Taipei is covered in a blanket of grey, making it seem chillier than it really is. Despite it being three in the afternoon, the day seemed to be over as we scootered down the quiet back streets of Xinyi. Today I’m not venturing too far, which is uncommon when I have my mind set on some urban exploration. But the ease of getting to this place only makes me more perplexed that I haven’t come across this place earlier.
I am heading to the Stanton Club. A luxury pool and gym that has been left abandoned only a few minutes away from the usual bustle of Taipei’s 101 district. Despite the short distance and being in a suburban area, there’s been little information found on the place. A quick Google search, even in Chinese shows that it has only been previously explored once a couple of years ago. Thanks to a tip from a friend and some co-ordinates from fellow explorers, I found my own way there with my partner in crime.
From the outside, the Stanton Club looked as though it is relatively in good shape. Apart from the smeared graffiti and small signs of neglect, it doesn’t look like it’s been left abandoned for too long. Before I could venture inside though, I again encountered a pack of fiercely territorial dogs, which forced me to leave and think of another way in. (If you haven’t realised by reading my previous posts by now, exploring abandoned places in Taiwan goes hand in hand with encountering angry strays. I’ve had a 100% hit rate and am beginning to think I should invest in some dog repellent).
We went into stealth mode. Taking the long way around, we treaded carefully and kept our voices soft if we needed to talk. From the back of the pool, we climbed over a gate and clambered down an artificial cliff which lined the length of the pool. Clumsy as I was, I of course encountered more issues as I clambered down the rocks. My pants got caught on an upturned nail and it ripped nicely in an unfortunate area. But what is exploration without some dings and holes? After confirming there were no bleeding on my buttocks, we soldiered on into the blue-tiled pool below.
If this place was still in operation, it would be a pretty decent sight. A hefty size for a pool which measures up to 1.6m deep and includes a swim-up bar, I can imagine it being quite good place to chill in during the summer in its prime. Access to see the inside of the gym which include hot tubs proved difficult, however. Windows and doors were either boarded up or padlocked, and unless you’re willing to go through the air-conditioning chute or climb the stairwell to the rooftop and experience possible sludge-related falls, then your movement would be restricted to the swimming area and the undercover leading to the gym. We always make do with what we’ve got and spent a good amount of time photographing and taking in our surroundings. If you’re ever in Xinyi and have grown tired of the flashy lights and crowd, a little walk around an abandoned pool might just be that refresher you need.