City Suites, Cebu City, Philippines: Living Like a Local

City Suites is the white tower building rising well above the others.

City Suites is the white tower building rising well above the others.

A stay at the City Suites, Ramos Tower in Cebu City, Philippines is a stay where locals live. Part hotel, part condominiums, this 33-story building offers an interesting blend of the amenities of a hotel with the opportunity to feel as if you’re living in Cebu as a resident. Residents, who live on the building’s floors designated as apartments, often hang out in the lobby sharing news. In the mix there are medical students, young professionals, grandparents watching their grandchildren, foreign workers, and expats who have found an inexpensive and friendly place to live.

Each time my son and I breezed in back from our outings, the doorman and desk staff had a warm-hearted hello before we headed to one of the two elevators and our corner room with its amazing view.

Our room on 33rd floor at night. The neon lights are on the outside of the Crowne Regency Hotel.

Our room on 33rd floor at night. The neon lights are on the outside of the Crowne Regency Hotel.

City Suites is one of the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. Only Crown Regency with its Edge Coaster is taller. Our view  from the 33rd floor, thanks to the large window and the sliding glass door that almost met at one corner, took in the mountains in one direction and the harbor in the other. As spectacular as the view was in the daytime, the night with the city lights below and the changing colors of the neon lights of the Crown Regency was pretty spectacular.

Our two twin bed room, with its free Wi-Fi, cable TV, coffee pot, coffee maker, toiletries like shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste was comfortable. clean and impressive enough that we extended our stay. Although we didn’t take advantage of the refrigerator and ample counter space with bar type stools that could have served as an eating area, the aesthetics of these room features caught my eye. The storage space is also impressive. Here’s a room where you won’t find yourself tripping over your belongings. All can be put neatly away, even when there’s a teen in the room.

Flag down a jeepney outside City Suites to travel like the locals.

Flag down a jeepney outside City Suites to travel like the locals.

For the 2nd half of our stay, thanks to the always helpful and accommodating staff at the front desk, we were given the buffet breakfast served in the hotel’s restaurant, Dish. The breakfast, a mix of Philippine and Western fare that changed slightly each day is good. Coffee, tea and juice are included.

Dish, the hotel's restaurant

Dish, the hotel’s restaurant

One evening we ate dinner at Dish because it seemed easier than going out. The meat lovers pizza, and the calamari I ordered as an appetizer, were quite tasty and reasonably priced. The restaurant also serves beer. Be aware that restaurant is only open until 8:30 or 9 PM depending upon the customer volume.

Another bonus of staying at City Suites is its proximity to Fuente Osmena Circle, one of Cebu City’s shopping hubs. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. If do you need to take a cab anywhere, City Suite’s doorman are happy to help you flag one down. Or head to F. Ramos, the street right outside to hop on a jeepney for a real local experience.

Our room price through Hotel.com was about $35. When I extended the stay, we were given the corporate rate with breakfast. That turned out to be about $30 a night.

City Suites is about a 20 to 30 minute taxi ride from the airport.

Book at Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity or City Suite’s website.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein (except the photo of Dish, courtesy of the hotel)

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