At the far southern edge of the Taiwanese island, an open kitchen bustles with fresh Mediterranean-inspired ingredients. Through a small glass office and up the stairs, the Piccolo Polpo Hotel provides a retreat unlike any other found in Taiwan. From here, guests can soak in the sky-blue water of Nanwan beach, a welcome relief from the city grid of Taipei.
My life in Taipei has recently been so busy, condensed to a checklist of daily and weekly tasks. Most often, I am on the computer or in front of clients. The few moments in which I find myself alone are normally used to draw up a new list or store away all the tabs open in my mind just before bed. I also couldn’t help the inevitable settling in of a dreary winter mood as the season brought about many rainstorms and seemingly permanent evenings. My journey south to Kenting, the sunnier side of the island, arrived just in time.
Upon checking in, I was immediately surrounded by a sense of openness, yet solitariness. The weight of Taipei’s schedule gave way to the weight of my room key. For a brief moment, my only thoughts and requirements were of my choosing. As with most Taiwanese lodgings, shoes are left in the entrance way: the feeling of bare feet on wooden floors as the light tumbles through balcony windows.
The Piccolo Polpo Hotel carefully crafted a space with an awareness for the moments its future guests would need. I sank into the corner reading nook, plugged in my phone to the speakers, and quite simply, did nothing. There were so many things I wanted to explore in Kenting, but the liberty and luxury of reclaiming a few moments outweighed them all. This would be the reoccurring theme throughout my weekend trip via couches, hanging chairs, and large open bathes: a testament to the idea that looking inward does not always mean a desire to be closed off. The Piccolo Polpo Hotel was a space that allowed reflection without sacrifice in the form of confinement.
Dusting sand from my feet, I could retire from Nanwan Beach into the glow of the kitchen at Piccolo Polpo Bistro. As the little bay waved, the chefs chopped, cooked, and garnished beautiful dishes. The results were always fresh, thoughtfully prepared, and delicious; in fact, I unintendedly chose to eat the majority of my meals at the Bistro. Even now, my late-night reveries as I cross the cold floor to my kitchen consist of the morning rolls and yogurt smoothies.
The Piccolo Polpo Hotel and Bistro translates to the idea of the lost little octopus. In the modern age of multitasking, there’s definitely the sentiment that maybe we’ve all become a lost little octopus, with our arms and minds in too many directions. The Piccolo Polpo is a space to reel yourself back in, to ground yourself, and acknowledge that it is okay to slip out of our routines unnoticed.