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Exploring Taiwan's Most Magical Resort, The Lalu at Sun Moon Lake

All Images Credit the Lalu Resort

Taiwan is an amazing island with bustling cities, miles of coastlines and nature’s gift of verdant forest, mountain ranges and rushing rivers crossing the landscapes.  One its most beautiful natural treasures is Sun Moon Lake which is a gorgeous serene emerald lake with a mountain at its center, creating postcard perfect vistas. Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s premiere holiday destination and also where you’ll find its most opulent lake resort, The Lalu at Sun Moon Lake.    


Sun Moon Lake allows for travelers to escape the crowded urban areas of the country for the serenity of one of Taiwan’s most precious natural treasures. The lake is a majestic as the alpine lakes of Europe or mountain lakes found across New England in the US. The lake creates a mesmerizing and Zen-like environment with calming blue waters, dramatic views of the mountains with the view of the Xuanguang temple at its peak.  The vistas are spectacular of the lake and any time of the day the scenery changes from the morning when the lake is eerie and covered with fog or at sundown where the sun rays peak over the mountain tops. There are many ways to enjoy the lake from walks around its treelined shores or as many visitors will do, a scenic boat ride that crisscrosses while taking guests to its most prized viewing points. 


Although the Lalu was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake 20 years ago, it is a place rich in history.  In 1923, the Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito created a private vacation home there and then a luxury residence to welcome visiting dignitaries. A few decades later, the former ruler of China, President Chiang Kai-Shek’s retreated to Taiwan after his defeat to Mao Zedong in 1949. Although Taipei was the formal seat of power, the area around the lake became a refuge and on the property sits the replica of his former home and houses many of his historical documents and artifacts as a public exhibit. 


Like the Sun Moon Lake itself, the Lalu is a national treasure. The Lalu is situated to take full advantage of the lake’s beauty with most of the resort’s common areas and accommodations positioned to provide unobstructed views of the lake.  There is a pervasive calmness and Zen-like ambiance in the hotel which was designed with the three Zen principles of nature, simplicity, and “yugen” which is a profound, mysterious sense of beauty.  The architecture was designed to merge the inside with outdoor spaces with wide corridors and reflection pools adorned with lotus flowers by day or twinkling candles at night.   


As one of Taiwan’s most luxurious lodges, the design is chic and contemporary with marble finishes and teak wood accents, a light color palate, fireplaces, and huge floor-to-ceiling windows to let in light but also to provide endless views of the lake. The minimalist and uncluttered design esthetic creates an ambiance where the natural beauty of the surroundings can be fully appreciated without distraction and, as a result, creating an environment of peace and tranquility. 


The Lalu is the quintessential romantic holiday with 98 rooms, suites, and villas. The sleek design and décor are striking with gray slate, stone surfaces, and rich walls paneling and barefoot ready teak floors. The low lighting and a toasty gas fireplace are there to warm the suite as well as to create a romantic ambiance. The suites are generous in size with living room and bedroom areas as well as comfortable days beds, furnishings, a comfy king size bed, and the latest electronics. The open-plan bathrooms are well equipped with separate shower, bespoke amenities and an oversize granite bath with direct views of the lake.  


As gorgeous as the accommodations may be, the most stunning feature is the panoramic views of the lake from the suite's oversized private veranda. To take advantage, the verandas are furnished with table and chairs for coffee al fresco as well as a cushy daybed ideal for an afternoon snuggle or to doze off while reading a paperback. The vistas of the lake are spectacular where one can spend hours on the terrace mesmerized by the views as tour boats cross the lake or paddle boarders pass by during early morning workouts.  


For those seeking a bit more space to spread out, the resort offers luxurious two-bedroom Courtyard Pool Villa living room with fireplace, dining room and kitchen. The bedrooms are lavish with rich indo-china décor, a deep onsen style bath and outdoor showers.  Outdoors there’s a 12-meter-long swimming pool, large patios and a teak pavilion and outdoor living space. 


The dining experience at the Lalu does not disappoint with a wide range of Asian options from Japanese to Hong Kong and Shanghai inspired menu items.  The Lalu offers another unique experience in their traditional tea house surrounded by pools of Koi fish and overlooking the gorgeous lake.


Instead of tea sandwiches and crumpets, guests will savor scrumptious sushi, seafood and dumplings and, of course, a lovely variety of teas. The variety of local dishes and the beautiful presentation offers an ideal way to sample the local cuisine and partake in the food culture of the area.  


In the evening, a sophisticated gourmet dinner awaits at the Lake View restaurant serving Chinese dishes. The setting is stunning as well with panoramic lake views in a romantic setting as guests dine by candlelight on a menu features Hong Kong and Shanghai specialties as well as private recipes from president Chiang Kai-Shek. 


The spa experience is exceptional as well with a large treatment rooms that face the lake and a couple’s suite with fireplace and large oversized bath for two. Facilities are complete with his and her wet rooms with intense hot and cold whirlpools, dry sauna and herbal steam room. Guests will love their signature massage treatment which uses aromatic oils and long and deep penetrating push stokes that release tensions in sore muscles.    


There’s so much to do in the area that guests will never get bored. The Lalu has a beautiful pool that looks like it just popped out of Architectural Digest with its infinity edge that blends into the views of the lake, the long dramatic rectangular shape, grey stone surfaces and the alabaster chaise lounges and oversized canvas umbrellas that line its fringes. There's also a full workout facility as well as complimentary yoga classes each day. One could easily spend hours exploring the paths around the lake that go through natural settings of the woods around the lake to small villages and temples. Visitors from all over Taiwan come to see the beauty of the lake close up with boat rides while the more ambitious will go on a hike to visit the mountain pagoda or take a peaceful bike ride around the lake.   


Many travelers will first think of Asia’s more popular travel destinations of Kyoto, Shanghai or Singapore but for the curious traveler looking for something different, look no further than Taiwan. A trip to Taiwan for the worldly traveler would not be complete without a visit its most precious jewel and luxury resort, The Lalu at Sun Moon Lake.   

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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