Booking here was such a breeze! I looked for a lot of hotels on the internet and Hotel Centro was one of the hotels that promptly replied to all my email inquiries. Special thanks to Ms. Ayra Angeline Cadigal during the whole booking and reservation process. She was kind and patient in answering ALL of my queries, which was A LOT! I gave her what I wanted in a package and lo and behold, she helped me with a lot of options to choose from. I was ecstatic! She helped me plan a surprise for my companion (a.k.a. my boyfriend/fiance), which is not easy when it is via email, I should say. This trip was entirely a birthday and post anniversary surprise and I wanted everything to be perfect when we give the surprise. For those who don't have a credit card, that's okay. You can pay via the Hotel's Bank Account, 50% of your bill. Then the other 50% upon checking out. Way awesome! I'm not a fan of credit cards for online usage.
So, here goes!
* Dec. 17, 2013, DAY 1:
Upon arriving (9:30AM) and exiting Puerto Princesa Airport, we were greeted by their airport-hotel transfer/driver. He was very nice and approachable. Not just that, as he drove us to the hotel, he was simultaneously touring us along the way! Such a nice touch, Hotel Centro! It shows that each staff is knowledgeable which is a good help for tourists. He named a lot of restaurants (Kalui, Kinabuch, etc.) and gave us a lot of tips from reserving our tables at the Kalui to knowing the right amount to be paid to the tricycle drivers around Palawan.
We bid him goodbye and was greeted by the hotel staff. Although I didn't have anything printed, it was easy for me to just cruise up to the Front Desk and they just searched my name for my reservation. (Well, I did look for an confirmation e-mail because one of the roaming staff did ask for a printed confirmation. So I was a little flustered. My bad. They did direct me to just go ahead to the Front Desk anyways. Phew!) We were early for our check-in and just decided to have an early check-in. It costed Php600. Not too bad. We were tired from the early flight and we really wanted to just relax for a little while. we were booked in a Superior Room. It was clean and complete with all the amenities that was on their website. We especially loved how comfortable and cozy the room made us felt. We felt like we could just bum our whole stay there. It was too comfortable for us to move! Yet we had a City Tour arranged with a group at 1 PM. Oh, well! Bumming later. The Butler who brought our bags for us to the room was also very helpful. He even went down again to get our itinerary for our whole trip and gave tips on each trip. I commend this Hotel for having all staff well equipped and knowledgeable with the tours, too. We had food brought in to our room as we were famished! The Front desk called us a few minutes before 1PM to remind us to head downstairs for our 1PM Trip. How's that for efficient?
After the City Tour, we arrived at the hotel (5PM), booked a table at the Kalui with the help of the Front Desk and we headed up to our room. This was the time My surprise was going to be given! So I casually walked behind my companion, discreetly taking a video of him walking towards our room, opening our door, turning on the lights and VOILA! He was surprised and smiling from ear to ear. His eyes roamed around the room, from the bed with 2 towel swans to the rose petals strewn across and an I ♥ U written with rose petals, too! The first thing he said, "Wow! The Hotel is so sweet to know it's my birthday and just celebrated our Anniversary!" Of course, he turns around to look at me and then I said, "Surprise!" He then knew the hotel and I conjured this surprise for him. The look on his face was priceless. From the flowers to the cake and cards, Hotel Centro and it's staff went a long way to help me push with my surprise. Thank you so much, Hotel Centro! I have pictures of the surprise, by the way. Eventually, I went downstairs to the Front Desk to ask for Ms. Ayra Angeline Cadigal, so I could thank her personally. She was so nice and bubbly when I met her! She was extremely happy that the Hotel met my expectations with regards to the surprise. After some chit chatting, I bid her farewell and didn't want to intrude with whatever I pulled her out from.
That night we went to Kalui and had a sumptuous dinner. It was an amazing dinner and we do recommend this restaurant! *Burp* Returning from our dinner, we stayed by the poolside and sat there drinking (me:Margarita, Him: Beer) ate nachos (yes, even after our good filling dinner), and then we headed up to our room to get ready for tomorrow's journey.
