Ironwulf En Route - The Philippines Travel and Photography Blog » Hotels http://www.ironwulf.net Adventure Travel and Photography in the Philippines and Beyond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 07:45:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tacloban Stay | Budget Stays at Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel http://www.ironwulf.net/2015/01/02/tacloban-stay-budget-stays-primrose-hotel-etsu-hotel/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2015/01/02/tacloban-stay-budget-stays-primrose-hotel-etsu-hotel/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 04:05:52 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9822 More than a year after Typhoon Yolanda struck Tacloban City, the city looks like it is still going back on its feet. Standing up is a slow process though as until now many establishments are still undergoing renovations. I wasn’t expecting much on some of the old established hotels here but the disaster could also mean a fresh start for them. I stayed at two more Tacloban stay within the city Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel aside from the one in the fringes Z Pad Residences. Here’s my take on these two city hotels.

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Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel in Tacloban City

Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel in Tacloban City

More than a year after Typhoon Yolanda struck Tacloban City, the city looks like it is still going back on its feet. Standing up is a slow process though as until now many establishments are still undergoing renovations. I wasn’t expecting much on some of the old established hotels here but the disaster could also mean a fresh start for them. I stayed at two more Tacloban stay within the city Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel aside from the one in the fringes Z Pad Residences. Here’s my take on these two city hotels.

My bed at Primrose Hotel

My bed at Primrose Hotel

Primrose Hotel

I didn’t have any reservations when I came in Tacloban City. While I have my list of preferred lodgings I found out that most of them are booked already when I came. I also came in a time when there was a scheduled power outage. Lugging in my bags in the street of Tacloban city, my tired feet brought me to doorsteps of Primrose Hotel. I checked their rates which were acceptable at Php 1100 for a single room with aircon or Php 800 for a fan room. They have electricity from a generator which was a good sign since most of the lodging I checked didn’t have one. I took the aircon one after checking out the room.

Nice working desk

Nice working desk

The Single Bed

As expected, renovations are undergoing within the building especially on the lower floor where flooding may have gone through. I was at the 4th floor and there are no elevators so this could be a downside to some. For me I didn’t mind the stairs though. The room has a good size with ample space to move around. I like that there’s a closer and a desk again. Bathroom is large with hot water. Bed is also big but linens and towels are on the thin side. The whole room is quite clean and there was running electricity as well. Cable TV works fine and aircondition is cooling properly.

There is no Wifi in the room, only at the lobby. Good thing mobile internet signal from my room is quite strong. But what I do like is that they have water dispenser on every floor. It’s always a plus for me if there are water stations available on a hotel.

Water dispenser on each floor and a couch. Probably when you get tired with the stairs

Water dispenser on each floor and a couch. Probably when you get tired with the stairs

Stay Impressions

Primrose Hotel was an okay stay. My rooms was clean and comfortable but I do have to do quite a stair climb to get there. Staff were okay but a little impersonal but they do assist on the luggage. Many hotels in Tacloban has this pay-per-day-stay policy and Primrose Hotel is one of them. I do have to give big points on the location. It is at the heart of the city where most of the important location are just a walk away – the banks, market, transport terminal and eateries. Would I stay here again? Probably.

Primrose Hotel
Corner Salazar and Zamora Streets, Tacloban City
Contact: (053) 321.2248, 0915.341.3890

The hotel lobby

The hotel lobby

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Tacloban Stay | In a Z Pad Residences Mini http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/12/30/tacloban-stay-in-a-z-pad-residences/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/12/30/tacloban-stay-in-a-z-pad-residences/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 02:00:18 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9803 There used to be a time when GoHotels in Tacloban was the best looking hotel in the city. Now a quick search in hotel booking sites like Agoda would wound up at least 8 establishments with different types and price range. I was looking for a budget to mid-range priced accommodation and Z Pad Residences kept popping up. So why not stay for a couple of days there and see what the place is like after a year Typhoon Yolanda struck.

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At the Z Pad Residences Mini

At the Z Pad Residences Mini

There used to be a time when GoHotels in Tacloban was the best looking hotel in the city. Now a quick search in hotel booking sites like Agoda would wound up at least 8 establishments with different types and price range. I was looking for a budget to mid-range priced accommodation and Z Pad Residences kept popping up. So why not stay for a couple of days there and see what the place is like after a year Typhoon Yolanda struck.

