Monday, September 7, 2009

Royal Garden Hotel Ozamiz City

I am not sure if this is the best, I reckon though, this is the biggest in Ozamiz. Not even sure if it was the best value for money, but just looking at the many infos at the airport, Royal Garden Hotel became my choice just the same.

The hotel sits in the middle of the bustling commercial district of the city and that was the main reason I opted for it. Everything is nearby, including a mall called Shopper’s Plaza that is diagonally across from the hotel. Every trike driver knows it and the street intersection where the hotel sits is fairly busy well into the evening. Oh its not a garden, there is none as this hotel is just a big block of concrete abut 5 levels tall. The lobby, though not spacious for the royalty, is nicely airy. And interesting that their lift (yes, at least there is an elevator) is by the corner of the building.

While the lift is clean and modern, there is a finely crafted stairway all the way to the top floor. No, its not just an emergency exit stairs. It’s a real wide clean and obviously well-maintained stairway for those who are in a hurry (waiting for the lift is many times more time-consuming)! That indicates to me that this hotel has fairly been around for some time since new buildings these days do not have separate space-consuming stairways other than narrow and hidden ones “for emergencies”.

At each floor, across the lift and by the stairs are crew stations and little sitting areas where guests can smoke. Yey! Oh the top floor is called a Royal Grand Ballroom and it is real big. Sits about 500 and I was told is the best banquet and conference facility the city has. In there, well, you get nearer to royalty. When I peeked, the crews were busy preparing for a wedding reception and oh my, its like a big big big Chinese restaurant teeming with reds and maroons. Nope, the chairs are not monobloc! And all the big round tables are glass – so are those rounded turning things at center of each table. Is that called lazy-susan? Whatever!

Their restaurant is at ground floor back of the reception area. Its also big with slightly elevated tables on the sides while a wide screen TV streams news channels all the time (and switches to telenovela) when the waitresses get a chance! Well lighted and airy, there is also a pastry counter and there’s even a separate entrance to the side-street across a bank – so you don’t always have to pass by the lobby! Total feel inside this restaurant is some kind of a fused American-style diner and Fil-Chinese-style restaurant! Also, a coffee shop links the lobby and front desk to the restaurant so that part of this “cafĂ©” is at one end of the lobby. I like what they did to the wall in this otherwise dark corner – fitted it with fake windows overlooking a picturesque garden of flowers! I think this is what a true example of “picture-window” is! Ah, in all those public areas, wi-fi is free! But not in the rooms!

The rooms?! I can only speak for mine hehe and it is not really for the royalty but good enough for me. I of course got the cheapest available, room 307. There was/is no window! Ack! I wished they’d place the same picture-window they have at the lobby, but I know that’s expensive! The room has probably seen decades of Ozamiz’s bustling life as it is old in make and design accented by nothing but the only dark-colored thing in the room, a small 14-inch television with a remote control that’s acting up! But cleanliness pervades, so I think the P750 per night was fine enough. As this was a single room with a short ‘single bed’, the air conditioning unit looming on the ceiling just felt too enormous for the purpose hehe. Like in many hotels, electric power in the room is activated by wedging the key-holder unto a slot. And like in those many other hotels I have been, I just remove the key and place it in my pocket leaving the key-holder in its receptacle to power the room (and aircon) even when I was away. One of my few fractious habits hehehe!

Each room has a copy of the restaurant’s entire menu, but am not fond of eating in a ‘cell’ that has no windows to view the outside world! And as I said above, the restaurant downstairs is daintily a happy place. By the way, menu servings are “Chinese style” where there is “medium” and “large”. And yes you guessed it, “medium” is good for 2 to 3. They don’t have “small”, I wonder why!

Most memorable at this hotel was the effort that the lady at front desk exerted to help me device a plan to see their city and nearby places. She pulled out a map, gave it to me, then she opened another and together we charted my course. Several times, she even sought the advice of other guests who came to get or drop their keys!

And so, I roamed Ozamiz!

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