Happiness in Vigan
Lester Gopela Hallig (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Anything that speaks of happiness, we are sold on it. So when we experienced Hotel Felicidad, we knew that its name was no fluke. In fact, it has become quite the landmark in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Everybody knows it because it is a happy place to spend one’s vacation. If we were to go by the many loyal travelers who always insist on Hotel Felicidad, as well as the newbies who have heard — and tried — the hotel, then the happiness it trumpets is well justified.

Hotel Felicidad consultant Bonito Singson says that it all boils down to the establishment’s distinct traits and qualities. For starters, it is their unique architectural design. Singson shares: “The features were preserved from the original structure and faithfully adopted in the restoration process of the building.”

He’s referring to the hotel’s building, built by spouses Dr. Filadelfo Rosario de Leon Sr. and Doña Primitiva Encarnacion Donato after their wedding on June 19, 1918 and became the ancestral house of the Donato-De Leon family.

Hotel Felicidad has kept its various interior spaces, preserving the entrance hall, the original staircase, the grand sala, azotea, and the spacious bedrooms. All these are the products of painstaking research in remaining true to the original architecture and design.

Singson relates: “The ancestral house features one meter-thick walls made of old oven-baked bricks, wide and tall wooden window casings with unique smoked glass panels on the window panes sliding on tongue and groove railings, high ceilings, decoratively plastered walls and posts, big spacious rooms and wide narra planks for flooring.”

“New and modern plumbing, sanitation, mechanical, electrical, and air-conditioning features and accessories were installed but almost all are hidden to maintain the old and antique ambiance of the building,” he informs us.

He adds that original, restored or inspired reproductions of 18th and early 19th century furniture and fixtures complete the charming and grandiose character of Hotel Felicidad.

“Guests can best experience this in most of our rooms that feature four-poster beds in the style of master craftsman Ah-Tay, made of solid kamagong and molave, each uniquely designed and adorned by traditional Vigan mosquito nets with mattresses dressed in 300-thread count premium linens and duvet covers,” he says.

All 21 rooms are accessorized by uniquely Vigan Abel bed runners, old baol as luggage racks, tall and mirrored aparador, Tres Lunas dressers with matching stool, all traditionally laid out. Bathrooms are also oversized and equipped with top-of-the-line fixtures and accessorized with 100-percent cotton towels proudly embossed with the Hotel Felicidad logo.

The rooms are classified into dormitory, standard, superior, deluxe, and Grand Suites. The latter is further categorized into Niños Suite, Maestra Suite, Maestro Suite, La Casa Rosa, and La Casa Verde. These come with individually controlled room air-conditioning systems, flat-screen LED television with premium cable programming, free Internet access, personal safety deposit box, hot and cold water system, and daily newspapers.

The location is also a winning come-on: Hotel Felicidad is right in the center of Vigan, near the historic Plaza Burgos, Plaza Salcedo with its amazing dancing waters, and the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral, but neatly tucked in a corner of the back street parallel to the famous Calle Crisologo where a lot of activities and shops are concentrated.

“The decision to open the hotel in this district was part of the corporate vision of a local group of private investors who are deeply passionate about their love for the heritage city of Vigan. It is meant to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Vigan and the comfortably exquisite lifestyle of the ilustrados back then,” Singson says.

He is just as proud, as he rightfully should be, of their tagline “Ilocano Heritage Hospitality at its best.” The main idea really is to ensure that guests are well taken care of and that they are always happy and satisfied whatever the circumstance. It is no wonder then that guests rave about the Ilocano hospitality so genuinely extended to them by the hotel staff.

“Consistent with our philosophy and guided by the Ilocano heritage hospitality, our staff has been trained to consistently and passionately provide the best hospitality service and care to all our guests, prioritizing guests’ well being, so much so that it has become a culture and way of life to them. Hotel Felicidad offers Ilocano heritage hospitality par excellence,” Singson declares.

Despite having only begun operations in December 2012 and with no hotel business experience to begin with, the group behind Hotel Felicidad reports that the excellent guest feedback and very satisfying hotel occupancy exceeded their expectations.

“We truly believe that once our guests experience traveling through time in Hotel Felicidad, our quality of service and the unique features of our hotel will, by word of mouth, simply bring us success,” Singson explains.

The best affirmation yet was the awarding of the 2014 Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor and the unsolicited certification of the Department of Tourism. Singson happily states: “We are now rated as the number one BnB (bed and breakfast) hotel in Vigan with a four-and-a-half star rating.”

Vigan’s most sought-after destination boutique hotel is not resting on its proverbial laurels. Soon it will open the annex with 15 rooms, and expand its capacity to accommodate convention-size contingents or groups of 300 guests and more. Its present offerings and wonderful tour packages have, thus far, gained for itself the trust of Vigan travelers.

Singson confidently concludes: “We will continue to make our guests happy with our one-of-a-kind time travel experience.” After all, the name says it all — felicidad is happiness in Spanish.

***

Hotel Felicidad is located at # 9 V. de los Reyes St. corner Florentino St., Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. For more information, call +63 917-8568309, +63 932-8912468, +63939-9252402 or +63 77-722-0008, or e-mail at hotelfelicidad_vigan@yahoo.com. Photos by Fernan Nebres

 

FELICIDAD GUESTS HOTEL HOTEL FELICIDAD ILOCOS SUR SINGSON VIGAN VIGAN CITY
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