Living in Dumaguete, the up and coming tourist hotspot in the central Philippines, there’s a shortage of both good, modern, western-style accommodations and the equivalent for hotels. Sure, there are plenty of simple, local-style homestays, hostels, and dormitories, or overpriced apartments that don’t even have air conditioning in the main rooms despite the intense tropical heat, but great places to live or stay – that justify the climbing prices – are few and far between. Add in the search for a facility with a decent (and clean) swimming pool, and we’re talking diamond-in-the-rough territory.
For that reason, I’m perpetually both apartment hunting and scouting out good hotels for when friends come visit. When I find one, it’s like discovering your favorite new musical artist – you buy the album as soon as you can and play it again and again, all day long.
And that was the case when I recently discovered Florentina Homes in Dumaguete. And while it doesn’t check every single box, but damn close except for one major issue.
So, what is Florentina Homes? It’s a unique apartment-style hotel. That means that the units probably were apartments at one point where people rented for a year, etc., but they got smart and turned them into nightly rental individual hotel suites. But they are totally functional with a full kitchen, extra bed space to pull outetc., which is conducive to whole families of Filipinos staying there.
But the cool part is that each one of these apart-telles, confined to four in a self-sustained unit, are charmingly decorated like a country/place in the world. So, there are Spanish, Swiss, British, and even Midterannean-style apartments. You can even tell where you are in the “Florentina World” by the cute little miniature street signs that adorn the path leading between all of them.
There’s even a cool Tower apartment which is designed like a four-story lighthouse but contains the nicest suite in the complex.
From the outside, all of them are decorated like chalets or cottages from their respective countries.
However, for me, the best part of Florentina Homes is the landscaping. No matter which unit you’re in, they come with A-frame buildings, wooden trim, balconies, old-style glazed windows, and flowers and vines growing all over the outside.
In fact, the floral masterpiece isn’t reserved for the balconies, window boxes, and sides of buildings, but all over the surprisingly well-kept grounds.
Downside? They don’t rent long term anymore like month-to-month, and the nightly rate is about $80 a night – pretty damn expensive for Dumaguete but well worth it since you can bring your whole family.
Upside? Florentina Homes has a fantastic pool area called The Oasis that’s open to the public. The pool is a little older but well built and maintained, with a swim-up bar, waterfall, and waterslide. There are even plenty of flowers growing along the rock walls surrounding it, and a little eating deck with a flower arch over the waterfall! Anyone can come to The Oasis for only 200 Pesos ($4) and chill at the pool for the day, ordering beers or food from their restaurant inside.
So, even though I can’t stay at Florentina Homes, I can hang out there on hot, sunny afternoons and weekends! Win!