Ahhhhh Cebu! The Philippines Queen City! One of the oldest and most historic cities in the nation of 7,500 islands! The gateway to the Visaya island region, with some of the best san, sun, and surf you’ll find anywhere in the world!
Ahhhhhh, Cebu! Home of….traffic, pollution, and ugliness?
Yup, as the city of Cebu is one of my least favorite in the entire world, and definitely on my list of places to avoid like the plague here in my adopted home country of the Philippines. Unfortunately , I lived here for about six months when I first moved to this otherwise beautiful, sunny nation, but quickly discovered that Cebu had all of the bad stuff from Manila (insanely congested traffic, pollution, overcrowding, etc.) but also very few decent restaurants, an unsavory and lacking nightlife scene, and also NO nature (not even one green park!) in the entire city!
But here’s the messed up thing – tens of thousands of travelers get duped every year into thinking that Cebu CITY is actually Cebu ISLAND. Yes, the former is on the latter, but the tourism campaign promotes photos of white sand beaches, lush green jungles, scuba diving paradises, and even swimming with whale sharks! All of this is at your disposal if you just fly into Cebu…only a soul-draining 7-hour travel day away. So, a lot of travelers needlessly plan a few days in Cebu CITY and think that those destinations are at their doorstep, and spend more of their vacation time on exhausting travel than actually getting somewhere fun.
To add to the confusion, the airport in Cebu is located on the man-made island of Mactan adjacent to the actual city. While it’s not far as the crow flies, it can sometimes take you an hour or even 90 minutes sitting in traffic just to get to your hotel in the popular areas in Cebu city!
So, the long and short of it is that when I fly in and out of Cebu city (and it is a great hub to other places), I’m always looking for the perfect airport hotel.
And I just found the perfect new hotel here in Mactan, not too far from the airport (a 15-minute drive or so), at the right price ($60 or so), and with all the conveniences and amenities I’d need for a quick overnight or a longer journey.
The Eloiysa Royal Suites is located in the sub-city of Lapu-Lapu (named after the native chief who killed Magellan!), which is only a few miles from the airport. No longer do you have to plan on 2 hours checking in AND 90 minutes just to fight traffic and get to the airport when flying out of Cebu.
While the neighborhood doesn’t look like much, I assure you that this hotel is well worth the price. My room was small but surgically cleaned, modern, and seemingly brand new. The Wi-Fi works, the aircon is frosty, and the hot water is at least warm.
Likewise, the Eloiysa has bigger suites you can rent in their back building. They also have a nice small swimming pool that looks brand new (with a poolside bar), a serviceable but clean and modern exercise room, a coffee shop in the lobby that makes impressive espresso drinks, and a full-service restaurant with free breakfast.
If you need anything else, there’s also a mall only a few steps away with a Nike and Oakley discount outlet (going to check it out soon!)
From now on, I’ll stay at the Eloiysa instead of braving a long drive into Cebu City proper or spending $120/night on the other great (but overpriced) option, the Waterfront Hotel.