Resort Review: Bravo Beach Resort, Siargao

Address: Barangay 5,, Tourism Rd, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
Wifi: Only in the Restaurant. Barely reaches the room.

I first found out about Bravo in 2016, when my boyfriend and I went there for drinks one night. We were both so amazed at how lively and full their restaurant was, that we regretted not staying in this resort. The place we were staying in at the time was dead during the night. Here, it was filled with all sorts of travellers who brought with them their youthful energy. Some were eagerly playing cards on the table next to ours, while most were just talking in a bubble of enthusiasm. Just observing this was already fun for us. So as we were about to go home, Douglas and I agreed that we’d stay in Bravo the next time we came to visit Siargao.

Well, I followed through on that agreement sans Douglas (sorry babe), and Bravo Beach Resort did not disappoint.

The Room

1. It’s super clean.

You know how sand just accumulates inside your room or bathroom after you get inside from the beach? Hate that. Luckily, that had never happened in Bravo because they clean the rooms every day. For a mere 920 pesos per bed per night, that’s quite luxury.

And for the sake of comparison, we paid 2,000 pesos/night for our room, in our previous resort, but the staff didn’t bother to clean it at all.

2. It’s spacious.

Although I shared the room with four other people, it was still big enough that it didn’t feel cramped.

3. It’s got lockers inside.

Because where else would we put our valuables away from the strangers we’re sleeping with? Bring your own padlocks.

The Necessities

1. The Bed

It was quite comfortable. I can’t say the same for the pillows and the blankets though. I would say that the pillows touch the fine line between being comfortable and not so much. The blankets are so thin that it felt like I had no blanket at all. I got cold every night, even when we set the airconditioning higher (also thanks to the night breeze).

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2. The Bath Necessities

They offer one beach towel, one room towel, and an unlimited supply of toilet rolls. That’s it. So bring your own necessities 🙂

3. The Toilet and The Shower

These two are in separate doors, which makes the place even more comfortable. You don’t have to wait for your roomate to finish showering, just so you can take a dump.

The Restuarant

1. Free Breakfast

You would think that paying 920 pesos a night won’t get you much for breakfast. Wrong. Bravo’s got quite a good selection of food. Out of the options, you can pick at least three orders for no extra charge. And just to compare (again), our previous resort only had the usual egg, rice, and bacon for breakfast. How boring.

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First Breakfast in Bravo: A fruit bowl, two pancakes, and greek yogurt. Coffee.
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Second Breakfast in Bravo: baked beans, poached eggs, bread. Water. Lemon Juice

2. The other meals

The food in Bravo is far from disappointing. It’s actually one of the restaurants that I would keep going back to. But even though the food I had there were all flavorful, I can’t say that they were the best.

Aside from that, they’re mostly focused on Spanish cuisines, which I don’t mind but a little variety would have been interesting. Anyway, I was able to visit other restaurants, so I won’t dwell on that.

They have the best signature drink though, which is called a Pomada – a cocktail of gin and lime and probably honey (?) Who knows. They mix it with crushed ice, so it’s like drinking a 7-Eleven Slurpee. It’s perfect for the tropical heat. It’s what everbody was drinking over there, I noticed.

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BLT Panini

3. The Plunge Pool

Their adorable plunge pool is right in front of the restaurant. Sometimes, it can get crowded with men with perfect abs, so it makes for a good view. LOL. Or you know, it’s useful for when you want to take a dip after that monster of a burger.

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4. The Sofas

Their restaurant also makes for a great spot to hangout in; this is obviously why it’s always packed from the afternoons into the evenings. When everybody just feels like lounging around, Bravo’s sofa beds are there for you. Plus, the wind coming through this place is heaven sent!

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The Beach

I saw that people don’t really use Bravo’s beach for swimming. Women mostly just lay on the sand to tan and that’s it, which is a waste because Bravo’s beach is clean, calm, and less rockly than most of Siargao’s shores. They also have the best views of the sunrise and the sunset. Bravo placed themselves in such a good spot that it makes me mad that I don’t live there.

Hotel Review: The APA Hotel (Higashi Shinjuku)

Address: Shinjuku-ku Kabukicho 2-19-14
No. of nights: May 13 – May 16 (3 nights)
No. of rooms: 3 rooms
Rate per night per room: 10,333.33 JPY or 4,535.97 PHP

Wifi: yes
Breakfast NOT included
Parking space not available.

It’s not news to anyone that Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. So it came as a surprise to me that we were able to find a hotel for only 4,535 pesos a night.

The first time I visited Japan, we stayed in the Hilton Hotel, which offered big spacious rooms befitting for the five star hotel. The rooms at APA are undoubtedly the complete opposite of spacious, but notably far from being uncomfortable.

the room in APA Hotel in Higashi Shinjuku

Cons
To tell you honestly, I had a few complaints regarding the size of the room the first time I saw it.

  • The bed was pinned to the walls so whenever the person closest to it had to get out of bed, she had to either wake the person next to her or step over her (or roll over her, for people who have no regard for others lol).
  • I kept pointing out that there was no space to put our bags in, so I put mine right in the middle of the room door and the bathroom door. Everytime we came inside the room or went out the bathroom, we had to step over my medium sized luggage.
  • I kept bumping my smallest toes on the chair, the toilet bowl, or anything that was in the way really – which meant everything. Eventually though, I got used to the size.

A review of the APA Hotel in Higashi Shinjuku

Pros
The APA Hotel rooms do grow on you until you learn to love it. There are also a few things that I enjoyed about the hotel and my stay.

