WARNING: If you need Internet connectivity or Wi-Fi while staying in Surigao, I strongly encourage you to read this review. If you’re dependent on connectivity, then you need to know the situation at Hotel Tavern.
Before I say anything else, I must report that I’m very disappointed in Hotel Tavern. Their advertised “Wi-Fi” capability was TOTALLY UNRELIABLE, and their connectivity problems ruined an otherwise pleasant experience! Hotel Tavern is a decent hotel alternative in a city where there aren’t many high-quality hotels. But, I was duped by Hotel Tavern’s advertised claims, and their inability to assist their guests with viable Internet alternatives.
EDITORIAL NOTE: This review is divided into two sections. The first section reviews Hotel Tavern on everything except their Internet connectivity. The final section details my experience with their broadband connectivity.
HOTEL TAVERN (THE GOOD):
- Newer rooms (in West Wing) are clean. The standard room is modern, with a shower stall (no tub in some rooms), small refrigerator, flat-screen TV, and cable (but, cable service is provided by Surigao Cable TV, and was often not working during my stay, sometimes for as long as 18 continuous hours)
- Tavern has a basic, but good breakfast buffet (cost included with room). They also have good brewed coffee at breakfast. NOTE: The buffet at breakfast is not served in the attached restaurant, but in a room (Café Rosa) above the hotel lobby.
- The City Garden Restaurant is attached to the hotel. The food and selection are satisfactory, and reasonably priced by Western standards.
- Lobby of hotel is nicely decorated, and is a pleasant environment to relax and read the newspaper, socialize, etc.
- The hotel is a short walk from a major grocery store. It is also a short trike ride to the downtown area (about three minutes; 1.3 KM).
- Hotel appears to have good security. On two occasions, I observed the night guard patrolling the floors.
- Hotel provides free transportation to/from Surigao Airport. The driver was waiting for me when I got off the plane, and he returned me at my requested time.
- Hotel is next to the ocean (not a beach), and walking their “Boulevard” at night, with the refreshing ocean breeze, is a real pleasure.
HOTEL TAVERN (THE “NOT-SO-GOOD”):
- Newer rooms tend to be small. The mattresses are inexpensive-foam type, and many Westerners will find them inadequate after a few hours. In the morning, water pressure is low, and hot water can, at times, be a premium (this minor inconvenience can be avoided with planning).
- During my lengthy stay (9 days), the cable TV service was often cut-off, with no warning or explanation (I was informed this was the responsibility of Surigao Cable TV, not Hotel Tavern)
- Unfortunately, my entire stay, and my impression of Tavern staff and management, were severely tainted by the incidents involving the Internet connectivity.
- Some Front-Desk staff appear to be intimidated by a foreigner politely and professionally asking about a hotel-wide problem affecting ALL of their guests. I attribute this behavior to a lack of sufficient training.
REVIEW OF HOTEL TAVERN’S ADVERTISED INTERNET CONNECTIVITY:
I chose this hotel based on their “Wi-Fi” advertisement on their website. The following commentary may sound a little harsh and nitpicking, but I personally believe it’s very important for prospective guests to know the truth, and plan, accordingly. I was duped. I don’t want others to have a similar experience.
As a business professional, I was severely inconvenienced by Tavern’s unreliable Internet connectivity.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I regret to inform TripAdvisor readers that despite advertising their Internet connectivity, online, and in various print media, Hotel Tavern:
1. Failed to invest the necessary resources to keep their Internet connectivity up and running
2. Failed to communicate, to their customers, the reasons for their connectivity problems
3. Failed to provide reasonable alternatives for customers during their long-term outage(s)
4. Was apathetic and completely indifferent when I requested to meet, in person, with the Hotel Manager, to discuss the problem
RECOMMENDATION: If you depend on Internet connectivity, you may need to make other arrangements. DO NOT depend on Hotel Tavern! There’s an Internet Café about 200 meters from Tavern, with reliable (albeit slow) connectivity and semi-private rooms (P20/hr.). However, some foreigners may not be comfortable walking to/from the cafe after dark.
If you’re interested in the details of this fiasco, please keep reading.
On the first evening of my stay, there was absolutely no Internet connectivity. I stopped trying, the first evening, at about 9 p.m. Much to my dismay, the connectivity remained “non-existent” when I went to breakfast the following morning. It was down for unknown reasons, and there was absolutely no attempt by the hotel management to communicate the reason(s) for the lack of connectivity, or assist their guests with alternatives.
After nearly two days with no Internet, I approached the Front-Desk staff for an explanation. I was informed there was no “known” problem. Uniquely, however, for the first time during my stay (and after 40+ hours of no connectivity), I was told there was a “wired” LAN connection next to the check-in desk that was available for guest use. This alternative was better than nothing, but it is also unreliable (frequently not working), and it’s inadequate because anyone can observe your online business while you’re sitting at the desk (in other words, there is no privacy!).
Finally, on the morning of the third day of my stay, the wireless connectivity was restored. Unfortunately, this story does not end here.
After working for two consecutive days, the wireless connectivity, once again, went down, for unknown reasons. AGAIN, I regret to inform readers that wireless Internet connectivity was down for 3.5 continuous days, and cycled on/off (but mostly OFF) for the remainder of my stay. During the outages, the wired connection next to the front desk was also completely unreliable.
Now, many of you will say, “What do you expect in Surigao City?….it’s a small town in Southern Philippines!” Well, I understand your counter-argument, but here’s my response:
This is the twelfth year of the 21st Century. Broadband Internet connectivity is NOT a new technology, and it is NOT difficult or expensive to maintain! In the past, I’ve been reliably connected in numerous remote locations, and in far-less-prestigious accommodations as Hotel Tavern. Also, as I walk the downtown streets of Surigao City, I see numerous Internet Cafes, and they always have several clients (i.e., the Internet is working, with no problems). Thus, Internet connectivity is NOT a problem in the city, in general.
For many professionals, Internet connectivity is absolutely vital, even in not-so-big towns in a developing nation. Having the capability to routinely check e-mail, handle emergencies, and perform other important business functions, online, is not a luxury, or an option! Continuous and reliable broadband connectivity is mainstream and mandatory! I’m near-certain the management of Hotel Tavern is well aware of the importance of continuous and reliable Internet connectivity. However, I’m appalled that Hotel Tavern did not take appropriate action to resolve their issues, and provide alternatives for their guests.
By the way, Surigao City is not a remote, off-the-beaten-path, second-rate city! It has a population of 132,000 (2007 est.). It is a provincial capitol (Surigao del Norte)! It is growing rapidly, and many major RP businesses are coming here (e.g., SM, Robinson’s, Gaisano). True, it’s not Manila or Davao City. But, in my opinion, there is absolutely NO excuse for connectivity being down for days at a time, and overall access being totally unreliable.
Tavern’s indifference to the Internet connectivity problems perpetuates a common stereotype about the Philippines, (i.e., staff and management are improperly trained, or simply apathetic, when it comes to resolving minor, easy-to-fix, customer-service issues).
I have one last comment. I’m 99.99% certain the Internet connectivity problems had NOTHING to do with my personal laptop equipment. I have an advanced engineering degree, decades of experience, and just prior to my stay in Surigao, I was connected in numerous other locations in the Philippines. So, before you point the finger in my direction, please know I understand Internet connectivity issues and problems very well, and the problem was NOT ME, it was Hotel Tavern!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.