Overlooking the beautiful Sun Moon Lake, Lalu is designed by Kerry Hill, who also designed some of the most famous Aman resorts. Despite being 10 years old, this hotel has aged very well. All the building materials used are mostly local, aside from the teak wood paneling you see on the room floors and walls that has been imported from Indonesia.
Teak is a particularly durable material and this is perfect for a place like Sun Moon Lake where the weather changes every hour which results in a lot of temperature and humidity fluctuations.
I was very impressed by the service here given this is not a chain hotel – I later learned that the staff is actually trained by the Aman Resort Group. Taiwanese are known for their hospitality and friendliness, their attentiveness made our stay very enjoyable. One tip – try and ask for the pool villa if it’s available.
If you read Chinese, you should pick up this book called Han Bi Chun Qiu 涵碧春秋 either in the room or the hotel shop – it talks about the island as well as the building’s history dating back to KMT days before the current owner acquired them and converted it into a hotel. It also talks in-depth about the hotel’s design concept and difficulties they ran into business-wise and during the construction phase. It was a good read and it made me appreciate the hotel more when I learned that every corner of the building, literally, has a reason and story behind it. It made the hotel just that much more magical and extraordinary.
If you’re looking for things to do outside the hotel, I would highly recommend doing a bike ride around the Lake – it is one of the nicest and safest bike routes in the world (rated by CNN). The scenery is just gorgeous. You can borrow decent bikes at the Giant store at the start of the trail or stalls nearby for approx. 150NT per hr ($5 USD).
It takes around 3-4 hours to complete the entire circuit. Since we had to rush back to the hotel for dinner (the Japanese restaurant in the hotel is really worth trying, it felt like we were in Japan!), we only did half the circuit and came across a very low-lying futuristic, Zaha-looking, Visitor Center building designed by Norihiko Dan & Associates. It is about 30mins away from the hotel and definitely worth checking out.
Will I stay there again?
Hotel Name: Lalu, Sun Moon Lake aka Han Bi Lo (涵碧樓)
Location: Taichung, Taiwan
Architect: Kerry Hill
Hotel opened since: March 2002
Date Visited: June 2012