Return to Lex Hotel Cebu City, Philippines
Although I generally head to new places when I travel, I returned to the Lex Hotel, formerly a Best Western, because of familiarity. I stayed here with my son seven years ago when he was 14 and remembered it as one of our favorite stays. The infinity pool on the rooftop was a huge hit. We also treated my dad to a Father’s Day buffet. Fond memories are powerful pulls.
Convenient Location in Cebu City
I headed to Cebu on this trip to visit friends of my father’s and take care of business. My father who passed away several months before left some loose ends for me to handle. Because I remembered this hotel as having super friendly staff, and within walking distance to Fuente Osmena Circle where I needed to go on several errands, Lex Hotel seemed the most comfortable and comforting. I was also curious to see how the hotel fared after Covid quarantine. The typhoon that battered Cebu, December 2021 also inflicted island wide damage. I was happy to see the bustling hotel of years ago was bustling again.
When I arrived a little after midnight, the lobby with its ceiling sculpture was just as colorful and playful as I remembered. The check-in staff handed me a slip of paper with the Wi-Fi code and filled me in on the buffet breakfast hours.
In the morning, the breakfast buffet included a wide selection of Filippino and western style dishes. Selections included made-to-order omelets and fresh fruit. Garlic rice is my favorite. Although main dishes change each day, happily, garlic rice seems to remain a staple.
The dining area expands into the lobby which makes for ample seating. Dining here is a leisurely affair creating a relaxed start to a day of navigating a busy city. Just what I needed.
My First Room and Karaoke at the Rooftop Bar
My first room, a Deluxe King was perfect. A deliciously comfortable bed, a cozy configuration that included restful lighting, a desk, an armchair and a super clean modern bathroom with walk-in rainfall shower was perfect. Amenities include coffee/tea maker, hair dryer, 32-inch flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and outlets for convenient electronic plug-ins. Everything was spotless and welcoming.
Wide awake, I turned on the TV, tuned into some cake-making show and became mesmerized by the decorating. The next night, I headed to the rooftop bar to join in with karaoke. Karaoke is a seasonal venture. While I stayed at the Lex, I made it to three karaoke nights which is a great way to make immediate singing friends.
The staff asked me each day if I was returning. I am not a great singer by a long shot, so I was pleased for the encouragement. Anything by ABBA and Queen goes over well, by the way. Be brave. Take on Bohemian Rhapsody. People will join in.
The Rooftop Bar has a selection of drinks and a menu of bar food and appetizers. If you have an opportunity to sing karaoke with hotel guests, take it. I sang badly with a fellow traveler from California at the Hotel Revival in Baltimore a few Novembers ago. What a blast.
The Second and Third Rooms
Two days after my arrival, a good friend joined me in Cebu. After she arrived in the morning, I checked her into room number two, a two-bed deluxe corner room, and kept room number one until the check-out time. This gave her time to regroup while I hung out. When I brought my things to join her, my friend asked, “Is it possible to live here?” She had found the complimentary bathrobes and slippers, made herself some tea, showered, and felt at home.
The room was big enough we could have had a small party. The corner room gave us a view of the city.
The robust selection of toiletries was replenished each day so we each had a sewing kit to take with us when we headed to the countryside before returning for two more nights and room number three. Room number 3 was on the floor above room number 2, so it was identical. By this time, we felt that we certainly were living at Lex Hotel.
Like I did, my friend enjoyed the views from the rooftop where the exercise room is located to one side of the infinity pool. Although she is a vegan, she found enough at the breakfast buffet to tide her over until we headed out to explore each day. I was amazed by the number and variety of vegan-friendly restaurants in Cebu City.
I can’t praise the friendliness of the staff enough. When I needed a taxi, the doorman helped get a taxi. When we needed to leave some of our luggage when we traveled to the countryside for a couple of days, it was not a problem. And, when I rebooked and rebooked through Hotels.com, the staff was happy to accommodate my room selection choice.
This could have been a very sad trip for me. Instead, the staff passed on feelings of joy and celebration that I was back in Cebu.
A Must See
If you do go to Cebu City, don’t miss the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House. This house is the oldest ancestral house in Cebu. Built around 1675, the house has been passed down through the Yap family for generations. Now, mostly a museum, the family does come to stay here once in a while. All of the furnishings and belongings are original to the house.
Although I booked my stays through Hotels.com, check out Booking.com and Expedia for other prices. You can book by contacting the Lex Hotel directly as well. The current website is under construction however, but there is a phone number and email. Check out the hotel’s Facebook page for upcoming buffet specials and other events. Room rates currently start at $74.
Post and photos by Jamie Rhein