Elegant common area in a unit

Elegant common area in a unit

Stylish Serviced Apartment

Z Pad Residences is unlike a usual hotel accommodation. Their “Home-type” style is liked a shared apartment or condo unit. There are 34 rooms of 7-type accommodations. So unless one gets the whole unit of 2–3 beds with common room via their Deluxe Suite or Z Suite the other accommodations like the Z Pad Mini, Single, Twin and Queen shares a unit with other guest.

I must say the idea of sharing a “unit” with strangers feels like a hostel but an upscale one. Each room have their own private bathroom, aircon and widescreen Cable TV. The doors are securely locked with a keycard so no once can enter the rooms. The common living room area and kitchen is quite elegant and classy in design and interior. Guest for the unit can hangout in this area if they want to socialize with other guests. During my stay though I didn’t get to meet any of my condo-mates even if I used the common area when I work. Oh, the free internet/WiFi here is extremely fast.

Passage to the rooms

Passage to the rooms

Z Pad Mini Room

I was traveling on a limited budget so I tried their cheapest room which is the Z Pad Mini. And oh boy it was a shoe box. At 10sqm its just amazing how they try to fit everything there. I must give props to Z Pad Residences though on how they made this shoe box look presentable. But this really is for solo travelers. My bags barely fits the space and the bathroom was clearly just a glass division which is just hilarious for me.

I did see the other rooms like the Z Pad Queen which is a lot bigger but yes you have to pay higher. The Z Pad Single is only 1sqm larger so there was no sense of upgrading for me.

Look how they fitted the bathroom in my Z Pad Mini

Look how they fitted the bathroom in my Z Pad Mini

Z Pad Residences Experience

The Z Pad Residences is one of the good looking accommodation in Tacloban City. It’s location is out of town about 5km away from the city center. The design is modern and upscale. The place is also secured with gates. Personally for a solo traveller on a budget, I find my money’s worth staying in town is much better. There are better (bigger and cheaper) rooms in town than their cheapest Z Pad Mini. In town, I can easily just walk my way to numerous eateries unlike here where I just have a fast food chain nearby. I had to ride into town if I want variety. However, if you’re in a group, the Z Pad Suites are of much better value as the whole unit is occupied by familiar people.

Z Pad Residences
Dadison St (Former Pericohon St) Beside Bethany Hospital
Contact: (053) 520.8888

Check Rates and Book Online

The 3-story residences building

The 3-story residences building

The small reception area

The small reception area

Branded toiletries

Branded toiletries

Small bedside desk

Small bedside desk

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Ha Long Bay Stay | Halong Plaza Hotel: Magnificent Karst View on the Horizon http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/11/26/ha-long-bay-stay-halong-plaza-hotel-magnificent-karst-view-horizon/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/11/26/ha-long-bay-stay-halong-plaza-hotel-magnificent-karst-view-horizon/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:30:55 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9666 How about a panoramic view of one of Vietnam’s top attraction, the Ha Long Bay, either from the room window or a few steps away from its lobby doors? Halong Plaza Hotel, our home in Halong, Vietnam during our Cebu Pacific Air familiarization tour, has just that. This 4-star hotel is located at Bai Chay, Ha Long City near the Bai Chay bridge and fronting it is a small promenade where guest can have an unobstructed view of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Superior Twin room

Superior Twin room

How about a panoramic view of one of Vietnam’s top attraction, the Ha Long Bay, either from the room window or a few steps away from its lobby doors? Halong Plaza Hotel, our home in Halong, Vietnam during our Cebu Pacific Air familiarization tour, has just that. This 4-star hotel is located at Bai Chay, Ha Long City near the Bai Chay bridge and fronting it is a small promenade where guest can have an unobstructed view of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hotel lobby

The hotel lobby

The Superior Twin Room

We arrived in the Halong Plaza Hotel after a 3–4 hour coaster ride from Hanoi. We had a welcome drink of cold ice tea. A live local music playing filled the spacious and elegant lobby of the hotel. We looked around only to find a lone female playing a traditional musical instrument. I thought that was a nice welcome. We were given our room keys (I was hoping for two) for our Superior Twin Room.

