Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and stay in this tranquil retreat in the Beitou district, which is the northernmost district in Taipei. Beitou is known for its green spaces and hot springs. It’s also home to the Gaia Hotel.
As soon as I walked into the Gaia Hotel, I melted into its serene aura. The word “Gaia” comes from the Greek goddess of earth, symbolizing fertility, harvest, and prosperity. The marbled lobby is stunning and the staff is uber-friendly. Annie came running down the stairs to greet me and check me in. “Would you like a cup of tea to relax after your long journey?” Yes was absolutely my answer, especially since I had just flown from the United States and it was late evening. Annie arranged for the tea to be sent up to my room. I knew instantly the staff at the Gaia wanted me to enjoy an experience, not just a hotel stay.
Annie then escorted me up to my room and gave me a quick tour. Drinks and snacks, including the homemade tiramisu in the mini fridge, are complimentary and so are movies. I’ll admit she did have to give me a lesson in working the television remote since it’s all in Mandarin Chinese. “This room is huge by Asian standards,” I exclaimed. Annie smiled and said wait until you see the bathroom. As we walked into it, she told me about my personal soaking tub in my room as well as the individual hot springs rooms on the first floor where you can soak in the sulfur hot springs in a room filled with Chinese juniper aromatherapy. My room was decorated in an understated fashion in earth tones and clean lines. I loved the simplicity of the room. I couldn’t get over the size of the bathroom. Like the room, it’s much larger than regular Asian standards. I loved the luxuries amenities in the bathroom, but it was the hair dryer I was really excited about. It was better quality than I usually find in hotels. Plus it had an attachment like I use on my hair dryer at home. Beside the soaking tub, my favorite thing in the bathroom was the bidet toilet. If you’ve ever used a bidet, you know exactly why! This one was really fancy with a heated seated. Not that’s bathroom bliss.
As I was settling in, my tea arrive. It was a beautiful white pot and mug on a small tray. The art of tea and tea service is one of the things I love about Asian culture. I instantly relaxed as I sipped the wonderful tea steeped with orange peels. I’m still dreaming about that tea! It was too late for me to go down to one of the individual hot springs room, but that was okay with me as I drew a bath in my tub where easily 3-4 more people could have joined me. Sipping tea while decompressing from travel in a warm bath was the perfect welcome to Taiwan. I couldn’t pass up the tiramisu. What a delightful treat to send me off to dreamland.
The next morning I headed out for a walk to explore since I arrived in the dark. To my delight, the neighborhood wasn’t a frantic frenzy as I expected. Instead it was quietly waking up as I took a walk in the park. I enjoyed seeing the hot springs, a few people doing tai chi in the park, and enjoyed strolling by the stream.
Since I arrived in the dark it was wonderful to see the Gaia in the daylight. I also loved seeing some of the decorations for Lunar New Year.
Once back at the hotel I enjoyed a delightful breakfast. I didn’t have much time so I opted for just a few items from the buffet instead of ordering an entree. It’s a treat to me to get noodles for breakfast so I was all in for some. I couldn’t pass up the fresh dragonfruit, watermelon, pumpkin, and roll. Instead of just regular coffee or a latte, they made me a wonderful cappuccino. To top it off there were these tiny cheesecake bites that looked like little works of art. Cheesecake for breakfast? Absolutely! There’s eggs and milk in cheesecake so its a perfect breakfast food.
After a full day of adventuring in Taipei and up in the mountains about 30 minutes out of the city, we returned to the hotel in the evening. A couple of us ventured off to check out the Shilin Night Market. Once back at the hotel, the three of us enjoyed out free complimentary drink of choice. The two folks I was with went for wine, while I had to have another cup of tea. Once I retreated to my room, I enjoyed a long soak and drifted off to dream world.
The next morning I got up early to enjoy a walk that turned into a hike up a mountain close to the Gaia. When I got back to the hotel, I had to ask where I hike. The wonderful ladies at the front desk figured it out for me. I’d hike up Danfeng Mountain. It was worth the effort to see the expansive view of Taipei. I hustle back to the hotel to change, pack, and check out with our group. I left the Gaia Hotel wishing I had just one more night there.