Tue, Feb 21, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Sixty-year-old Grand Hotel to undergo grand overhaul

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

A dragon-shaped lantern guards the entrance to the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Yang Chiu-ying, Taipei Times

The management of the Grand Hotel, one of Taipei’s landmarks, yesterday said they would spend NT$500 million (US$16.9 million) renovating the facilities, with the entire effort scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Grand Hotel chairman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) made the announcement in the run-up to the hotel’s 60th anniversary on May 10.

The management said that the renovation project would keep the traditional Chinese architectural elements and at the same time infuse modern style into the structure.

A series of events will be held to celebrate the hotel’s 60th anniversary, Lee said.

“Aside from the presidents of Taiwan, the hotel has received more than 2,000 important guests from other countries in the past 60 years,” Lee said. “They include the late US president Dwight Eisenhower, late king of Tonga Taufaahau Topou IV and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林).”

Lee said the hotel had witnessed several politically significant events, including the conferences celebrating the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party and the People First Party.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) also held his first national affairs conference at the hotel, during which experts suggested the nation abolish the National Assembly and form the Straits Exchange Foundation to negotiate with China on cross-strait affairs.

Because of the hotel’s place in Taiwan’s history, Lee said it had kept many historical items, including the Dragon-Phoenix Chairs on which former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his wife, Soong Mei-ling (宋美齡), sat.

He said the hotel also had had a chair custom-made out of rosewood to welcome the arrival of King Topou IV, who was said to weigh more than 200kg.

Those items will be on display in an exhibition at the hotel, along with the dining utensils used at state banquets, as well as photograph collections.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary, Lee said that the hotel had introduced a feast featuring dishes served at state banquets, which will be open for reservations from the public. The hotel will offer several discount deals for dining and accommodation.

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