Staycation at Hotel H20 For My Daughter’s 7th Birthday

One unique resort hotel that you can find in the Philippines is the Hotel H2O. It is imbued with relaxing and luxurious indulgence that every businessman or traveller will surely love. With the marine-theme which is first in the Philippines, one can feel a different and euphoric experience.

Staying at Hotel H20 to celebrate my daughter’s 7th birthday was an awesome idea! Credit to me of course! We were contemplating of going to HK Disneyland or Boracay but because of some unavoidable circumstances, we ended up looking for a place near Manila. And for kids and the kids-at-heart mommy, after votation, we finally booked at Hotel H20. Yipee! And we didnt just stay in the hotel, we also bought tickets for the Manila Ocean Park! Awesome! (I will post another for Manila Ocean Park)

The Good Points

  • Excellent service. Nothing beats a superb service with a friendly and accommodating staff. No matter what time you arrived at the place, the staff of Hotel H2O are always ready to serve. From the Concierge down to the Housekeeping, they were courteous.
  • Unique. Its authenticity is pretty obvious. There is nothing like Hotel H2O in the Philippines. Its mere marine-theme foster a relaxing yet romantic ambiance. Nonetheless, it will blow your mind in astonishment.
  • Worth the price. At Hotel H2O, you will experience ecstatic perks for less. Name whatever feature you are looking for a hotel, this marine resort hotel got it for you. Whether it is perfect functionality, cleanliness, service, facilities and amenities, or top-notch security the Hotel H20 offers more than what you pay.
  • All-in-one facilities and amenities. Aside from the unobstructed view of the bay, the place also offers superb facilities such as meeting room, front desk, fitness center, amusement park, and club lounge. In addition to this, the standard-size room is just adequate for every occupant. Also, it comes with a free toothbrush, soap, and a whole lot more. But I don’t normally use these free stuff (took them home :)) as I always carry with me my family travel essentials.
  • Location. The geographical setting of the hotel feels just right. In fact, it will only take you minutes to the Mall of Asia or U.S. embassy.

The Downsides

The Hotel H2O is not at all a five-star hotel to everybody. It has its flaws, but it only accounts to a minor percentage and is of course acceptable.

  • Buffet Breakfast. Our booking comes with 2 free buffet breakfast. I had to pay for 2 more persons (kids rate), Alexa was free of charge luckily! As she only ate cereals and milk. Would have been pricey to pay for that amount of food only. The food was delectable, quite a number of variants actually but only took some as I was full with 2 cups of brewed coffee. And with 3 kids in tow, its quite exhausting to watch them.
  • Some rooms have no windows.  But no worries, instead of windows, you will see a blue aquarium filled with fishes. If you sometimes want to take a glimpse of the outside world, there are some times that you cannot do so. It is because some rooms have no windows.
  • Swimming pool is small. Yes, since this hotel is constructed inside Manila Ocean Park, so they didn’t give much importance for the swimming pool. Of course, you will visit Hotel H20 simply because its in Manila Ocean Park. But anyhow, though small but it serves its purpose! The kids still enjoyed their short stay there! They wanted to come back the next day but ended up staying in the room watching the fishes.

With all that are said, the Hotel H2O is still a nice place to spend a vacation or leisurely travel. It provides a whole new experience making life exciting.

Overall, we enjoyed our staycation! It was indeed a nice place to celebrate the 7th birthday of my daughter Alexa. Don’t grow up so fast little darling!

Here are some of my staycation photos:

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Family Holiday Staycation At Solaire Resorts

Holidays only mean one thing – family bonding! After weeks of hustle and bustle, you long for that quiet, relaxing and soothing bonding moments with your loved one. The kids, the spouse and you of course, do deserve a treat. While most families plan their holiday vacations abroad, there are those who could only spare a few days off. But this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for anything less than grand. For a holiday staycation treat for your family, the best place to go is the hottest hotel resort destination near you – Solaire Resorts.

We celebrated my birthday this year at Solaire. It was a wonderful and meaningful stay, we got to bond with my kids for straight 24 hours. Most of the time spent at the swimming pool.

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Nothing would ever compare to the grand luxury that Solaire Resorts can offer. The lobby itself smell of a posh 5-Star Hotel to greet you and your family with a wow-factor. The rooms are spacious enough to accommodate an entire gang. You can either sink your weary bodies on the room’s king sized bed with lux covers or those plush arm chairs with ottomans. You’d be surprised at how fast their internet connection is! For fun with the kids, the swimming pool looks quite inviting and you can never resist the urge to take a dip. Solaire also have their fair share of restaurants to satisfy any cravings. You can sample oriental dishes at the Red Lantern or stuff yourselves full at the Fresh Buffet Restaurant. So, give your family a treat!

