The Jesuit House, the Casa Gorordo and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño – Cebu City, the original capital of the Philippines, is home to some impressive museums and churches. Plus it has world-beating shopping malls. Here’s our list of recommendations of where to stay when you’re visiting the the island of Cebu.
You’ll need several days to explore Cebu as there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities, but don’t miss the shopping malls, too, where you can cool down with air conditioning and enjoy an ice-cold halo-halo dessert – and some of the country’s best léchon, or roast suckling pig.
This 329-room hotel, in the hilly Lahug district, is close to the Cebu Taoist temple, Ayala Center Cebu and the Sugbo Mercado night market. The grand marble lobby leads to light-filled pastel rooms with tea- and coffee-making facilities, a minibar and free wifi. Spend your afternoon working out at the gym, jumping into the pool or unwinding at the spa. Then dine under the open sky at Blu Bar & Grill, which serves American-style beef tenderloin and artistic bite-size desserts. Finish with live music at the Lobby Lounge.
Harolds Hotel sits just a few blocks from the Ayala Center Cebu – home to western brands including Mango and Guess, as well as Filippino stalwarts such as the National Book Store. Muted modern rooms come with an in-room safe, a minibar and a daily newspaper. H-Cafe fulfils all of your dining needs with dishes such as marinated pork belly and native vegetables in shrimp paste, while the rooftop Highlights Lounge serves colourful cocktails and Asian fusion cuisine.
This serviced apartment complex in Kamputhaw combines the feel of home with the slickness of a hotel. All rooms come with a kettle, microwave, refrigerator, induction cooker and rice cooker. Premier-tier suites and above come in a loft format and have a washer and dryer. Work out in the fitness centre, or plunge into the rooftop pool before heading down to Abaca restaurant for all-day international and Pinoy cuisine.
You’ll never go hungry at this four-star hotel. Not only are you within the Ayala mall complex – home to fabulous léchon houses and Korean barbecue galore – but the on-site restaurant, Misto, serves international dishes in an atmospheric marble-clad setting with a pool terrace. Rooms come with a minibar, tea and coffee facilities, and a TV with USB connectivity. You can also use the huge gym with machines and free weights – that is, if you’re not exhausted from shopping.
The eclectic style of the Henry reflects its owner, eccentric hotelier Henry “Hanky” Lee. Rooms start at “big” and go up to “double extra-large”, and no two are the same. Young Cebuano artists Mark Luzon and Mark Copino have gone to town on murals and colourful decor, from Sinulog Festival dancers to Moroccan faux windows with mountain scenery. Curl up in the Reading Nook (a quiet corner reserved for book lovers), sip coffee on a pop-art chair in Rica’s Café, or browse Filipino woven garments at the Honest Henry. The Streetscape Mall and several Asian eateries are minutes away.
This casino resort is ideal for business travel, just minutes from the Cebu IT Park business district and several convention centres. Each of the 561 guest rooms has air conditioning, a well-stocked minibar and cable TV, while the Penthouse Suite is the highest tier – 247sqm (2,659sqft) of Hollywood-style luxury. Nine drinking and dining options include sashimi at Mizu and poolside cocktails at Pool Aquarius. After filling up, try your luck on the old-school gaming floor.