3 Reasons to Stay in Palacio de Laoag (plus 3 Reasons Not to)

We had originally planned to check-in at Balay da Blas Pensionne House (ranked #1 in Trip Advisor and also highly recommended by a lot of friends) on our first night in Ilocos, but to my disappointment, it was fully booked for the weekend. As a result, we decided to stay in Palacio de Laoag, an antique-style boutique hotel five minutes away from the city proper and about thirty minutes from the airport (by tricycle). Booking a room at Palacio includes free shuttle service, so a van picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the hotel. A great welcome to Ilocos, would you say? However, my awesome experience with Palacio stops there.

Let me clarify: my experience with Palacio was not exactly awful, but it wasn't exactly awesome either. I can’t say “great” as well, because “great” suggests a possible return. With Palacio, I’m not really sure if I want that. It wasn’t because of the staff (who were actually kind and helpful) nor the place itself (which was lovely). It was, er, something else.

Below, I have listed down the good points and the bad points I found with my experience with Palacio de Laoag. First up, the bad stuff:

1. That incident with Kuya Shuttle—our van driver. 

If you read my previous post on Ilocos first impressions, you wouldn’t like this driver either! He tried to offer us private tour services, bad-mouthing the hotel and the local tricycle drivers, then turns out he was the one trying to overcharge us! We should’ve gone to hotel on our own, but hey, a free shuttle service is a free shuttle service. Good thing we were smart enough to figure out we were being manipulated though.

(To Palacio de Laoag: if you’re reading this and you have no idea that your shuttle drivers are doing this, then I’m happy to have helped you discover this unethical act. However, if you're actually part of this ploy for first-time tourists, shame on you.)

2. Creepy atmosphere. 

Palacio de Laoag is beautiful during daytime. But by nighttime? OMG. I couldn’t even go out for a smoke.

Somehow, the charming furniture, the mirrors, the glass panels, the balconies, the dramatic narrow corridors all transform into horror movie props at night! I swear! I’m not normally a scaredy-cat, but the place gave me the creeps. While walking around at night, it felt like I was going to run into a ghost any moment, around the next corner. Haha! Shit!

I didn't even dare to take pics at night!
It was probably because of the very dim lighting—such a shame because the place was beautiful! Or maybe because it’s … vintage? Or maybe because we were the only ones checked-in? But I doubt, there were other people in the bar that night. OMG, WERE THEY FUCKING REAL??

The main lobby is kinda creepy in a beautiful way in early morning though.
3. Pitiful water supply. 

The sink faucet worked fine—and shot out water like it was trying to cut your fingers off—but whoever designed the bathroom seemed to have focused all his attention on the sink, and forgot about the shower. I don’t know if these people are aware that tourists actually bathe, but the shower drips were so thin, anyone else’s urine flow was probably thicker. Pardon me for the disgusting comparison, but it’s true. The faucet on the shower area was no better.

The bathroom: one vigorous sink faucet, no bidet, droplets from the shower
Perhaps it was the water supply in the entire Laoag? Not really sure, and if it was, I apologize, my sympathy is with you. In Grandpa’s Inn in Vigan, I didn’t have this problem though. We were too tired to request to be transferred to a different room.

Standard Room, Twin Sharing: PhP1,550/night: private bath, cable TV, aircon
(inclusive of breakfast, free use of the pool, free entrance at Sultan Music Bar, and shuttle service
from the airport)

To be fair, those were only things that incredibly bothered me. There were other minor annoying details (like noisy aircon and weak Wifi), but for me, they’re forgivable. In addition, they are offset by these lovely things about Palacio de Laoag:

1. Yummy food. 

We stayed in a Standard Twin Sharing Room, which – aside from two single beds, a private bathroom, closet space, and air-conditioning – comes with free breakfast. You can choose between an American breakfast and an Ilocano breakfast. Definitely, as I was dying to eat Ilocos longganisa, I chose the latter.

Our set meal at CafĂ© Marqueza came with two pieces of garlicky longganisa, a cup of fried rice, a choice between coffee and hot chocolate, an egg cooked according to your liking, and dessert. The longganisa was so delicious, I wanted to cry because there were only two of them. The sukang Iloko? Don’t even get me started.


It was so nice of them to serve fruits as dessert, and pineapple too, to cleanse the palate! Mine was definitely cleansed, as after eating them pineapples, I ordered another cup of rice to finish the remaining one-sixteenth of my longganisa with, hahaha!

2. Beautiful ambience (daytime). 

This is opposite to #2 of the above. Yes, Palacio de Laoag was actually beautiful—rustic, charming, warm, relaxing. I’ll let the photos do the talking.





3. Sultana Music Bar. 

Seeing that I couldn’t live without alcohol music, it was good that Palacio has its own bar right at the top floor. No tugsh tugsh scene (of course), just a cozy little spot to indulge in a few cocktails while waiting for sleepiness to hit. It was dimly lit – not “URBN” dim but beerhouse dim, haha, you know, reddish light – and had a videoke to complete the patay-sindi atmosphere. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, LOL!

First-time Experience: I ordered a Vodka Sprite was given two shots of vodka and a whole can of Sprite. I asked for plenty of ice, gulped down my vodka on the rocks, and took my Sprite to our room and drank it with chips, LOL!

Tip for future Palacio guests: the bar closes at 2am. Order all the beer you want and reserve all the songs you want before last call!


There! That’s my Palacio de Laoag experience. Honestly, if I ever find myself in Laoag again, I wouldn’t check-in there but I would probably drop by for a drink or a meal. However, seeing as I have pointed out the problems, maybe I would reconsider if: (1) there’s a vigorous shower and (2) there are white light sources all over the hotel, placed 3 meters away from each other, and all turned on at night, hahahaha! Yes, I didn’t mention the Kuya Shuttle thing anymore since we are all aware of that one now.

In the meantime though, I would prefer staying in bedrooms where no potential Nearly Headless Nicks are around.


~*~
Palacio de Laoag
Brgy. 27, P. Paterno St., Vintar Rd., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
 +6377.772.2950; +6377.772.2951; +6377.773.1842
Email: room.reservation@thepalaciodelaoag.com
Room Rates: click here

Manila Office Numbers (for reservations):
+632.995.7709; +632.439.0961; +632.697.4719


Have you been to Laoag? Where did you stay? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the Disqus feed below. You can log in using Facebook!

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Don’t miss any of these posts in the Ilocos 2014 series:

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pepe samson

About Pepe Samson

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2 comments :

  1. I didn't get the chance to stay in Laoag but this hotel is on my list should we decide to stay for the night. Medyo creepy nga but then that's expected of an old town.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Patrick CorralesJuly 30, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Wow! Hehe. Go go, let me know what you think if ever. Did you check Balay da Blas' reviews as well?

    ReplyDelete

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