Whenever I travel, I am never one for 5-star hotels. I always go for the cheapest places that offer basic but decent accommodations. I believe that my money would be better spent on tours and experiencing the local vibe rather than on a room that would only serve as a locker for my clothes. Hence, the idea of having a staycation was completely foreign to me. And because it’s exotic, I wanted to try it. Staycation basically means having a vacation but you stay at home (or near your home which can also be called “nearcation”), thereby avoiding the hassles that go with traveling while rediscovering the local offerings. And as soon as I saw this “Staycation at Acacia Hotel Manila” promo in Deal Grocer, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to experiment.
Acacia Hotel Manila is located in Alabang.
The hotel, being only 2.1km away from my house, is in the perfect location. I won’t have to pay any toll fees and it’s near Festival Mall, ATC, and the Westgate Center. These neighbors are essential because I wanted to have more dining and entertainment options. You see, my idea of a hotel was just some place to sleep at night and to shower in the morning.
If the price is right
Of course, I would still not allow myself to go overboard when it comes to staying at a hotel. So, at P3450 for an overnight stay at a Deluxe King Room in a 5-star hotel, I must say the price was just right for my budget. Plus, the promo came with complimentary buffet breakfast for two and free use of the hotel’s pool and fitness center.
The 5-star difference
Since I travel fairly frequently, I must say that I have had my fair share of hotels and they do tend to blur into one room with features that span across their starriness. My staycation at Acacia Hotel Manila pretty much conformed to this notion and here is the list of their “standard features”:
- air conditioning
- complimentary Wi-Fi access
- daily housekeeping service
- clean bed, pillows and linens
- hot and cold water
- shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toilet paper
- cable TV
- electronic safe
But what makes the room five-star (to my less-cultured mind) are the following:
- complimentary Wi-Fi access of over 14mbps
- daily housekeeping that gives you free newspaper
- customized mattress with memory foam pillow top
- electronic “do not disturb” sign
- fully stocked mini-bar (with 5-star prices)
- super clean bath tub
- iron and ironing board
- great-smelling toilet soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, plus body lotion
Another thing I loved about the place was the customer service. From the guard who opened the door for me, to the receptionist during check-in and to the attendant at the restaurant, they were all courteous. There were lots of shala people and foreigners checking in but the receptionist did not bat an eyelash when I showed her my Deal Grocer voucher. And she spoke perfect English, too!
Areas for Improvement
If there was one thing to complain about, then it would have to be the shower by the bath tub. I could not find the tap that would make water flow from it. Haha! The tap would only turn the tub faucet on and there was no contraption to activate the shower. Plus, there was no bubble bath available! Because of that, I just soaked myself in the hot water, poured some shower gel and imagined that I was in one of the hot pools at Ace Water Spa.
Another bathroom-related flaw was that there was no hand-held bidet available by the toilet. I think the guests are expected to do it “American style” after doing number 2. I can just imagine the hassle it poses to non-practitioners. Good thing I didn’t need to have a go during my stay.
Anyway, one other aspect that needs some commentary is the parking lot. For a hotel that has 261 suites, I don’t think there’s sufficient parking space for at least one car per room should the hotel be fully-booked. Plus, some parts of the parking lot requires vehicle-owners to double-park, bumper to bumper. This would mean that you would have to shake up the whole hotel to look for the owner of that car who’s blocking your way out.
Final thoughts about staycationing
I have to conclude that staycationing is a valid way of spending money. But one must be very discerning in choosing places to stay at. My staycation at Acacia Hotel Manila proved to be a great experience in that I did not have to travel far to get that kind of R&R that I wouldn’t get from staying at home. And even for just one day, I was able to experience how it is to live large sans the spending too large part. And lastly, no one expected to get a pasalubong afterwards. ^___^
Acacia Hotel Manila
Address: 5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City 1781