Sizzling in Baguio’s cool summer
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With the onset of summer, Baguio sizzles even with its cool mountain breeze. Hot in this mountain enclave are its cool homes away from home.

The log cabin-themed The Manor is located within Camp John Hay, surrounded by the signature Benguet pine trees. Its suites open to a terrace overlooking the romantic Manor Garden.?Families will appreciate Camp John Hay activity areas like horseback rides, the eco-trail, iconic restaurants such as The Filling Station, a coffee farm uniquely interspersed with Baguio pine trees and a world class golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. 

There are also additional children’s activities at The Garden til summer: wall climbing, target shooting and Go Kart.?The Manor also offers a fine dining experience, with no less than renowned Irish chef Billy King cooking. 

Grand Sierra hotel near Mines View Park regularly exhibits art works by local artists together with its own collection of paintings from various national artists at the Adkos Gallery, located in the hotel’s second floor.

For the past five years, Le Monet Hotel’s focus was to establish itself as one of Baguio City’s premier hotels. This year, said Charmaine de Guzman, “our key focus is to offer guests the most authentic experiences. We want to open up a world of opportunities to discover everything traveling has to offer.” Le Monet is veering away from tradition to keep up with new technologies and practices in tourism and hospitality and offer the best to its guests. Perhaps the most vibrant and forward-looking hotel in Northern Luzon now is Microtel Baguio.   

The Wyndham group-led hotel now has 92 reasonably-priced rooms from its original 60 a year ago. Microtel, a Hall of Famer for bagging the 2011-2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, is connected with Victory Bus Line, the top bus firm in Northern Luzon.

Another blissful stay when in Baguio is Casa Vallejo, Baguio’s oldest hotel, built in 1909. The Baguio Centennial Commission named it one of the 10 oldest institutions in the city. It houses Mountain Cloud Bookshop, a spa, a cinémathèque and Hill Station Restaurant.?A leisurely walk from Burnham Park is the Paragon Hotel and Suites along Otek St. near the Jose Rizal Park.

“Luxury in the city” best describes the new hotel with perhaps the most authentic Chinese cuisine at Fortune (Hong Kong) Seafood restaurant.

Paragon’s sister hotel, Golden Pine, managed by Baguio Filipino-Chinese business patriarch Gonzalo Ong’s children for over 16 years, offers 3-star accommodations with deluxe but affordable service close to the Baguio City Hall.?Veniz Hotel nestled in the heart of the city has 102 air conditioned rooms and suites. Located above Abanao street, it has a perfect view of the Central Business District. There is also the nightly “ukay-ukay” market right at its doorstep on Harrison Road.

Just recently, Baguio hotelier Michael del Rosario opened the modern V Hotel on Bukaneg street, near Burnham Park.?You can’t go wrong at Café by the Ruins I in front of City Hall. The café lives up to the World War II ruins theme inside and out.

Besides being a restaurant and café, it is also a museum for local artists. And to accommodate the usual overflow crowd, it has opened Café by the Ruins Dua (Two) beside Mario’s Restaurant at Upper Session Road.?Mario and Nenuca Benitez opened Mario’s restaurant in 1971 and immediately captivated locals and vacationers alike.

Spanish recipes which the couple grew up with were passed on from generation to generation. The signature steak dishes later placed Mario’s as “the place to go for a good steak,” perfectly matched with its signature Mario’s caesar salad.  ?Beside the Burnham Park complex on Kisad Road is the 3-star Burnham Suites with a restaurant and a business center. 

City Travel Hotel, on the other hand, offers affordable rates, a pleasant staff, function halls and the Gecko Bar and Restaurant. A little bit away from the bustling CBD is Starwood Hotel at Kisad Road, with 57 rooms designed to house up to eight persons.

Amidst Baguio’s rich floral and botanical attractions lies Prince Plaza hotel along Legarda Road. With its modern architecture and laid-back interior design, it provides well-appointed rooms with a picturesque view of the tree-covered highlands.

With all these options, Baguio is the coolest place to go for the hottest deals.

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