My trip to Dumaguete always involves proper budgeting since there are so many things to do there and so many food places to try that if I'm not careful with my money, I could lose track of my expenditures and end up with a huge hole in my pocket. So one of the first things I look for when going to Dumaguete is a budget-friendly place to stay, a cheap hotel or an affordable hostel or pension house. I found some while doing my research (although what happens lately is that I just ask the people at the airport of my destination where to stay. Tricycle drivers are excellent sources of information) and so far, I have stayed in two of them: Harold's Mansion (in 2010) and Grand Pension Plaza Hotel (last March 3-9, 2013).
By the way, I took a tricycle to my hotel from the airport and it cost me Php100.00. But if you get a tricycle from the city going to the airport, it would only cost Php80.00. The ride is just 15 minutes one way with moderate traffic.
The first time I went to Dumaguete, I was with my husband, Peter. That was in 2010 and we stayed at Harold's Mansion. We rented a Double room with AC, cable TV, hot and cold shower, wi-fi in the room and it only cost us Php600.00/night. But now, they already increased their price to Php800/night to remain competitive in the booming tourist market of Dumaguete City.
Although the place is not as new anymore (according to the tricycle driver I spoke with at the Dumaguete airport when I asked for suggestions of other places to stay at in Dumaguete earlier this month), it's still one of the reasonably priced hotels in Dumaguete City.
Harold's Mansion has 38 rooms including dormitory types for large groups of tourists or those who really want to save their money for other things by paying only Php250.00n per bunk bed per night.
From what we remember though, inside our double AC room, the bed we had was creaky and soft that it really wasn't comfortable for us. My hubby and I prefer our bed hard and sturdy (for obvious reasons, hehehe). But anyway, because of the cheap price then, we decided to stay at Harold's.
Around Harold's Mansion, there are several nooks and crannies where people can hang out. They also have a cafe that serves free coffee and bread for breakfast from 6:30 am - 10:00 am. This was where my husband would usually hang out while getting busy online.
I was planning to stay at Harold's Mansion earlier this month too. In fact, I already made my reservations and confirmed a lot of times via phone calls and text messages (since they don't require a deposit and I was afraid that my room might be given to someone else) and even asked Harold (the owner) that since I will be arriving early on March 3, if I could do an early check-in. He said yes and confirmed it twice. Unfortunately, when I got there at the airport and called them to let them know that I was on my way, the girl at the other end of the line said I couldn't check-in until 2 pm. It was 8:00 am when I called! What was I supposed to do in Dumaguete that early with all my luggage in tow? I guess I got so irritated that I asked the tricycle driver for other options and that was when he suggested that I check out Grand Pension Plaza Hotel instead. It's newer and a lot cheaper.
Grand Pension Plaza Hotel
True enough, Grand Pension Plaza Hotel only charges Php680.00 for a single person, per room, per night. It already has AC, hot and cold shower, and cable TV. For a double room, it costs Php 780.00 per night, still 20 pesos cheaper than Harold's. And they have wi-fi too, although only accessible at the lounge area. But since my room was at the first floor, my computer can still pick up the wi-fi signal and so I was able to work from inside my room. I only went to the lounge area when I got hungry and when I really needed a strong internet connection while working.
I also noticed that Grand Pension Plaza Hotel's security is quite tight. There's always an active and attentive security guard and "boy" on duty and when night time comes, they lock and bolt the door at the reception area. I was with my bessy Hanz when I went to Dumaguete then and we'd usually go out at night and come back at around midnight after food tripping to various Dumaguete food places and after our leisurely walk along Rizal Boulevard. And we'd noticed that they really used this long, hard wood to bolt the main entrance.
Anyway, we were both very satisfied with Grand Pension Plaza Hotel.
Harold's Mansion would have been a good place to stay as well if not for the mix-up they had with my reservations. I hope they don't do that to other customers next time.
So if you're planning to visit Dumaguete any time soon, and if you're on a budget like me, I would recommend you go to Grand Pension Plaza Hotel. Unlike Harold's Mansion, it's right at the center of the city's commercial district, strategically located near (as in walking distance to) major banks, hospital, department stores, food establishments, cafes, etc. In fact, at the end of the street you can find Sans Rival, the famous desserts place in Dumaguete. It's also walking distance to Scooby's, The Bean Connection and Cafe Antonio.
You can find Grand Pension Plaza Hotel at:
San Jose Street, Dumaguete City
Tel. No. +63 (035) 225-1577/442-6876
Mobile No.: 0932-7770601
As for Harold's Mansion, they're much farther from the center of the city but nearer the port. They are located at:
205 Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City
Tel. No.: +63 (035) 225-8000-01/422-3477