Friday, July 10, 2015

Azalea Residences Baguio is Truly a Stand-Out!

I have always been the frugal traveler. Wherever I go, I have this mantra of saving as much money as possible, and often, the big bulk of budget cut would fall on the accommodation. There is nothing wrong with that, of course... but as I reflect on this post, I have come to realize that a very comfortable bed at night contributes a lot to the overall success of the trip.

Nearly two weeks ago, I was blessed to be part of a group getaway with fellow bloggers courtesy of Azalea Residences Baguio. I have heard of this place prior to the trip, but this was the first time I stayed at this hotel, as I don't usually sleep in whenever I travel to Baguio; I often travel at night and spend the entire day in Baguio, traveling to La Union late in the afternoon where I stay with my aunt.

I think in my whole lifetime traveling to Baguio when time and money allow, I have stayed overnight four times - first was when I was still a child spending a weekend at my cousins's dorm (they studied college in Baguio Colleges Foundation, now called the University of the Cordilleras), then when my British friend K and I traveled to Baguio as part of our holiday, then when I attended a conference with fellow church org members (we stayed at a transient home very far from the heart of the city), and last March, when my sister, mom, and I enjoyed a side trip to Baguio after we visited daddy's grave on his death anniversary.

On the four times I stayed overnight in Baguio, my stay at the Azalea Residences Baguio has been the best - hands down. Here are the reasons why:

Paul Kristian Fil Darang (Guest Services Officer) and JC Moulic (Head Concierge)

The staff were very friendly and very nice.
Wherever I go around the hotel, whenever I cross paths with a staff they would stop, smile and greet me good morning, good afternoon, or good evening.

Not only that, they were quick to respond. When I had difficulty with the television set, I phoned in a request and just two minutes after, a maintenance staff knocked on our door to attend to my query with friendly smiles.

A very warm welcome.
A welcome drink and a fruit basket, plus bottles of water on top of the fridge... me likey!

They simply thought of everything.
I already expected that the toiletries would bear the hotel's name, but I am amazed at how complete their free toiletry kit is. Not only did we get the common items - shampoo, soap, conditioner, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste... but we also got a tub of lotion, a small kit containing razor, nail file, a small powder puff and shower cap. Bonus points... there was a fresh set of toiletries (soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, and toilet paper) come the next day, even if we haven't used the set given the day before.

The towels in the bathroom were complete - there was a bath towel, a hand towel, and a towel to be used to dry feet after using the shower. All of these were also replaced the day after.

Checking the closet in the bedroom, there were pairs of slippers, bathrobe, laundry bag, ample amount of hangers... and there is a small sewing kit. Inside the drawer, there was a hair dryer. Well, I don't use it really, but it was very thoughtful of them to place one in the drawer.

By the way, not only did the shower have hot and cold settings, guests can also control the temperature of the water in the faucet, perfect when washing the face.

Another thing I liked was that there were two key cards - both of which can be used to open the door and to turn on the main power in the room. I appreciated this a lot because a lot of hotels only has one key card - and when you leave your room, the power inside automatically turns off. While this is a great way to save electricity, I am not totally in favor of it because there were instances that camera or cell phone's battery would die down. By having two sets of key cards, I can enjoy roaming outside while I keep my spare batteries charging inside, ready for the next use... and I can keep the fridge on, allowing me to have very cold water to soothe my throat after some time of roaming around the city.

Wi-Fi connection has good reception. Sure, the wi-fi signal is difficult to grasp inside the bedroom, but signal is great in the kitchen and living room area... and guests don't need to switch wi-fi connection per level, once you logged in the password of the wi-fi, you can connect to the internet anywhere in the hotel where there is signal. And yes, it was free.

If you are a light traveler, chances are you will need to have fresh set of clothes. Azalea Residences Baguio offers laundry services at a touch of a button.

Lastly, they have an on-call doctor 24 hours a day. I pray none of its guests would get sick, but should they encounter a medical emergency, it is comforting to know that there is a doctor ready to offer first-aid help.

