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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

GV Tower Hotel Cebu City Review » Cheap rates that will give you second thoughts

Sharing this GV Tower hotel experience during my recent Cebu City trip is my novel answer to my perpetual blogger’s dilemma of “what shall I write today?” No, I am not a hotel connoisseur but I’m writing this review as a friend. Maybe you are planning your trip to Cebu City and now inquiring for cheap hotels to stay. You don’t know me and I don’t want to let you down – but I have to be honest, I only give praise when it's due, and criticism when warranted. Here’s my review.

I was assigned in Cebu City to conduct the MSAP 2011 last February 10 – 12 and was billeted at the GV Tower Hotel courtesy of our host school, the SCSIT (in short, it was a semi-business, 70 % leisure trip). We took the early morning flight and checked-in directly at the hotel for breakfast.

The Arwana receptionist 
 
The hotel is located at the intersection of Osmeña Blvd. and Sanciangko St., the two busy streets in downtown Cebu and the only temporary parking space they can provide for arriving guests is their basement which can hardly accommodate three cabs at the same time. 

GV Tower Hotel main entrance
Unlike other hotels, the basement serves as the main entrance to the elevator and not directly to the reception area. Yes, the hotel’s reception area is located at the 7th Floor of the building. Also, expect no bellhop to help you with your luggage.

I'm trying to be less petty and more constructive here but I can’t help but be more critical because the only smile we received here is from the large Arwana at the basement. Hotel staff seems always so busy they didn’t have time to greet you with a smile – rather unusual for a establishment under the hospitality industry.

The lobby and other facilities

The main lobby and reception is located at the seventh floor, which is quite unusual and inconvenient with only one small service elevator. Also, there are only three small sofas available at the waiting area, so the adjacent bar and restaurant is also used as lounge by waiting guests.

Main lobby and reception at the 7th floor
The hotel bar and restaurant at the seventh floor is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner but it is closed at midnight. I hardly saw any diner maybe because they prefer the nearby restaurants, which is more convenient. It is also interesting to note the mini sari-sari store beside the reception area where you can buy cup noodles, chichirya, shampoo and other stuff – quite convenient but out-of-place.

Bar and Restaurant
We inquired if we can go up the City View Function Hall at the 17th floor to take pictures but the hotel staff said it is only available when there is an event – guests are not allowed to go up there. Therefore we just took pictures of the Cebu City skyline from the 7th floor.

According to their official website, GV Tower Hotel is the newest and tallest landmark in downtown Cebu. I’m excited when I learned about it but to my disappointment, it is true a few years ago. Currently, it no longer has that status. 

Annoying keycard

Hotel technician fixing our door
We had a full dose of a real bad customer service after returning from our evening Cebu City tour. We can’t open our room using our keycard so we asked the receptionist for help. She checked our keycard and said it should be working – like it’s our fault. We go back to our room at the 16th floor but still we can’t open our room so we go back again at the 7th to ask for help. This time I insist that somebody should assist us. During that time, there was only one receptionist and you have to ring the bell to call her. Without being sorry (like it’s a usual thing there) the sleepy receptionist asked us to wait while she calls for a technician.

Imagine it was past midnight and we are really sleepy and very tired. The technician was trying to open the door with a coin and a screwdriver? While saying “yawa-man, yawa!” (or something like that!) obviously irritated because we interrupted his midnight siesta.

We waited about an hour before they got the keycard working. Thank goodness!

The hotel is at its worst during the night. They are turning off some lights probably to save on electricity, thus giving an eerie feel to the narrow alley going to your room - like those in the horror films.

The Obama Room

See the picture in the frame?
If there was something notable about their Deluxe Room, it was the picture frame not the panaview. I really can’t understand why they cut a grinning picture of Barack Obama from a magazine and put it in a large picture frame making it the centerpiece of the room. I don’t know if it is their idea of attracting foreign guests or it’s a joke. Perhaps the hotel's interior designer is an Obama fanatic.

Our Deluxe Room with the view of Sanciangko Street
Their Deluxe Room has basic amenities such as cable TV, a few hangers, aircon and a roll of tissue paper. However, their cable TV has very few channels and there is no remote control for the aircon because it’s an old type unit, probably second hand. No matter how we tried adjusting the dials, it cannot make the whole room cool enough.

The hotel comfort room
The comfort room with the shower area is too small for an average size guest. The rooms also doesn’t have the standard “Do Not Disturb/Please make-up this room” door sign and they don’t have the regular room cleaning such as changing of bedsheets and cleaning of CR. I guess you have to specifically request for those services.

The pillows are also too small with very visible numbers stamped like those in prisons. The room was void of comfortable atmosphere and furnishings.

The neighborhood 

GV Tower Hotel along Osmeña Blvd.
Safe for lazy late night stroll? No! GV Tower Hotel’s immediate surrounding is not safe for late night stroll. We tried going out for a late night snack and we saw lots of hookers in the dark alley just a few meters away from the hotel’s entrance. There are also lots of beggars and homeless children sleeping along the alley together with vendors selling pirated DVD’s and stuff. It’s like a mini Quiapo, you will not feel safe especially if you don’t know how to speak and understand their local dialect.



GV Tower Hotel plus factor

Cebu City view (Osmeña Blvd.) from the 7th floor lobby
The hotel’s location is very convenient due to the main street intersection which is directly adjoining easily reachable and convenient transport links. It’s just a few meters away from the Colon-Osmeña intersection, the major arteries of Cebu’s transportation route.

Also within the area are major fastfood chains and the Gaisano Mall. The location is also within walking distance from the Basilica of Sto.Nio, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, Plaza Independencia, Magellans Cross, Elizabeth Mall.

A note to fellow first timers

If you are traveling to Cebu City, whether for business or for leisure and you really want to enjoy your whole stay, you might want to check other nearby hotels first for comparison and to really got the value for your money.

However, GV Tower hotel is perfect if you are traveling in Cebu and just want a very affordable and cheap room to stay overnight. The hotel is also your budget saver if you are on a tight budget and looking for cheap hotel to stay in Cebu City.

Due to its very accessible location, GV Tower hotel is also very convenient if you are just doing some business within Cebu City.


Summary

Observations
  • Hotel reception at the 7th floor may cause inconvenience, there should be a receiving bellboy at the basement entrance.
  • No slippers available
  • Comfort room is too small with no toilet water sprayer hose (we Filipinos prefers washing our butt than just wiping it with tissue paper) so ask for a tabo.
  • Very few TV Channels
  • Unsafe neighborhood for a late night stroll
  • Friendliness and helpfulness is rare
  • Need improvement on staff competence in handling complaints
  • Lacks homey atmosphere and furnishings
Good points
  • Generally clean
  • Very affordable/cheap room rates
  • Good proximity to shopping areas and other famous City destinations

Quick Hotel Information: 

GV Tower Hotel – Downtown Cebu City
Address: Cor. Osmena Blvd. and Sanciangko St., Cebu City Philippines
Contact Number: +63 32 416-0000, +63 32 253-6518
Fax: +63 32 253-6518
Email: info@gvhotelgroup.com
Website: http://www.gvhotelgroup.com/

Room Rates: 
(May vary depending on tourist peak season or discounts and promos may be available)

Single Room : 850.00 Php
Standard Room : 1,100 Php
DeLuxe with Panaview: 1,300.00 Php
VIP with Terrace: 1,700.00 Php
Family with full view: 2,250.00 Php

(Above rates are based on my inquiry with the hotel as of February 2011 – Please call the hotel for updated/discounted rates)

Enjoy your Cebu trip!!!






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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry, and cliff jumping can make him high,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a self-certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan hiker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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