Our room was on the 22nd floor. The whole floor was carpeted as well as our room. The design is a bit old-fashioned but looking good still. Well-spaced, extra cushioned chairs and really comfy beds. I like that there’s a bedside panel that controls most of the room lights, aircondition temperature and even some good instrumental music all the way to the bathroom. Water pressure is strong and the bathroom is well-lit. It’s also a plus that most of the hotel area has WiFi access for free. From our room, to the corridors and the lobby.

Gym and pool area

Gym and pool area

Facilities

I woke up early to try to catch the sunrise but only caught a gloomy sky that morning with barely a shadow of the Ha Long Bay karst formations in the horizon. I did catch a few locals doing calisthenics by the small park in front of the hotel until the drizzle became stronger.

I opted to use the gym instead that morning. The gym is located in the 4th floor right beside the pool. I thought the equipment were in very good condition. From the weights, machines and treadmills. No one was manning the gym but I had no problems with that.

The Four Seasons Restaurant have a good selection of food for their breakfast buffet. Their breads were quite tasty too and coffee as strong as I want from a Vietnamese kind. I was also amused with their chafing dish as it was automated. First time I’ve seen something like that.

Comfy beds and handy bedside control panel for lights, temperature and music

Comfy beds and handy bedside control panel for lights, temperature and music

Halong Plaza Hotel

The location in terms of views is good but quite a distance from eateries outside the hotel. The hotel though is a 15-minute drive to the port jump off for the Ha Long Bay cruises. We only had a short stay in Ha Long Plaza Hotel but it was a real pleasant one.

Stairway leading to the hotel entrance

Stairway leading to the hotel entrance

Halong Plaza Hotel
8 Halong Road, Bai Chay, Ha Long City
Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Contact: +8433.3.845810

Check Rates and Book Online

Breakfast buffet at the Four Seasons Restaurant

Breakfast buffet at the Four Seasons Restaurant

The bathroom with tub

The bathroom with tub

Another view of our Superior Twin room

Another view of our Superior Twin room

View of Bai Chay Bridge and locals doing early morning calisthenics in front of the hotel

View of Bai Chay Bridge and locals doing early morning calisthenics in front of the hotel


 

Our familiarization trip to Hanoi was sponsored by Cebu Pacific Air. Cebu Pacific Air flies from Manila to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam thrice weekly every Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturday, leaving Manila at 10:20PM and arriving in Hanoi at 12:30am. Return flights will leave Hanoi for Manila at 1am every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and arrive in Manila at 5:15am.

For bookings and inquiries, guests can go to www.cebupacificair.com, or call the reservation hotlines (02) 7020–888 or (032) 230–8888. The latest seat sales and promos can also be found on CEB’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Davao Stay | Microtel by Wyndham Davao: Suited for Business or Leisure http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/10/24/davao-stay-microtel-by-wyndham-davao/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/10/24/davao-stay-microtel-by-wyndham-davao/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:18:14 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9489 There’s comfort in familiarity at times. After more than a weeklong travel in Tawi-tawi then a brief stop in Zamboanga, I was yearning for something familiar. A place to slow down, re-organize and re-energize a bit. When I flew in Davao, it was comforting to know I would be staying at Microtel by Wyndham Davao. It’s actually my second time to stay here and the sixth Microtel by Wyndham branch I’ve been to.

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My double room at Microtel by Wyndham Davao

My double room at Microtel by Wyndham Davao

There’s comfort in familiarity at times. After more than a weeklong travel in Tawi-tawi then a brief stop in Zamboanga, I was yearning for something familiar. A place to slow down, re-organize and re-energize a bit. When I flew in Davao, it was comforting to know I would be staying at Microtel by Wyndham Davao. It’s actually my second time to stay here and the sixth Microtel by Wyndham branch I’ve been to.

The hotel lobby and reception desk

The hotel lobby and reception desk

The Microtel by Wyndham Trademark

The ultra-restful chiropractor-approved mattresses, fluffy yet firm pillows, consistent WiFi connectivity, spacious neatly designed rooms with pleasing colors and full-sized bathrooms with hot and cold shower is what one can expect from every stay in any Microtel by Wyndham locations. I really liked that there’s a desk where I can do some of my work and that sitting area by the window is also a favorite spot to just keep idle and watch the passing scenery by the window. The hotel’s facilities are really ideal for business travellers which I was at that time but with a little bit of leisure on the side.

