Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hotel Vicente - Finding a Home in Davao City

Last Kadayawan Festival (August), I found myself scampering for a last-minute booking to visit the city. It wasn't for the annual festivity but for something else. Most of the major hotels were fully booked, understandably. Six hours before my scheduled check-in, I found Hotel Vicente. I arrived but was 3 hours too early so I just registered, left my baggage at the front desk and went my way. 

Later that afternoon, I sent my driver to instruct the front desk to take my luggage to my room. I was wary they might give it away if I didn't show up before midnight.

I booked for a double room (Room 405) which was a spacious, beautifully interiored space at the back of the hotel. It had comfortable bed and pillows, a table where you can work with your laptop; a cable TV, and clean bathroom with functioning fixtures. There were towels and a soap, but some perks (like toothbrush, shampoo) weren't available. Two small bottles of mineral water were given for free. 

Despite its size (5 stories), this quaint hotel has an elevator. Noise level is kept to a minimum since my room didn't face the street. What I had was a view of the city; not impressive but not shabby either. The hotel looked relatively new too. 

The booking included free breakfast served buffet style at Cristobal Restaurant and Bar. Though choice was limited (see photo), for its price, their food sufficed for a decent breakfast. 

Outside breakfast, their menu (see photo) offers a lot of interesting items which, from online reviews, are impressive. Choices include Grilled Tuna Belly and Spare Ribs in White Wine (P275), Sinigang (P215), Pinakbet with Bagnet (P255), Malasugue in Bacalao Sauce (P285), Kare-kare (P325), Humba (P265), Paella (P498 good for 2-3 persons), Lengua (P215), etc. Before I forget, there's a Paella restaurant just across the street, if you're into it.  

At registration, there is a city tax and service charge levied outside your booking (roughly P250). 

A guard watches the door all day on a vine-covered entrance, which makes for good IG photos. As to its location, you'd need a taxi to get to places like Gaisano Mall of Davao (around P100). Victoria Mall (which isn't really much) is closer though. F. Torres, the street where it's located, is actually a food avenue, but the row of restaurants are some 5 blocks away. There's a 7-11 in 3 blocks (where I got a Sinalco Cola) and a Durian Carinderia (selling arancillo variety, with tables) in two blocks. It's also easy to hail a taxi from the hotel.

Sinalco Cola

I was surprised finding a Sinalco Cola at the nearby 7-11. Sinalco Cola is a new cola drink manufactured in Germany. It's main feature is its taste. If you're a fan of Coca Cola, you'd be pleasantly surprised with Sinalco as it tastes almost like Coke: less sweeter than the original or Pepsi, but without the shabby taste of Coke Zero or Coke Light. That's just my take.

Hotel Vicente is a great base if you're in Davao City. It's more affordable than the more popular hotels (though not by much). It has a no-frills operation and the staff are accommodating. It isn't as "central" as Seda, Red Planet, Apo View, or Royal Mandaya which are on major streets, but I prefer to be at the fringes.

Lobby and Front Desk

My breakfast haul

Cristobal Restaurant and Bar

If you're caught smoking, there's a cleaning fee of P2,000 plus a city government fine since Davao is strictly a smoke-free city. Do not contest it coz bigger establishments have tried.


For your perusal, the menu at Cristobal Restaurant and Bar.

My Sinalco Cola from Germany.

Room with a view?

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