** Dec. 18, 2013, DAY 2:
We had a 7AM Honda Bay Tour that morning and we were booked as Exclusive Coach that day. Meaning, we had the van and boat all to ourselves. Unfortunately, the travel agency/tour was not informed about this, I guess. At first, in my mind, I was like "What? But we're booked exclusively!" Then, not to ruin my day and my companion's, I decided then it was okay. It did turn out awesome! Thanks to the wonderful tour guide and boatsmen! They did teach us a whole lot of things. We did make some new friends with our tour group actually! We took pictures with them and exchanged emails so we can share with each other the pictures we took. (After this trip, we maintained contact with our new found friends and have added each other on Facebook and started FaceTime-ing each other.)
Arriving to our Hotel, we went up directly to the Front Desk to inform them that we just finished our Honda Bay Tour and it wasn't exclusive, boat and van. And I told them I wanted them ti update my bill so it would not reflect for that Tour that I will be paying for 6 people. When we arrived to our room, we got a call from one of the Hotel Staff (I forgot who it was and from what department, I do apologize) informing us that clearly they were wrong for us being on that trip which was supposed to be exclusive. I told them it was okay as we had an awesome time and wouldn't mind if tomorrow's trip (Underground River) would be with a tour group, too. (Yes, we were also booked exclusive for the Underground River Tour. The Hotel has several packages for Exclusivity if you want to have an intimate trip - to, during and from). The caller did say we are booked exclusive for tomorrow's trip and we won't have to worry. I thanked them for their honesty and it was indeed honest of them to apologize and owe up to the botch up tour.
We just prepared for our night tour which was the Firefly Watching tour. All I'm going to say, it was amaaaaaazing! We had dinner on the boat after we went firefly watching. Mind you, we went by batches, so we were batch 1 and batch 2 was left on the big boat to eat dinner first while we went on the tour and vice versa. Tip for all tourists and nature lovers: THIS IS A MUST! Go do the Firefly Watching Tour! You will not regret it. And of course, to top the night off, we stayed by the pool to just sit and talk, drink and snack. We were too tired to swim and it's very relaxing to sit back and enjoy the hotel's pool lights at night.
*** Dec. 19, 2013, DAY 3:
Today was our Underground River Tour (URT) and unfortunately the weather was not too good and the National Coast Guard advised that all URT are cancelled for the whole day. Bummer. Eventually, the Hotel did have a Plan B if we were willing. They gave us an option to go to Kamia Bay, which is not too far away. We did go for their plan. Kamia Bay is quiet, beautiful and serene! We practically had the whole place to ourselves! Seemed very exclusive. We didn't go snorkeling as the water was very deep and wasn't clear. So we chicken out on that one. So we just fed the fish with bread from a good height and went back to shore to go swimming, kayaking and snorkeling. Mind you, just a few meters from shore it's 20meters deep, a meter or so away, it's 40 meters deep!!!! So, yes. I was a scaredy cat and swimming is not one of my strongest skills. We did the Eco-trail Tour after fish feeding and before all that swimming and Kayaking. Eco Trail was very educational. We were taught how to start a fire with bamboos and bamboo debris, name the use of each plant, and a whole other more. We were treated with sugar cane sticks and a nice view all throughout, especially on the little hike we trekked on. it was a 1 KM tour and time would vary how long you stayed at each point of interest in the Eco Trail tour.
Lunch was EXCELLENT! The staff there was awesome, too! Very courteous and helpful! My companion was so happy and pleased with the welcome drink (Lemongrass or Wheat Lemongrass, or something like that), he asked a staff there who eventually was the "inventor" of the drink and gave us several plants for us! He was so accommodating and nice! We loved our stay there in Kamia Bay. We even dozed off at the lounge chairs for being so relaxed there. We did learn at the end of the day that Kamia Bay and Hotel Centro was owned by the same person/family. So that's why service is all out! Same management!