What I also liked about Microtel by Wyndham is that they provide water dispensers at the corridors which I really appreciate to keep myself hydrated and use less water bottles in the process. One common annoyance I noticed though is their key cards are quite sensitive. Make sure to keep it away from other devices like mobile phones as it gets “magnetized” easily and would not work on the door. I often find myself heading back to the reception desk to have it “re-activated”.

Microtel by Wyndham Davao includes buffet breakfast in their hotel rates. They have a breakfast room on the ground floor which changes fare everyday which I thought was good. The room is a little small which I imagine can get crowded on peak hours but since I wake up late, I can easily get breakfast.

Getting cozy at my room

Getting cozy at my room

The Davao Difference

The Microtel by Wyndham Davao is located at Damosa Gateway, just 15–20 minutes away from the airport. I liked that there are a lot of eating options around the area, even an active night life scene nearby. It’s good that the hotel is soundproof, muffling out sounds from outside. And a little walk past the main highway is the new SM Lanang Premier Mall.

Microtel by Wyndham Davao is a bit far from the city center of Davao but transportation is easily accessible from the highway if one wants to go to different locations in the city.

I also must commend the Davao staff as they were extra helpful and friendly, from the reception, to the staff at the breakfast area. They always have a nice demeanour and are ready to assist.

Facade of Microtel Davao

Facade of Microtel Davao (photo provided by Microtel by Wyndham)

Microtel by Wyndham Davao

Definitely a hotel I would recommend for business travelers. Leisure travellers are also welcome especially for groups and families. Very good location near the mall and transport areas and also the airport. Of course the trademark comfort in every room of Microtel by Wyndham.

Microtel by Wyndham – Davao
Damosa Gateway Complex
Mamay Road, Lanang
Davao City 8000
Philippines

Check Rates and Book Online

Lockers, fridge and Cable TV

Lockers, fridge and Cable TV

Chiropractor-approved bed

Chiropractor-approved bed

Clean towels and toiletry set

Clean towels and toiletry set

Encouraging guest to save and be mindful of the environment

Encouraging guest to save and be mindful of the environment

The breakfast room

The breakfast room

My choice of breakfast for the day

My choice of breakfast for the day

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Banaue Stay | Banaue Hotel: Old World Charm http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/09/07/banaue-stay-banaue-hotel-old-world-charm/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/09/07/banaue-stay-banaue-hotel-old-world-charm/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:35:27 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9344 I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I've gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I've visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it's about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.

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Room balcony view at Banaue Hotel

Room balcony view at Banaue Hotel

I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I’ve gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I’ve visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it’s about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.

My room at 214, a mountain view room

My room at 214, a mountain view room

Old but Still Charming

Banaue Hotel along with its Youth Hostel is probably one of the oldest hotels in Banaue. It’s the first lodging establishment one would find upon entering Banaue. It has a huge area, plenty of parking space if one has a car and a helipad. The hotel has two main buildings the Youth Hostel for budget travelers (which was recently renovated) and the more comfortable Banaue Hotel which has two wings housing 81 rooms (4 suite rooms; 32 deluxe rooms; 45 standard rooms) all with a breathtaking view of some of the Banaue rice terraces clusters.

My room was at 214 quite a walk to the other end of the building from the lobby but it was all worth it as the morning view from my balcony was nothing short of stunning especially at sunrise. I was worried a bit about Banaue Hotel as I know it is already showing its age but surprisingly the whole place is well-kept and maintained. My huge room was clean and isn’t musty. The linens were fine and bed comfortable. There’s no airconditioning which is okay since the place is already cool but I do have a couple of fans in the room in case. Bathroom has a neatly organized space and has working hot shower. Carpeting is fine and I like the wooden feel on the walls. In my few nights of stay, I never had problems sleeping.

Spacious lobby as venue for cultural shows

Spacious lobby as venue for cultural shows

Culturally Rich

What I also liked about Banaue Hotel is they have a weekly cultural show at night (and also by request if there are many guest). While I have seen several Ifugao cultural shows already, the spacious lobby is a good venue for introducing Ifugao culture to visitors. The performance was professionally done and entices guests to participate as well. At the lobby, aside from the free Wifi, there are souvenir shops for posterity items and goods.

