What does a guesthouse mean to you? To many people, a guesthouse is simply a place where you could find comfort during your journey. It is also a place where you can connect with the locals and understand the culture of the city that you are visiting for the first time.
Before renovating into Hok House, this guesthouse in Kaohsiung was called The Crane Palace Hotel that was first opened in the 60s. Back in those days, it was not easy to find accommodations with modernized facilities like this one. The hotel was closed in the 90s, as the owner decided to leave Taiwan. In 2016, Nato and Trista, who had seven years of experience with running a youth hostel, saw this old townhouse and fell in love with it. They then decided to refurbish the space while retaining its authentic charm. The structure of the house was kept intact, while hanging in front of the door is the golden signboard that has been in use since the times of The Crane Palace Hotel. Walking inside, guests can also see the classic arched ceiling that has been captivating visitors for years.
The renovated Hok House has an exterior of a decent old townhouse, and an interior that is designed with a touch of Japanese style. The brightness of the room makes the warm color of the wooden furniture even more homey. The details in the design have surely given the rooms a strong personality. Their Reading Suite comes with a small reading room that is separated from the bedroom. This design is dedicated to people who may need to work a bit at night but do not want to disturb their partners from having a nice sleep. There are other rooms that are designed for solo travelers, travelers with their pets, families, and train fans who would like to stay in a nostalgic night train cabin room. “When we saw this building for the first time, it was already our plan to turn it into a city hub where everyone can rest at ease. We would like to connect with the world with this vibe.”
It is not difficult to recognize how much the owners love their city. They even created their own version of the Kaohsiung guide to recommend travelers to breakfast places, markets, and the food stall nearby that sells douhua (tofu pudding). Following the owners’ footsteps to taste the local delicacies, travelers can truly experience the city life of Kaohsiung.
This guesthouse organizes a yearly art project called “Whose Room?” that invites an artist to move into a room in Hok House to curate the room with their art. This year, the room was curated by Yamabatosha, a creative team from Fukuoka. The “a thousand years ten thousand years room” curated by this duo, which is formed by the illustrator/handicraft artist Miyagi Chika and the designer Watanabe Tetsuya, is a space where guests can forget about time and enjoy the moment. The idea can be best illustrated by Yamabatosha’s artist statement that says, “Crane is a thousand years, turtle is ten thousand years. This room will be a crane and a turtle room for one year. There is no concept of time here, visitors can fully unwind and enjoy the space of eternal time.”
The slow living concept can also be seen in their Good Time Cafe on the first floor of the guesthouse. The cafe is a place for travelers to hang out casually with their travel companions or some other travelers after a day of wandering around in the neighborhood.
Time can fly so quickly, but this guesthouse can be a time machine that allows people to travel through time, or even go back to the happiest and memorable past.