Way back in January, 2019 I planned and booked a holiday to The Philippines. I booked international flights from Manchester to Manila via Doha. My wife and I decided to spend the bulk of our time on the island of Bohol. However, we chose to stay in Manila for two nights at the start of our holiday, commencing on Sunday 20th October. Similarly, we opted to book a further two nights at the end of our holiday, beginning on Friday 1st November.
I did some research and found that La Corona had reasonable TripAdvisor reviews. This hotel was ideally located within walking distance of a number of places of interest and we decided to stay here. When I put a holiday together myself I like to pay by credit card to protect myself should something go wrong. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 covers you for purchases on credit of between £100 and £30,000. Should the company go into administration, etc you can claim the money back from the credit card provider.
In this case the problem with La Corona was that it was so inexpensive! I had to pay the booking agent separately for each two night stay and the price was going to be well under £100. For that reason we decided to book a suite at a cost of £112 for each two night stay.I requested a non-smoking suite with a king size bed for both stays. I then pretty much forgot about the booking until nearer the departure date.
About a month before our holiday I contacted La Corona by email to arrange airport pickups. I was dealt with promptly and efficiently by Karen Joy Lu, the trainee Reservations Officer. The airport transfers were booked at a cost of 750 PHP for the two of us. Incidentally we were met as promised on each occasion and we couldn't fault this service. So far so good!
My wife and I arrived at this hotel at between 11 pm and 11.30 pm on the Sunday night after almost 24 hours of travelling. The check-in procedure was quick and easy BUT we were told the only available suite was a smoking room on the sixth floor. The lift only went up to the fifth floor and then you had to use the stairs.
Bearing in mind that our booking was made and paid for some nine months in advance we were not best pleased. I can only presume that the rooms had been allocated to guests as they arrived on the day.
We had room 607 which was a real disappointment. The entrance corridor was huge but a complete waste of space. The room was a fair size but the bathroom was small. The furniture was old and worn and looked decidedly cheap and nasty. My wife was convinced that this was not a suite and In her words she was 'disgusted' with it. The stench of stale cigarette smoke did nothing to lighten the mood.
By contrast when we returned on 1st November my wife was 'delighted' with our suite. We were allocated Room 206 on the non smoking second floor. Now this was a suite! The suite had two TVs, one in the bedroom and one in a separate Lounge area. The bathroom was huge and fitted with a large jacuzzi and a separate shower.. I just cannot emphasise enough the difference between this suite and the first room we were allocated. You would think we were in a different hotel!
The biggest 'plus' of our two visits must be the staff. Each and every individual staff member was, without exception, pleasant, courteous and helpful. We unreservedly award the staff a five star rating.
The biggest 'minus' must be the sleep quality. The noise from outside was loud, constant and relentless all through the night. I accept that this is not the fault of the Best Western group but serious consideration must surely be given to some form of effective soundproofing. Looking back I would gladly have paid more for a room that gave me a sporting chance of a decent night's sleep.
I note that some reviewers have criticised the breakfast. Personally, whilst accepting that there was a limited choice, I thought the food was excellent.
Some reviews complain of poor WiFi but my personal experience was of a good reliable connection at all times.
One issue that does leave me feeling somewhat disgruntled occurred when we came to check out after our first stay. Someone was dispatched to check the room which I surmised was to check the mini bar stock. To my surprise I was informed that one of the room towels was stained and that consequently we were to be charged 250 PHP. I begrudgingly paid this 'fine' as I could ill afford to be delayed whilst the matter was debated. We had booked transport to the airport to catch our flight to Bohol and needed to be on our way.
The Pros are cancelled out by the Cons. Excellent staff versus terrible sleep quality. All things considered my overall rating of this hotel can be no higher than average despite the fact that nothing was actually average, it was either good or bad! less