Follow the Sunlight and Coffee Aroma to Find an Elegant Moment of Nostalgia
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Follow the Sunlight and Coffee Aroma to Find an Elegant Moment of Nostalgia
Features & Amenities
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Discover the wonder of the lodging.
In the sunshine, you circle through roundabouts in downtown Tainan as if a clock going backward, returning half a century ago. The row houses on Shennong Street share the same iron-grated windows, while sun-faded red lanterns hung in front of some houses. Arriving at a light-brown old building with a small sidewalk sign of “Belonginn,” you push open the door, finding the strains of laid-back old tunes wander in the room. The afternoon sunlight pours on the terrazzo floor, the coffee aroma leads you to explore the dazzling memories of this old Tainan house.
Former uniform shop transformed into a trendy café with retro style
As retro romantic songs stream in the room, it feels like back to the 1970s when the place was still Sanlong Uniform Shop well-known to the locals. The shop used to have a storefront and a production line, where the current hosts Up and Me with design background transformed it into the café and lodging Belonginn. They preserve its three-section compound structure, with each section represents its half to one-century-old history. This is the second b&b they built, as the color palette is drawn from the dark green and orange-brown on the original walls of the house, not only conveying a sense of traveling back in time but also blending in chic modern elements. According to Up, the “Belong” in its name is inspired by the “long” row house, the Sanlong Uniform Shop’s “long,” and Shennong Street’s “nong.” Altogether, they share similar pronunciation, so as “Blonginn” and “Belonging.”
Sunrays fall through the corrugated glass doors and brighten the traveler’s visit in the afternoon. The ground floor of Belonginn serves as a café open from late afternoon till midnight. A neon sign with flowing strokes decorates above the service counter, while the old shop windows still sit at their original places. Lush greenery is accompanied by culture magazines and newspapers, packs of coffee beans, and tote bags designed by the hosts. Passing by the kitchen in the first courtyard, the café space extends into the second building’s ground floor. The interior walls of understated dark shade and patterned floor tiles in the courtyard render a sophisticated European vibe. Upon checking in, travelers receive a voucher for afternoon tea for two, which allows you to taste Belonginn’s homemade clay oven rolls and one dessert-of-the-day over drinks of your choice. The dessert can be a sesame chiffon cake with whipped cream and dried fruits that taste delightful and airy, Baileys Irish Cream pudding, or lemon tart, and each goes perfectly with pour-over coffee. At night, you may also enjoy a cold beer as a tipsy dream is brewing.
Savoring the century-old history with exclusive space
Reimaging the life in the old house, Belonginn’s four rooms deliver pleasant surprises. Each spacious room offers travelers a whole story or even two-story space exclusively, as well as a simple cooking area for you to experience shopping at the local market and making dishes yourself. The room called “Living” is the one closest to the street, as the brilliant sunshine filter through sheer curtains in its second-floor living room, it gently shed light on the warm orange sofas. Following the wonderful light to the bedroom on the third floor, the curtains of a burgundy shade match with the wooden sloped roof. In the late afternoon, you may gaze out over the neighboring red-tile roofs on Shennong Street and the sunset, then with a laid-back mood, relax in the bathtub and call it a night.
The color scheme of pale pink and dark green forms a wonderful contrast, rendering a sweet and gentle tune in the Piano Room. You and your sweetheart may stay in the bed, watching the window view composed of the balcony looking over courtyard and neighboring houses, or just enjoy a relaxing and romantic bath in the tub. At the Attic Room, climbing the wooden stairs would lead you to the secret attic under the gable roof. The white double bed offers a good night’s sleep while uniquely designed chairs provide perfect spots for you to rest. When you stepping on the floor, it’s like reliving the elegant life of a wealthy family in the past, contented and at ease.
Passing through the second courtyard covered with gravel with plenty of greenery, you enter the Garden Room as if walking into its one-century old history. With lights illuminating the room, the leather sofas in the living room and open riser stairs convey a modern look. Upstair bedroom comes with the wooden floor paired with rugs, while the mottled walls preserve the history with more memories added as people passing through the tunnel of time.
Enjoy a Tainan lifestyle local breakfast delicacies in the morning
At seven o’clock in the morning, you wake up to the lively sound of a city getting busy in the gentle sunshine. At nine o’clock, after freshening up unhurriedly, you stroll down Shennong Street and through the nearby market to explore local breakfast delicacies, realizing that this is how Tainan says good morning to you!
