City Corner is a low profile homestay, or more commonly known as “Minsu” (民宿) in Taiwan. It is on located in Hualien City, in the residential area on lane 138 off Zhongshan Road. As you can see from the outside, there is no signboards at all to indicate that it’s a minsu!
It is a different kind of minsu compared to my understanding of what minsu should be like. Typically, I would imagine minsu to have a host staying at the home itself to welcome travellers and if the host is not there, there should be a receptionist at least to handle any requests from the travellers. It works differently in City Corner. The host does not stay at City Corner and there is no receptionist too. When you check in, you have to give them a call 30 minutes before your arrival. We forgot this part and we had to wait for the owner to come and open the door. But fortunately people were in and out of the house during that time and the door was not locked, so we could go in and wait at the living room/lobby downstairs.
The room we took was the “Original Double” room. The room was tastefully done, using light earth colours as its main theme. There was no wardrobe in the room, but there were hangers provided on the wall.
The bathroom was clean. I liked the bath tub as it has a Japanese style onsen feel to it!
At first it felt a little awkward staying at City Corner and the atmosphere felt cold because there was nobody around. But later on, I got used to the style and quite liked it because without any receptionist around, it felt more like a home than a hotel, and it was probably one of the rare places that gave me the feeling of “home away from home”.
City Corner would be a good choice for you if you don’t like to be disturbed and don’t like to stay in the city centre. However, it can be a little inconvenient if you are travelling without your own transportation (car, bike). Within the vicinity there’s only a 7-11, a vegetarian restaurant and a brunch restaurant within 500 metres, so you will have to go by cab further into the city to get food. You will also need to walk out onto the main street to hail a cab. Travelling by cab to nearby destinations such as Tze Chiang Night Market, Nan Bing night market, Hualien Train station is about 5 – 15 minutes away by cab.
You can make your reservation online by emailing them. Once they confirm there is room available (you can also see the availability chart on their website), you can make the payment through paypal which is also found on the website. But note that they specified the payment to be made within 2 days of confirmation otherwise they will cancel the reservation. So if you are unable to make payment within 2 days, it would be a good idea to email them to inform them and see if they can hold the room for you.
For a convenient home stay, you can check out Seville B&B, which was one of the home stays that I was considering staying in. Seville’s location is more central, and has a lot of popular restaurants within walking distances.
Website for City Corner, Hualien, Taiwan. http://citycorner.tw/about.html
Email City Corner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Website for Seville B & B. http://www.sevlle.idv.tw/sevilla.html