Top 10 Things to Consider When Booking a Hotel in the Philippines

Despite some economic and political instabilities, the Philippine tourism industry continues to grow.  Each year, more and more new hotels or resorts are built in different locations in the country, even the remotest ones.

Whether you’re a foreign visitor or a staycationer, you will no doubt be faced with the common dilemma of where to stay in particular spots in the Philippines.  But there’s no need to worry because there are top-ranking accommodations throughout most of the destinations in the country. Traveloka.com is one booking site where you can check out rooms, prices, and reviews. You might even get the chance to avail of discounts through their promos.

Hotel ratings may be important as a basis of choice, but here are 10 other major considerations before you finally book that accommodation.

  1. Price / Cost of Accommodation

Yes, a 5-star hotel may be everyone’s dream accommodation, with all its luxurious facilities and posh ambience.  But to a family who merely want a comfortable and secure place to stay as they have a grand tour of the country, a 3-star accommodation will do, especially if it’s an overnight stay.

You should confirm the room rate even before booking.  Booking sites show you the exact prices as of specific dates.  Apart from the room rate, also find out if the hotel has any seasonal promotion which will in turn save you big bucks.

  1. Location, Location, Location

Like a residence, a hotel should be conveniently located.  For example, if you are visiting a beach area, the hotel you stay in should be within walking distance of it, unless you’re willing to pay for a taxi or go on a long trek.  And for metropolitan areas, make sure that it’s strategically located beside shopping and dining areas, and of course, key landmarks.

  1. Facilities

You’re on vacation so you should stay at a place with decent facilities, like restaurants and functioning bathrooms. If you have an active lifestyle, you would want a place with a pool, a gym, or even a jogging path.  And if you’re traveling with your children, you may want to book at a place that has a children’s play area and pool.

  1. WIFI and Other Amenities

WiFi connection is quite a major consideration of most travelers and staycationers.  You would like to stay connected to friends and family or be on top of your company’s matters even while away.

For some people, especially women, even having a hair dryer and bathtub would be a big factor in their choice of hotel.  And it’s always great to have cable TV to relax after a long day.  And of course, it’s reassuring to have an in-room safe to keep valuables, and a mini-bar to brew your morning coffee if you’re still waiting for your roommate to get dressed.

  1. Transportation

As with location, the availability of transport facilities is a priority, especially if you don’t have your own vehicle.  Consider where you can find taxis, buses, or trains to take in order to get around.  Some hotels even provide shuttle service for going to the mall.  And most importantly, can your hotel arrange for you to be picked up from or dropped off at the airport?

  1. Complimentary Breakfast and other Freebies

It is not surprising that many hotel guests would rather have their first meal of the day right at their hotels before setting out.  So it would really be a great convenience if their accommodation includes complimentary breakfast meals.  And if you’re a fitness aficionado, you will really appreciate free use of the pool and gym.  These freebies can translate into huge savings which you can use for shopping and other travel expenses.

  1. Room Type

If you’re alone, it is not a big problem to book a single room with one bed.  But with your family or friends, you will want to get doubles, adjoining rooms, or even suites to minimize costs. Want to cook your own meals? Then consider getting an apartelle type complete with kitchen appliances.

  1. Room Size

It may not be a big deal if you’re alone. But this would matter if you are sharing the room with others, and if you are staying more than one night.  Your room should have enough space to place your baggage and carry-ons, and yet provide enough space for you to move around the room and not stumble over them.  Consider too that you need to provide extra space for your purchases.

  1. Hotel Policies  

Most important among hotel policies are the check-in and check-out times.  These schedules will also determine what time you need to arrive or depart from the hotel.  And in case the hotel has a strict after-lunch only check-in time, ask the hotel staff if they can store your baggage somewhere safe.  Same thing goes for check-outs, especially if you still have a good number of hours left between check-out time and your flight. If you’re lucky, there are hotels which allow for very early or even anytime check-ins.

Also remember to ask the hotel about policies for extra beds, nannies, pets, and any other special needs.

