Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gorgeous Spaces at the Diamond Suites and Residences (Cebu City)

I love clean spaces particularly if it plays with geometric figures, color, and lights. My German friend once pointed out how I kept taking photos of hallways. I just like the possibilities of open spaces, the what-could-be's. In this post, I am posting several areas at the Diamond Suites and Residences in Cebu City.

The Archbishop Reyes Street and Escario area is a haven of big, mostly new sparkling hotels. I have stayed in each one except for Park Lane and Hotel Elizabeth. Diamond is one of the smaller hotels in the area but it's also more intimate. Agoda offers slightly more expensive rates compared to other hotels in the area, like Mandarin Plaza and Quest Hotel so all these years, this has made me wonder.

Finally, I gave it a try. This is what I found out: great staff; breakfast buffet at the ground floor restaurant called "Grain Restaurant" offers a set of delectable food although the choices are rather limited. Rooms are spacious and very clean, particularly the bathrooms. Memory Pillows are very comfortable. Boxed type AC's give it a dated feel but AC's work adequately.

What bothered me was the wifi connection which was non-existent in my room at the 4th floor. It never worked - at all! I asked for a LAN cable but though this finally gave me an online connection, it was plodding. In this day and age, there really is no excuse for having no wifi service. I will never book in a hotel without it in my room. Internet access is essential.

If I have internet wifi in my hotel rooms in Madagascar, the world's 10th poorest country, how can a suites hotel like Diamond Suites and Residences NOT have one? It baffles. So this is something the hotel can obviously improve on. Wifi at the lobby is fast but I can't work overtime at the lobby. Good elevator; there's a pool but I didn't bother to check it out. Ayala Mall is just a block away.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

"the possibilities of open spaces... the what-could-be's"

How's this for breakfast?

Grain Restaurant

Entrance facing Apitong Street. Multicabs heading for Jones or Colon pass through this street.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Urban Chic in Cebu City's La Maison Rose

I've wanted to visit "La Maison Rose" 3 or 4 Cebu visits ago, but for some reason, I kept putting it off. But I am weary of crowded restaurants. i wanted to visit during off-peak hours. Finally, after visiting Jumallon  Butterfly Farm/Museum in Basak, I decided to head straight to the "Pink House" - at 4 PM, perfect when you don't want a crowd.

Once seated, a tablet was handed to me by a waitress dressed as a French maid. This tablet was my menu. I'd have to pick food from an array then complete it without much fanfare using the tablet. If you'd require the presence of the waitress, you can just holler. I chose the set meal: roast chicken, shrimp and pomelo salad, and banana crumble. No wine for me at 4 PM.

While the exterior is an uninteresting pink building that has seen better days (which also houses the city's Institut Francais), the interior is a different story. In fact, it transports you to another world. One hallway is conceptualized as a pared-down French quarter; the next room is the appropriately gaudy Shanghainese hallway, with the lurid colors of red, pink and blue-green; war-time Chinese posters; colorful lanterns, parapluie de Chinois, a piano, etc. There's a long French table decorated with flowers. The whole concept turns into a fusion of French and Shanghainese gastronomic underbelly.

Food is heavenly, I was particularly surprised with the concoction of shrimp and pomelo. Who would have thought?  Finally, dessert was Banana Crumble: baked banana underneath the cookie crumbles freshly served from the oven. Delectable. I wanted to try the macaroons from the neighboring cafe ("La Vie Parisienne") but I was too stuffed to even attempt. Gluttony, after all, is a sin.

Cebu constantly waits to be rediscovered through its myriad of activities, food, sparkling and modern malls. No wonder "Travel and Leisure"shortlists this city among its Top 10 best islands of the year, alongside Palawan and Boracay.

"La Maison Rose" (The Pink House) is located along 371 Gorordo Avenue in Lahug, Cebu City, close to the Church of Latter Day Saints compound. Seats seem limited during lunch and dinner so it would be wise to call (032) 260-4388. 

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Shrimp and potato salad

Banana crumble

Had fun consuming these complimentary starter set with a few pieces of bread. 

"transports you to another world..."

Shanghainese area

French quarter

I love this painting.

Tablet for your menu and order.

La Maison Rose

La Vie Parisienne is a lounge and a bar that opens til the wee hours. It serves the best macaroons in the city, and probably in the country.

#cebucity, #foodporn, #dining, #philippines, #gastronomy