Taichung’s Stylish Boutique Hotels I
TEXT / RICK CHARETTE
PHOTOS / ASKA CHI
If you’ve ever dreamed that an overnight at a museum – a Red Dot Design Museum – would be the niftiest of things, Taichung’s RedDot Hotel is the next best thing. It took up residence in an adeptly redesigned hotel building in 2014, the building dating back to the 1970s. Peering through full-wall windows into the wide lobby space from outside, you’d be forgiven for mistakenly thinking you’re looking in at a hipster design gallery.
The funky-chic lobby seating includes a sofa made entirely of sepak takraw balls, a retro leather and stainless steel barbershop chair, and a large overstuffed sofa chair and footrest set sporting wide butterscotch and red stripes that give it the look of a prop from a Dr. Seuss picture book. The futuristic-feel entrance is a glass swish-panel tube portal that looks like a transporter terminal in a sci-fi movie.
The universal lobby favorite, however, is the three-story stainless-steel Cowabunga Slide tube, which guests can use during specified hours. Sliding boards are provided at the front desk. Another favorite is the “disco” elevator, which has mirrored walls and a flashing-color floor that transported me to the dance floor in the ’70s flick Saturday Night Fever, obliging me to bust some (lousy) moves on rides until politely requested to refrain by my fellow Travel in Taiwan travelers.
In contrast, the guestrooms have a more subdued and homey feel. Perhaps the most eye-catching design element is the prominent use of bright-pastel Hakka floral fabrics on beds; there is a heavy concentration of Hakka, a Han Chinese sub-group, in the region north of central Taichung. The bathrooms are gleaming-white throughout, promoting a sense of space; they feature Taiwan marble and tiles from south Taiwan’s celebrated San-He Tile Kiln (the lobby floor is also a San-He showcase).
Other facilities include the Gallery, where creative-art classes are offered, the classy SaoBao Bar, where dark-stain woods and polished copper are the design keys, and the charming French-cuisine L’ARÔME Restaurant, rich with hanging plants. This is where you’ll take your complimentary Western-style set meal breakfast, entrees including selections such as pork burger and pancakes.
About the author
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.