  1. Reviews

Finally, it’s always good to do some research on what former guests have said about the place. You don’t always have to take their word for it, but get a balanced set of both positive and negative reviews. Consider though that people have their personal reasons for their reviews.  And reviews can give you an idea of what to expect.  Also look up listings of top hotels in the area, through booking sites like TripAdvisor or Agoda.

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Manila for the New Year Countdown 2016

Next to Christmas, New Year’s Eve is the most-awaited event in Manila.  Almost all families celebrate it with food, get-togethers, merriment, and of course, fireworks.  For those who opt not to have fireworks at home, there are quite a number of 5 Star hotels in Manila to hang out at and spend a totally awesome New Year countdown.

Every luxury hotel in Manila has its own brand of dining and entertainment packages and unforgettable New Year’s Eve countdown events to ring in 2016.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

Welcome the New Year with a sumptuous feast at Spiral, rated as Manila’s finest and highest-rated buffet spread (PhP7,231.94 per adult, PhP3,615.97 per child).  There’s turkey, prime rib, and an array of other favorite buffet treats to cater to all palates and diets. Dinner also features a glass of 2006 vintage champagne.  DJ Abdel Aziz will be there to provide musical entertainment while you lounge and await the dazzling fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.

[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/sofitel-philippine-plaza-manila-hotel/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates[/button]

 

SPIRAL NEW YEAR LUNCH SPECIALSpiral is inviting everyone to enjoy a wonderful sumptuous lunch buffet feast with family…

Posted by Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila on Saturday, December 26, 2015

You can also welcome the New Year in style with their Carnival De Venezia

Celebrate New Year here at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and be transported to stunning Venice in a special…

Posted by Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila on Sunday, December 27, 2015

 

Solaire Resort and Casino

This is one of the best hotels near the Manila airport to unwind at because it is in a wide-open area free from congestion.  For big appetites, there’s a really huge array of mouthwatering treats at the Fresh buffet restaurant nearby, one of the most affordable and satisfying dinner buffets at only PhP2,800 per head. Or if you prefer a lighter meal, try the five-course menus at Finestra (Italian), Red Lantern (Chinese), or Yakumi (Japanese).  Prices vary from about PhP1,700 per head for a 6-course meal at Red Lantern to PhP 3,000 per head at Finestra.  For a little more, some Solaire restaurants give you complimentary access to the New Year’s Party at Eclipse.  For the New Year’s Eve countdown, you also have two choices of lounges to hang out at – Eclipse and Oasis.  Both feature live entertainment numbers from Bituin Escalante, The Company, and various other performers. Solaire’s New Year’s Eve dinner and bar packages are all guaranteed to keep you wide awake and revved up to greet New Year 2016!

[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/solaire-resort-casino/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates[/button]

Be part of a sparkling New Year’s Eve countdown at Oasis, featuring performances by Aicelle Santos, Bituin Escalante,…

Posted by Solaire Resort on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

 

City of Dreams Manila

The party never stops at this newest hotel and casino in the heart of the Manila bay area. Start off your New Year’s Eve celebration with dinner at Hyatt for PhP2,988 per person featuring free-flowing selected liquors, cocktails, soda, and iced tea.  Watch Erok at the Pangaea, Mitz and Maya, Dream Sirens and Night Train at the Centerplay, and Bass Jackers at Chaos.  Come dressed to the nines and decked with bling!

Hyatt City of Dreams
[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/hyatt-city-of-dreams-manila/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ size=”small” color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates for Hyatt Hotel[/button]
City of Dreams – Crown Towers Manila
[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/city-of-dreams-crown-towers-manila/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ size=”small” color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates for Crown Towers[/button]
City of Dreams – Nobu Hotel Manila
[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/city-of-dreams-nobu-hotel-manila/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ size=”small” color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates for Nobu Hotel[/button]

 

Welcome 2016 with world-class entertainment and lots of bling! Live music, bottles of sparkling spirits and dazzling…

Posted by City of Dreams Manila on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

 

Fairmont Hotel

Indulge yourself with a dinner buffet (PhP4,995 per person) at Spectrum, and this will entitle you to cocktails and exclusive access to the 9th Floor pool bar New Year’s Eve Countdown Party.  Watch the shower of firework colors and lights line up the Makati skyline.

