Saturday, October 15, 2011

No to Saltimboca Tourist Inn Bacolod City - Don't be fooled by the nice pictures

arriving at the New Bacolod Silay Airport

It was a month ago when we went to Bacolod. I'm not really into crowds so I made sure that we go there at least a month before the very noisy and crowded Masskara Festival (which is actually this weekend!). My friends Koryn and Joan were inviting me to go in October but big celebrations are just no longer my kind of fun. I guess it ended on that trip we had for the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio back in 2007. I may have developed agoraphobia since then coz big, noisy crowds tend to scare me now. That and the many pickpockets, disease you could pick up along the way, etc. LOL!

view of Bacolod from the clouds

Anyway, September was perfect. It wasn't as rainy nor as stormy as October and Bacolod was looking very quiet and quaint. Arriving there felt like I went back into time with the many old houses that lined up Silay City.

This one above is the "pink house" actually, which we visited the next day

Our flight was at 5am so by 6am we were already in Bacolod Airport. It was actually our second time there. But the first time was when we went to Guimaras via Bacolod so that doesn't really count.

The driver of the FX we rode tricked us into thinking that Saltimboca Inn is far from the main road of Lacson when it fact it's just a few feet away from it.

Outside the airport, there were cab agents who would approach passengers asking them to ride their cab or their van. We were thinking of commuting our way out (like riding jeepneys or tricycles to save on fare) but hearing them say it only costs Php100 per person and we would be riding an FX was good enough for me. I clarified this a few times with the cab agent and she said yes. It took us about half an hour from Silay airport to reach Saltimboca Inn which is located in 15th Street Lacson, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. When the driver brought us to Saltimboca Inn, he asked us Php150.00 each. I was astounded! What happened to what the lady said that it's only Php100 per person? The driver said that it costs additional Php50.00 to bring each passenger straight to the hotel gate.

Calea is just right outside Saltimboca Inn

Had I known that Saltimboca Inn is just a few feet away from the main road, we would've gotten off on the main road to save Php100. I know I'm being very frugal here but that driver was really cunning and greedy. All of a sudden I remember all those negative reviews I read about the Masskara festival, about having too many pickpockets and the likes. In that case, this type of behavior by the driver is probably "normal".

We headed straight to the front desk to see if we can have our bags stored before we go off to our first Bacolod tourist destination. First thing we noticed about Saltimboca Inn was its interior design.

It looked homey and quaint with all those colorful home decor and wooden furniture. It almost felt like we were just inside our own house. BUT...

...when we talked to the receptionists, they didn't seem very welcoming and friendly. I mean they look like regular people bored out of their wits. Shouldn't receptionists be a little bit more friendly? Even at those cheap hotels and guesthouses we've stayed in before, the staff were usually very friendly.

Anyway, little did we know that this is just one of those little signs why we wouldn't be liking to come back here in Saltimboca Inn the next time we go to Bacolod (which is in March for Jayvee Fernandez's wedding).

Good thing they agreed to store our bags at first. We also asked them if they know how we can go to Mambukal Resort (where we planned to spend our morning). They didn't know but they did offer to get us a van and a driver for Php1,500 excluding the entrance fees of the resort (we later found out that we can go to Mambukal for only Php172... I'll blog about Mambukal next). Php1,500 was too steep for us so we decided to take a jeepney and commute.

When we were about to go, all of a sudden, one of the receptionists said that they already have a clean room and that we can check-in early. I thought, great! Or maybe they just didn't want us to find a better place since we'd be gone all day. Then they had a bellboy bring us to our room.

The room was okay. Aircon was not that strong. TV had limited channels. But it's okay. This is usually what a room is like for Php900 per night + a security deposit of Php200 refundable upon check-out.

The bellboy left and we fixed our stuff, got the things we need for the Mambukal Trip, when my tummy got a bit achy and I had to do #2.... only to find out AFTER I did #2 that the toilet wasn't working! Argh.

