Onsen Papawaqa — A Fine Hot-Spring Hotel in Miaoli

Onsen Papawaqa

The Onsen Papawaqa is a forceful work of modernist architecture directly overlooking the Wenshui riverbed. Its grey-hue exposed-concrete exterior walls, proudly and boldly showcased, echo the colors of the exposed cliff rock on the valley’s opposite side. Inside, two additional interior-décor elements are wood and stone, also chosen to echo the surrounding natural environment.

The key attraction here is, of course, the mineral-water soaking. Each room faces the river through floor-to-ceiling glass, with a window-side Japanese-style in-floor stone-slab tub. “The extensive public-area spa facilities are outside the main building; there are separate nude bathing areas for males and females, a non-nude mixed bathing area, and a wonderful cool-temperature narrow swimming pool that runs the entire main building’s length between building and riverside bluff-edge.” The evening starry-sky viewing is scintillating. In the midst of all this is a friendly, breezy thatch-roof open-air bar.

Both restaurants, on the 5th and 6th floors (the top floors), have eyrie-like views of the river before and mountain behind. The complimentary Chinese/Western buffet breakfast is taken in the 5th-floor Running Water Restaurant, which has a laddered spatial design evoking the river’s cascading waters. Lunch and dinner are served in the 6th-floor Flying Cloud Restaurant; the cuisine is Chinese, with strong Hakka and indigenous infusions, along with Western elements. Locally sourced ingredients are stressed. The Dongpo pork and sesame-oil chicken are especially good. (Rooms start at NT$7,500)

Onsen Papawaqa (泰安觀止溫泉會館)

Add: No. 58, Yuandun, Jinshui Village, Tai’an Township, Miaoli County

(苗栗縣泰安鄉錦水村圓墩58號)

Tel: (037) 941-777

Website: www.papawaqa.com.tw

The lobby of Papawaqa

The lobby of Papawaqa

Double room

Double room

Bathroom with hot-spring bathtub

Bathroom with hot-spring bathtub

Hot-spring bathing in private bathroom

Hot-spring bathing in private bathroom

Outdoor hot-spring area

Outdoor hot-spring area

Male nude hot-spring bathing area

Male nude hot-spring bathing area

Female nude hot-spring bathing area

Female nude hot-spring bathing area

Outdoor pool

Outdoor pool

The pool in the evening

The pool in the evening

Flying Cloud Restaurant

Flying Cloud Restaurant

Chinese cuisine, with strong Hakka and indigenous infusions

Chinese cuisine, with strong Hakka and indigenous infusions

Buffet breakfast at Running Water Restaurant

Buffet breakfast at Running Water Restaurant

Another hotel we enjoyed

The Silks Place Taroko at Tianxiang

Outdoor swimming pool

taiwaneverything.cc/2018/05/30/silks-place-taroko/

About the author

Rick Charette

A Canadian, Rick has been resident in Taiwan almost continually since 1988. His book, article, and other writings, on Asian and North American destinations and subjects—encompassing travel, culture, history, business/economics—have been published widely overseas and in Taiwan. He has worked with National Geographic, Michelin, APA Insight Guides, and other Western groups internationally, and with many local publishers and central/city/county government bodies in Taiwan. Rick also handles a wide range of editorial and translation (from Mandarin Chinese) projects.