[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/fairmont-makati/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates[/button]

 

Nothing says “Happy New Year” quite like a luxurious feast of gourmet delights, with champagne and cocktails flowing,…

Posted by Fairmont Makati on Thursday, December 17, 2015

 

Diamond Hotel

For this year, Diamond Hotel presents A New Year State of Mind featuring Retrospect, DJ Marx Monterola, and Xarchy Band. In fact this hotel has several fantastic options for even the most discriminating guest.  You can have a 6-11 PM dinner at Corniche (PhP3,300 per person) which includes a chance to win two round-trip tickets to Bohol, or a late night buffet from 11 PM to 2 AM.  If you prefer a simpler dinner menu, try Yurakuen’s New Year’s Eve set dinner with a glass of Cava.  Or if you are coming from another party and have had dinner, go for the New Year’s Eve Party where you get one drink and party favors for only PhP 499 per person, or tapas and free flowing house wine for PhP1,300 per person.The New Year’s Eve bash is from 11 PM to 2 AM. at the Upper and Lower Lobby where drinks may be had at PhP250 each for walk-ins or PhP200 for in-house guests.

[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/diamond-hotel/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates[/button]

 

Diamond Hotel Philippines New Year Countdown 2016
A New Year State of Mind (Photo from diamondhotel.com)

 

Makati Shangri-la

One of the best hotels in Manila has its own special brand of entertainment for the countdown to New Year 2016.  Come in your best formal attire as you join other guests for cocktails from 6-8 PM, followed by a five-course dinner with live Broadway show and a live band at 11:30 PM.  All for PhP4,900 per person.  Alternatively, you can choose from another set menu (prices vary from PhP3,178 to PhP5,378 per head) at Shang Palace, or other dinner buffet packages at Inagiku (PhP4,200 per head), Sage Bespoke Grill (PhP4,900 per head), and Circles Event Cafe (PhP3,900 per head).

[button link=”http://www.agoda.com/makati-shangri-la-manila-hotel/hotel/manila-ph.html?cid=1658825″ rel=’nofollow’ color=”green” window=”yes”]Check the latest rates[/button]

 

It’s a Spectacular New Year as Makati Shangri-La, Manila takes you on an unforgettable evening on Broadway and Times…

Posted by Makati Shangri-La, Manila on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

 

For updated package prices and promotional deals, contact each hotel directly.

FREE New Year’s Eve 2016 Countdown Events

TV5 2016 Countdown

Kita-kits tayo sa Thursday, December 31 para sa pinaka-malaking pasabog ng taon, ang TV5 2016 New Year Countdown!…

Posted by TV5 on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kapuso Countdown to 2016

Sabay-sabay nating salubungin ang bagong taon sa #KapusoCountdownTo2016! See you in your best costumes at MOA Seaside Boulevard!

Posted by GMA Network on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

10 Reasons Why I’ll be Coming Back to Tune Hotels

Lately, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of Tune Hotels popping up. I always wanted to try staying in one since I’ve heard good reviews about it.

The opportunity came when I needed a place to stay for an early morning exam. I live in the north of Metro Manila and the exam would be in Heritage Hotel which is in the south. Since I don’t want to be late and be stressed out by the traffic, I booked a room in Tune Hotels Aseana City.

Tune Hotels Aseana 24

Tune Hotels Aseana was just opened I think a month before I checked-in on September 2014. I really enjoyed my stay and when there’s a Tune Hotel on my next destination it would be on top of my list. And the following 10 are the ones why you should consider it too.

1. ‘Pay As You Use’ System

The unique thing about Tune Hotels is they give you the freedom to choose the services or amenities that you would like to avail.
The basic room would be with just a regular fan room. You can choose whether to have avail of air conditioning, wifi, towels and toiletries. I availed of the Cozy Package which gives a huge discount compared to getting the add-ons individually.

tune hotels addons
Tune Hotels Add-ons

There are also extra charges for early check-in, late check-out and luggage storage. The early check-in and late check-out bloated my fees incredibly but I needed it so I just added these extras with my eyes closed.

