An Attractive Family-run Homestay in the Alishan Area
TEXT / RICK CHARETTE
PHOTOS / RAY CHANG
Does the idea of overnighting in a tea factory strike your fancy? SunSweetHouse awaits. Well, maybe not quite. What is today an attractive family-run inn/homestay was until not very long ago the same family’s tea-processing facility. It has undergone a thorough do-over, reemerging as a hacienda-style abode with a shining white exterior and bright-red roofing. It’s run by a gracious and exceptionally hospitable sister team (along with the husband of one) that so much resemble each other that most every visitor initially believes they are twins.
The homestay is just off Highway 18, immediately before the 54km mark. (Highway 18 is the main route to the famous Alishan National Forest Recreation Area) It sits atop a small mountain spur, looking across a valley at the village of Xiding, which straddles the highway. The Yushan Mountain Range is in clear and glorious view off to the east – the SunSweetHouse sunrises are a spirit-soaring thrill. The family’s tea fields are down on one side of the spur.
Rooms are simply elegant, and spartan clean. Most have a small, comfy outdoor deck with views of Xiding and the Yushan range.
The sisters have added lovely artistic touches everywhere, public and private, that lend great personality.
The largest and most unusual of the guestrooms is the VIP room. This room is in the octagonal tower, which is at the front of the building and is the building’s most conspicuous architectural element.
In tea-factory days this housed a leaf-sorting area on the first level and a worker dorm room on the second, replaced by today’s guest-dining area on the first, off the lobby area, and the VIP room on the second, which has a delightful, sweeping mountain view spanning over 180 degrees.
Room rates start at NT$3,180. A complimentary breakfast is served, either Western or Taiwanese. The former features items such as croissant sandwiches and yogurt with fresh fruit, while the latter includes a fried egg, tofu, and congee.
Add: No. 66-10, Xiding, Fanlu Township, Chiayi County
Website: sunsweethouse.com (Chinese)
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.