Given the abundance of natural hot springs in Taiwan, it is hardly a surprise that Japan’s onsen-centric Hoshino Resorts chose to open its second overseas outpost here (the other is in Bali). Situated above a bend in the Dajia River as it courses through the western foothills of central Taiwan’s Xueshan Mountain Range, this spanking-new addition to the picturesque hot spring town of Guguanis centered on its own onsen complex of indoor and outdoor thermal baths. The surroundings are suitably soothing, with a landscaped water garden of babbling streams and bamboo-clad pathways backdropped by forested hills—join a morning qi gong yoga session for an extra dose of zen. The resort’s architecture has been kept muted and clean-lined so as not to distract from the natural beauty that envelops it, with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the 50 guest rooms (each equipped with a private thermal soaking tub) providing sweeping views of the valley. Plush futon-style beds, tatami floors, and common areas sporting shoji paper screens leave no doubt as to the brand’s Japanese roots, and neither does the restaurant. From breakfast to dinner, food is served kaiseki style, with chef Shunsuke Fujii creating a beautiful marriage between local ingredients (line-caught sturgeon; foraged mushrooms) and Japanese cooking techniques.
—81-50/3786-1144; hoshinoya.com; doubles from US$575