TRAVEL RECOMMENDATION: Errantry Lodge and Studio (怡然居), Hualien (Taiwan)

It is a popular choice between Asian travellers to pick a Minsu instead of hotels when travelling to Taiwan.

Minsu basically means ‘Homestay’ or a ‘Bed & Breakfast’, where you pay for a room in a property owned and runned by real people and possibly a family. With almost hotel like amenities  (usually without the swimming pool)  depending on what you are paying for. Most times, Breakfasts are provided. Unless you opt for a pension type of lodging.

What i love about travelling and living out of hotels (at times) is the ability to interact with people who could be staying  in the same property. Great value for money and you can have fun exploring with the different concepts that Minsus come up with to distinguish themselves.

In this case, for my first leg of my trip in Hualien, I opted to stay in Errantry Lodge and Studio. Just about 15 minutes away from the Hualien Train Station by Taxi. Before heading towards the coast at Qi Xing Tan.

The main reason for choosing the Minsu, was the curiousity and wanting to experience the slow movement of living. Which was the concept and purpose of the setup of this property. I, myself was in the beginning stages of making that change in my life. And wanted to observe the meaning of it from a family.

Based on what I had read, the family seem to have that as a reason for moving to Hualien from Taipei and making it the purpose of the decision. I admired that.

A relatively quiet and cozy neighbourhood snuggled within the surrounding landscape, it makes for an effortless place to settle in after a long travel on train from Taipei (Approximately 3-4hours, depending on your choice of train route).

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What stood out to me about this Minsu was the fact that they provided a free photography session when you book a room with them. The owner has an interest in Photography and has a studio setup in the property. Nothing too fancy, but there are pretty backdrops (or the property),  some professional camera equipment and lighting and a friendly quiet Arthur who will take your photographs as you wish. After which they will email you sample photo and a CD of the series of photos taken to your house.

A great way to break the ice and a momento for your stay there. When I left, they had even told me to keep the keychain (Key to my room) as a souvenir. What effort they made for personal touches!

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Let’s take a tour of my room  first shall we?

NOTE: Prior to going upstairs, you would be required to let them know if you prefer a Chinese or Western breakfast.

Also at what time you would like it: 8.30am or 9.30am.

(I am not sure of the rules have changed a little since. It has been almostt a year).

Theresa, the wife recommended the Chinese Breakfast, so that I would have a taste of Taiwan at home. I really appreciated the initiative to suggest, which made the atmosphere more homely.

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The room is massive.

I picked the Greek Room as a source of inspiration for the sea itself.

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And the elements of personalisation and reminder of the sea is so apparent in the details.

What I also loved was the sound system in the room with a playlist of music selected by the owners that set the mood. Dim the lights, have a warm cup of tea and relax..

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The bathroom has a odd little cozy nook at the corner of the room, where it leads to the bathroom.

Again, it was so tastefully done up.

The floor of the bathroom in turquoise that makes you think of the sea.

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Here’s a last look at the room before we move on.

I was reluctant to check out and only wished I could extend my stay in Hualien to stay another day.

Next time.

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What perks me up in the morning is lifting up the window blinds to see this!

Literally my heart lifted again. And fresh mountain air after a good night’s sleep – Bliss~

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And venturing onto the brightly daylight lit living/eating area downstairs.

Where the ‘view’ of Greece and it’s beautiful colours greets you the second you step into the area.

In the bright morning sun, it felt like a cozy cafe to while your morning away.

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Here’s a peek at what’s outside.

It was a beautiful morning that day, the sun has finally come out.

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The family of 4 lives just next door.

As a solo female traveller for the first time in the more rural part of Taiwan. I can only say the relatively friendly atmosphere of the neighbourhood, genuine warmth and effort in making the minsu a memorable experience and the safety at night makes it a great place to check in too.

Albeit a little quiet, and transport is needed to visit the tourist spots. A morning or evening cycle around the residential area is a must (More on that later).

SO WHAT IS FOR BREAKFAST?

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A breakfast showcasing the best of Hualien’s produce (I loved the curly wild vegetables alot, which they said was all around this area), the warmth of the porridge on a chilly morning and freshly made hot food for breakfast.

This is the point I was truly touched.

As I was the only guest left staying there for the day, Theresa still brought in a huge pot of Sweet Potato porridge just for me. And told me to help myself.

I asked if everyone else (Her family) had eaten? And she said “Yes.”

Hospitality at it’s best.

Cleanliness, Personalized Services, Free Momentos and very much the effort they put into quality and slow movement in living well. 

REFERENCE:

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