metal and stone - to create a space that was not only elegant and luxurious but serene and comfy as well. Chi, a genius when it comes to east-meets-west designs, succeeded in turning the Grand Residence into an urban oasis that was contemporary and traditional at the same time.
The main entrance features a beaded display with 300 tassels hanging from the ceiling and a magnificent wooden sphere created by Korean artist Lee Jae Hyo. The sphere, Lee's award-winning entry to the Osaka Grand Prix, is made from Russian pinewood. It weighs 3.2 tons, and has a diameter of 2.5 meters.
To create the orb, the artist had to cut, chisel and polish trunks of pinewood to achieve the desired effect.
The facility is comprised of venues that are ideal for weddings, conferences, intimate family dinners, birthdays, and cocktail parties.
Residence One occupies 320 square meters of space, and can accommodate 180 to 200 people. To make the area look bigger, Chi installed huge glass panels on each side of the room. Bronze-colored metal artworks were laid on top of the glass, giving the room additional depth and texture.
Residence Two, occupying 100 square meters of space, can accommodate 50 to 80 people. The venue is perfect for meetings, conferences, luncheons, and fancy dinners.
Residence Three is ideal for intimate dinners, small parties, and family reunions for up to 40 people. One of the area's main selling points is an open kitchen - the Rolls Royce of kitchens, according to the hotel executive chef - that is equipped with premium Molteni appliances.
The multi-function facility also features a bar and a "glasshouse." The latter serves as a one-stop shop for clients who are planning their weddings, banquets, theme parties, and conferences at the Grand Residence.
"Everything that you will be needing for your party could be found here," said Ivan Suardi, food and beverage director of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.
The showroom features a collection of tableware, chair covers, table linens, wedding giveaways - from scented miniature cushions to candles - and flower arrangements.
"All that you have to do is pick the item that you fancy," Suardi said. "We also have a catalogue of theme parties, and our extensive album includes Moroccan-inspired banquets to traditional wedding receptions. They are all here."
One's dream event however will never be complete without flowers.
Ivy Chuang, the Hyatt's top florist, is more than ready to deliver, Suardi added.
"Everyday, my team and I create more than a hundred flower arrangements for the hotel," said Chuang. "The hotel buys roughly NT$1 million-worth of blossoms and foliage every month."
Often, the flower artist has to haggle with importers and suppliers to get the blooms that she wants.
At the Grand Residence's unveiling for instance, Chuang decided to present bowls of fabulous red tulips at the main banquet room. Vines and foliage were added to make the floral arrangements more lush.
"The red bulbs make such a stark contrast to the white table covers that your eyes are just drawn to them," Chuang said. "It's so dramatic."
The Grand Residence is one of the Grand Hyatt's future moneymakers.
According to Treacy, the facility is expected to generate NT$100 million in revenues during its first year of operation.
"Contrary to what some people have been saying, the local economy isn't down. In fact, the year 2005 (was one of our best years ever)," said the general manager.
Last year, the Hyatt saw its business grow 15 percent.
"In 2006, we expect our business to increase 15 to 16 percent without adding any new restaurants into the hotel," Treacy said.
The five-star property has been pushing the envelope in the city's hotel scene.
Recently, the Hyatt rolled out a "grander" food and beverage loyalty program that comes with NT$280,000-worth of benefits and privileges. The Aspire Privilege Program aims to add value to the property's Club at the Hyatt Membership package. Currently, Club at the Hyatt has 8,000 members.
"We want to grow it to 11,000 members in 2006, that's the big plan," Treacy said in an earlier interview.