Guguan, Taiwan

Photo: Hoshino Resorts Inc.

It’s almost February, and you’re still on track with your New Year’s resolution. At the beginning of the year, you vowed to focus on your health by doing something active six days a week (everyone needs a day off). True, that’s been your goal before. Family, work, and pure laziness always got in the way. But you’re committed this year. You have a plan, and you’re more determined than ever.

Traveling isn’t even going to derail you. That didn’t seem possible when you booked a flight to Taiwan. Eating your way through Taipei’s night markets certainly doesn’t count as exercise. More possibilities opened up as you started to plan the rest of your trip, though. Especially when you added Guguan to your itinerary.

Guguan was overlooked on your previous trips to Taiwan. You always stuck close to the coast and the cities on the island. Not that Heping didn’t have its appeal. The district in the center of the country is famous for its mountains, hot springs, and fresh produce (apples, peaches, honey). When you began researching the Xueshan Range, you found plenty of hikes that would get your heart pumping. Then, when you looked a little closer, you discovered a new resort with its own hot springs baths and easy access to the trails. Guguan was immediately added to your trip.

Photo: Hoshino Resorts Inc.

HOSHINOYA Guguan is that new resort. It sits on a plateau overlooking the Dajia River with emerald peaks in the background. The brightly decorated Guguan Temple is steps away. Two dramatic suspension bridges and the Hot Springs Park are just beyond that. While the steep Shao Lai Hiking Trail, which leads to an observatory with a breathtaking view, connects back to the resort. It’s in a gorgeous location.

The resort matches its surroundings. Wooden pathways are lined with Chinese firs, water gardens, and gazebos. Taiwan blue magpies, which only live in high elevations, constantly patrol the waterways. Two zigzagging black buildings were designed to mimic the tight alleys of a Taiwanese village. Their louvered windows allow natural light and crisp mountain breezes to flow through. You’ll appreciate both the sun and the fresh air when you’re relaxing in the private onsen (Japanese-style hot spring) on your balcony.

That’s right, you don’t have to go to the resort’s spa (though you should), much less the public Hot Springs Park, if you don’t want to. Thermal water from the mountains flows down canals and into not only the resort’s indoor and outdoor baths but also the rooms. Your room’s first floor is a polished space with a futon-style bed, a step-down lounge, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The second floor is an expansive bathroom with a glass-walled shower, a sitting area, and a granite bath. You’re about to be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

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