Sun Star Grand Hotel, Quiapo Manila Review
On my recent trip to Manila, I stayed in a great hotel called Sun Star Grand. I didn't do much research into the area I would be staying in or research much into the hotel before going. I wish I did, to mentally prepare myself. When choosing Manila, I never thought about how much poverty the city was in, or researched bad areas.
I booked my hotel through bookings.com and chose the place because the photos looked good and the price was reasonable. I usually go for the cheaper hotels, since I won't be spending too much time in them.
Their address is: 665-667 Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo, 1001 Manila, Philippines
Sun Star Grand is about 11km away from the airport, and is located in the Quiapo district. It doesn't look too far on the maps but, it takes ages from the airport due to traffic. From the airport, take a taxi to Quiapo and it should cost under 300PHP. Taxis should put their meters on for you, but a lot of the time they won't and give you a set price.
As soon as I got into the area, I was so worried. Quiapo is not the prettiest of places to visit. There is a huge market with many people wandering about. I must admit, I felt scared and worried that the hotel was going to be unsafe. Luckily, as the taxi dropped us off, there were two armed security men at the door. The whole building belongs to the hotel, but there are two different entrances. The main entrance and the entrance on the second floor. Both doors are guarded.
The hotel was clean. The reception is on the third floor and it was fairly easy to check in. They require a copy of your passport, as well as a 1000PHP deposit for any damages done to the room. Room rate is around 120USD or 7000PHP (bookings say 6000 but it doesn't include service charge or taxes). There is a porter who takes your luggage to the room and show you around the room. I felt very safe in the hotel. Each room is card entry.
The room itself was spacious and the bed was large. There was a flat screen TV with cable and many english channels. They even had HBO, and showed the new Game of Thrones.
The bathroom was big, with a walk in shower. Toiletries are provided and so are the towels. There's also bottles of water, coffee and tea.
Breakfast is included in the room rate. They don't have a restaurant, so deliver breakfast by room service. They phone you the day before, and you place your order with them and the time you want it. Room service is also available and you can choose from their extensive menu. Most dishes were not available when I was there.
The location is great, it's pretty central but it was too noisy at night. Cars and motorcycles zoom by during all day and night. It's pretty hard to sleep due to the sound. Most of the noise comes through the air conditioner. Their air conditioner is built through the wall or something.
They also provide free wifi, but it's so slow. It's impossible to load things quickly. I hope they sort this and make sure it works.
There is also a safe in the room, but it was shut when we got there. There was no code and we didn't bother asking for one.
You can choose to have your room cleaned, too. Most hotels offer this daily, but this hotel you have to put a sign on your door to ask them to clean it and replenish the toiletries.
Overall, it was a great hotel. It felt safe and the room was clean and comfortable. It's totally worth staying here and made the time in Manila great. My initial thoughts about Quiapo disappeared as soon as we checked in.