I encountered a problem though with this set-up. I availed of the early check-in so I arrived there about 11am. I also availed of the late check-out so my check-out time is 2pm. When I went to my room after the exam at 12nn, the TV is no longer working. I guess the 24 hours was already consumed since I think their timer started at 11am. Although, I opted for the late check-out it doesn’t necessarily mean that the add-ons would be extended too. Too bad because it’s supposed to be my time to relax and watch TV after the exam. This is something to keep in mind when availing of the add-ons.

2. Electronic Key Card

Tune Hotels Aseana 25
Control Panel inside the room

An electronic key card is something you don’t find in budget hotels. Tune Hotels really take it up a notch by using this technology. It is easier to store than keys. You don’t need to take it out of your wallet to use it. All you need to do is to tap it on to the sensor to enter your room. You also use this to turn the electricity on your room.

Tune Hotels Aseana 17
Key card Sensor at the door
Tune Hotels Aseana 18
Just tap your key card to open the door

I had a hard time using it in elevators though since you also need the key card to use the elevator. I was kinda ‘trapped’ in the elevator with an old lady since we’re having difficulty on how to properly use it. It didn’t register the floor that we wanted to go to even though we’re tapping and pressing the buttons like crazy. Luckily, one helpful staff noticed our predicament (going up and down several times without reaching our desired floor) and showed us how to do it properly. Apparently, you have to tap and press the button of your desired floor at the same time and NOT tap then press since a delay of a few microseconds then it would no longer recognize the number that you pressed LOL.

3. Super Comfortable Bed

Tune Hotels boasts of their 5 star beds. Indeed, it was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept on. If only I don’t have to review for the exam, I’d be sleeping like a baby all day on this super comfortable bed and oh so fluffy pillows.

Tune Hotels Aseana 27
The comfy bed
Tune Hotels Aseana 28
Bed with a big mirror headboard

4. Power Shower

Another thing that I really enjoyed is the power shower. All rooms have ensuite private bathrooms with heated power shower. You don’t need to pay extra.

Tune Hotels Aseana 7
Power Shower
Tune Hotels Aseana 8
Power shower with the soap and shampoo holder

Here’s what the bathroom looks like:

Tune Hotels Aseana 26
The bathroom. Please note that the door is glass frosted door.
Tune Hotels Aseana 3
The sink
Tune Hotels Aseana 4
The toilet with bidet sprayer

Tune Hotels Aseana 5

Tune Hotels Aseana 6

5. Large Windows

Every floor has large windows with a good view of the city.

Tune Hotels Aseana 10

Tune Hotels Aseana 21

Each room also has a window which is useful if you won’t be avail of the air conditioning. There’s nothing spectacular about the view from the room since all you’ll see is the the neighboring building on one side and some old buildings near Baclaran on the other side.

6. Safety Deposit Box

Every room has their own safe where you can store your valuables. Again, such a nice touch for a budget hotel.
Tune Hotels Aseana 19

7. Hassle-free Booking and Loyalty Points

Booking for a room is easy. Just go to their website http://www.tunehotels.com/ph/en/ and reserve a room like booking for a flight. It is also here that you’ll select the add-ons for your room.

***Update*** I did some additional research and I found out that you can get huge discounts from Agoda. I was able to book a room at 50% discount. Go to Agoda website, just click here and you might be able to steal a bargain too.

If you decided to just walk-in without booking in advance, you’ll have to book using the computers in the lobby.

From what I know, the rate starts at P888 per night. Please note though that there are additional charges: 10% service charge and 12% VAT.

tune hotels room features
Check thoroughly the available features

They are also part of the AirAsia Big Loyalty Programme which give you points for every. The points can be redeemed for free flights or rooms. Just make sure to file a claim for the points to be credited to your account within 30 days. This is what happened to me the 30 day period expired and sadly, I didn’t get any points.

