Hotel Alejandro is a smoke-free, 4-story, 3-star hotel within walking distance of the city centre, located on a quiet side-street. The u-shaped main hotel envelopes an elegant old wooden Filipino house which contains a small shop and meeting rooms. The house was used as the WW-II US military headquarters during the famous "return" of General MacArthur. In fact the whole hotel is adorned with genuine and original framed war-time photos. You can spend hours roaming in what is essentially a free museum!
The ground floor of the main building (at the base of the "U" shape) hosts the reception area, which includes various tables and chairs where you may enjoy drinks and snacks while reading a complimentary newspaper or accessing Wi-Fi (not available in the bedrooms). A small but nicely appointed coffee shop, with an adjoining over-flow or meeting room, sits beside reception and offers all meals along with a good selection of delectable sweets. There is limited parking for cars and motorcycles with adequate overflow parking directly across the street. Tacloban is a very peaceful and safe city; but there is armed 24*7 security at the entrance anyway.
The reception staff seem just friendly / just helpful enough; but the reservation "system" (a stack of handwritten chits hopefully filed by date) and email booking are dodgy. Book by phone and ask for the reference number of the chit they will hopefully be writing-up as your booking. The staff in the restaurant seem slightly past their sell-by date, showing toothless smiles and slow and forgetful service.
The upper floors can be accessed by the single lift or the lovely curved staircase. The second floor has bedrooms and a multi-function space suitable for a smallish wedding or conference or for several smaller meetings. Third and fourth floors are bedrooms and there is a rooftop space I have never had occassion to visit.
I prefer the cheaper Standard Room, with double or twin beds, because these are located along the arms of the "U"; with rooms along one side and an open-air passage allowing good light and fresh air. The rooms are basic with dressing table & mirror, closet, small cable TV, hot & cold shower, toilet and hand basin. The De Luxe rooms have an additional single bed and sitting area. The rooms and linen are tired, but generally clean. Check everything is working to your satisfaction upon arrival at your room and ask to see another room if you are not satisfied.
A two block walk, turning right from the hotel entrance, will take you to the main road out of the city centre; where Suzuki multi-cabs and traditonal Jeepneys ply their routes to Robinsons shopping centre, the airport and the new central bus & van terminal. Turn left for one block and get on the main tricycle route to everywhere else in town. Ask for directions from the friendly commuters you will encounter.
In many ways Tacloban is more advanced (civilised?) than the average Philippines provincial capitol. There is a very workable one-way system for the in-city transport (mentioned above) which keeps the motorised tricycles off the main roads and the buses out of the city centre completely. But be careful, if you are caught jay-walking by one of the many orange-shirted traffic enforcers, you will be fined on-the-spot. Use the well-marked and generally respected cross-walks on every corner.
The city center has two locations of the famously provincial Guaisano department store, where it's an extreme case of "pile-em high and sell-em cheap"; surrounded by many small "taiwanese" shops selling everthing under the sun - all of which are of dubious quality and origin. There are plenty of the usual chain restaurants and a few very good local restaurants (genuine Italian, Chinese, Mexican, seafood and Filipino) and a variety of live entertainment bars and kareokes.
I have had many overnight stays in Tacloban over the past five years, on my way to the excellent scuba diving sites in S. Leyte (that's another story), and I have settled on Hotel Alejandro as "my hotel". Maybe you will too. But book ahead, as it fills-up fast!
- Also Known As:
- Alejandro Hotel Tacloban
- Hotel Alejandro Tacloban, Leyte Island