I’m going to tell you the best part about Cebu City, my arch nemesis here in the Philippines that I still inevitably find myself returning to. The “Queen City” of the Philippines as they call it (maybe “Drag Queen City” would be more apropos) is still inescapable for me because it’s a major transportation hub, so even though I live in a far more green and placid island nearby (Dumaguete), I have to come to and through Cebu any time I want to take flights to other destinations.
So…here’s the best part about Cebu: getting the hell out of Cebu.
And for that reason, I’m ecstatic that I just discovered the Bay View Hotel.
The hotel itself pleasantly surpasses my expectations. It’s modern, with a surprisingly impressive minimalist lobby; my room is good sized, spotlessly clean and with every amenity I could ask for (including a great shower); the hotel has a gym; free breakfast that is passable; free Wi-Fi that works great, and even has a gym with everything you need for a quick sweat and cardio blast while you’re on the road. It even has a mini 7-11 convenience store out front, which is super helpful to pick up water, a toothbrush (ok, beer!), etc. without paying hotel prices. All of that for about $40 US is a steal on its own merit here in Cebu, where things ain’t cheap if you want western-level quality.
But the Bayfront is vaulted to the top of my list in Cebu as my new go-to hotel for more important reasons.
For one, they are right adjacent to the titanic SM Mall. And while it may sound weird to people in the U.S. or North America, hitting the mall is one of the only things to do in the cities here (other than going to the bars at night, which I pass on). The malls are safe, clean, unpolluted, have great aircon that you don’t have to pay for, offer plenty of food choices, and there are plenty of events, etc. So being close to the mall is convenient for grabbing a cup of coffee and working or generally just getting out of the hotel.
But the Bayfront is the new king of Cebu for an even more paramount reason – its location. Before I stayed here for the first time, my hotel alternatives included going deeper into the city to the Ayala Mall area and IT Park (again with the malls), where there were a bevy of western-quality hotels. However, they usually ran about $60 or up, and the additional 5 km to get there could take an extra hour or so in traffic.
I’m not even joking – the traffic is so horrendous here all day every day, that what should have been a 15-minute drive as the crow flies could take 1 to 1.5 hours. But the Bayfront is far closer, and took only about 30 minutes to reach last night in waning rush hour traffic.
I also used to stay at the Waterfront Hotel right next to the airport here, but that establishment runs about $110 a night and up just because it’s such a sought-after location.
So, the Bayfront Hotel delivers on everything on my checklist, and allows me to easily undertake my favorite activity in Cebu City: getting in and getting the hell out quickly!