Imbayah restaurant is one of the most scenic restaurants I've been to

Imbayah restaurant is one of the most scenic restaurants I’ve been to

Imbayah Restaurant

Large dining space with wide glass windows and high ceiling, the Imbayah Restaurant is one of the most scenic dining places I’ve been. The view of the mountains and rice terraces here is just breathtaking. I enjoy spending time here chatting with friends while sipping a cup of native brewed coffee. Speaking of coffee, Imbayah Restaurant offers unlimited coffee for a very good price! Their food is on the pricey side but the burgers and fries are of good value. Breakfast buffet which comes with the room rate has a selection of Filipino food from hams, sausages, corned beef to name a few.

Awesome 12-feet deep pool with a view

Awesome 12-feet deep pool with a view

Pool with a View

I’ve seen the pool before but I’ve always thought,”Who would swim in a cold climate like this?”. Well I was with an avid swimmer blogger friend Christine of JovialWanderer, who also running the race, and we were adventurous enough to try the pool. It’s of good size and has a depth of 3.5 to 12 feet deep! The pool was clear as it was just cleaned that morning. At first we were hesitant to go to the deeper parts but got comfortable after. When I had my first jump at the springboard I had so much fun. I asked Tin to take some photos of my many jump attempts at the pool. I had so much fun, the water isn’t as cool as I was expecting it was just relaxing to be there.

Morning view at Banaue Hotel

Morning view at Banaue Hotel

Great Stay

I had an enjoyable 3-nights stay in Banaue Hotel my sleep was restful which would probably also a factor why I had a good finish at my 21k run (I placed 8th for the men’s division and 13th overall!). I had some companions checked in as well so it made for great stay with them in the area. Banaue Hotel is not the only hotel in town but for a Banaue standard, it is the most expensive hotel in the area and you do get what you pay for, huge comfortable rooms (with lots of electric outlets), good facilities, very friendly staff ( I had to borrow an umbrella from them several times) and great dining area. It’s the best hotel in Banaue. I didn’t mind it was more than a kilometer’s walk to town as the cool weather is conducive for walking. If I do get tired, it’s a cheap tricycle ride away.

Banaue Hotel is ideally for business travelers, families and group travelers. Backpackers have the option of staying at their hostel for Php 250 per head.

Garden pathway behind the hotel

Garden pathway behind the hotel

Banaue Hotel
Manila:

142 Amarsolo St
Legazpi Village Makati
Telefax: (632) 551-3945

Banaue:
Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel
Banaue, Ifugao
Mobile: 0908.400.7596, 0927.570.2355

Check here for rates and online booking.

Banaue Hotel have ample parking space for guest who brought their own vehicle

Banaue Hotel have ample parking space for guest who brought their own vehicle

My spacious room

My spacious room

Loving the high ceiling of the hotel lobby

Loving the high ceiling of the hotel lobby

Enjoying jumping into the pool

Enjoying jumping into the pool

Room key

Room key

The corridor leading to the rooms

The corridor leading to the rooms

The pool view in the morning

The pool view in the morning

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Nasugbu | Stay at Pico Sands Hotel: A Taste of a Life in Endless Vacation http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/08/07/nasugbu-stay-pico-sands-hotel/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/08/07/nasugbu-stay-pico-sands-hotel/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:05:49 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=9266 I've always imagined myself living in a coast close to nature. A beautiful beach cove just a stretch away, mountains surrounding my home and cool fresh air naturally in abundance. I got to experience what is like to live in a community as such when we visited Pico Sands Hotel in Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Batangas. An exclusive private residential development, the Pico Sands Hotel caters to guest and club members within the area.

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The Pico Sands Hotel

The Pico Sands Hotel

I’ve always imagined myself living in a coast close to nature. A beautiful beach cove just a stretch away, mountains surrounding my home and cool fresh air naturally in abundance. I got to experience what is like to live in a community as such when we visited Pico Sands Hotel in Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Batangas. An exclusive private residential development, the Pico Sands Hotel caters to guest and club members within the area.

The pool by the Country Club

The pool by the Country Club

Pico de Loro at Hamilo Coast

It’s not the first time I’ve been to the Pico de Loro. I remember the mountain the development was named from was the first mountain I climbed in my whole life. And just a few months back I joined a Salomon XTrail Run and was able to glimpse a few of its 18 coves in Hamilo coast while climbing ridges near the residential area. It just shows how rich the natural wonder this area has to offer.

