Category Archives: Hotel

Grand Central Suites

Fields Avenue Hotel

TYPE: Full Service Hotel
RESERVATIONS: Highly Recommended
ROOM TYPES: 20 Rooms — Standard, Deluxe, Suites & Jacuzzi
RATES: See Attached PDF, prices as of Mar. 18, 2014
PAYMENT: Cash & Credit Card with additional 5% surcharge
LOCAL PHONE #: (045) 331-1820
ROOM SERVICE: Available from Gotham Bar & Cafe during business hours, plus numerous other surrounding restaurants that are open 24hrs.
LOCATION: See Map Below


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Grand Central Suites in the Heart of Walking Street

If you’re traveling to Angeles City and want to be in the very center of the nightlife scene then Grand Central Suites is a place you should look into for accommodations. This hotel was formerly known as the Orange Lion, but it has been completely renovated inside and out over the past year and a half by the new owners. If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel right in the middle of Fields Avenue, then Grand Central is a place you should consider.

An additional floor has been added making it a 3 story building with 20 rooms in total. All of the rooms have been refurnished to a high, luxurious standard that include Serta mattresses from the U.S., hard wood or tiled floors, leather furniture and large flat-screen TVs.

Grand Central Suites

Standing Out in a Crowd

While there are other hotels in the area and more being built, Grand Central seems to be focusing on standing out from the others in the area whom you would hardly notice if you weren’t looking.

Patio

The large, outdoor patio seating with Gotham Bar and Cafe and a coffee and juice bar is the first difference that sets it apart from other hotels in the surrounding vicinity. While this concept didn’t seem like a viable or attractive option a few years ago, the city’s beautification and renovation of Fields Avenue project now makes this a hot spot to relax and watch the world go by during the day or at night. It’s one of only a handful of establishments that offer this type of outdoor seating and its location and set up put you closer to the action than the other options.

Well Appointed Rooms at Attractive Prices

I was skeptical of what the rooms at Grand Central would look like but was pleasantly surprised at the two rooms I had an opportunity to see. I was able to view a Deluxe room and a Suite. Both rooms were much nicer than I had imagined and were more than fairly priced when compared to what other hotels are charging.

A walk-through of the Suite room can be seen below:


Serta Bed

The rooms were spacious, clean, nicely and simply decorated in warm and dark colors. All furnishings were solid and the beds are U.S. Serta mattresses that are extremely comfortable.

Leather Couch

Both rooms I saw had a leather couch and ottoman in the sitting area where you can view the 42″ flat screen TVs. The main differences between the Deluxe and Suite rooms was the overall size. The Suite room also has a separate sleeping area and additional 42″ TV as well as an upgraded bathroom setting. 

Suite Room

The bathrooms and showers in each room were large and shower areas had rain forest shower heads.

Restroom

Each of these rooms also had a balcony facing the back which was a nice touch giving the rooms additional natural lighting, but not much in the way of scenery. Opting for one of the 9 rooms with balconies facing Walking Street offers better viewing but more noise due to the area being a hot spot of bars and clubs.

Back of Grand Central Suites

The Deluxe room for 3000 (approximately $67.42) and Suite room  3750 (approximately $84.27) are fair prices for a mid-range, full service hotel of this quality in this location.

A walk-through of the Deluxe room can be seen below:

Additional Amenities

Grand Central also provides it guests with:

  • Free WiFi
  • Cable TV
  • Air Conditioners
  • Refrigerators with mini-bar snacks
  • Toiletries
  • CCTV security system

Refrigerator

It’s important to note that an elevator has been installed but is yet to be in working order. If you have issues with walking up a couple of flights of stairs please take note. Staff are hopeful that this issue will be fixed in the very near future.

Overall Impression

Grand Central Suites is a very attractive option if you plan on eating and hanging out mostly in the Walking Street area during your visit to Angeles City. Their location simply cannot be beat as you are right in the middle of the action.

There are more than enough restaurants, shops, clubs and bars in the surrounding area and nothing is more than a 10 minute walk away. You can really minimize your transportation costs by staying at Grand Central Suites.

I’ve watched this hotel go from being the dark and small Orange Lion to the well lit, nicely designed hotel that stands today. While there have been construction and restaurant issues in the past, it finally seems as if Grand Central has found it’s identity and is poised to become a well known hotel in the ever changing landscape of Fields Avenue and Angeles City.

Fake Books

It’s rare not to see one of the owners on site and the staff is a friendly, knowledgeable and helpful group who do their best to make sure your needs as a guest are met.

Pretty Girl

If you are planning a visit to Angeles City in the near future, be sure to consider Grand Central Suites for your lodging. They offer a comparable experience to some of the more expensive hotels in the area.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Blue Rock Beach Resort, Part I of II — Accommodations

Entryway

TYPE: Full Service Beach Resort Hotel
RESERVATIONS: Required
ROOM TYPES: Standard Back (3), Deluxe Back (9), Standard Beach Front (5), Beach Front with Lounge (1), Beach Front (2), Deluxe Beach Front (7), Superior Beach Front (8), Executive Beach Front (4), Junior Suite Beach Front (1) and Junior Suite Pool Side (1)
RATES: See Attached PDF, Prices as of Nov. 23, 2013
PAYMENT: Cash/Credit Card
LOCAL PHONE #: (047) 224-9042
ROOM SERVICE: Available, Full Restaurant Menu 24hrs.
LOCATION: See Map Below


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Beachside Vacation So Close, Yet So Far Away

I’ve had many opportunities to visit Subic over the many years I’ve stayed in the Philippines but always declined the short trip. Having lived in California beach towns for over a decade and having already visited Boracay, Philippines I figured I’d reached the pinnacle and wasn’t missing out on too much.

