The Wizard of Silks

by JASMINE WONG on Aug 2, 2010 in Architecture , Interiors , Lifestyle
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In Yilan and Taroko, two five star properties mark the start of Formossa International Hotels President Pan Sy Lian’s vision to reinterpret the best of Taiwan’s hospitality offerings

An old proverb to ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated’ forms the golden service rule at Formosa Internationals Hotels (FIH), founded in 1991, promising a ‘total customer experience’ to its guests.

With a multi-brand operational strategy as the backbone of its expansion plans, FIH devised the brand name ‘Silks’ for a series of new hotels in early 2008, covering the high-end Grand Silks, five-stars properties under the Silks Place umbrella and a chain of business hotels dubbed Just Sleep, encompassing three key tiers of travel purposes and needs.

‘I had been thinking about what links China with the West, and how the West could better understand the hospitality culture of the East,’ explains FIH president Pan Sy Lian. ‘When the term ‘Silk Road’ popped into my mind, I knew I had the answer.’

Silks Place distinguishes itself from other five-star hotels in terms of architecture and interior design, which convey an undertone of simple elegance, with strong reference to local culture.

FIH has also revealed plans to establish 20 further Silks Place and Just Sleep properties before the end of the year, across Taiwan and China.

Silks Place Taroko When it comes to natural beauty, Taroko, located in Hualien, is second to none. The mountain-based Taroko Gorge National Park, one of eight national parks in Taiwan, stretches across three counties – Hualien, Taichung and Nantou – and is famous for its breathtaking marble gorge.

Silks Place Taroko, previously known as Grand Formosa Taroko, relaunched last December after a three-month facelift costing more than US$9 million, and is Taiwan’s only five-star hotel located within a national park.

Cradled amid the rich natural resources, history and beauty of Taroko, architect Irving Huang turned to local materials such as wood and marble. Hand-crafted carvings and large picture-windows are widely used, resulting in a modern Chinese-meets-colonial style.

The Silks Place Taroko’s new second floor, The Retreat, is based on the concept of ‘a hotel within the hotel’. Targeted at heads-of-state, the private floor comprises 46 double-size guestrooms, a library and a living room for the exclusive use of Retreat guests. Designed by Nancy Hu from Ernest Guan Design Studio, the rooms again combine an intriguing array of cultural concepts and Chinese design elements.