After Kamia Bay, we headed back to the hotel and of course, I went to the Front Desk to get my updated Bill. First printing of the bill, I noticed that the previous tour was not changed to 2 pax but was still for 6 pax (for exclusivity, you have to pay for all the passengers on that trip, this is why you pay for 6 people). I called that to their attention and after some explaining from me on what happened the day before, a manager (I think. He was wearing a white barong type of outfit which was not in contrast with the other staff who were black outfits) came out from an inside office behind the Front Desk and attended to me. He was very polite and friendly. He did respond to me saying, "Thank you, Ms. Leono. We will update your bill now and have it brought up to your room."
So we rested up in our room and a few minutes, I did receive my updated bill which was hand delivered by the same butler on our Arrival. Then we were off to go for our dinner trip to Kinabuch. We just took a tricycle from the Hotel with the help of the of the Hotel, of course. You just let anyone at the Front office know you need a tricycle and tell them your destination. TIP: Go to Kinabuch if you want to try the "Tamilok" or "Wood Worm" and Crocodile Sisig. Don't freak out at the word 'worm'. Tamilok is a type of oyster as well. Phew!, right?
After our dinner, of course we stayed again by the pool side, had a few drinks and relaxed. When we were finally sleepy and ready, we billed out and walked to the elevator. As we just reached the lobby, the pool Maire'd/Waiter came running up behind us. "Ma'am! Sir! You left this bag!" Wow! Talk about being honest, too! Hotel Centro's staff is going way out with their customer service. Not only it is efficient and excellent, they're all honest! We thanked him a thousand times for his honesty!
**** Dec. 20, 2013, Day 4:
This was our last day and we had a 10:00AM flight back to Manila, and of course, all staff were helpful once again. They took our luggages for us while we ate breakfast at the Cafe. And til the last minute, we felt their excellent customer service!
It was such an amazing vacation for us! We got a 50% discount card on our next trip there! You shall see us again, Hotel Centro!
~ Joanna Leono
1. The pool is amazing! Do go here for a swim, especially at night time. The pool lights are amazing. Or relax by the poolside with a drink and snack.
2. The Hotel Staff are courteous, efficient, polite, excellent and will go beyond your customer service expectation! To top it all off, they are honest. (Cited some instances above)
3. Hotel amenities/facilities are quite nice. They even have a gift shop which is reasonably priced.
4. Hotel cleanliness is impeccable! We loved returning to a clean and organized room from a tiring, fun-filled trip. We had the most comfortable stay at Hotel Centro than any place we ever stayed at.
5. Don't own or don't want to use a credit card for online reservation? No worries! You can pay 50% of your bill via the Hotel's bank account and the other 50% upon checking out. I did my reservation through series of email with Hotel Centro's reservation assistants/specialists.
1. We loved all your amenities and all but we do recommend that "COFFEE" in the room should be regularly replenished/checked. Just a tip if ever you have a Coffee addict. (Like, me! )
2. With regards to the Room Service food, they are a little pricey. I do understand business is business but it would be nice if it was too overpriced.
3. For the breakfast buffet, maybe add more choices?
4. With regards to tours and exclusivity, just advise the tour operators about this before hand. We do understand it tends to get busy but we do want our money's worth and are willing to shelf out for the exclusivity.
5. There should be more than 4 hangers in the closet.
I hope this was helpful to everyone!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in 1.2 hectares of verdant surroundings in the heart of Puerto Princesa, Hotel Centro allows you to relax in and commune with nature. It offers air-conditioned rooms, all of which have cable TV, mini-bar, and coffee/tea maker. Some of its amenities are business centre with high-speed Internet access, swimming pool, and airport and city transfers. While staying here you can visit some tourist spots like Puerto Princesa Underground River, Honda Bay Islands, Ugong Rock Spelunking and Zipline. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Centro Palawan Island/Puerto Princesa