Taichung’s Stylish Boutique Hotels II
TEXT / RICK CHARETTE
PHOTOS / ASKA CHI
At this hotel, in a refurbished hotel building, your exotic travel adventure is a time-travel return – yes, you guessed it – to the year 1969. The hotel façade is framed with old-timey neon lighting long ago seen in such culturally iconic US places as Sunset Boulevard and the Las Vegas strip. On the Travel in Taiwan team’s check-in night during a recent research trip for the Taichung articles in this issue the exterior neon, low-lit alley by the hotel’s side, and bright moon hanging high above left me feeling transported to a scene in a sultry ’60s detective series.
Enter the compact lobby and you find, on your immediate left, a full two-floor wall made of period suitcases neatly fitted together, many bought at sales, some donated by past guests. The retro-chic front desk area features a counter fixed atop a retired industrial boiler, retired transformer control panels and vintage clocks with the time in different global cities covering the wall behind, and industrial-style exposed piping and ducts.
The irresistible eye-catch in the comfy second-level Blue Sky Lounge is the tall-as-a-man neon jukebox, a specialty creation imported at hefty outlay from Britain. It’s the real deal, filled with a collection of vinyl golden-oldie singles – The Beatles, The Platters, etc. – which guests can play free using tokens provided by the hotel.
When exiting the elevator on each floor you’re greeted with a shrewd design touch – your super-sized floor number in bold neon, which really keeps the ’60s ambience in play.
The neat, compact rooms are minimalist “industrial style,” with calming combinations of white, black, silver/gray, and earth tones. Many also have exposed original wall and pillar sections of concrete or red brick. All come with classical ’60s-era accouterments such as retro-style electric kettles, desk telephones, coffee mugs and tea cups, and mod chairs and seats right out of an early James Bond movie. An especially appealing flourish is the intricate tiling used in the bathrooms, celebrating central Taiwan’s once thriving decorative-tile industry.
Your simple, gratis Chinese/Western buffet breakfast is taken in the third-floor restaurant, which overlooks a crossroads in this inviting narrow-street heritage section of town.
1969 Blue Sky Hotel (1969藍天飯店)
Add: No. 38, Shifu Rd., Central District, Taichung City
Tel: (04) 2223-0577
TAICHUNG / ART & ARCHITECTURE
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.