For about $50 US you can reserve yourself the cheapest accommodations available in this boutique hotel right in the heart of Manila's financial district and in walking distance of just about everything you need or desire as a foreign visitor to this great city. Like with anything you get what you pay for and this hotel is no exception. Let's first start with the disadvantages of deciding to stay here.
This hotel is infested with roaches and there is nothing the establishment can do (as I had been told) to overcome this problem at least nothing within reason. Sure the staff did the best they could by spraying my room daily but by morning...the unwelcome visitors have returned! I didn't dare to have any food in my room for the 17 nights I stayed there. A big part of the problem with the infestation is the shoddy construction of the rooms. For example, the bathroom is completely tiled but the grouting isn't complete leaving access holes for the roaches in between the tiles, around the water fixtures in the shower and sink, and behind any wall mounted fixtures or mirrors. In the bedroom, the windows are not weather sealed allowing not only noise from the streets to echo loudly into your room but give full unrestricted access to whatever may decide to come in for a reprieve from the beating midday sun. If that isn't bad enough, there is a half inch gap underneath the A/C unit where it is mounted into the window. Luckily I am a heavy sleeper and can sleep through just about anything but I kid you not when I say that in room 209 and 210 you will feel like you are sleeping right on the street when the traffic is honking away 18 out of 24 hours everyday. As far as cleanliness goes, I believe the room was clean because the staff made my bed everyday and vacuumed whenever I requested (only when I requested because I would notice the same dead roaches on the floor) but it was really difficult to tell because the lighting in the room was horribly low. All the lights including the ones in the bathroom have all been changed to CFL bulbs of insufficient brightness. This made the biggest impact in the bathroom because I couldn't tell the results of my shaving by looking in the mirror because there literally wasn't enough light to see the details in your face. Also, there is Wi-Fi but it is only available in the lobby.
So you are probably asking what did I get for the money?
Well. First of all, the staff were all very friendly, helpful, and honest. At no time was anything stolen from my room including the 100+ pesos in coins accumulating on the counter top at any given point, nor did I feel unsafe about my personal belongs being left in the room. Now I took the precautions of stowing away my Macbook and Nikon D300 and lenses when I left them in the room, but everything remained exactly as I had left them whenever I returned and the room was serviced during my absence. 5 stars for that alone!
The hotel is right across from Greenbelt Mall which caters to shoppers with every need and on every budget including just about every major designer you recognize. I wouldn't recommend buying from these stores because they are much more expensive than purchasing the same product from the states but if you are interested the shops are there. Everything from Omega, Diesel, Armani, Nike, the Philippines version of the Apple Store, to Chili's, CPK, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks, and Seattle's Best Coffee, etc. And if that's not enough, SM Glorietta is another gigantic mall connected via a land bridge which leads to even more chain restaurants, shops and boutiques. This $50 a night hotel is nestled among 4 and 5 star hotels (US ratings) in the area known as Greenbelt and Glorietta and in walking distance of everything you need. This is a great value if you bring your own Roach Motels and ear plugs. ;-)
Actually I don't think the street noise is much of a consideration in any other room other than 209 because those rooms are situated further back in the hotel and not facing the main street. If I had a do over, I would have opted for the slightly smaller rooms for a little more peach and quiet.
As for the roaches, you soon realize that they are everywhere in Manila and that they are a way of life there. Eventually you become accustomed to seeing one and then smashing one (in my case), or just brushing them aside and carrying on with your business. By no means keep any food or drink other than bottled beverages in your room or you'll be inviting trouble. I've contemplated of perhaps renting an apartment the next time I visit, but I was reminded about the lack of security in doing so especially when you leave your apartment unattended people will break in and take all your belongings. In Roman Suites, there is always someone in the lobby guarding the stairs to the second floor where all the rooms for rent are located.
There is a restaurant located on the ground floor but I never saw it open. The front desk staff say the restaurant can fire up the kitchen for you whenever you want but I found it more convenient and much more of a variety in dining to just walk across the street to Greenbelt mall.
If you are into dancing Salsa and enjoy live latin music then you are in luck. At Havana Cafe in Greenbelt 3 you will find a live latin band every night of the week and enough good local salsa dancers to have a good time dancing. If you're single and don't know how to dance, that's okay too. Just go there and you wont have any problems finding another single who doesn't dance salsa either who will be more than happy to keep you company...for a fee of course. Now if you are an avid Salsa dancer, your hotel is only a 20 minute taxi ride (50-70 pesos) to La Dolce Vita restaurant (41 Polaris Street, Bel Air, near Burgos) where you can dance the night away on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 to close at a real Salsa dance event with a real dance floor.
I wouldn't recommend this hotel to anyone I know because of the roaches and perhaps the noise, but personally these are just minor inconveniences to me considering the price and location, and I would probably stay here again.
- Also Known As:
- Roman Hotel Makati
- Roman Suites Hotel Makati, Metro Manila