Villa 32: Completing the Beitou Experience in Taipei
May 16, 2017
XinBeitou is my favorite R&R place in Taipei because of their sulphur hot spring. It was easy to come here. I simply followed the Red line MRT to Xin Beitou. You could also go down Beitou MRT stop to see more of the city side but the cultural place is in Xin Beitou. Starting from the MRT you could feel the cultural and country side vibes of the area.
I took a cab going to my hotel, Villa 32. You can click here for easy booking. It was a highly recommended boutique hotel and I began to be very excited to stay here. The road to Villa 32 is a beautiful uphill. With cobble stoned and brick patterned pathway and plenty of trees that surrounds it, I was captivated.
Upon entering, a lady welcomed me with a smile and ask what I needed. Then she led me to sit down and offered some cold tea. From the travel, I must admit, I was a bit parched and finished the drink in less than 5 seconds. Don’t judge me, it was a small glass and it was pretty good tea. I knew that this is the start of a very good stay.
The usual check-in in Taipei is 3pm. I arrived earlier and it was not a problem. I left my things with the reception so they can bring it in my room once it’s ready. I, then, asked where I could have lunch and tour in the meantime. The great thing about this area is that all the cultural places is of walking distance.
I began to walk downhill to see Beitou’s famous places to visit. It was easy navigating around this area as it is quaint, organised, and there is big map to follow. There were also directional signs for more efficiency.
I was getting hungry and I thought this massive place was a popular restaurant. There was a lake in front of it and I had to go around to go inside. When I reached the entrance, it was a public library. What a beautiful place to chill, stay and study. I went inside and thought that there would be cafe in it. Nope, no cafe. It was cool though, seeing the kids hard at work. I reminisced being a student again. I thought of coming back here to do some desk work later in the day.
After lunch, the place is calling me to walk around and so I did. I found this garden with a skating rink. I thought how it would be fun to relearn my skating form. I didn’t bring any skates and there was nowhere to rent one. It was better just to watch and enjoy this park.
I walked some more to see the other side. To look around I followed where the people are going, I found this the public hot spring bath. There were tourists queueing outside of this establishment and buying instant swimsuits from the vending machine.
Since Villa 32 have their own hot spring pools, I walked some more to explore the place. There was another entrance uphill. With curiosity, I went uphill and saw this fun playground. It was a bit different from other playgrounds. If you look closely, you will see that the slide is built in cement. The kids were having a blast sliding down.
It was a great walk around the hotel. Beitou is really nice and very relaxing. There was also a musuem that used to be the vacation home of a famous Japanese calligrapher. There was also a nice ampithatre where people sat to eat their take out-bento. The quality of the environment is just fantastic. Check out this well designed animal chair. according to the artist, these animal chairs are supposed to protect the area. I personally believe in good faith.
It was time to go back to my hotel and I was led staright to my room. They offered me some high tea and I was delighted with these 3 cup of stones that was served to me. It resembles the 3 torches at the entrance of the hotel. The stones in this plate is made up of macadamia coated with some edible charcoal bamboo powder. The bowl is also made of edible pastry. It was so good that I finished all three of them. It was perfect with the delicious local hot tea. My afternoon was spent so well.
Towards the evening, I was called for a massage. A lady rang the doorbell to be escorted to the spa. It was an hour and a half of this wonderful massage.
Villa 32 also have this gourmet restaurant. You will not get lost because the name of this restaurant is “The Restaurant.” There is only one and it is found at the lower ground of the hotel building. It is one flight of stairs down from the lobby.
They sat me down like a fine dining restaurant and I was quickly served with fresh bread. I planned to skip the bread but the anchovy butter is my weakness. Guess what happened next? Your guess was right!
For the night, they have white asparagus dinner inspired by the artist Edouard Manet (1832-1883). I had the whole menu.
For cold appetiser, I had this steam crabmeat with seaweed. This was really appetising.
For a hot appetiser, I had the consomme of mushroom and cuttlefish. This was very delicious and it really warmed my stomach.
Then I had this delicious white asparagus with sweet corn. I like how they made bamboo shoots with marsala dressing as an extra for a beautiful plating.
I was also served with hand made fish spaghetti. You read right. The spaghetti-linguini is made up of fish with zucchini sauce.
The pan seared scampi is just perfectly served. It has bamboo shoots with marsala sauce.
While this pan fried Hokkaido sea scallop with morel still lingers my culinary memory. On the sides are smashed smoky apple pumpkin and some local Taiwanese vegetables.
This is the star of the night. It’s white asparagus with sea urchin sabayon as the sauce. It is flavored with lemon verbena. This was cooked in low temperature and boiling in with oolong tea. Underneath it are some baby spinach and green asparagus. At the end of the asparagus is black vegetable charcoal bamboo. It’s certainly a very special dish. The famous French artist, Edouard Manet, calls it Botte d’asperges.
For the main, I had gratinated US Prime beef tenderloin. It served with local Taiwan flower which formed as a little floral side salad. This is also served with black truffle, caramelized onion and some mashed potato and button mushroom.
To clean the palate, this green mango sorbet did the work. The sticks are made up of chocolate blackberry. Everything on this plate was consumed.
For a delicious dessert, I had brandy mousse and asparagus jelly with lemon juice.
The chef loves me so they added more goodies towards the end.The next day, I opted to stay in the hotel and enjoy its hot spring resort. Villa 32 is known as one of the best resort in Beitou area. I find it the best. There is a separate area for the public hot springs. 8 pools are found in this resort. 4 outdoor and 4 indoor pools of different temperature running from 18 degree Celsius to 42. Get ready to have the best natural skin care in the next couple of days.
To have an extensive view of my room, here is a short video of the Crystal room.
Beitou is something I would return to even for a short stop and I will definitely stop by Villa 32 to complete my Beitou experience.