A wonderful memory lasts, while the beauty of time is like the eternal balmy sunshine. That day, you sit on the balcony at Belonginn, and under the clear blue sky, the roof tiles change colors as sunlight gradually shifts. You wouldn’t mind the street noises, as now is the most beautiful moment, and just collect a fragment of this wonderful time into your memory.
Meet the moving story of the host.
“How are you?” A simple greeting is the first impression we got from Up. With a deep voice, plain shirt and jeans, he presented a calm and no-nonsense demeanor. Next to him, Me also wore simple attire, while her short ombre hair gave her face a distinctive character. With an urban cultured image, the couple shared not only a similar look but also the same life goals.
Sense and sensibility that complement each other
“They won’t get the theories you’re talking about!” When Up was trying to explain the construction methods for the reformation of this old building, Me stopped him from talking too abstract. Both born in Tainan, yet they had distinctive but complementary personalities. “Oh, he’s from Anping!” Me joked with a poker face. Beneath her cool look, Me’s buoyant character indicated her seacoast origin. When she made fun of serious and introverted Up, their mutual understanding was shown between the lines.
Both majoring in graphic design in college, where Me was senior to Up, they had very different approaches toward studying. Me had worked for a while after finishing high school, so she knew what she needs when returning campus and with an expectation of applying design skills to solve everyday life problems. On the opposite, Up was young and carefree, playing in a band came before schoolwork in terms of priority. In the eyes of Me, Up was an unreliable boy at that time. “It was until we met again afterward, that I found him become prudent and faithful, and we ended up being together naturally.” As Me spoke, inarticulate Up just smiled bashfully. Ten years after graduation, they accidentally reconnected. Having worked for some time, Up was more mature as he could calm emotional Me down. The two found that they got along with each other and then made the vow to walk into the future together.
“Designing is to be responsible for people and to fix problems.”
When they returned Anping after getting married, seeing many old houses decaying or being torn down due to years of disrepair, they felt reluctant to just let these buildings fade away in the flow of time. “We hope Taiwan can be more ‘human.’ So whenever traveling in Japan, we would observe if there’s something we can use as references.” Both loving traveling in Japan, they were often moved by the delicate details and “people-first” principles of Japanese design. Therefore they decided to change the current state, hoping to raise people’s awareness of cultural preservation with their design skills.
“Designing is to be responsible for people and to fix problems,” Me said with a serious and confident look. Starting the reformation work at hometown, their first project was Sun’s Great Bed & Brunch. Drawing the design plan themselves, they introduced the ease of urban vibe into the old Anping community with a stylish white-toned design concept. It not only met travelers’ expectations for modern lodging but also brought the possibility to connect tourism with the local community as the handmade craft markets planned in the future. Then the following Belonginn on Shennong Street also recreated a wealthy family’s elegant lifestyle of a bygone era through modern design, with a café offering homemade clay oven rolls. They recommended travelers to purchase ingredients at Shuixian Temple Market then back to the lodging to cook, experiencing Tainan through a taste of local life. As for what would be lying ahead, Me and Up looked at each other with unspoken determination and affection.
Walking hand in hand towards the ideal future
“Communicating with the construction team was the most difficult part as we didn’t have that professional knowledge, we often had to try and redo many times.” Recalling the building process of Sun’s Great Bed & Brunch, Up frowned with exhaustion. “But it was fun! If we ran into problems, we just solved them right away!” Me added immediately, showing the Libra girl’s ability to find balance in tough situations, and Up agreed with nods. From the arduous construction process, both of them have gained rare experiences one couldn’t learn from the textbooks. As long as staying with each other, all the hardships have become wonderful memories.
As we spoke, the afternoon sunlight poured in on the dining table, shedding backlight for the couple. Though without expressing directly, but from Sun’s Great Bed & Brunch to Belonginn, the common goals and efforts they put together proved to be the most romantic. Holding hands, step by step, Up and Me walk toward the future with simple but true love.
Afternoon tea included, On the 2nd floor, 3rd floor, In-room bathroom, 1 queen-size bed, Single-person bathtub, Up to 2 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
Afternoon tea included, On the 2nd floor, In-room bathroom, 1 queen-size bed, Single-person bathtub, Extra person is not allowed (more)
Afternoon tea included, On the 3rd floor, In-room bathroom, 1 queen-size bed, Single-person bathtub, Up to 2 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
Afternoon tea included, On the 1st floor, 2nd floor, In-room bathroom, 1 queen-size bed, Single-person bathtub, Up to 1 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
Cancellation and Postponement Policy
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Facilities and Services
No. 80, 神農街, 臺南市中西區, Taiwan
* Let the host know that you are a Dear b&b reader when booking, and you will get a limited postcard upon checking in!