Motel One

Before I completely forget, I have to write about Motel One. This chain of hotels has several branches all across Germany and Europe, and I stayed in two of them during my trip. I was ribbing my friend that she was a stockholder because she she spoke so highly of the establishment, and after Day 1, I could actually understand why.

It had me at blue.

But other than that, I would say that staying in these hotels are worth the price. It was actually not so hefty given the range of hotel rates in Europe. Both of them (Berlin and Essen) are very clean and sleek. The outside is very industrial, while the interiors are cool, really restful for an excited but weary traveller like me. Wifi is strong. And the wonderful part of Berlin was we got the best room (I think), which is on the topmost of a semicircular tower, giving us an unobstructed 180 degree view of the zoological garden nearby, as well as the distant Tiergarten. Really, really amazing, especially at night.

The room itself was on the tiny side, with a tiny bathroom, but the furniture and decors were very artsy and tasteful. I liked the organic soap and shampoo! Smart TV was huge, too bad it didn’t have English channels.

Didn’t get to taste food so I cannot judge. But they both have great lounges ideal for coffee or even dinner.

Also both strategically located–in Berlin near the Embassy where we had business and the shopping district of Kurfurstendamm, and Essen, near the central Haupftbanhof and still the shopping district. (Did not do any shopping at all haha)

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Definitely recommending to those travelling to Germany!

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Acacia Hotel

This is our last hurrah for this summer vacation courtesy of good ol’ Mama. Thank you Mama! Our requirements this time were simple: Mischa and Maxine have to swim, and the place mustn’t be too far because we didn’t want to drive all the way. So I chose from among nearby hotels (from our place), and we ended up at Acacia Hotel.

I didn’t get to take a picture of the lobby but it looks a lot of awesome to me. With its veeeerrry high ceilings and wide expanse, it shouts of elegance and class. We got connecting rooms, and from check in to check out, everything was a breeze. We loved their attentive and accommodating staff. And we absolutely loved our room! It has a great view of the Alabang business district.

Included in the room package are welcome drinks, in which case you have a choice of sparkling wine or pandan juice. We also had vouchers for tablea ensaymada and unlimited coffee, which we sadly weren’t able to avail of.

Then it was down to swimming business for that afternoon and the next morning.

It was so cold and windy, but nothing will stop the kids haha! Not even Maxine’s lips which keep on turning blue after a few minutes in the water that we had to get her off and warm her up for a bit before getting her back in the water.

We mostly ate inside the hotel. We were supposed to go out for dinner Saturday night but it rained so we stayed in. Their buffet selection was also quite good-enough choices so that you don’t get too umay. It was not too pricey which was the best thing hehe. Morning called for room service because we were too lazy. The best was getting upgraded from buffet breakfast (supposedly included in the package) to buffet lunch. Wheeee, we didn’t have to hurry and wake up early so we can catch up on breakfast.

We had one of the best vacations here. I like that everything was unhurried, we were taken cared of very very well by Southern hospitality, and we were home in about 10 minutes!

Paragon Hotel and Suites

It’s been a month, I know, since our family holiday in Baguio City. And as I said in my last post, I have some sort of mental blockage that’s preventing me from writing about a devastating thing that happened last June. But ever so slowly, I am getting back in the thick of things because I truly aim to document most of our family life for the kids to read later on. Before I write about the details of our trip, I want to get this review of our hotel done with.

I booked the Paragon Hotel and Suites through booking.com. Since we were going on a long weekend, by the time we have decided to go, most of the better hotels were already fully booked. I chanced upon Paragon because it has good reviews, most especially on the location as it was a stone’s throw away from Burnham Park. Also, I was hooked on the promise of a good family room as there are 6 of us.

When we got there past noon, they were kind enough to let us check in early as it was not yet 2:00 p.m. True to its claim, it was about 300 meters away from Burnham Park. The site itself, however, was not very conducive, and kind of stressful, as it was fronting a market and a transportation terminal (jeepney, taxi and van). And during the two nights we stayed there, loud sounds coming from a videoke could be heard resonating from the area to the rooms. You could also hear all the goings-on from down there, of vehicles coming to and fro. On the whole, the rooms and the whole hotel were not sound proof.

The reception was located at the third floor of the hotel as the first and second floors were dedicated to restaurants and function rooms. Despite the seemingly unruliness on the outside, the inside was very charming and cozy. All the staff were also very pleasant and cheerful, and one could feel the homey vibe of the modern hotel.

I was also very impressed with the vastness of the Grand Suite, which we got. It has its own living room, a kitchen with ref, microwave and kettle, a dining area, the bedroom and a bathroom with a tub. We didn’t use the kitchen for much, just for washing the baby bottles, but it was good that they were there for guests who would opt to cook their own food. But roomy as it may be, the beds were narrow, so we cannot all share the room. Ma and Dad had to stay in the couch, which was comfortable enough. However, we were still charged for extra persons despite us not requesting for extra beds. We gathered that this covered breakfast, and extra pillows and blankets. It would have been really awesome if they didn’t charge this because we really liked the hotel. They even had separate TVs for the bedroom and the living room.

