citizenM Taipei Northgate, a chic design boutique hotel

citizenM Taipei Northgate

I can’t help but gush over the beautiful and interesting interior of citizenM Taipei Northgate. While the ground floor is unassuming, it’s the second floor that amazes. And the different guest rooms are impressive too.

citizenM design boutique hotels is a Netherlands based chain known for its unique interiors. It first opened in 2008 near the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Over the years, several properties in major cities around the world have been built. The citizenM Taipei Northgate is the 11th and their first foray in Asia. This boutique hotel is known for its unique design approach to its properties with works by local artists incorporated in the interior.

The entire second floor of the citizenM Taipei Northgate building is one longitudinal strip. The dining area is at one end. The buffet area and the bar are in the middle. The lounging area at the opposite end has a living room ambience where you can relax or entertain or just hang out. The colors, the lamps’s different shapes, the varied Vitra furniture, the decors… I can go on and on. It’s an amazing work in this city.

Taipei experience

I first saw this hotel while searching for accommodations online for my trip to Taipei. What characterizes citizenM is that there is just one design for the rooms but are comfortable with wide windows for amazing views. In suite controls are done with an Ipad Mini. It’s other characteristic is the interestingly designed lobby that is hip and chic. Buffet breakfasts are served and there’s canteenM, a 24 hour canteen/bar. Check stay experience in my travel blog at Langyaw.

A well appointed location

For this Asian branch, this designer boutique hotel in Taipei is well appointed. It is just near the Taipei Main Station and Ximending is just a short walk away. There are lots of small restaurants and coffeeshops as well as street food around the vicinity. It’s also close to an MRT station. You can even walk to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and 228 Peace Park.

Its mainly targeted for the millennial crowd for its highly Instagrammable interiors and rooms. For a design enthusiast and architecture photographer like me, it’s indeed a great find.

citizenM Taipei Northgate
citizenM Taipei Northgate
citizenM Taipei Northgate
citizenM Taipei Northgate

Better photos for Airbnb listing, 5 reasons why

better photos for airbnb

Let’s admit it. Many travelers want that personal touch or local experience, thus Airbnb is one of the biggest companies in the so called sharing company. In many countries around the world, it’s competing with established hotels as far as accommodations are concerned. Even your friends sometimes prefer staying at an Airbnb listed site than at a swanky hotel. And of course, you have an extra space in your house that you want to offer to travelers and you want to earn at the same time.

But why should you invest in better photos for Airbnb listing? FIVE reasons why. Read on.

better photos for airbnb
Airbnb listing that I photographed in Tagaytay City, Philippines. I’ve also photographed other Airbnb listed properties around the Philippines, Southeast Asia as well as Japan and Taiwan.

1 Better photos for Airbnb listing, better chances of having it booked

Yup! That’s right. Airbnb even says so. The better the photos, the higher the chances that your listing is booked, as much as 50%. Think of yourself as the one searching through the site. What catches your attention? Does a badly photographed, badly exposed or dim photos attract you to click on the listing? Or are well composed and pleasant images will pique your interest and book it instead?

2 Professionally photographed images highlight your space better

Airbnb has its own accredited photographers and they are trained to photograph your listing in the best light possible using gear intended for Architecture and Interior Photography. They know what to highlight in your space and what needs to be photographed so that potential guests will have a good idea of how your listing looks like.

3 It’s a competition out there

Especially in tourist areas like Pattaya in Thailand, with the great number of hotels, inns and hostels competing with a great number of Airbnb listings, it’s a real competition out there. One thing to up your game is to have better photos. Just like in #1 above, you are competing with other properties and you need to catch your potential guests’s eye.

4 Its all about telling the story of your space in images

Airbnb photographers know how to better photograph your listing, yes. But it’s not just all about angles and stuff. Airbnb photographers know how to tell your listing’s story in photos with details that make your space unique and homey. Images are photographed in the best natural or existing light possible so what you see online is what you will actually see when you arrive at the listing.

5 Better photos mean you are serious and professional

Your Airbnb listing is a reflection of you as an owner. Remember that many travelers want that local touch, that authenticity that extends to staying at a your home. Better photos establish your credibility as a serious Airbnb host and potential guests respond to that by checking your listing out compared to the other listings that are poorly photographed.

Where do you go from here

If you are an Airbnb host, I encourage you to have your listing photographed professionally either by a real estate/Architecture photographer or avail of Airbnb’s photography services which is cheaper but there are certain conditions that you have to consider. Also, Airbnb can only offer the photography service for areas where there is an Airbnb accredited photographer. How to do this? Check with Airbnb’s photography service.

Laserna House of 1930s in Roxas City

Laserna House

The Laserna House stands out regally along the main road of Roxas City. Trees used to block it’s view before Typhoon Yolanda. Now, the structure is seen in its full splendor. Built in the late 1930s by Vicente Laserna, it’s a beautiful yet austere example of a style of its time. While Iloilo and Bacolod have outlandish and massive boat houses, Roxas has its own version of streamline moderne style. And it’s all made of wood.

Roxas City is the capital of Capiz province. Although not as highly developed as Iloilo City, it has a beautiful charm to it. A spanish colonial era church, colonial houses with one, the birthplace of Philippine President Manual Roxas. It does have a couple of remaining art deco structures scattered around the city proper and the Laserna House is one of these.

The Laserna House architecture

What it lacks in breadth, it makes up in height and volume. From a distance, the structure is a study in shapes: cylinders and cubes. It has rhythm: portholes and large rectangular windows, repetition of planes and shapes. It’s a tall structure with three floors. The house interiors still retains the original style though. The rooms were being fixed and repainted to be rented out when I visited in May 2014.

Most notable are the details inside the Laserna House. There’s the beautiful and intricate staircase from the main door leading to the second floor. The transom at the caida, landing, bears the initials of the owner. The spiral staircase is elegant. The callado is in the form of a simple geometric woodwork, adhering to its architectural style. The wood framing at the ceiling of the ground floor living space is intricate.

Renovations in 1954

The structure was renovated in 1954. The ground floor used to be a storage area and was made into a living space. The house was repainted and building materials upgraded. In 1982, a new structure was added at the back.

Originally posted in September 2014. I’ve edited the article and added some photos.

Laserna House
Laserna House
Laserna House
Laserna House