Alishan House is located in the Alishan Recreational Area, which is part of Taiwan’s Yushan National Park. The surrounding area is noted for tea plantations (and in particular Oolong tea because of the high altitude), cypress trees and wasabi. Our one-night stay was designed for us to see the cypress trees.
It was an uneasy start as on the long drive upwards, we counted at least 50 buses coming down the mountain. What on earth were we going to find? We eventually reached a huge car park for buses as they could go no further, but we continued further in our 4WD until we too had to stop. At Alishan car park we waited for the hotel bus to collect us.
Check in wasn’t until 3pm, so we stored our valuables and set off on a trail around the hotel first of all stopping at the old hotel, where we saw rooms where various VIPs had stayed. After our walk around a stunning trail of cypress trees many of them over 1000 years old, we returned for a reviving cup of oolong tea in the inappropriately named coffee house. Back at our hotel we got checked in and were shown to our room on the second floor (1205). It had two large, king size beds, an open plan washing area with double sink, separate loo, and bath and shower with a window looking out on to the trees. It also had a small dining area with four chairs and a table and a balcony which unfortunately looked out onto trees and so had no real view. It also had a realistic electric log fire which we put on as it was slightly chilly in the cooler mountain air.
There was an upmarket gift shop and small bar/coffee shop on the ground floor and a exterior viewing deck and garden on the 7th floor. The five wonders of Alishan are: the sunrise, sunset, sea of clouds, ancient wood and mountain railroad. At 5pm, we spent an interesting hour watching the clouds pass by and at one point, virtually engulf us.
Our dinner was unexpectedly included (there is no where else to eat locally) and although the buffet dinner was slightly chaotic with lots of tour groups from mainland China, there was a good choice with a separate station for vegetarians. Breakfast was even busier and we were relegated to a side area.
Before we left we re-visited what was a sun-drenched roof garden where we could have stayed all day.