This is the first edition of an ongoing series of reviews on properties (budget hotels and hostels) we’re staying at during our travels in Asia, as part of our partnership with HostelBookers.com.
Cebu City, the second largest metropolis in the Philippines, is a blur of chrome jeepneys, traffic fumes and eclectic street food stalls. The chaos and sporadic rudeness seemingly contrast with the laidback attitude of the Filipinos who are known worldwide for their warm hospitality. For the first-time traveler, it can even feel slightly daunting.
An Unexpected Surprise
We had arrived to Cebu City from the quirky fun-filled island of Bohol, and Cebu didn’t make us feel the least bit welcomed. Fortunately, the kind folks at our budget hotel, Palazzo Pensionne, changed our impression of the chaotic city. Upon arrival, the friendly staff welcomed us and guided us to our junior suite located on the third floor and even helped us carry our backpacks up the stairs (something you rarely encounter in budget hotels). Check-in was fast and smooth, and the service was impeccable.
From the outside, the hotel may not spot the most appealing exterior – with a facade resembling a roadside motel (and being located along a dark alley). But once inside, it was easy to sense a cozy family feel and we quickly warmed up to the helpful staff.
Back in our suite, we were surprised to find brand new furnishing and the smell of fresh paint – a contrast to the old and slightly decrepit lobby. The hotel’s hostelbooker site showed photos of their older rooms – most of which seemed to need a fresh coat of paint and some remodeling; while our suite was sparkling clean and extremely spacious featuring polished tile flooring, a king size bed, modern furnishing, plasma TV with several international channels and free wifi connection that was one of the fastest and most reliable we’d found in our entire stay in the country. Apparently the hotel had just constructed a new building and we’d happened to be one of the first to experience their brand new suites. There were some renovations going on when we were there but we barely heard anything from our room.
Palazzo Pensionne also has a small bistro-style restaurant with a limited menu of basic Filipino dishes. A pity that the only time we were going to try it it was already closed, but the hotel is just a hop away from several restaurants in the area, and if you’d prefer to stay in for the night, the hotel also orders fast food deliveries for you. While Palazzo Pensione may not be located right in the heart of the city, it’s just a short jeepney ride away.
The room rates at Palazzo Pensione range from US$13.68 to $22.28 per person per night. If you are looking for comfortable but not too expensive stay in the center of Cebu, Palazzo Pensione is definitely value for money. Overall, we enjoyed our stay and would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Cebu City.
Disclaimer: Our stay was made possible by HostelBookers.com and Palazzo Pensione, but all opinions are our own.