8. Friendly Staffs

The moment I entered the hotel, I was greeted and assisted by their courteous and friendly staffs. The receptionists assisted me for my late check-in and provided me the electronic key card and wifi access. They also wished me luck for my exam the next day.

Tune Hotels Aseana 23
Tune Hotels Aseana lobby

The staffs are well-trained and always have a smile on their face.

9. Accessibility

All Tune Hotels that I know are accessible to malls, airports, tourist attractions and business centers
Tune Hotels Aseana is just a few steps away from Jollibee, 7-Eleven and S&R. There are no shops yet on the ground floor when I stayed there but I saw some available spaces for lease.

Tune Hotels Aseana 13
Tune Hotels Aseana near S&R
Tune Hotels Aseana 15
Tune Hotels Aseana near City of Dreams Manila

10. Parking

If you’ll be bringing a car, there’s a parking at the 2nd floor of the Tune Hotels Aseana City for their guests.

I didn’t know that they have a parking since I didn’t see any in their picture gallery. I just found out about it when the elevator opened at the 2nd floor.

These are the reasons why I’ll be checking-in again to Tune Hotels. They had set the standard high for budget hotels in the Philippines which would only make things better for us travelers and the whole tourism industry.

Here are some more pics of the room and hallway:

Tune Hotels Aseana 1

Tune Hotels Aseana 2

Tune Hotels Aseana 9

Tune Hotels Aseana 11

Tune Hotels Aseana 12

Tune Hotels Aseana 14

Tune Hotels Aseana 16

Tune Hotels Aseana 20

Have you stayed at one of the Tune Hotels in the country? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments.

Crown Regency Hotel and Towers Cebu: Classy Hotel and Adventure Park in One

We stayed in Crown Regency Hotel and Towers Cebu. This hotel is in the center of Cebu City and very near the commercial areas and government institutions.

As their guest, we were able to use both the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the gym and other hotel amenities.

Non-guest can also avail of their Sky Day Tour package for P888 offered by Crown Regency Hotel and Towers Cebu. For guests, this package can also be availed separately. The ticket is valid for 10am-6pm. This includes access to:

[unordered_list style=”star”]

  • Suncoourt pool with free towel. This is their outdoor pool area. It has 3 swimming pools and 2 jacuzzis.
    Location: Tower 1, 9th floor. 10am-6pm
  • 1 hour mini golf. The mini golf has an underwater glow in the dark theme. We didn’t play golf much because we were enjoying with taking pictures of ourselves here. Look at my shirt..it’s glowing! haha
    Location: Tower 2, 18th floor. Melvin’s Reef 10am-6pm.Crown Regency Cebu mini golf 1
  • Wang Shan Lo. This restaurant offers lunch buffet from 11am-2pm. The delicious oriental food would give you energy for the long adventurous day ahead. Your eyes would also have a feast with the spectacular view of Cebu City’s skyline.
    Location: Tower 2, 20th floor.
  • 15 mins Head and Shoulder Massage. 15 minutes feels like a short time but it is a welcomed break to rejuvenate my energy.
    Location: Tower 2, 19th floor. Snooze Lounge. 10am-6pm.Crown Regency Cebu Day Tour Head and Shoulder Massage 1
  • 1 Sky Ride. You can choose from the 4D Theater Show, Edge Coaster or Skywalk Extreme. If you are feeling adventurous and want a sure  way to fire up your adrenaline, try the Skywalk Extreme and Edge Coaster. Please remember to bring extra money since there are refundable deposit fee for the wrist access tag for the rides (P100), refundable deposit fee for locker to leave your things (P100), socks for skywalk (P20, wear closed shoes so you won’t have to change to their shoes and pay for the socks) and the photos from the official photographer (P150 each).

[/unordered_list]

Crown Regency Hotel and Towers Cebu successfully combined its hotel and adventure park and made it a top tourist destination itself. Check this out when you are in Cebu and you’ll satisfy your taste buds, spike up your adrenaline and pamper yourself all in one place.