Toilets are one of my pet peeves. I'm not a high-maintenance person, I can basically live under a tree (which I did back in college during our Gabaldon Trip and even did #2 amidst the tall grasses on top of a mountain) but paying Php1,100 for a room where the toilet doesn't work just won't cut it for me. I know, I know... I was stressing a little more than I'd expected. Oh did I mention that I went straight to the airport from working all day? So yeah, as usual, I was zombified and a bit cranky that morning. Of course I didn't show it. I figured I'll just blog about it all when I have the chance. And now here I am.

Anyway, Peter, being the more diplomatic of us two, went down to tell the bellboy, the receptionist, the hotel manager if there was any, about our toilet situation.

This is Saltimboca Inn's reception area

Apparently, we checked in too early and the one in charge of the toilets, or even the person who has the key to the room with the pails was still not around. So I guess that's that. I showered and they promised to fix it so by the time we come back in the afternoon, everything would be okay.

I still wasn't very happy about it. I mean, just knowing that someone will be going inside our room while we were gone, was sending me into paranoia land. Plus, what if by the time we get back, the toilet hasn't yet been fixed?! Finally, I calmed down and off we went to Mambukal Resort.

When we came back in the afternoon, the flush was still not as smooth as it should be but at least by then it was working.

The next hiccup we experienced at Saltimboca Inn was during the next morning before we checked-out. You see, Saltimboca has this cute little swimming pool and jacuzzi inside its premises.

The rooms overlook the pool and along the corridor, there's a balustrade where, typically, like in any cheap resort/inn/hotel, we'd normally hang our wet clothes and towels there. They didn't provide any place for hanging clothes inside the room so we figured we'd just hang them there.

So the next morning, I woke up with a tummy ache coz I was so hungry (Bacolod food made my tummy larger so I had to fill it up like every few hours, lol). We rushed to the dining area, which is near the reception area so we can avail our free breakfast.

On the way there, the bellboy we had yesterday approached us, looking so apologetic but scared at the same time. Apparently, the owner of Saltimboca Inn scolded him when she (the owner I think is a lady but we never saw her) saw our clothes hanging there outside our room on the balustrade. I mean, fine, we didn't know these were the rules. But to force us to come back upstairs to our room to fix our clothes immediately when we were already near the dining area (our room is far from the dining area) was just too much and simply poor customer service! We pleaded if we could do it after breakfast because my tummy was already aching. I've been suffering from peptic ulcer since I was 14 years old and letting myself go hungry is really not good for me. But no, the bellboy kept insisting that we go back to our clothes right then and there and take them out of the balustrade! I think that was the last straw. We don't care anymore if the rest of Saltimboca Inn looks nice. Their customer service sucks!

We couldn't wait to check out of Saltimboca Inn. The atmosphere there and the level of their customer service was just not what we expected. Were we wrong? Have we become too pampered and too obnoxious? I think not. God, when we were in Bohol after our Siargao trip, we stayed in this PhpP800/night hotel room near the pier with bed sheets that have holes in it, and broken windows and bathroom smelling like the 1900's but because the receptionist was more than kind to us, we didn't mind at all. In fact, we liked our stay there better than our stay here in Saltimboca.

Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. It's good to blow off steam I've been keeping since September. I thought I'd forget about it after more than a month, that my feelings about it may have subsided, but I guess not.

Perhaps, it's just that one time that their customer service sucks. Hopefully, the owner or the manager gets to read this so they'd know that they need to get some sort of customer service training, not just for their staff, but for them as well. Staying at a friend's house in Bicol was more welcoming than this paid inn. Oh my goodness!

Nevertheless, we made the most of our stay, took some more photos, hoping that the happy pictures will somehow mask the stress we went through with this place.

Sayonara, Saltimboca Inn. May we never experience you again.



sojournersol said...

Too bad, you had a negative experience in Saltimboca and in Bacolod. In contrast, we had a great stay in Saltimboca. The amenities in the room we were staying worked and the staff were really courteous and accommodating. And the locals that we met such as the PUV drivers were helpful.

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Too bad for us indeed. I'm glad though you had a great stay there. Hopefully come March, our general hotel experience would be better. :)

Gary said...

I had somewhat the same experience as you did. The A/C wasn't working in one of the rooms and the toilet wasn't working either. But after a complaint they moved me to another room and everything was fine.

