My husband and I got married in the USA but decided to go to Boracay for our honeymoon. Even though I grew up in Manila and lived there for 16 years, I have never been to Boracay as my family was never able to afford it. Anyway, we booked a week long stay at the Regency at the recommendation of a relative whose Americanized Filipina cousin on the other side of the family always opted to stay there whenever she went back home and “did Bora”. This Americanized lady held a pretty high administrative position at a large US state university so I figured her opinion was legit.
Anyway, so the hotel itself was nice and clean, I appreciated the Filipiniana decor. I guess I was expecting a Hilton or Holiday Inn type of place but the Regency was nice. Our room was also as good as advertised. It had a nice balcony, very roomy, bed and sheets were clean, bathroom was very Americanized and modern (i.e. great water pressure which is something I know is scarce in Manila, and adequate hot water supply).
The staff was also very friendly, I note that they spoke decent English even though they had the heavy provincial accent but at least I could understand them and they could understand us.
So the week went by fast and before I knew it, it was time to leave. We had that boat ride to catch that will take us to the terminal where the van will drive us to the airport. I pride myself on being able to calculate travel times well but I guess I forgot i was in the Philippines, not Chicago :P.
My husband and I went to check out of our hotel and just to note we paid for our booking ahead of time, so really all they had to do is use the credit card on file and charge us the meals and drinks that we consumed during our stay. We thought they’d just check our account online, charge the account, give us a receipt and we’d be on our way.
Turns out….they had to send housekeeping to our room to “check” our room before they can discharge us. WTF? Ok so this is the Philippines, I figured they have to otherwise they would run out of towels, pillows, robes etc within a few months because Pinoys like to take things out of a hotel room for “souvenir”. I said, don’t worry about it, you have our credit card, if anything is missing (which there shouldn’t, I didn’t even take the remainder of my hotel toiletries even though I usually do that in American hotels) you can just charge it”. But they refused and made us wait. You would think if this is normal practice that they’d have a dedicated staff to attend to just the “checkout room once-over” tasks. But it seems like they use their normal housekeeping staff that do the cleaning, because we had to wait about two hours before we were free to go. Good thing we gave ourselves leeway and decided to leave extra early otherwise we would have missed our flight. The other foreign tourists in line with us who were also told to wait while their rooms were checked for missing items were also visibly frustrated.
This same checkout review make-sure-you-didn-t-take-our-blowdryer scenario also happened in Manila at one of the smaller hotels (Robinson’s Place I think) but not at the Shangri-La Makati, where we stayed for our last two nights in the country before flying back to the US of A. At least at the Shangri-La, we got treated as decent citizens who have no need to steal clock radios, pillows, etc.
So bizarre! I have since traveled to Toronto and Paris and didn’t have to experience such a thing.Published in