On a side trip to Cebu while visiting in the Philippines, I was initially staying at a budget hotel at $20/night. However, the surrounding neighborhood was sketchy and the staff warned me about jewelry snatching when asking about a place for dinner. This caused me to spend the money to find a hotel in a safer location. I figured that the area surrounding Ayala Mall would at least have security, if not a safer neighborhood, so I selected Quest Cebu based on location, reviews and the over 50% discount promotion.
I immediately noticed that Quest may have 4 star style, but the 1 star budget hotel was much better maintained. Personally, I rather have a well maintained hotel over high-end style. The hotel is showing quite a bit of wear and tear. The rooms are only being generally cleaned and not thoroughly cleaned. Even with the promotion, I considered the rate to be high compared to other places throughout the central visayas.
However, the promotion rate was worth the location, security and service at Quest. The difference was night and day form the budget hotel. Cebu is a city with large areas of local business that are not the store fronts of western countries. Instead they reflect the poor economy of the country, so as a Western the mall across the street is invaluable for easily finding dinner or shopping for needed items. Quest also maintains their own level of security with bag inspection, walk-through screening and a log of cabs that guests used. Initially, I felt extremely safe within Quest and walking about the surrounding area. I even booked an extra night.
Unfortunately, as I entered the cab to depart for the airport the cab driver greeted me with a personal detail about myself. I didn't recall meeting him before and he confirmed that fact. Apparently, that personal service I was enjoying at Quest was being used as conversation with outside individuals. I also noticed that the staff seemed to personally remember and get to know their guests. I wasn't even offended when the staff noted that I was a budget traveler. I was still treated warmly. That same warm feeling turned to fear and anxiety once I realized that same personal attention was putting my safety at risk. Any female traveling alone knows that the number one rule is not to advertise personal information that would identify you as a target. I never fathomed that the hotel would share that information. Fortunately, this was just a three day side trip. I wasn't there long enough for someone to capitalize on Quest's indiscretion.
I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND any solo female traveler to stay here. Everyone else, this is a solid hotel. Despite the wear and tear, I enjoyed the floor to ceiling corner windows in my room and the decor. The location was safe and convenient. The only other con about Quest is that the concierge is not well informed. They know only what Quest offers. I lucked out when a staff member stepped up who happened to know the area. Personally, I would not pay higher than the promotional rate.
Cebu, Philippine local Information:
1. Females do not travel solo in the Philippines:
During my three day side trip to Cebu, I was asked by EVERYONE: Are you alone?. This was usually followed by, "Oh, you are brave!" Eventually, someone explained to me that at least in the central visayas, local women do not travel alone. And I never did meet another solo female traveler. During the overall trip through other southeast Asia countries, I met numerous solo female travelers, which is why I felt comfortable with the side trip. I was wrong. I was never harmed, but I didn't feel comfortable. After learning about Quest sharing personal information about guests, I knew I would not return to Cebu alone again, if ever.
2. Theft of yellow gold is rampant:
I was advised more than once to remove my necklace to avoid having it snatched while out and about. The jewelry stores primarily sell white gold due to the theft issue.
3. Taxi are not easily flagged from the street:
If you are not paying your taxi to wait, especially on the outskirts of the city such as Tops or Taoist temple, finding a vacant taxi may be challenging. If you don't want to pay for the taxi to wait, then look for a mall or another hotel to help assist in acquiring one. When heading to Tops or Taoist temple your options are to pay for the taxi to wait, walk to the bottom of the hill where the taxi past or the security guard will call for one but will attempt to exhort a fee. Taxi drivers will also insist on a flat rate of twice the metered rate when taking you to Tops or Taoist. Metered rate to Taoist was 132 pesos, but the second driver attempted to charge me a flat rate of 250 pesos.
4. Carbon Market is not for tourist
On the map given by Quest, the carbon market is marked as a tourist site. However, as I asked for directions to the place on the way there, I was constantly asked who told me to visit. I was then warned to be careful. When I arrived, I quickly understood why. The location is massive and clearly for the locals. No one bothered me except begging children, but everyone paused as I walked down the aisles to stare and question my presence. I felt like I had intruded in someone's home and was shopping through their personal closet. If you go understand that this is 100% a local area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "Quest Hotel & Conference Center - Cebu is a convenient, comfortable and enjoyable hotel with 427 delightfully furnished rooms and suites and 10 modern state of the art meeting rooms. The hotel combines good value with unique and inspiring design elements and uncompromising service making it ideal for business and leisure travelers seeking a stylish but unpretentious environment." ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Quest Cebu Cebu Island/Cebu City