What's the vibe? Imagine the Grand Budapest Hotel has been torn from Wes Anderson's cinematic grasp and deposited in Taipei. That's the image evoked by this beautiful, French Renaissance-style building, which took the Mandarin group eight years to build. Inside, high-ceilinged marble halls are crowned with sparkling chandeliers, beneath which gold-plated luggage trolleys are pushed by white-gloved attendants. In case you get disoriented by all this Gallic splendour, the hotel is decorated throughout in the colours of the Taiwanese flag: blue, white and splashes of red - or, on second thoughts, perhaps they're the French colours. Sounds glitzy … It is. This hotel has been billed as a game-changer in Taipei, where three-star hotels tend to rule the roost. This, the eighth Mandarin Oriental in Greater China, opened in May with the express intention of having the highest rack rates in Taiwan within its first year. Not for the shallow-pocketed, then. However, the 256 guest rooms and 47 suites (below) all give bang for your buck, with the 4,000 sq ft Presidential and 3,400 sq ft Mandarin suites each boasting their own gymnasium and butler. What else is going on here? It'd be quicker to list what this hotel doesn't have: a 20-metre rooftop pool (below), check; a high-brow bookshop, check. A two-floor spa with beauty salon, gym and yoga studio? Of course. And the art deco MO Bar is slicker than most nightspots in the city. There are three restaurants: the Italian Bencotto, led by Michelin-starred chef Mario Cittadini; Ya Ge, serving Cantonese fare; and, tying in with the French je ne sais quoi of the entire property (we actually had to google, "Were the French once rulers of Taipei?" - they weren't), the brasserie Coco, by superstar hotel designer Tony Chi, who has made five stars twinkle from Moscow to Sydney. Feast on rabbit, quaff expensive red wine and stare confounded at the huge rhino head suspended from the mirrored ceiling. Tell me about the rooms. Probably bigger than the last two flats you lived in, combined, and certainly nicer (no offence). Each room has a marble bathroom with rain shower and standalone bath, a living room complete with chaise longue, a walk-in wardrobe and ample bedroom space. Some come with a view of the iconic Taipei 101, although we suggest that's as near as you get to the bamboo-shaped mega-mall, unless Sogo on a Saturday afternoon is your idea of nirvana. Wikipedia calls Dunhua North a "beautiful arterial"; not what I usually look for in a hotel location … Nothing gets past you, does it? Admittedly, there's not a whole lot around the Mandarin, aside from a TGI Friday's restaurant, a business district and Songshan Airport (unfortunately, Hong Kong arrivals are more likely to fly into Taoyuan International Airport). However, the Metro is a seven-minute walk away and, although taxis don't swing by the hotel too often, the staff are happy to call a car for guests. What's the damage? A standard deluxe room starts at NT$16,500 (HK$4,210) per room per night.