  • It was so close to the Higashi Shinjuku station, that walking to the hotel wasn’t a problem. There are also two other APA hotels in the area, one of which was so close to our hotel that the staff there led us to the right one.
  • Even though Booking.com already mentioned that the bed would be a semi-double (one for each room), it was still so roomy for both me and my sister. My brother was the only one who complained because he had to share the bed with our uncle, whom he isn’t so close with.
  • The room comes with all the necessities, like mugs with free coffee and tea packs, free bottle of water, a coffee pot, a mini fridge – all that jazz. Things you’d rarely find in a 4,500 PHP/night room in the Philippines.
  • The bathrooms come with a tub designed to be compact but efficient. The toilet bowl is a Toto Bowl too! That’s something that I still consider as fancy for a 4,500 PHP/night room.
  • The cleaning staff restocks the toiletries everyday. I didn’t even know there would be free toothbrushes, shaving kits, and combs.
  • Check in and check out were easy. We just had to drop our keys in a box upon check out. I know that’s what they do in a lot of other hotels around the world, but I just wanted to point that out.

One thing that our payment didn’t entitle us to having, though, is free breakfast. Although, that wasn’t really a problem since there’s a small cafeteria on the ground floor of the hotel.

In summary, I think that the price we paid for was reasonable for what came with the hotel. It also provided us a restful stay after each day of bustling around the city. So there was really nothing to complain about.

The size of the room may turn a few people off and the bathroom may get even claustrophobic, only because there’s so much fixtures inside (as opposed to the toilet in our last hotel). But when you get used to the size and eventually know how to avoid thumping your toes your way around the room, it will turn out to be just the right room for a 3 night stay in Tokyo.

Hotel Review: Hotel Meijiya

Address: Japan, 〒430-0807 Shizuoka Prefecture, Hamamatsu, Naka Ward, Sato, 1−1−30

Wifi: yes
Breakfast included: yes
Parking space: yes

Trying to stay cheap while traveling with five other people isn’t an easy feat. It’s difficult to find accommodation that can fit everyone’s budget. Even a two star hotel like Meijiya burned holes in my mom’s pocket for accommodating her and her three children (yes, me included). Although, she did share the expenses with two other people we were traveling with. Still, 104,400 JPY (46,056.78 PHP) for a total of three nights in a combined room, with free breakfast, a few futons, and a shared toilet and bath is a shocker. So for this review, affordability is definitely out of the question.

As for comfort, Hotel Meijiya is the place to go when staying in the quiet city of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.

The rooms are quite spacious – ideal for those traveling with a number of large luggage. Ideal for me and my family. lol. There are huge cupboards where one can place mountains upon mountains of clothes. Ideal for my mom who can never seem to pack light, even when she says she will.

The futons aren’t anything extraordinary but they do the job. For some people, they can be rough on the back. The pillows can also be uncomfortably hard but we made do. On the other hand, the comforters are DIVINE. I’d never touched anything so soft and smooth in my entire life! I could roll in those things and immediately fall asleep within minutes. Wake me up while I’m in them; we’re going to have a problem.

A review of Hotel Meijiya in Hamamatsu Shizouka

The shared bath and toilet are something else. 

There are only two toilets on our side of the building. One for males and one for females. They can be shared by everyone staying on our floor level. They are quite small but nothing that can make you claustrophobic. The good thing about the female’s restroom is the Toto bowl, complete with front and rear sprays. I felt clean dispite the place looking shady.

The shared bath is on the 9th floor. Of course, the baths for men and women are separate. The bathrobes and towels are provided for and are stored in one of the closets. I had to walk around the floor in a robe because I didn’t want to bring anything down after taking a bath. I’m not sure if that’s acceptable in Japanese culture since a guy eyed me down while going out of the elevator. I clearly didn’t do much research, but I advise against it. Then again, a woman walking around the hotel in just a robe isn’t an everyday attraction.

I’m a somewhat conservative person. Getting naked with the possibility that another person, even a woman, will see me is intimidating. I didn’t know how to feel about our situation but hey, it’s not everyday that I get to experience a Japanese hot bath. I went for it while constantly praying that no other person would feel the need to use the showers and the tub while I was in there.

Shared bathroom in Hotel Meijiya Hamamatsu Shizuoka

The showers have fast running water, both hot and cold. There’s enough supply of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and even facial wash. They are of good quality too, courtesy of DHC. Plus points for Hotel Meijiya making sure we were always smelling fresh!

It is proper manners to shower first and clean everything, everywhere before jumping in the hot bath. I googled this before using the showers. lol. The tub was a haven for me because I felt less vulnerable in there. Especially since the bathroom only has glass surrounding it. Yeah, that’s how uncomfortable I felt while showering.

A Review of Hotel Meijiya

The temperature of the water wasn’texactly relaxing all the way through. I had to dip my feet first and inched down little by little until the heat got bearable. There was a point that it was relaxing until it wasn’t again. So I dedicated only about 15 minutes, including the time I used to ease into the water, for the hot tub until I couldn’t handle the heat anymore. It’s either Hotel Meijiya has their temperature way up, or I can’t handle heat like the Japanese can.

Overall, I’m giving Hotel Meijiya a 5/5 for comfort and for all the other things like their food and service. Would I go back? Maybe not, because I’ve seen almost all that’s to see in Hamamatsu but also because I solely can’t afford 7,676.13 PHP a night. Would I want to experience a hotel that’s like Meijiya? Of course. Only if it’s cheaper. I enjoyed the hot bath, regardless of the uncomfortable heat, and the food that they served. Even the shared toilet is something I can get used to.