This is a difficult review to write because I really want to give the hotel good marks but can't due to my personal preferences.
I arrived at the Soto Grande in Oct 2012 on a combination personal and business trip. I purchased a condominium next door to this facility at the La Mirada complex and I was in the country to complete paperwork and to actually see the completed condo for the first time. La Mirada is next door to the Soto Grande so I figured that I would book a room there so that I wouldn't have to deal with Cebu traffic.
I arrived on a Korean Airlines flight after midnight and then had a private car take me to the resort. While the driver knows all area of Cebu, he had difficulty finding the resort due to the complete lack of street lights on the roads leading to the resort. Couple the darkness with cows, goats, dogs, and people sitting on the side of the road drinking, and the ride to the resort made me begin to question if purchasing property in the Philippines was a wise investment after all.
Anyway, I arrived at the hotel and check-in was fast and efficient. The staff was excellent. They greeted me warmly and always had a willing smile. If not for the staff, the Soto Grande would not receive the marks I have given.
The bellman took my bags to my room and the first thing I noticed once past the front desk was that the hallways were not air conditioned. It was hot and muggy in the hallways. As I was walking to my room, I wondered to myself if mold would be a problem in a hallway that was in a humid place such as Cebu.
My room was on the 6th floor and once out of the steamy hallway, my initial impression was that the room was acceptable. The bed was comfortable and there were plenty of storage spaces. Lighting was good and the room didn't have any odors.
There were a few noticeable stains on the carpet but the room was clean and appeared to be prepared. Arriving at such a late hour, coupled with a 28-hour travel day, and I was ready for bed. However, I quickly found that the room wasn't cooling down properly from the AC and I was literally sweating in my bed. I called housekeeping and they came to the room and after a few clicks of the AC remote control and pushing a few buttons on the unit, they assured me that the AC was fine. I fell asleep from exhaustion but woke up early in the morning and it was still warm in the room.
I took a shower and realized that the tub is on the small side and there was no hot water. I would describe the water as "lukewarm" at best. Water pressure was OK, but there were stains galore on the ceiling, on the shower curtain bar, on the shower head and around the tub in general. The sink was missing a drain stop and part of my razor dropped down the drain. There was no soap storage dish and as the soap melted from the humidity in the room, there was a white river of soap running around the sink. My thoughts were that the room needed a complete deep cleaning where they would address all of these issues.
The bathroom towels need to be replaced. They are old and not soft. They were clean but seemed to be of a low level quality. Quality towels are required!
The TV had poor reception on many channels even though it was satellite. The TV didn't shut off when you pressed the off-button on the remote. You have to physically push the on/off button on the TV to turn the TV off. If you turn the satellite box off with the remote, the TV will remain on and shine a light in your room until you get up and push the button.
The power in the room is for 220 and if you have the typical 3-prong plugs found in the US, you will need an adapter to get your electrical items to work.
There were a lot of Korean tourists staying at the resort while I was there and must say that the majority were very rude. I was in line for breakfast, plate in hand, and a Korean tourist, walked up, stepped in front of me, grabbed several plates, and proceeded to fill her plates with food. She then dished out food for her children and husband. As I tried to step around her to move to the next food item, she physically blocked me from doing so. Not wanting a confrontation, I simply waited for her to finish loading up on food and then had to ask the staff to refill some of the few food items as she had emptied much of what was available.
While the hotel provided me with food tickets, the food left much to be desired. The scrambled eggs were not good. They are hard to describe. The eggs were freezing cold and I had to send them to be warmed up in a microwave. The bread had a strange taste and the toaster took forever. I ordered room service one evening and the food was just OK. Nothing spectacular, just OK.
Going back to my room, I was moved to another room on the 6th floor because the AC never did cool down. The staff did an excellent job of moving me. They helped with all of my bags and made sure the room was good to go. Once again, I reiterate, the Soto Grande staff is exceptional. It's not their fault that they work in a hotel where management is not addressing many of the maintenance concerns. The 2nd room was better than the first regarding the AC but the bathroom issues that I noted in the first room, were also prevalent in the second room.
The hotel/resort does have a wonderful pool. The pool is the property of the La Mirada condo that I just purchased, but hotel guests can access the pool. While the pool isn't deep, it is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect spot during hot afternoons.
I walked down to the beach and wasn't impressed. It's not very large and there were men pulling what appeared to be sea-weed from the water and allowing it to dry on the beach. There is plenty of security and if you want to jump in the water, it appears to be fine but there was plenty of sea-weed visible from the landing.
There is a large clubhouse next to the hotel but it was empty the week that I was visiting. There appeared to be several bicycles for rent available but they were in such poor condition, I wouldn't risk sitting on any of those bicycles. However, the clubhouse was nice and looks like it would be a great place to host a wedding or major party.
Now back to the hotel and my pet peeve. Internet access.
Internet access is critical for me regardless of location. In a thriving and growing place such as Cebu City, it is inexcusable for a hotel/resort to have such poor Internet access. Rooms do not have Internet. If you need the Internet, you have to sit in the hotel lobby and access the Internet there. As I wound up in the lobby at 2AM to check email, I was accompanied by a host of other foreigners and tourists who were all trying to access the Internet. We all sat around on chairs and couches in the lobby and it just seemed strange to have to sit there in a lobby to try to work. Soto Grande needs to install appropriate WI-fi access on all floors that will provide Internet access to all rooms. If they want to compete for business customers and tourists who require Internet access, they really need to address this glaring problem immediately.
Would I stay at the Soto Grande again? I would.
Would the Soto Grande be my first choice? No. They need to make minor repairs in the rooms and make sure that deep cleanings are done to ensure guests receive the top quality accommodations during their visits.
The Soto Grande staff are great people. Friendly. Caring. Warm. They provide a positive vibe and are willing to help. But they are stuck working for a hotel that needs to update. If they can make minor repairs and smart investments in technology, this hotel/resort will be exceptional.
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- Also Known As:
- Sotogrande Hotel Lapu Lapu
- Sotogrande Hotel And Resort
- SotoGrande Hotel & Resort Cebu Island/Mactan Island