Although Japan is most famous, it’s not the only country in East Asia with natural hot springs. Taiwan has its fair share of hot springs, too, with a large concentration of hot springs facilities in Beitou, a northern region of Taipei. Beitou hot spring hotels allow visitors to soak in private tubs of hot mineral water, while public hot springs are either nude and separated by gender, or clothed and mixed gender. Our Beitou hot spring recommendation is the outdoor spa at Spring City Resort for its variety of pools.
As implied by the name, Spring City Resort is a Beitou hot spring resort; so if you book a room, you are granted complimentary access to the outdoor spa area. You can also book a single hour in a private room here. But, honestly, aside from the sulphur scent (yum?) and the mineral benefits – it would feel just like sitting in a regular bath. Their outdoor hot spring in Beitou is family-friendly and the perfect place to visit on cold and rainy (but not thundery) days.
If you like natural outdoor hot springs, you’ve got to see these Chilean Termas Colina hot springs, nestled in the Andes mountain range.
Spring City Resort Outdoor Spa Review
Changing Room and Shower Facilities
Once you arrive and check in at the hotel’s main reception, you are sent outside to collect your hot spring caddy from the outdoor hot spring reception. Next, you’ll climb the spiral staircase up to the indoor changing rooms, where you can store your belongings in the lockers.
In addition to your locker key, your basket contains a small towel, a large towel, a pair of flip-flops, a robe and a plastic shower cap – which is necessary, unless your brought your own swim cap. In addition to showers and toilets, the changing area also has hair dryers and swimsuit dryer that quickly squeezes the water out from the wet material.
Pools with Jets
When you enter the outdoor hot spring area, you’ll see the large family area first. The high walls at the back of the crescent-shaped pool have pipes that occasionally spurt water out at high speeds. Stand beneath one to enjoy an intense shoulder or back massage – but don’t let it hit your head because it’s far too strong for a pleasant scalp massage.
This pool hugs the small, circular family pool for toddlers. They can patter around with their parents in the shallow water and walk under gentle cascades that flow from the top of a large mushroom statue. The water temperature in the family pool is comfortable for children, but only moderately warm in comparison to the other pools.
The waterfall pool is just next-door, and it similarly spits out water at high velocity for a vigorous massage. The biggest difference is that the water is warmer, and you won’t have children swimming around you while you’re trying to relax.
If you’d rather experience a light bubbly sensation, instead, Spring City Resort has a few bubbling pools. Submerge yourself in the pool across the pavement from the family area – or, if it’s crowded, you can head to a similar pool further inside the spa area. You can recline in this one as bubbles gently buffet your body.
I believe these pools the floating pool and the lying pool, as listed on the website, but when you’re at the Taipei hot springs, you’ll see little placards next to each pool. The signs denote the pool’s name, temperature and depth – along with its unique healing benefits. The pool names on the signs may differ from the names online.
The Cold Pool
Dragging your warm body out of a hot pool to plunge into a cold pool probably doesn’t sound enticing. However, a cold element is common after many thermal treatments – whether it’s dumping chilly buckets of water over your body in a Russian banya or rolling in the snow after using a Finnish sauna. It’s shocking, but increases circulation and releases endorphins. If you chicken out of the full plunge at Spring City Resort, you can just dip your hands or feet into the pool to lower your body temperature.
The outdoor pools sit within a neat, landscaped Japanese garden. You can’t spend all your time in the hot springs or “you’ll shrivel up like a prune” (as my always Grandma said)… So it’s advisable to spend time on the adjustable sun loungers, set in little clusters throughout the grounds. You may even end up nodding off on a mild, sunny day.
If you need a little more heat to stay comfortable and you don’t mind lying on a slab of rock, make your way to the slate bath. (Like a ‘gong bath’ it’s metaphorical, and you won’t actually get wet.) Hot spring water below heats the enormous slab of slate. And lying upon it is soothing, if you can manage to relax on a rock-hard surface.
But, honestly, if we’re lying on hard rock or tile beds – we prefer to receive traditional hammam soap massages, like we did at Crystal Palace Spa in London.
- Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit! Since the pools are open to both genders, swim clothes are necessary for entry.
- Spring City Resort is near the mountains, so depending on when you visit, mosquitoes and no-see-ums may be buzzing around. Luckily, you can escape from them in the thermal water!
- You’ll likely work up an appetite while of cycling through Beitou’s nicest outdoor hot springs. Both on-site restaurants offer hotpot, so it’s a good bet for lunchtime or dinner.
If You Go to Spring City Resort in Beitou, Taipei
Address: No. 18 Youya Road, Beitou District, Taipei City 11243
Transportation: The hilly walk from Taipei’s Xinbeitou metro station to Spring City Resort takes about 20 minutes.
Complimentary Spring City Resort shuttles also run to and from the Beitou and Xinbeitou stations on Taipei’s red Tamsui-Xinyi metro line. Shuttle reservations are not necessary, but you can reserve a seat for your return journey with the hotel staff.
Opening Times: 9:00AM – 10:00PM
Where in the world have you bathed in hot springs? We’d love to hear your best hot spring recommendations in the comments below!