Delicious buffet.
Everyone checked in at the hotel were given free breakfast at the hotel's in house restaurant, Tradisyon. I love that the buffet offered a wide array of choices - soup, salad, cereal, bread, rice meals, pastries and fruits. My days in this getaway started on a very good note because of the sumptuous breakfasts I had here.

Azalea Residences Baguio is not located at the heart of the city. On my holiday with my friend K in 2010, we also stayed at a hotel along the Leonard Wood Road (of course I won't mention the name), and it was difficult to go out and find a restaurant to eat at night. I was happy that when I stayed at Azalea Residences, they also offered buffet dinners at Tradisyon, as well as phone-in food orders delivered to the guest's room. One may be "detached" to the center of the city, but that doesn't mean one would hail a taxi and look for a restaurant just to have dinner.

They also have a bar, should one fancy a drink.

(Since this a food blog, do watch out for a separate post about the food I ate while I was at Azalea Residences)

Athena Atria of The Lifestyle Avenue

Magnificent view.
Currently, there are 99 suites in Azalea Residences Baguio - 46 deluxe rooms, 17 one-bedroom suites, 33 two-bedroom suites, and 3 three-bedroom suites...and I heard they are offering presidential suites as well, though I am not sure how many there are at the moment. With that many rooms, view will differ, but should you stay at a room at the front area of the hotel, this will be your view. You can view sunrise from here, a very great welcome for another day at paradise. I also love it that the rails at high enough to hinder children to climb on, but low enough to still enjoy the wonderful scenery. You may say Baguio City is now congested and urbanized, but seeing this view gives that assurance that the city still has some greens too boast.

Deluxe Room
Dining Area and Living Room of the One-Bedroom Suite

It sure felt like home.
May it be deluxe, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or the three-bedroom suite, each room has its living room and kitchen - complete with microwave oven, electric kettle (with bags of tea, coffee, creamer and sugar), as well as cooking and dining utensils. This gives the guests the freedom to eat their choice of food, but of course they strongly prohibit cooking dried fish/seafood and those with very strong smell. Should you want to eat danggit, I suggest you eat a lot during breakfast (at the buffet) or ask them to cook it for you for a minimal charge.

My companions and I stayed at a two-bedroom suite. My companions Jing and Angie stayed at the master's bedroom with en-suite bathroom, while I stayed at the other bedroom with single-sized bed. Although there were two rooms, there was also a common bathroom, so in a way it also felt like I had my own bathroom. The bed was warm and comfortable, and I super duper loved it when I saw that there were extra pillows in the closet. One of the things I hate in my hotel stays is the lack of pillows as I use about three pillows - two for my head and one to hug while I sleep.

Another noteworthy thing to share was that our suite had three TV sets - one in the living room, and one on each of the bedrooms. This is a very clever thing for them to do, because they market the suites for families and big groups, and I am sure you will agree with me, that sometimes people fight over television. This way, everybody will be happy.

Now I fully understood the difference. It is true, you really get what you pay for... and while I admit the rates of Azalea Residences Baguio is a little too much for my usual budget, I am thinking of staying there again on my next travel to the City of Pines, simply because of how well rested I was during my entire stay, even if my companions and I had a very long Saturday doing all sorts of activities. I highly recommend this place, and if you are a big family or a big group, feel free to contact them for rates (they allow extra people in the room) and other services (like van service and the likes).

To know more about Azalea Residences Baguio, here are their contact details:

Address: #7 Leonard Wood Loop, Brgy. M. Roxas, Baguio City
Reservations Hotline: +63 2 579 4894, +63 2 579 4890 Mobile: +63 917 861 1641, +63 919 994 4140
Hotel Trunk Line: +63 74 424 8716, +63 74 424 8166
Manila Sales: +63 2 925 8352 Mobile: +63 917 861 1642 +63 919 994 4143 Fax: +63 2 655 1162
Twitter: @AzaleaResidence

*** Jenn ***

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}