Living in Dumaguete, there are too few options when friends come in from out of town and want a place to stay (and my studio apartment isn’t offered to them!) On one side of the spectrum are the very local hotels, which don’t cost too much but are not up to Western standards. They are usually more like shabby boarding houses where people stop over for the night or cram a whole family into a single room. Many times, they don’t have AC, or the air conditioners are filthy (they never change the filters) if they do. The bathrooms are probably comically small and reminiscent of washing outside behind the house, the beds small, hard, and the sheets and pillows scratchy, and mosquitos, bed bugs, and loud noise is always the norm. Ok, they’re not ALWAYS this bad – but that’s what you might find in many of them.

The Go Hotels chain in Phillipines

On the other end of the spectrum are the very few high-end hotels, and paying close to $100 a night (or even $50 a night and up) for a hotel in Dumaguete proper is pretty ridiculous. Outside of town in nearby Dauin, for instance, there are plenty of scenic dive resorts right on the beach with gorgeous swimming pools and gardens, etc. that are considered luxury, and these can range from $50 all the way up to $250 a night! But those are pretty far out of town.

We don’t have a Ritz Carlton, Marriott, a Hilton, a Best Western, or even a Red Planet – the southeast Asian version of a budget hotel that’s still modern and up to western standards. But one of the other options is our Go Hotel, which itself is a chain.

The good news first is that they cost next to nothing. I paid only 880 Pesos (about $19) for a night’s stay, which is even a few bucks less than Red Planets. In Dumaguete, the Go Hotel also sits right adjacent to Robinson Mall, so it’s a convenient place to sit outside and get some food or drinks, do some shopping and browse, or even go see a movie to enjoy your time in Dumaguete. The rooms are also bigger than Red Planet rooms (which are, however, comically small).

I would describe Go Hotels as sort of like a decent 2-star motel in the U.S. The lobby (which is open-air, a concept I sort of like!) is nice enough and organized, and they have their own small restaurant/coffee shop down there for convenience. But you’re looking at stairs, not an elevator, clean but old rooms, simple amenities that work but haven’t been updated in a long time, small but usable TVs, etc. Unlike Red Planet, which has big showers with great hot water, Go Hotels have small bathrooms with showers that only seem to have cold-ish water no matter what time of day. The wi-fi, too, may or may not work, and the towels, sheets, and pillows are something you’d find in an army barracks. But they do have a safe for your things, are relatively quiet except for a little outdoor traffic, and are safe. Did I happen to mention that the price is right? Go Hotels definitely serve a purpose as a budget Western-style hotel for people coming in and out of Dumaguete or who aren’t going to spend a lot of time in their rooms.

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.