In the Lap of Luxury at *inhouse Hotel

Opened in May of 2012, *inhouse Hotel is a welcome addition to the collection of boutique hotels that have sprung up in Taipei within the last few years. The brainchild of Chuen Shin Construction Ltd., *inhouse Hotel is their splashy entrance into the hospitality industry. We sat down with CFO Pepi Liao and General Manager Yanson to find out what bold ideas went into creating this ten-story, 60-room boutique hotel, situated in the center of Ximending in Taipei’s Wan Hua district.

As we settle into the cushy armchairs in an alcove at the back of the hotel lobby, affectionately dubbed “the library,” by Pepi, we are already appreciating the lavish design of *inhouse. But Pepi is quick to explain that it is more than just a pretty hotel–it’s a building that lives and breathes its neighborhood, the bustling Ximending district, home to Taipei’s first pedestrian only shopping zone, some of its earliest theaters, and several remnants of Japanese culture.

“We always knew we wanted a retro theme, which would incorporate the history of the hotel’s neighborhood, so we spent a lot of time researching Ximending. In fact, our research culminated with the publishing of a book that combines the recollections of several artists and stories about their childhoods in Ximending.”

The rust-red exterior of the hotel certainly resonates with the brick buildings from a previous era, and the interior blends 1930s Chinese theater inspired designs with modern architecture. Once we walk in the lobby, which also doubles as their Prive Bar after hours, there’s no question that we’re experiencing design from a new decade.

Pepi tells us that *inhouse is particularly lucky in that Ted Su, their CEO, has an extensive background in design, from styling several Taipei night clubs. Ted, along with Pepi, oversaw all the aesthetic decisions that went into *inhouse’s interior design. The textured floor beneath us is Bidasar Brown marble, imported from India, and all the baroque furniture was custom designed in France. Contemporary design can alienate audiences at times, creating a chilling rather than chic effect. This was definitely not the case at *inhouse, thanks to their management’s good design sense.

“We love good design, but above all, we want people to feel relaxed. We designed the rooms to be cozy, so people could come back from a full day of exploring the city and put up their feet.”

Guests will find luxurious comforts waiting when they return to the hotel: rooms boast SMEG refrigerators from Italy, the latest Bose speakers, and L’Occitane toiletries. Business travelers will enjoy complimentary unlocked Wi-Fi throughout the hotel as well as a universal power strip– no adaptors necessary here!

*inhouse also avoids the sterility of modern design with its attention to detail in small flourishes that we stumbled upon in unexpected corners: the single LED light display in the elevator that says, “Don’t think too much,” a not so subtle reminder to patrons to fully indulge themselves during their stay at the hotel, a sentiment which is repeated on a wall in the cafe; quirky cartoon animal figurines found in each bathroom; and of course, the numerous Taiwanese relics that tell you no matter how stylish and modern the interior, you’re still nestled in the historied Wan Hua district of Taipei.

Located a mere five-minute walk from the Ximen MRT station, transportation is convenient. If you prefer something besides hotel food–their Cafe Wakuwaku, managed by the owners of LA Cafe, another branch under the *inhouse franchise, serves breakfast, deli food, and high tea–boundless options await in Ximending.

There really is no one way to describe this well manicured hotel’s style, but if a love triangle could exist between urban chic, vintage Taiwanese, and international design, then *inhouse Hotel would be its baby. So what are you waiting for? Standard rooms start at 2,950 NTD a night. But of course, you can’t put a price tag on luxury.

 

Not planning on spending the night? Check out these two cafes also under the *inhouse management team.

LA Cafe
Conveniently located near the shopping mecca better known as the XinYi district, LA Cafe offers American comfort food for those looking to grab a bite. The sleek interior features lots of windows, certain to remind diners of cafes in downtown LA. Its Western menu covers several bases with waffles, burgers, chips and dips, sandwiches, and dessert. Open all day and late into the night, it’s worth checking out when you find yourself itching for some Western food.

*inhouse
Cafe by day and lounge by night, *inhouse offers patrons a relaxing experience at all hours of the day. With both indoor and outdoor seating available, *inhouse provides a fine afternoon tea buffet in a quaint environment. If you have some time, let your afternoon extend into the evening and watch as *inhouse transforms into a suave lounge with great music. Monthly hip hop parties and other special events are in store, so be sure to check their Facebook for updates.

 

Photos courtesy of vvieu, a fashion and style website based in Taiwan. Read about their experience of *inhouse Hotel in Chinese here.

Photographer: Krystal Lin

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