Useful Tips on How to Choose an Ideal Hotel for your Next Staycation

Having a hard time deciding on where to book your well-deserved staycation here in the metro? Let me help you out….

I’m a frequent traveller and I love staying in hotels. My work here at When In Manila has been really awesome over the years, because I get to travel the world and meet all sorts of people. Yeah, it is fun to travel, but sometimes, I still yearn for a bit of time off… free from any shoots or itineraries. That’s why whenever I have extra time and budget, I treat myself by booking a hotel for a couple of days just to rest and recharge.

It’s really good to know that more and more Filipinos are becoming interested in getaways and staycations as well. For months, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends and readers about where they should spend the long weekend etc. I usually give them various recommendations depending on their needs.   So this week, I’d like to share with you my personal tips that may help you pick the right hotel for you, if you’re also having difficulty in deciding where to stay.

The key here is to be realistic. You have to know your budget and the things you want. Whenever I need to choose a hotel, I usually think of 3 things:

3. My Budget

Let’s face it, it usually boils down to our budget right? There are a lot of 3-star hotels below that offer rates at around P1,700 – P3,500 but in my experience, these kinds of hotels lack the amenities I want. They are priced less because their amenities and facilities are also limited. If your aim is to just find a place to sleep and rest, then yeah, a budget/value hotel would do, but if you want to enjoy a bit of luxury like to swim in a pool, gym with instructor, spa treatments, have evening cocktails and enjoy good food, then I suggest you save your money and look for a hotel with at least 4 stars.

Also, years ago, I’ve had horrible experiences with a couple of “3-star” hotels somewhere in Makati.  The 1st one was infested by roaches and the other one was so poorly maintained, I felt like I was in a hospital. After these hotel hell experiences, I promised myself to be wiser with my future hotel bookings.

The lesson here is, don’t be too “kuripot” (stingy), or you’ll end up wasting your hard earned pesos.

As for the budget? P4,000 up will do, depending on the amenities you desire to experience.

2. Location, Location…

Years ago, I always wanted to get out of Metro Manila for quick getaways but later on, I got tired of the traffic I have to endure to get back in the city. I ended up being more stressed out by the time I arrive home. Because of this, I seriously started finding other staycation options that are nearer.

So in which areas should you look then? If you’re from the north like me, find hotels located in QC, San Juan, Ortigas and Mandaluyong area. If you’re from the south metro, ideal locations would be, Alabang, Pasay, Manila, Makati and Taguig.

1. Amenities You Want to Experience

This one really depends on what you, as the guest would like to enjoy. If you’re planning for the whole family (with kids), then all the more you need to pick a kid friendly / family oriented place to ensure the kids won’t get bored. Since I’m still single and would just like to rest and unwind, I made a checklist of all the things I wanted to do:

  1. take a swim
  2. visit the gym daily

3. have cocktails during sunset

  1. eat with friends
  2. get a room with a great city view
  3. eat lots of ice cream
  4. get a massage
  5. must have fast and free wifi so I can still catch up on work

After listing down everything I needed, I then started to look for hotels around Quezon City that have at least half (if not all) in my list and a hotel which fits my budget. I allotted a budget of around P5,000 – P5,500 per night since I know I needed a bigger hotel if I want to enjoy many amenities.

I started my search and found quite a number of hotels that fit my needs like Dusit Thani Hotel (I also occasionally stay there if I need to be in Makati and be closer to the airport) in Makati and couple others in Ortigas Pasig area. I also came across Novotel Manila Araneta Center which I found to be the most perfect fit for my budget and needs….

They have all the amenities I want like a huge pool, gym, a great sunset view at their Premier Lounge, dining outlets, their own desserts/gelato place, spa and fast free wifi. Aside from that, I discovered that I get to earn Accor points whenever I book via their Accor App. The rates offered at their app are really low and they even feature a lot of promos and discounts not only at Novotel Manila Araneta Center but also in all Accor Hotels properties worldwide. 

I have booked using their app many times and if I remember right, I even got to pay as low as P4,500 (rates depend on the season if lean or peak) per night at Novotel Manila Araneta Center. I find P4,500 as a really really good deal considering the amenities they offer. It’s like the price of a 3 or 4-Star hotel but with 5-star amenities.

Bonus tip: Sign up for Membership

As a frequent traveller, it pays to be a member of your favourite hotel chain/group (don’t worry coz usually the membership is free. You just have to book there, again and again, to gain points and reach certain levels.) Let’s take for example Accor Hotels (since I’m already a member)… whenever I go places, I prefer staying at an Accor Hotel property (either Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure or Ibis) so I get to earn points with every stay. Why bother earning points? Because as my membership level increases, I get to qualify for certain perks like priority check-in, discounts, freebies and even room upgrades.

proud Accor member

Regarding 3rd party hotel booking apps and websites, yeah they do provide low rates, but the downside is that you don’t get to earn points. Nowadays, hotels also offer the same low rates as in 3rd party apps if you book to them directly. So I suggest that whatever hotel group membership you may have, check out their own website and app, to compare rates and offers.

Got more questions? Feel free to email me at

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