Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Isabel Suites - Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

We stayed here for 2 nights and used this place as our "home base" in exploring Pagudpud and Batac, Ilocos Norte. Actually, due to good review, I tried first to book Balay da Blas also in Laoag City. Unfortunately, there wasn't any available room.

I ended up reserving 2 twin rooms at Isabel Suites with extra bed in my kids' room. Surprisingly, they didn't ask for any deposit or advance payment which was the norm when booking hotel room through internet. We simply correspond through emails. They just asked me to confirm our reservation one week before our arrival. I found it plus point for their customer service.

Due to traffic and on-going Damili festival, we were forced to take a detour few kilometers away from the hotel. Upon entering Laoag City, I was baffled by some one-way streets and found it difficult to locate Isabel Suite. Even so, the IS staff assisted us by sending SMS thus we were able to locate it at around 5 PM. Luckily, there was one empty parking space waiting for us in front of IS.

After settling in our rooms (306 & 307), we raced to SM Hypermart to replenish our supply since we would be leaving early the following day for Pagudpud and Batac. We were elated to discover that IS is strategically located near the Ilocos Norte Capitol. Within this area, you would find everything you need as a tourist; added treat were the touristy places nearby such as Sinking Bell Tower, Tobacco Monopoly Monument, and Pamulinawen Garden Clock and so on.

The lobby area of IS is basically a reception and several chairs while the restaurant occupies most of the ground floor. We took our dinner in the restaurant and we found the food fairly acceptable and affordable. However we noticed that wifi access is limited in the lobby and restaurant area only.

At the base of the stairs is a naughty parrot (?). I was surprised to hear it calling me "pangit" or ugly after taking its picture. I told this to my kids and the next day they tried to agitate it but it simply refused to utter any sound. The bird was lucky that I was in a good mood at that time otherwise..OK, going back to IS, there was also a huge and fluppy stuff monkey (?) at the wooden bench. Forgive for I am not well verse when it comes to animal category. My daughter finds the stuff monkey cute.

Our twin-beds-tiled-room with a small cupboard is good enough for two people but in our kids' room, it is a bit cramp for three of them. The extra bed broke down but immediately replaced by the staff. The toilet was fairly acceptable but could be considered small for westerners. The hot shower was not working in our kids' room thus they were taking their showers daily inside our room; fortunately our rooms were adjacent to each other. We raised this matter to the reception desk staff the following morning before we left for Pagudpud. Nothing changed when we returned.

The beds were comfortable while the bedding and towels were clean though not in pristine condition. Aside from two bottled water, we found it pretty convenient to have a telephone in the room making it easy for my wife to communicate with our youngest kid who was having stomach pain. Likewise, we have an old-school small TV inside our room. The wife didn't bother to check the other channels; she was stuck with her favorite teleserye for two nights.

Here is something about the complimentary breakfast, they serve only pinoy breakfast so don't expect any cereal or bread and jam. On our first day they served us rice with longanisa and egg while on our second day our choice was limited to rice with corned beef and egg. The meal comes with a 3-in coffee. Luckily, Jollibee drive through was beside IS thus I raced to it every morning because my youngest kid wasn't fond of eating fried rice.

The main drawback for car owner customer was the limited parking space in front but I always managed to find a vacant parking space whenever we returned back to IS.

Considering IS location and facilities I could say that the place was bang for the buck and I would recommend this place to any traveler that would make Laoag City as their home base too while exploring Ilocos Norte.

By the way, the staff were very polite and approachable. More so, instead of demanding full payment upon check-in like other hotels, upon our arrival, they simply asked us for a deposit and pay the remaining balance when we check-out.

To check our complete travel journal: Road Trip to Ilocos (Vigan/Laoag/Pagudpud) 

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