I got back here as part of the media to cover the 9th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines (ACGTDT). More than 200 delegates visited Pico de Loro to discover what the place and province has to offer especially to investors and looking for a place to retire. Nasugbu is an ideal location outside Manila since it’s only a couple of hours away via Cavitex and the recently opened Kaybiang Tunnel.

A dining corner at Pico Restaurant, I love how the bare spaces are accentuated by art pieces

A dining corner at Pico Restaurant, I love how the bare spaces are accentuated by art pieces

Pico Sands Hotel

The Pico Sands Hotel is in the same mold as the rest of the residential buildings in the area but of a different lighter tone on the paint. The architecture is modern and minimalist with a tropical design letting the natural air circulate inside the halls. Lots of bare space accentuated by touches of captivating artworks from the likes of Sanso or San Juan.

At the same level as the lobby, there’s the Pico Bar for signature beverages and also the Pico Restaurant that offers really sumptuous Filipino fares and Mediterranean cuisines. Breakfast buffet is also served here.

Our Mountain View premier room

Our Mountain View premier room

The Room

There are about 154 rooms at Pico Sands Hotel. There’s the Mountain View and also the Lagoon View. We got a Premier View Mountain View room with two queen-sized bed in a 37sqm room and a 7sqm balcony. I love having the trees in my balcony view. The room is very spacious, quite minimal as well, almost bare with only a slight character with the headboard paintings. I would have enliven it more with potted indoor plants. Still the room has most amenities needed, working aircon, comfy beds, cable TV, mini-ref, steady Wiifi and huge bathroom.

At the Country Club

At the Country Club

Activities

Pico Sands Hotel shares the facility with residential owners at the Country Club. There’s no shortage of things to do here. From the inviting pools facing the scenic man-made lagoons, impressive indoor courts for badminton, table tennis, basketball and tennis courts, the bowling and billiard room, Club Pico playground for kids, KTV rooms and board games hall. For conferences and events the Baia Ballroom and Foyer where the ACGTDT event was held can occupy up to 500 pax. There’s just so much to do here.

Outdoor enthusiast can enjoy the beach of course though the Beach Bar is restricted for members and residents only, though the beach is large enough for hotel guest to enjoy. The beach is light brown but nice still as the water is clean and clear. They actually have good snorkelling and island hopping activity here.

The exclusive Beach bar for members

The exclusive Beach bar for members

Since the weather wasn’t that good the afternoon we came, drizzling and huge waves, I decided to use their indoor facility. Their Gym looks new. The exercise machines and weights were of high standard. The free weights dumbbells were only up to 50lbs but that’s good already for conditioning for a short stay.

The next morning I decided to do a run around the area. Already familiar with my last run, I just decided to use the pathway around the man-made lagoon after my main street run. I did several rounds and enjoyed the cool weather, the serene environment and the morning view. This really is an ideal place to relax, especially for the elderlies as a place to retire, to enjoy nature with the comfort and convenience of home and facilities.

Do take note that for hotel guest, every activity here like courts, gym and sport equipment have corresponding rental rates. There’s a shuttle service that comes every 15 minutes to bring guest to key points of Pico de loro like the Country Club and the beach.

At the Rain Spa

At the Rain Spa

The Rain Spa

Another service we tried is the in-house Rain Spa. They have choices of massages from the free-flowing strokes of Tranquility, nerve-calming Harmony and stress-relieving and muscle-tension releasing Vitality. I chose the latter, Vitality since they said it’s good for those who prefer hard massages and good stretching. We were led to one of the double-spa rooms with their own steam and shower, toilet and bath tub. I do find the room also quite bare and could have used little decorations to add mood and lighten the atmosphere a bit. It’s a good thing though the masseuse I got was really good. I regularly have massage treatments and do know if I got a good massage therapist. She knows the vital points and proper pressure I liked and was very good at the stretches. Definitely ended up with a rejuvenating massage.

The Rain Spa also have other services like Body Treatment scrubs, scalp massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, foot reflexology and spa. They actually have a Barako Bliss foot massage making use of barako coffee scrubs on the foot. I wasn’t able to try it but my companions said it was really soothing.

The beach at Pico de loro cove

The beach at Pico de loro cove

Everyday’s a Holiday

My stay at Pico Sands Hotel was an enjoyable one albeit short. I think there’s something here for everyone to enjoy so it’s an ideal place for families and friends to spend vacations. There’s no shortage of activities, security is tight for peace of mind, staff are attentive and facility definitely above average. Of course there’s a premium on the price but you do get premium vacation experience to go with it.

