The Old House Inn
The Old House Inn (Táinán Fǔchéng – Xī Shìchǎng Xièzhái 台南府城-西市場 謝宅)
Staying in hotels can be a merely serviceable experience, or it can be an experience in itself. If you’re coming to Tainan, ask yourself this, “Do I want a standard experience, or do I want a unique experience that gives me a real sense of local culture?” This was a question in the mind of Kyle Hsieh (謝小五) when he decided to convert his old family home into an inn. In doing so, he has preserved a bit of local history and given people a chance to experience local life on their visit to Tainan.
The Old House Inn is not so much an inn, but a nightly house rental. It is a five story shop-house in the middle of old Ximen Market, and the second through fifth floor are fully yours during your stay. There is a living space and library on the second floor, a large dining area, kitchen, and veranda on the third floor, a bedroom on the fourth floor, and a bathroom that takes up the entire fifth floor. The house has been cleaned up and renovated to include some modern fixtures, but great care was done to preserve the character of the house. Old master craftsmen were hired to ensure authenticity of construction.
The inn is like a hidden gem inside the rustic maze of the old market. To find it on your own would be nearly impossible. You head past the decades-old food stalls and textile shops, and then through a small door and up a ladder-steep staircase to the second floor living space. Here you find a living room with an upright piano, a sewing machine, and many other treasures that take you back forty years. This room also has a loft with mats and Chinese reading books. The third floor is the largest space with a dining and sitting area, a full kitchen, and a large veranda. The kitchen is designed like a stage viewable from the dining room, and is fully equipped with a large granite counter top and cooking amenities. The veranda is a perfect place to sit and soak up the evening air. There is only one bedroom, but the bed can sleep six or more. It is a traditional Taiwanese/Japanese communal bed with three large mattresses sitting on a raised floor. A tent-like mosquito net surrounds the entire sleeping area. The upstairs bathroom is probably the most luxurious feature of the inn. The sink, tub, and open shower are all granite, and there are beautiful wood and glass accents throughout. The entire house is a beautiful combination of subtle luxury and rustic charm.
The nicest features of the house are its history and its host. You can feel the vibe of the family that lived, worked, and raised a family there. A few photos and old possessions around the house help to light your imagination about the successful merchant family that made their living in the once vibrant and fashionable market below. The host, Kyle, speaks English very well and is delighted to talk about the history of the house and the area. He is a real preservationist and a lover of Tainan tradition and food.
Call Kyle directly for rates and reservations.
Location: No. 1 Ximen Market (西門市場), Ximen Road at Zhengxing Street (Simen Rd. 西門路 at Jhengsing St. 正興街), West Central District, Tainan City