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Adventure Race at Caliraya Resort Club

I posted several locations for teambuilding but we chose Caliraya Resort Club for its location and amenities.

Overnight package for Php 1,400 per person including 3 buffet meals (lunch, dinner and breakfast) and availed of a teambuilding facilitator for Php 150.00 per person. We are 40 in a group but we were charge only for 37 pax as they have an ongoing promo of 10+1.

An opening prayer lead by our accountant, Ms. Marichu to bless our food and Ms. Shirley, production manager, for a safe journey.

The activity started with a boodle fight breakfast at the warehouse  Pink Mango Canteen served with dried fish, longanisa, salted eggs, scrambled eggs, atchara, fried eggplant and smoked fish. Now the contest started, nah.. the food eating contest!

For a group tour, its really advisable to get a bus so we can have fun while in the bus. We prepared a wacky video to be played while on board but unfortunately, it didnt work so we just watched it when we arrived in the office. It took us around 3 hours to arrive at our final destination – from Bacoor, Cavite to Barangay Lewin, Lumban, Laguna.

We rented a bus from Edsheil Transport for Php 20,000 good for 2 days. Not bad.

We arrived at Caliraya at around 9:00 AM, to get to the resort, you have to take a boat which is really an added amenities of the resort. Imagine a free boat ride.

Main building which housed the hotel guest and the entertainment center. The buffet food are also served in this building. You have to climb the stairs or take a jeep on the way up, it belongs to the property so it is free of charge.


View taken from the hotel. There are 2 swimming pools for adult while another one for kids. For sports aficionados, you can play basketball, volleyball, soft ball, soccer ball, badminton, and earth ball.

Duplex accommodation with double-deck beds that can accommodate for up to 12 to 15 persons. We rented 3. The rooms are surprisingly well maintained with nice pillows and clean white towels.

The Nipa Huts. I just took a photo but never get inside.

Since we availed of their teambuilding package, Mark, our facilitator, suggested the Adventure Race. After a brief discussion, we had whole morning for ourselves just getting to know the place.

At 12:00 NN, we walked to the main building to familiarize with the place. We were served with buffet lunch. The food was delicious and has many varieties with a big reminder posted on the wall: “Take all you can, eat all you take”

Some of our Adventure Race photos:

Caliraya Resort Club
Barangay Lewin, Lumban,
Laguna, Philippines
Tel: (63-2) 632 1010, 638 6515, 637 7027

This is my entry for My World Tuesday.

Hotel Crown Insadong, Seoul

As promised, here comes the review of Hotel Crown Insadong.

This hotel is very easy to find, very near the MRT station. Hotel rates via online travel agencies varies but we went directly to the hotel and paid Won 100,000 per night with free breakfast.

We arrived late so after paying, we dropped our bag in the room and went out to grab a bite. You don’t have to worry, so many restaurants around this area but since we were looking for a decent place, we were lucky to find one.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel only to find out that the aircon in the room was not working. Terrible! What do you think of a sticking carpet? Yikes..

After that incident, they transferred us to an upper floor. Well, this time, the carpet looked okay and doesnt smell.. lol.. Beds were okay too..

The side table with the touch of metallic gold just in time for Metallic Friday hosted by Mizhelle of Life Can’t Wait.

In general, the hotel is quite old but if you are just looking for a place to sleep at night.. then this hotel is good enough. We basically used the hotel only as our sleeping quarters as everyday we were out meeting some clients.

Hotel Sun Bee, Seoul

As you may have already know, I went to Seoul to meet some possible business partners.

We always book our hotel at Asia Travel. You will get really good rates for top hotels, they are around 20%-40 % lower than actual hotel rates.

CE is an antique collector and of course, we settled for a hotel near Insadong. This is the center for Korean arts & crafts, antiques and typical Korean restaurants. This place is also near the palaces which I will blog in the coming days (still busy at work).

We initially booked at Hotel Crown Insadong just because the name of the hotel bears Insadong. Thats an easy search. That was the only criteria in my search – INSADONG. I will make a separate review of this hotel in a few days. After 2 days, we were informed by hotel staff that we can no longer extend our stay as they were fully booked. No choice but to search for another hotels, we went to 2 hotels – all fully booked. Luckily, a stranger approached me who probably heard us while talking and suggested to try Hotel Sun Bee, it was blessing! Thanks God!

