When you look up hotels on the travel websites like Agoda.com, Booking.com, and others for rooms in Cebu, you won’t find as many quality choices as you might expect for the “Queen City of the South” in the Philippines. In fact, there are only a handful of modern, western-style hotels in the downtown or popular Ayala Mall area, and those sell out quick. But maybe your budget is a little more discerning than most, and you don’t mind spending a few more bucks on a hotel that you expect to be a real treat, like the Crown Regency Hotel and Towers.
In fact, that’s exactly what I did when I wanted to book a hotel that would be a special treat for my birthday here in Cebu.
But after checking in and spending less than twelve hours here, this is my advice: don’t do it. And I’ll tell you why.
But first, to put this in context, the average 3-star in Cebu probably costs $50-$65 a night, and I paid $305 total for two nights at this Crown Regency.
Reviewing the Crown Regency in Cebu
Ok, so I checked in extra early – around 8:30 AM because that’s when my flight arrived, and they charged me 1,000 Pesos ($20) for the early check-in. That’s not a lot of money, but for $150 a night, why the hell do they need to charge you at all? If the room is free (like it was), then just let me in.
I got to my room and it was a suite on the 34th floor. Looks good enough and no complaints. But I did notice the little things, like the batteries in the TV remotes were dead, there was no hot water in the shower, and, most importantly, the AC didn’t work so well. Even on 18 Celsius (which should be icy cold), it was lukewarm in here all day.
Went down to breakfast and it was a disorganized, half-assed operation at best. A lot of the food was actually cold and I had to ask them to wipe down the dirty table (which also had flies on it) – inexcusable at a 4-star hotel for $150 a night, a fortune here in the Philippines. I also noticed the chairs in the dining room were filthy with decades worth of food and drink stains, but they just didn’t bother to clean them or replace them.
Used the gym later in the day and while it’s good sized and has some decent equipment, it was way too hot in there, a lot of things were broken or outdated, mislabeled or not returned to their proper place, and didn’t look clean at all. It just takes one extra worker to clean the place up and make it right, but the one gal working behind the front desk was unfriendly and disinterested. They wouldn’t even give me a towel at the gym! For a $150 a night hotel and you can’t use a towel at the gym!
Finally, I got back to the room, and it smelled like smoke, even in my bedroom and bathroom. I don’t know who was smoking but there was a cleaning staff person sitting in the room across the hall, relaxing on the chair checking his phone. I literally haven’t seen one other person in this floor, so my guess is that he smoked outside in the hall and it went up in the vents, or, worse, came into my apartment and smoked.
The general quality, cleanliness, and organization of this place just aren’t up to the standard of price, and it should only be a nice 3-star, not a 4 or 5 star.
We’ll see if it redeems itself tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath! (Except to avoid the smoke smell.)