Chicken in soy sauce
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Tourism and business conferences have ensured that Cebu has a vast selection of accommodations that cater to all budgets. Beds can go for as low as Php 250 in a dormitory setting, or more than 100 times that (Php 33,000) for 125 square meters of exclusive space that includes a private plunge pool and outdoor shower.
Perched on Nivel Hills a notch above the rest of Cebu City, The Marco Polo Plaza Hotel (Cebu Veterans Dr., Nivel Hills, Apas, map) keeps you away from the city buzz but still close enough to dive right in—just hop in a cab or jeepney and head down the hill. Doubles start at Php 6,500 (including breakfast for two, wi-fi access, and taxes), with your choice of mountain or sea views. Expect five-star service and standards, as well as the best buffet in town (local and international cuisine) at its Miele Guide-listed Café Marco. Alpa City Suites (Hernan Cortes St., corner F. Cabahug St., Mandaue City, map) is a new player that appeals to business travelers: Beginning at Php 2,580 (with breakfast, unlimited internet access, all taxes included), the studio-with-kitchenette suites boast roomy comfort and value for money, especially on extended business trips. A bit cheaper, family-run Casa Rosario Pension (101 R. Aboitiz St., map) is a reliable favorite, preferred by families traveling on a budget. Clean, simple, no-frills doubles go for Php 1,200. A stone’s throw from the city center, it’s close to local historical attractions as well as masses of local-food options.
If budget is not an issue, opt for the high-end resorts lining the coast of Mactan Island. These places have thought of everything you need for an island hideaway— the only problem is you may never want to leave and explore the rest of Cebu! Compact Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel (Buyong Rd., Mactan Island, map) lets you experience an island idyll with attentive but unobtrusive service at the competitive rate of Php 4,400 (breakfast not included). Enchanting tropical-style décor shows an eye for detail that is also evident in its excellent a la carte menus; you can also find local dishes at its lunchtime buffets or arrange for a local-style picnic that’s spread on banana leaves and meant to be eaten with your hands. Sprawling Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa (Punta Engaño Rd, Lapu-Lapu, map; starting at Php 12,275, including breakfast for two and taxes) literally has something for everyone: Adults can party at the Cowrie Cove bar or relax at the Chi Spa, laze on the beach or lounge by the pool; kids can splash about in the wet-playground, stay dry in the Adventure Zone, or discover the swings, chess sets, and hammocks that dot the grounds. Abacá Boutique Resort + Restaurant (Punta Engaño Rd, Lapu-Lapu, map) cocoons you in uber-chic, Asian-style contemporary digs. Rates start at just under Php 20,000 for the 65-square meter “master oceanfront suite” (they do go up from there), with an impressive array of inclusions such as individually prepared gourmet breakfasts, evening nightcap cocktails, and 24-hour butler service. It’s probably the most serene, private, and luxurious retreat on offer in Cebu.
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