The one year anniversary with my girlfriend was fast approaching and I had no plans and a limited budget. I finally decided that this would be a nice anniversary gift and it would be relatively inexpensive way to get out of town for a few days. I broke down and made us room reservations at Blue Rock Beach Resort, which by many accounts is one of the top spots to stay for a Subic visit. The restaurant is well reviewed (coming soon in Part II) and they have a large floating bar just offshore during the dry season (late November through April/May).

Years ago Subic Bay was home to a large U.S. Navy base but this has since ceased and it is now an economic freeport zone, though joint Naval drills and activities with the U.S. and Filipino armed forces are still practiced on a yearly basis.  While the Philippines is comprised of over 7000 islands Angeles City is not one of the beach front towns.  Subic Bay/Olongapo City is the closest beach destination and is located a short hour drive from Angeles.

Angeles City To/From Subic Transportation

Getting to Subic from Angeles City is fairly simple as a couple hotels offer shuttle services on a daily basis for about 1000 pesos round trip (about $23.25). Travel via private car, public bus and even motorbike are options, but each of these methods would require some additional research, planning and expense.

We took the Southern Cross Shuttle Service from the Brass Knob Hotel in Angeles and we arrived in Subic less than an hour later. The drop off point was Wild Orchid resort and Blue Rock was just a short walk away.

Getting back was just as easy. We simply walked back over to Wild Orchid at the departure time and got on the bus back to Angeles City where we were dropped off on the highway to a waiting car that took us to our desired destination.

Superior Beach Front Room

I had booked a Superior Beach Front Room due to my late decision in making the trip and it being the cheapest room available. This is one of the higher priced rooms at Blue Rock Beach Resort at 3,150 pesos (around $73.25) a night , so I had high expectations.

My first impression upon entering the room was that it was much smaller and not quite as modern as I had anticipated. I hadn’t seen a non-flat screen TV in years! The room looked like it was overdue for a major renovation.

Fan and TV

Having been the victim of a robbery in a hotel room before I’m very safety conscience. The door to the room was a hollow, plastic door that you could practically see through when the sun hit it at sundown. The door also had some repairs/modifications done to it. It had a push button keyed lock and a safety chain, both of these mechanisms provide minimal security for a room steps away from the open beach, away from the main restaurant/bar area on the ground floor. Surprisingly the window locks seemed good. Even though these shortcomings were a disappointment from my safety standard I felt I was in a safe area and didn’t have much to worry about.

Entryway

Once you entered the room there was a large cabinet with toiletries, mini-bar snacks, a refrigerator with drinks and small sitting area with table and chairs.

Sitting Area

Mini-Bar

The in-room safe was secured inside this cabinet, but was placed in a position that makes it easy to crack by accessing the back. I didn’t trust it to hold my valuables and money combined with the door/lock situation.

Just around the corner of the cabinet which divided the sitting area and the sleeping area was the bed which had a mirror on the ceiling and a full body mirror on the opposite side of the cabinet. I was slightly disappointed in the overall cleanliness. The fan was filthy with dust  as were the tops of all the cabinets and the queen size bed frame had two stains on the headboard. The bedding was extremely thin and there is no blanket.

Dirty Headboard

We were provided with two thin towels, which doesn’t seem to be enough for a beach resort, soap and some glasses. The bathroom was of decent size as was the shower which was actually closed off from the rest of the bathroom keeping the floor dry. The bathroom fixtures were not nearly big enough for holding toiletries and it would’ve been nice to have some additional shelving.

Spacious Bathroom

Enclosed Shower

Overall Room Assessment

While the room didn’t live up to my expectations I wasn’t completely disappointed. The view from my window was spectacular and it was literally a few steps from the beach.

Beach

I didn’t anticipate spending a lot of time in the room anyway other than for sleeping. I also had the added benefit of being in possession of a discount card that gave me 10% off each night. This trip was also an anniversary gift so spending the extra money on a room closer to the water was worth it for this special occasion. These factors contributed significantly to keeping me a happy guest.

On a future visit I would reserve the cheapest room available (no deposit or credit card necessary) and then see the room and other available rooms upon arrival before making a final choice. If nothing was to my liking, I’d check out the neighboring hotels which seem to have similar or slightly higher prices but appeared to be newer and more modern. This could backfire if you don’t have a room reserved for your entire stay and is a gamble during busy times.

If you want to stay directly on the water then Blue Rock Beach Resort is definitely worth a look. They have over 40 rooms and I’d suggest staying in the least expensive room you can book as my experience is that:

  1. You won’t be spending much time in the room
  2. The higher priced rooms don’t seem to be of great value

Resort Amenities

Other than heading out one time we spent virtually all of our three days at Blue Rock Beach Resort and ate most of our meals here. Part II of my review of the this resort will focus on the restaurant, bar, floating bar and other activities available.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)