I booked a promo fare from Cebu Pacific Air last year for this year's travel dates. I've been busy the past few months and it's about time to unwind. We often go for really cheap accommodations whenever we have an out of town trip. This time, I want to experience a luxury stay but still stay within the budget. I came across Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel when searching for hotel deals online. However, it's still expensive for me so I kept searching for other good hotels in Puerto Princesa.
We booked our Underground River and City Tour from Sole Adventours. When they asked where we will be staying, I said I haven't booked an accommodation yet but I fancy Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel or Princesa Garden Island Resort. To my surprise, they also offer a discounted rate for Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel. It's far way cheaper when booking directly from the hotel's website and other deal sites. So without any further ado, I booked our accommodation through Sole Adventours.
Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel Experience
Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
The accommodation in Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel includes roundtrip airport transfers. Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa airport, I excitedly looked for someone outside holding a placard of Best Western Plus. I'm quite disappointed because no one from the hotel picked us up in the airport. Knowing that Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel is near Puerto Princesa airport, we just took a tricycle going there. I asked the person at the front desk why nobody fetched us from the airport, then the driver said that our arrival was not on their system. But upon checking, it's there. I just let it slide since I don't want to ruin our vacation.
Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel is just near the airport. If you don't have much luggage, you can walk going there. The best restaurants in Puerto Princesa are also in the vicinity of Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel - like Ka Lui, Kinabuch's, and Ugong Rock. These are some of the must-try restaurants in Puerto Princesa. There is also a walking distance convenience store, so you can freely go out if you need anything. If you have extra time, you can also walk all the way to the baywalk.
Check-in and Check-out Time
Like other hotels, the standard check-in time in Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel is 2pm and check-out time is 12nn. Early check-in is allowed but you have to pay half of the published rate. We arrived before 10am and I can't afford to pay more just because of that 4 hours. Good thing that they have storage where guests can leave their luggage. We went out to buy supplies, eat lunch and kill time. We went back at 2pm, just right for the check-in time.
Hotel Lobby and Hallway
Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel is one of the newest hotels in Puerto Princesa. Their lobby is spacious and clean. The ceiling is high with chandeliers along the hallway. There are plenty of couch where you can sit and relax while waiting. The only thing I don't like is that I can smell laundry detergent all over the hotel lobby and hallways.
We booked for the standard room of Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel for 4 days and 3 nights. I must say that I really liked our stay there. The room is configured nicely - with 1 queen size bed, a lot of pillows, telephone, cable TV, coffee/tea making facilities, refrigerator, and safe/vault. There is a long table beside the television where you can place your laptop. The toilet and bath is also good - complete with towels and other necessary things, but they don't have a bathtub. Not a big deal though. What I don't like in the room is the positioning of the aircon. It is cold enough but doesn't reach the bed so we ended up sweaty during the night.
We also encountered a problem with the door lock of our room. We thought that the card keys weren't working but it turned out that the smart door lock ran out of battery. It happened after we had our breakfast on day 2. The housekeeping staff reported it and called someone from the engineering department to fix the problem but they took too long. I was irked because our tour guide was already waiting for us at the lobby and we couldn't go yet since our things are still inside the room.
Internet Connection and Cellphone Signal
Who wouldn't want an internet access while away from home? Majority will say no and I'm not exempted. I really need a good and stable internet connection because I still need to work even on a vacation. Good thing that Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel has a fast internet connection. They will give you a small paper with username and password for the wifi. However, this is for one device only. So if there are many of you that need to connect to the internet, just tell the front desk how many device do you have and they will give you enough usernames and passwords. If you're using a laptop, you may opt to connect it directly using the ethernet cable on your hotel room. I saw two cable on our room and it is much faster than using wifi.
Globe has a very weak signal at the hotel during our stay there. The Globe signal can only accommodate text and calls. I turned on my mobile data but it's no use. It's taking forever to load. We also have our Sun pocket wifi. The signal is average and can still be used for internet browsing. I prefer the hotel's internet connection though because it's faster. We don't have Smart so I can't tell how's the Smart signal there.
Swimming Pool, Gym, and Spa
Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel's swimming pool, gym, and spa are all located at the third floor. There is also a mini bar where you can order snacks while having your leisure time at the pool. Their outdoor pool is not too big but clean. Our son enjoyed swimming too much so we spent time there. I also tried their fitness gym. It's too small and only basic equipment are there. The spa is located just beside the gym. We haven't tried their massage but it costs PhP 700 for 1 hour full body massage.
Restaurant and the Food
The hotel rate at Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel includes a buffet breakfast at Anibong Restaurant located at the ground floor. They served continental breakfast from 6:30am to 10am only. There's nothing special about their food - the taste and the quality are just average. They have breads, pancakes, eggs, juice, coffee, yogurt, bacon and other dishes like dried fish, bangus or whatever is available for the day.
Overall, we still enjoyed our stay at Best Western Plus The Ivywall Hotel despite having some problems. The staffs are friendly and accommodating. It became our home for 4 days during our stay in Puerto Princesa and I definitely want to go back there.