Glamorous place for a woman to get a drink: Taipei’s Marco Polo Lounge

If you’re a woman — well, like I am — you might often feel uneasy getting a drink at a hotel lounge alone. I sometimes get the impression that they have the wrong impression. Or, guys feel a need to intrude, all in the name of being nice to the stranger gal. And thus, I’ve passed up on opportunities that a man would have no problem taking.

Last night, I was in the luxe Shangri-la’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. I was hosted to be there, but not for the bar. I felt comfortable right away. The security was tight, but not creepy. I was told that there were two bars open that evening, one being “Chinese and quiet” and one that was higher up in the tower and “a bit noisier”. I’m not a club-goer, but I was curious about the “noisier” bar. I figured, it doesn’t cost anything to look, right? It had been a long, long day and I was up for a cocktail.

I don’t know if they’re just quietly playing Mah-Jongg on the 6th floor, but was I was so happy with how the Marco Polo Lounge on the 38th floor turned out. Don’t you just love the clever name? They were just playing groove music in the background, so it’s not exactly a rave scene. The lights are low, the banquettes are comfy and the picture window has stunning views of Taipei 101, one of the top 3 tallest buildings in the world.

The lounge has many, many cocktails in a book listing their drinks, several of which incorporate localvore ingredients. The local flavors include a good selection of their renowned tropical fruit juices. The lounge has a few female hostesses, one of whom quickly and discreetly ushered me to a table, so I didn’t have to feel conspicuous looking for one. She brought a bowl of mixed nuts and wasabi peas.

They do have a cocktail that’s $40 US ($1,200 NTD), with Moet and Chandon rose imperial, Campari, Grand Marnier, Bacardi 151, syrup and orange juice, but . . . I’m not that high a roller.

I did get myself a $12 US cocktail with fresh mango and lime juices, along with gin. I didn’t think to ask what kind of gin they used; it was that kind of a day.

How ’bout that purse shaped like lips? I try to carry it when eating or drinking somewhere chic.


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