The year is about to end and I still haven’t finished writing about Lakbay Norte 3, the 8-day media tour of the Northern Philippines. Aside from all the activities, the restaurants we ate in and hotels we stayed in played a huge part in making the trip so great. In the tradition of my hotel-hopping post for Lakbay Norte 2 (which kick-started my whole key collection), here’s a quick rundown of the different hotels we stayed in during the trip for LN3.
This warm and cozy boutique hotel in Tuguegarao City was our first real pit stop during our Lakbay Norte 3 trip (we slept on the bus on our first night) and checking-in was a welcome relief. The hotel is converted from a house and it exuded a very homey feel. It felt like we were staying as guests in someone’s lovely house rather than at a hotel.
The lobby and bedrooms were tastefully decorated with carved wooden furniture, while the halls were full of Pinoy artwork depicting fiestas, local transport and street games. Las Palmas also has wifi, a swimming pool, a garden, a small kid’s playground, function room area and serves excellent meals.
- Address: San Jose Village, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan
- Price range: P1,000 – 3,000/night
- Ideal for: Families, couples
- Bonus points: Las Palmas’ restaurant serves excellent Pinoy comfort food like dinakdakan and kare-kare.
- Website: www.laspalmas.com.ph, Facebook Page: Las Palmas de San Jose
Ilocos Norte: Ilocos Rosewell Hotel and Restaurant
Ilocos Rosewell Hotel in Ilocos Norte is a business hotel located along a busy highway. The hotel is ideal for business travelers as it offers easy access to shops and eateries nearby. The hotel manages to infuse a distinct Ilocano vibe with their choice of décor. The spacious and airy second floor lobby is ideal for functions and cocktail events.
The rooms come equipped with LCD TV, hot and cold shower, telephone access and 24 hour free Wifi connection. They also run a 24 hour convenience store and internet café and conference room. Rosewell serves complimentary daily breakfast. Rates are pretty good for the quality of the rooms and the amenities.
- Address: Brgy.1, San Francisco National High-Way San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte
- Price range: P1,200 (2 single beds) to 3,800 (1 Queen bed good for 2)
- Ideal for: Business travelers, backpackers (if sharing a room)
- Bonus points: Accessibility; in-house restaurant that serves a variety of Ilocano Cuisine and authentic Chinese Cuisine.
- Website: www.ilocosrosewellhotel.com, Facebook: Ilocos Rosewell Hotel
La Union: Kahuna Beach Resort
Kahuna Beach Resort is perhaps the best beachfront hotel in the main surfing hub of La Union. It’s a bit on the upscale side, with elegant interiors and spacious Filipino-Balinese inspired villas.
This lively resort and spa seems to be a favorite of the expat crowd and partyphiles getting away for the weekend. Their restaurant serves excellent seafood dishes and offers a wide range of beer choices. For entertainment, there’s an infinity pool overlooking the surf, day spa, and a pool/billiard table within the resort premises.
- Address: National Highway Brgy. Urbiztondo, 2514 San Juan, La Union
- Price range: P5,265 (single/duplex garden rooms) P9,360 (ocean/pool view suite), P26,325 (3-BR rest house)
- Ideal for: Expats, Couples
- Bonus points: Great infinity pool, comfortable rooms
- Website: www.kahunaresort.com, Facebook: Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa
If you combined a log cabin and a mansion, you’d get the Manor. This grand hotel boasts of impressive architecture while keeping all the charming staples you look for in a Baguio resthouse (a fireplace, a comfortable lounging area, woven tapestries) scaled up with luxurious additions (stained glass chandelier, a spa and Jacuzzi, gym, etc.).
The four-story structure was designed to blend with the towering pine trees and provides a magnificent view of the Cordillera mountain range. Once we saw the rooms, we didn’t want to leave. Rooms aren’t air-conditioned, but who needs it in Baguio? We just opened the windows to the perfect view of trees and let some of the chilly mountain air in, and fell right back into bed.
- Address: Loakan Road, 2600 Baguio City, Philippines
- Price range: P5,500 (superior room good for 2-3 pax) P12,600 (2-BR good for 5-6 pax), P10,000 (cottage good for 2-3 pax)
- Ideal for: Couples, families, friends
- Bonus points: Huge comfortable beds, spacious room, balcony, fireplace in lobby. Excellent food.
- Website: www.campjohnhay.ph, Facebook: The Manor at CJH
Tarlac: Microtel Inn and Suites
As their tagline goes, the good thing about Microtel is that it’s the “same great hotel wherever you go.” This comfortable business hotel offers all the basic amenities you need without the frills so it’s ideal for busy people on the go.
The beds they use are “chiropractic approved healthy-for-the-back beds” so you can be assured of a restful night. I also appreciated the 24/7 brewed coffee and tea in the lobby.
- Address: Microtel Inn & Suites, Luisita, Tarlac 2301
- Price range: P2,106 (single room), P2,925 (double room), P3,861 (suite room)
- Ideal for: Business travelers
- Bonus points: Chiropractic beds, 24/7 brewed coffee and tea in the lobby
- Website: www.microtel-tarlac.com, Facebook: Microtel Tarlac
Pampanga: Hotel Vida (Widus), Clark
Hotel Vida has elegant, well-appointed guest rooms that offer a view of the adjacent golf course or swimming pool. Each suite has its own sala and kitchenette area (with refrigerator and microwave) and is equipped with state-of the-art amenities. The sofa itself can double as a bed.
The hotel is strategically located five minutes away from Diosdado Macapagal Airport, five minutes away from Mimos Golf Course & Country Club and three minutes away from Duty Free Shops and Casinos. They also have a spa, swimming pool, and offer transport service and a travel agency desk. Their rooms were really comfortable and the breakfast buffet options were great.
- Address: 5414 M.A. Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga
- Price range: P3,800 (Deluxe room), P4,388 (junior suite), P5,388 (family junior suite) to P13,388 (Presidential Suite)
- Ideal for: Families, friends
- Bonus points: Their rooms are huge! You can easily fit in 20-25 people in the Family junior suite room (photo proof from our last night during the LN3 trip)
- Website: www.widus.com, Facebook: Hotel Vida Clark Pampanga