Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Estosan Hotel Cotabato City

Estosan Hotel, my refuge from Day 2 until I left Cotabato City. Good that I saw it on Day 1 so that when I realized I did not like Hotel Castro, I packed up and transferred to it. Good location – Just a few steps from the ORG and along the jeepney route too. Also nearer to the airport, the new city hall (and Mega Square), a Mercury Drug and the better restaurants and restobars of the city. Of course away from the barbecue smoke that envelops Hotel Castro from sundown to sunrise hahaha! I have a story…

Approaching front desk, the uniformed girls chimed an enthusiastic good morning. At first one of them asked if I was part of ‘the group’ they were expecting and immediately followed it with “dumating na ang flight? Ang aga naman!”. I said I was alone and called up just a few minutes ago for reservations. Another girl replied calling out my name saying “we are very sorry for such an experience in Cotabato City”. Hey, being a customer service advocate, I loved what she just said and noted that without telling her. That was a nice way to make a customer feel good without even naming Hotel Castro. Even “ambassadoric” if I may call it that way hehe! Her concern was/is for the visitor to feel good and enjoy not just at her hotel but a higher level – the city!

Assuring me there won’t be any of the issues I experienced at Hotel Castro, she even ended our conversation with “we hope you’ll enjoy your stay with us… and sorry napagkamalan ka naming kasama ni sir Robin”. Hahaha they just divulged it twice (at least only to me) that they were expecting the actor. Anyway, all the while, as she was checking me in. my feet and hands were becoming rather busy with two pesky cute creatures who seem to have just decreed they found a new playmate in me. Ah, my bad I forgot their names but they are such adorable doggies who kept running from my feet to the Christmas Tree and back! Eh they even attempted to follow me and the bellhop to the stairs but too bad they could not climb the steps hehe. Easily the mascots of this hotel, they’re owned by the daughter of the owner. I could not help but laugh louder when they’d run around the lobby and accidentally slide on the smooth shiny floor tiles hehehe!

Alright, my room 309. Well, definitely more than a mile away from what I had at Hotel Castro. Estosan Hotel is not new but my TWNB room was a far cry. Floor tiles are even already worn by a lot of feet in the past, but still, my room did not look like it was attacked by a gang of vandals hehehe. Too big for me even, but the front desk girl said that was the smallest available. The lamp was without a shade alright, and I called up housekeeping about that, and they promised they’ll either change it or bring the shade that did not happen, but who cares. When did I use a hotel lampshade anyway! A reading lamp is enough for me but without it, so be it!

Hey, I actually opened the wrapper, examined the thing and imagined what I could do with the free and fresh “sanitary napkin” that lay on a tray beside the glass, the soaps and the cotton buds. Shh, don’t tell anyone, first time I actually saw the thing up close since I ripped it open and mangled it just to see really what’s inside a sanitary napkin! And back of my mind, I was also testing if they’d actually replenish the thing the following day when housekeeping comes to make the room up. They did!

Facilities? There is a restarant, a coffeeshop, function rooms, a conference center, a swimming pool that is easier to get to if you pass across the conference room hehe, and the casino at basement. Am not a fan of such a gambling place and I know you can’t take pictures in there anyway, so I just peeped through the entrance door and saw that a lot of folks were in there even in the morning including somebody I know who I didn’t expect would be in such a place at such a time of day. Well okay, it was Sunday, asuuus! Sugarol! And you go to Cotabato just to… oh well, my lips are zipped now!

There is a guard, yes the blue guards as we commonly refer to them or the dyagwar or jaguar. But he is more of ceremonial because the hotel has its share of those long firearms hehe. See those three dudes going down the stairs? They were just going out and off after being relieved by another set of three who were by the time I took this picture, already positioned at various points of the entrance and the lobby! Oh, mind you, I was gladly surprised that the ATM by the hotel’s entrance was up and had money! Yes there was, despite it being a Landbank of the Philippines ATM, at a place where there are a multitude of government offices (the ORG and many others), on a Sunday and the last days of November.

Alright, I do not have many more to say about Estosan Hotel except I found it definitely better and secure to sleep at compared to Hotel Castro. That’s all I do in them hotels anyway, right? The rest of the time, I am up and about. Oh, I left for the airport in a Benz! That’s their “airport shuttle”! But let’s tackle that topic next!

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