As for hanging clothes, I never really thought of that since no hotel I have ever been in does have something (of course, I'm American so I'm not use to it anyway).

Overall I had a decent stay there. I think it was a little bit overpriced for where it is (and the location is a bit weird), but the service was OK and I liked the room after I switched.

Saltimboca is off the main road enough that it is actually in a weird neighborhood. A ton of prostitutes frequent that area. If you ever saw taxi cabs waiting in the alley next to Saltimboca, the driver was actually waiting for a prostitute to finish with her client.

Actually, when I was staying there one night I wanted to go for a swim and there was a man and woman having sex in the pool. I don't think it was a prostitute, could have been a couple, but it was a bit weird.

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Gary,

Thank you for sharing your experience in detail. I didn't know there were prostitutes there. No wonder there were always cabs and cab drivers waiting outside. And your pool experience! Thank God, I didn't witness anything like that. I would've called the cops or something!

About the hanging of clothes, my hubby and I frequent beach and swimming resorts and where we stay at always allow their patrons to hang their bikinis, towels and board shorts on the balustrade just outside the room. For more posh hotels, they always have a designated place either inside the room or at the balcony where their customers can hang wet clothes and swim wear. It was weird because Saltimboca, being an inn with a nice pool, don't have an area where people can dry their clothes after swimming. What's more weird and rude was the way we were forced to take out our bikinis and board shorts without utter consideration of our feelings and the fact that were were about to have breakfast. If they at least accommodated our request that we go back and fix our clothes after breakfast, then I wouldn't be writing this kind of blog post about them.

Anonymous said...

bacolod occidental is nice but i don't like the people the minute you step out of the airport, especially when you've already experienced the warmth, friendliness, and honesty of the people of negros oriental. you can't help but compare them to gentle people of negros oriental. the operators and drivers of those vans that will take you to bacolod were very very annoying. we wanted to just take the jeepney but everyone said there's no jeepney but we found our way out. it's just a short walk from the airport and outside, there were tricycles that will take you to silay town proper where you can take jeepney to bacolod. we were harassed by those fx, van drivers. we were walking out of the airport and those vans swerved in front of us just to heckle us that we will never find jeepneys there. hayyyyy!!!! i can say mukha silang pera, mga manloloko!! panis sila sa mga taga oriental!!!

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Anonymous,

OMG! Now that I think about it, YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!! We went to Dumaguete in Nov 2010 (I haven't even blogged about it yet) and my hubby and I knew, the minute we stepped outside the airport that we wanted to retire there. As days went by, the more we fell in love with Dumaguete. The people are so nice, friendly and sincere and they give back change even if it's just Php1.00. I should really do my Dumaguete/Negros Oriental post very soon.

Anonymous said...

I guess every place we have a good and horrifying experience, I am from bacolod and as bacolodnon, it is our nature to complaint if we dont like what ever we saw or experience. You can report those incident to authorities, unfortunately however you are not familiar where to go for the complaint. To ANONYMOUS, most of negros oriental is a rural place, i know very well the area because i spent almost 10 years there. People in Dumaguete are very gentle but not true to the rest of the province. Your cannot compare the two provinces, although they belong to the same island but they have different cultures. But to clear things out, if you are a true Negrosanon (that's what we call to the people of Negros Island), political boundary is not an issue since we are moving a resolution to unite the two provinces. Negros Occidental wanted to share the fortune they have to the other side of the island; the same as Oriental, though they are still economically unstable. This is just my opinion, which may contradict to yours.

Joann said...

The customer service of a hotel can really make a difference. When I was in Puerto Princesa, I stayed in this budget-friendly hotel. The room is so-so but the customer service is superb. Thus, despite my 1st sleepless night in the hotel, I still will recommend the place. Haven't you tried inquiring in Ong Bun when you were in Bacolod?

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for sharing with us your thoughts on this. Much appreciated.:)

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Joanne,

I did inquire at Ong Bun before but they were always fully booked on the dates of my stay. Hopefully next time, I'd get lucky.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Share This Post