The hotel is relatively new with an English speaking staff. Immediately, I paid Won 88,000 which is around Php 3,384.

The room offers a king size bed and a single bed. They are really nice and comfy. And the sheets and pillows were really neat, crisp and clean!

They provide a dispenser for hot and cold, a small refrigerator and for sterilizing the glasses.

A flat screen TV is of course always welcome. But one addition to all which I loved the most : a desktop computer. That was just too good to be true. Although I brought along my netbook but it is always better to use a desktop computer.

And a whirlpool bath tub? Wow.. a bathing paradise.. surely a nice place to pamper my weary and aching body.. 🙂 lol

Look at the toiletries.. isn’t it lovely?

Normally, even 5 star hotels doesn’t offer an expensive Dove shampoo, Dove lotion and Dove shower gel. I could theoretically pack them all and be happy for a month or two. But no, I have some manners and I intend to keep them!

We are going back to Seoul early September and will definitely stay again in Hotel Sun Bee. For more information, you may visit their webpage here.

Best Western Pu Dong Sunshine Hotel, Shanghai

Finally, I can now quietly review Best Western Pudong Sunshine Hotel. This is where we stayed in our first night in Shanghai.

I booked this hotel through Best Western worldwide reservation numbers.

Telephone: 00 800 00 131779 (Toll Free)
Fax: (66 2) 654-1414

Though I talked to an English speaking operator, I could sense that English is not really his mother tongue. He is just pretending to be an American. Since I called the Philippine hotline number so I was expecting to talk to a local. Though I asked him if he is a Filipino but he kept on talking to me in English. Anyway, the booking went through – fast and accurate!
Don’t be confused in booking since there are 4 Best Western hotel in Shanghai:

1. Best Western Longmen Hotel
2. Best Western Pudong Hotel
3. Best Western Pudong Sunshine Hotel
4. Best Western Ruit Hotel

On the way to the hotel, the taxi driver got lost. Hahaha. Best Western Pudong Sunshine Hotel is located in the heart of the Jinqiao Export Zone.

The hotel is within 10 minutes drive to Shanghai New International Expo Centre, 30 minutes to downtown area, 20 minutes drive to Lujiazui Financial District, 30 minutes drive to Pudong International Airport, 30 minutes drive to Xintiandi and 5 minutes drive to Carrefour.

One thing I like about this hotel is that they offer shuttle service to the expo.

The hotel features free high-speed internet, cable tv, refrigerator (of course), coffee maker, hairdryer. I guess we were lucky that night as we were upgraded to their executive rooms – really nice!

Their breakfast is really good! Lots of food selection, both Chinese and Continental foods. Lots of fruits too!

Best Western Pu Dong Sunshine Hotel,Shanghai
No. 99 Jinxin Road, Shanghai, 201206, CN
Phone: (8621)58991888 Fax: (8621)58995626

Sarabia Manor Hotel – Iloilo

Unusual Sunday, my hubby out shooting..they have a club shot today at the Bureau of Corrections. My kids went with Uncle to Metropoint to send off some friends.  Alexa is sleeping.  I am alone and bored, good that I took my laptop with me this weekend, unusual!

Visited Iloilo last week, reason of going there is posted in my other blog, stayed in Sarabia Manor – currently renovating!

Hotel – ok. nothing special
Breakfast buffet – not many choices, Fruits offered: papaya, pineapple and banana only!
Room – not so good, old stuff.

General comment: I am not impressed as much as I was while checking the website.

Hope to be back after the renovation so I could update my blog! We’ll see..

Stay at Ibis Hotel Semarang

While I was in Indonesia, we had a side trip to Semarang on the way to Jakarta. Our client booked us at the Ibis Semarang Hotel.

Room with wifi. King bed. Nice set up. Clean.

The hotel is relatively new, all are still fresh.. yes, fresh towels too! But don’t worry, I did not get anything from the hotel as what most of my friends are doing. I must admit in my early 20’s, I used to bring some new towels especially from 5 star hotels.. That’s my long time secret! Bad habits – goodbye forever! Ha ha..

Back to this hotel, the staff are friendly and the food is okay. Nothing spectacular, just the usual buffet breakfast!

Bathroom. I like the colorful tiles so much! Very clean.

Guess what how much we paid? Only USD 33.00 per night with free buffet. I was told they are on promotional offer.

Ibis Semarang Hotel
Jl. Gajah Mada No. 172
Semarang 50133
Central Java – Indonesia
Tel: +62 24 33 000 888
Fax: +62 24 33 000 889