It is known to many that Taiwan is the second-most densely populated country in the world, second only to Bangladesh. But most people may not know that Taiwan’s guesthouse (民宿) density ranks first in the world.
Please watch the following video about the Happy Guesthouse.
According to Taiwan regulations, guesthouses are hotel-like lodgings that have fewer than five guest rooms. Though Taiwan’s land area is only 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 mi2), according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, there are 8,674 guesthouses in the country. In Yilan County alone, (a relatively small county with an area of 2,143 square kilometers (827 mi2) in northern Taiwan), there are 1,475 guesthouses.
In this highly competitive environment, many guesthouse operators have come up with various novel ideas to attract customers. Take those in Yilan County, for example, where some are in the Mediterranean, Bali, or Japanese Nostalgic style, while others are in the Courtyard, Scandinavian Minimalist, or Palace style. Still others are in the Pastoral, Ocean-, or Mountain-View style — you name it. Among them is the Happy Guesthouse (快樂樂民宿) near the famous tourist spot of Plum Lake.
Surrounded by pomelo trees and rice paddies, Happy Guesthouse has an orchard, a garden, five guest rooms, a cozy tea house, a roofed barbeque terrace, a lighted basketball/badminton court, and a curved fish pond. It’s just like a villa on a leisure farm full of phytoncides (芬多精).
When the pomelo trees are in full bloom in the spring, the entire complex is aromatic with their pleasant fragrance. When the pomelos are ripe around the Mid-Autumn Festival, visitors are captivated by the picturesque view of green lush trees with numerous pomelos hanging from their branches.
What’s even better, they may pluck the plump yellow pomelo straight from the trees to enjoy on the spot, when the pomelo ripens around the Mid-Autumn Festival in August or September.
The guesthouse features Taiwan cypress wood decorations. Its beds, tables, chairs, floors, staircases, and doors are mainly made of precious Taiwan cypress wood and fill the house with the pleasant scent of cypress.
The spacious lounge on the ground floor is nicely decorated and equipped with karaoke. The stately table in the middle of the room is made from a giant block of Brazilian walnut. At a corner of the lounge is another striking table made from a Taiwan cypress root carving. It is a pleasant retreat to sing or chat during the day.
The guesthouse is also heightened by the luster of unique Hualien granite. High on a wall of the lounge is a pair of huge granite slabs with a texture that bears a striking resemblance to two shrimp facing each other in an incredibly vivid and lifelike pose.
Another large Hualien granite slab on a wall of the second floor has a texture that resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Covering about 40 square meters (430 ft2) each, the main guest rooms are spacious and comfortable. The guest room on the ground floor has a Taiwan cypress root carving table.
The two on the second floor are double-decker lofts separated by a spacious lounge with a huge solid wood table. The master bedroom on the first deck connects to an additional room on the second by a flight of z-shaped wooden stairs, which makes a perfect option for families or groups.
To ensure the quality of the experience for its guests, the dining room is located in a separate building behind the accommodation area. It is a spacious room equipped with two huge tables made of Taiwan cypress solid wood that can seat as many as 50 people. It is the place where a delicious breakfast is served and the perfect place for afternoon tea and to sample the famous Yilan delicacies.
The decorations, including the striking Hualien granites, the priceless thousand-year-old tree root carvings, the huge woodblocks used for tables and benches, the driftwood used for the doors at the main entrance, and those used for lampshades are precious items that were collected by the owner over the decades.
Upon entering the guesthouse, one quickly appreciates the thoughtful and exquisite design of the entire complex, as well as its appointments. It’s worthwhile to escape the city and view for oneself the aesthetically pleasing environment and enjoy the beauty of nature that the guesthouse and its surroundings offer; however, it’s only available for charter.