The Waterfront Hotel&Casino in Lahug in Cebu is in my opinion one of the best hotels in Cebu and that is the reason why I am a returning customer.
I recently stayed there again for 3 weeks and I noticed that the refurbishing of the Lobby is now done, The Front desk is in a slightly different position, and the front desk staff seem to have gone to the 21st century with earpieces and microphones that put them in constant contact with whoever they need. The General Manager is mr Alfred Portenschlager, an Austrian, who can often be seen walking through the hotel and is fairly approachable if so wished.
Though the Hotel can be booked directly via their website, or via one of the hotel websites (agoda etc), I made my booking quickly and conveniently directly with Mr. Santos from the sales department and managed to work out a long-stay deal that made both of us happy.
Most tourists will take a cab from the airport. When you ask 'Waterfront hotel, avoid confusion by adding 'Lahug' as there is also a Waterfront Hotel right outside the airport. I think the hotel has an airport pick up, if so arranged, but I am not sure of that.
A grand entrance. The doors are staffed by uniform clad women and or men that open the door. Inside the lobby there is a bar/eatery/coffee area and a taxfree shop, The Front desk is at the back of the lobby. In the lobby is also a desk for Alamo car rental.
Swift, apart from an initial confusion about the booking everything was handled swiftly.
Very friendly. I was pleasantly surprised that after one or two days the staff knew my name. Whether they know that with every guest or maybe just because i was notorious I do not know
I had a Deluxe room which is very comfortable. It has a big double bed. Don't know if it is king size or queen size but it is a big comfortable bed with space enough for two. The beds in the Waterfront hotel have a reputation for being comfortable and also this bed was not a disappointment. It is the kind off bed that you can just lie down on and doze off.
A desk and a round table and 3 chairs. 2 side tables, 2 low standing lamps and one long standing lamp.
The socket of the long standing lamp is switched from a switch in the hallway.
There is a closet with a safe
Sizeable TV with plenty of channels
Stocked with soft drinks and water. There are also snacks and coffee/thee making facilities. To be honest, the prices of the minibar and the snacks are too high, especially with a supermarket at ayala a short ride away
In my experience the aircon in the Waterfront is good, feels fresh is not noisy and does not have a bad smell. Also this time I was not let down albeit that sometimes it took a bit longer than I was used to to cool down the room but still within acceptable limits
The hotel has a free shuttle service to the close by Ayala mall and the somewhat further away SM mall. I believe it goes 3 times a day, starting at 10-ish
The breakfast is served in the Cafe Uno in the hotel. It is a huge buffet breakfast that has something for everyone. There is a choice of Filipino foods, but one can also have a salad, cold cuts, omelets made on the spot, European bread (Thank god, not the sweet-ish american imitation bread), fruits, cereals. Noteworthy is the section with sweets, such as (chocolate) donuts, danish and other goodies.
The Cafe Uno as the other restaurants are under the supervision of F&B manager Alistair Grainger and he can be seen almost daily inspecting the setup and no doubt sampling the quality.
From the lobby to the Casino on ground floor there is a hallway known as 'Gourmet walk' that has a number of restaurants on either side. I have only tried the Italian one (will be subject to a separate review), but there is e.g. also a japanese restaurant.
Room service is efficient and not that expensive. I predominantly dealt with Miss Hazel and she is friendly and efficient. After placing an order she will call a few minutes before the waiter arrives and she will call later to ask if the waiter can pick up the dishes. If you pay by cash take into account that the waiter will not have change so he will have to disturb you again while you eat to bring your change.
Bringing in Food
In an other review it was mentioned that the hotel does not allow bringing in food from the outside. That is incorrect. One can basically bring in all the food and drinks one likes. The hotel does like you to sign a 'food waiver' that as i understood is to protect the hotel from liability if a guest would get sick from food brought in. The waiver policy however is not strictly implemented and therefore its use can be doubted and frankly it is a bit of a bother. I'd say get rid of it
Sales manager Joseph Santos informed me that only in exceptional circumstances the hotel may question bringing in food (e.g. if the amounts would far exceed what can considered 'personal use')
Like any hotel in the world, the Waterfront is confronted with prostitutes, either ones that are brought in by guests and ones that sollicit at the hotel. Frankly, in all my stays, I never really was bothered by any (presumed) prostitute. The only obvious sollicitation I witnessed was from some lady-boys hanging around at night at the Gourmet walk leading to the casino
The hotel requires prostitutes to register with double ID. Problem is that prostitutes do not carry a sign identifying them as such, so the lobby security is keen on stopping any girl/woman that 'looks like a prostitute'.
In my experience the staff is a bit overzeleous in that. My wife was repeatedly stopped and at one time me, her and another couple were already in the elevator when security stopped the elevator to question us. The woman from the other couple -who really did not look trashy at all- presented her keycard and I repeatedly!!!!! had to tell the guard that she was my wife and NOT a prostitute.
In a conversation I had with sales manager Santos. he explained the double edged sword the hotel is faced with. At the one hand the guest's freedom to bring in a guest, be she a prostitute or not, but at the other hand the security risc some prostitutes present by e.g. drugging and robbing guests in which case the hotel will be involved. Though i can see his point, I can imagine that a woman guest who is in fact paying for her room like any other, and who is stopped going in the elevator in fact will be pretty insulted. It is also ridiculous that I have to REPEATEDLY state my wife is NOT a prostitute before security lets us go to our room. One time should really be enough. I do understand the hotel's position, but maybe a bit better instruction of the security staff is in order.
other than the taxfree shop in the lobby, there are some shops as well on the 2nd floor. One of them being a L'Huillier pawnshop that also will send money.
The hotel has a rather big pool. It is divided in an area for kids or lets say an undeep area and a deeper area. The Pool is situated in a lovely garden and can be reached via the elevator on the LL level. There are life guards available and there is a bar that upon signing in also provides towels, so you do not need to bring any from your room. Note that the pool requires a regular swimming outfit and does not allow the 'preferred' outfit for many filipina's being cutt-off jeans and t-shirt.
I have no experience with the hotelgym other than passing it on my way to the pool. It seems like a rather well equipped gym with plenty of apparatuses.
On prior visits to the hotel, taxi's would be readily available on the lobby level. This time however there was a taxi stand on the lower level that can either be reached from the elevators (LL level) or from the lobby by the staircase.
The hotel is a stones throw away from IT park that has plenty of food outlets and other shops, including a pharmacy. The easiest way to go to IT park is to walk through 'Gourmet alley' and to go down the staircase at the end. From there it is a 5 min walk.
The hotel is only a short taxi or shuttle ride away from Ayala mall (taxi will cost 50.5 to 80 peso depending on traffic)
I understand the hotel is 15 years old (I presumed it to be a bit older) and that is considered 'old' in the Hotel business, yet it is a clean and very comfortable hotel.
The furniture in the Deluxe rooms is a bit 'dated'. With that I don't mean it is broken or anything, just a bit 'old' in style. On the 5th floor close to the 'old casino' there are suites that have a more modern ambiance (think chrome, stainless steal, glass)
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- Waterfront Cebu City Hotel Cebu City
- Waterfront Hotel Cebu City
- Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino Cebu Island