Breakfast was a good enough affair. I wished they had buffet but we made do with plated meals. It was just okay tasting though. The dining room’s decor, like the rest of the hotel, was artfully and tastefully done. Five stars for all decor!

All in all, we loved our stay here. I would even recommend it for families like us. However, I’ll probably be looking for another hotel the next time we go up here. Didn’t really like the vicinity at all.

Kamana Sanctuary

Over the weekend, the hubby joined our colleagues in our yearly teambuilding activity. This year, we had it in a resort-spa called Kamana Sanctuary. It is a cozy and secluded resort right on Subic Bay that is accessible only by private car so you can be sure that there will be no scalawags or unwanted personas around the area. As soon as we came in, especially inside the rooms, I regretted that we didn’t bring the kids (and the older folks too). I thought that it was perfect as the resort was not big that we could get lost, and the amenities are all within reach. But the rooms were huge and our family would fit right in, and the kids could burn off energy running around without us having to worry too much about it. They have a smallish pool and beach access, a playground, and volleyball and basketball area. And the food was awesome! We had to have a mad dash for the bacon in the morning, but worth it!

Palm Boutique Hotel

My stay in Cambodia was made more comfortable by the Palm Boutique Hotel. It’s a quaint little thing right at the heart of Phnom Penh. I was actually surprised by its modern facilities amidst its Hindi-Buddhist decor. And for only US$39/night, the accommodations are at par with 3- or 4-star hotels elsewhere. I loved my room with its crisp white king bed accented by fluffy white and orange pillows. The dim but cozy lighting was restful. Zen bathroom was also superb. Most of all, wifi is two thumbs up! (I was expecting to be disappointed lol).

Those indoor ponds though are disasters waiting to happen, especially at night. With the lights turned off most of the time, and with an inattentive guest, a spectacle is bound to happen, which I and my companions witnessed first hand as a guy using his mobile phone plunged knee-deep into one of them.

Food is also kind of forgettable, although what we had was breakfast anyway. They’re also always late in opening the restaurant. For us who needed to get an early start, we didn’t get to enjoy it as much because we always had to hurry.

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N Hotel

I am fresh from Cagayan de Oro City. Wait, while I arrived in the wee hours of this day, I wouldn’t really say fresh because I feel anything but, having to endure yet another delayed flight just before midnight. It’s so sad that flying here in the country is so lousy at this point. In about the twenty times or so that I flew in the last year, my flight was delayed about nineteen times. It is that bad. On the one hand, I am glad at least that they have done something about the lack of seats in gates and waiting areas, and the rest rooms have undergone significant facelifts. Now they just really have to do something about air traffic!

Anyway, before I run out of words ranting about the management of airports here, lemme tell you about the hotel I stayed in Cagayan de Oro this time. I was pretty holed up at the N Hotel the entire time I was in the city. First, I was a speaker for two days at a conference. Second, I was too lazy to go out because I was alone. And third, because I am currently hooked up with a new gaming app that’s gripping the world, and the hotel was prime spot for things to catch, I was more than happy to stay put.

I was not sorry of course. The hotel is located on the major highway just before you enter the city proper. It is not that old but there was that whiff of mustiness when you first enter its premises then the rooms. It goes away after a while though and I began to get settled after the first hour. The room was spacious and big enough for three. Bed was good bordering on great but I didn’t like the lighting that much. I love muted whites and yellows in hotel rooms, and this one’s too orangey. These kinds of rooms make me a little restless. That, coffee at night, and finalizing my presentation did me no good on the first night. Good thing I made up for it the second night.

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This is one of the better hotels I’ve stayed in. As I said, I practically stayed here for three days. I had all my meals here, and I could say it was a-okay, nothing to rave about but okay. If I had the time and the inclination, I would have taken a dip in the pool.

Hotel Veronica

I was eyeing Hotel Veronica earlier this year when I had a scheduled trip in Roxas City. Unfortunately the organizers of the event I was a resource speaker of booked us at this hotel. I was glad I got another chance to come back in a couple of months’ time and stay here this time. Yay!

True to the photographs on its website (that made me long for it), the interior was sleek and elegant. The hotel is a breath of fresh air from among the many provincial hotels I have stayed in. It screams taste yet the rates are reasonable. From the lobby to the rooms, one can feel the care that came in with the selection of the furnishings. I could have stayed in our room curled up under the blankets all day. The room was big, and if you are on a budget, even four can fit as it has two queens.

The restaurant and cafe downstairs also make mean pastas and desserts. I opted for room service during my one night stay because my colleague was meeting an old friend who is now based in Roxas. I was more than happy to curl up in my jammies while leisurely enjoying my dinner. What a way to fatten myself, but as they say, you only live once. lol. We were able to eat at the restaurant for breakfast the next day though. I enjoyed the daing na bangus but I could have kicked myself afterwards for not getting the dried fish, which is their specialty.

Its location, inside the developed Pueblo de Panay, was perfect. It sits right across a big shopping mall, and just a few minutes’ ride is the El Circulo Convention Center. It is minutes away from the famous black sand beaches of Roxas, historic churches and the public market.

Just totally loved it!

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