Pico Sands Hotel
Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast,
Brgy. Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas

Check here for Pico Sands Hotel rates and booking.

Follow them at Facebook at /Picosandshotel

The lobby and reception area of the hotel

The lobby and reception area of the hotel

Comfy bed and warm lighting

Comfy bed and warm lighting

Workspace with relaxing views

Workspace with relaxing views

The Baia Ballroom with the delegates from ACGTDT event

The Baia Ballroom with the delegates from ACGTDT event

The Pico Bar

The Pico Bar

Cardio machines at the gym

Cardio machines at the gym

Colorful bowling room

Colorful bowling room

Children's playroom

Children’s playroom

Man-made lagoon taken during my morning run

Man-made lagoon taken during my morning run

Tranquil scenery during my run

Tranquil scenery during my run

Save me a seat on this pool

Save me a seat on this pool

The post Nasugbu | Stay at Pico Sands Hotel: A Taste of a Life in Endless Vacation appeared first on Ironwulf En Route - The Philippines Travel and Photography Blog.

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Travel Mindanao | Marco Polo Davao Pampering in the Heart of Davao City http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/01/21/travel-mindanao-marco-polo-davao-pampering-heart-davao-city/ http://www.ironwulf.net/2014/01/21/travel-mindanao-marco-polo-davao-pampering-heart-davao-city/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 02:00:49 +0000 http://www.ironwulf.net/?p=8506 After relatively roughing it up for a few days in Surigao del Sur for Cantilan Beach and Hinatuan Enchanted River, the Travel Mindanao team makes its way down south to Davao City. While we did stay for a night at EscapeManila's crib when we arrived, Marco Polo Davao was our abode for two nights after. This chain hotel's trademark elegance was a welcome comfort after a long travel.

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The Twin Supreme Room

The Twin Supreme Room

After relatively roughing it up for a few days in Surigao del Sur for Cantilan Beach and Hinatuan Enchanted River, the Travel Mindanao team makes its way down south to Davao City. While we did stay for a night at EscapeManila’s crib when we arrived, Marco Polo Davao was our abode for two nights after. This chain hotel’s trademark elegance was a welcome comfort after a long travel.

The Marco Polo Davao along CM Recto

The Marco Polo Davao along CM Recto (photo by Alex Singcol)

Marco Polo Davao

How can one go wrong with an established name like Marco Polo? Its 245 non-smoking guest rooms and suites are housed in a white-washed building along C.M. Recto in Davao City, quite a convenient location near universities, souvenir shops, eateries, parks and where regular transport pass by. The benefits of a chained hotel is the standards we expect from different locations are there. We checked in at their Twin Superior Rooms and got really comfortable with their beds where I can sing to the tune Maroon 5’s “Never Gonna Leave this Bed”, really warm and sleep-inducing lighting, temperature control and a bath ideal for some bubble bath. Business traveler would have peace of mind as they have a workspace desk and internet connectivity in room.

The pool

The pool (photo by Alex Singcol)

Top Facilities

I knew from the lobby with its inviting sofas and eclectic taste on paintings that Marco Polo Davao wouldn’t disappoint in offering more than its bed experience. On our floor we had easy access to the pool area which we thoroughly enjoyed swimming at night. I checked out the fitness center and was surprised at the equipment they have, a good set of cardio and weights for moderate and maintenance training. The locker room also has a spa and sauna. What the Travel Mindanao team unanimously enjoyed was the decent choice and offerings at their breakfast buffet.

Business and Leisure

I’m not surprised why Marco Polo Davao is a popular choice in Davao as it caters for a variety of market. From a leisure traveler like me, I would enjoy the extra facilities like the pool and fitness center. The strategic location makes this a smart choice for business travelers as they would find Marco Polo Davao an effective venue for a work and play, with easy access to meeting and function rooms and reliable connectivity. As for us Travel Mindanao team, our stay here was enough for recharge us for another leg of adventure.

Website: davao.marcopolohotels.com

The post Travel Mindanao | Marco Polo Davao Pampering in the Heart of Davao City appeared first on Ironwulf En Route - The Philippines Travel and Photography Blog.

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