WITH the rapid rise in tourist arrivals in the Bicol region in recent years, it’s good to know that accommodations are following suit to make sure tourists, both foreign and local, have a good nd comfortable place to stay while on the road.
This was disclosed by Naga Tourism Officer Alec Santos during the National Media Conference hosted by the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC) at Barbara’s Plaza in Intramuros, Manila, last May 31, 2013.
In Metro Naga (a group of 16 local government units in Camarines Sur led by Naga City as flagship city) alone, the number of establishments providing accommodations for tourists in Metro Naga has increased from a mere 22 establishments in 2000 to 56 establishments in 2012, totaling 1,609 rooms as compared to just 551 rooms available back in 2000.
Accounting for a number of these rooms is The Avenue Plaza Hotel, which is located along Magsaysay Ave. in Naga City. The only four-star boutique hotel in Naga City, it was where I, my husband Raff and a group of other Manila-based media stayed during a three-day Media Fam Tour last April that was designed to let us experience the newly launched Naga Excursions tourism campaign of Metro Naga. When we arrived at the hotel back in April, I was pleasantly surprised to find a world-class boutique hotel such as The Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga. The façade alone looked inviting, more so when we entered the hotel and were met with welcome drinks of blue lemonade. A piano stood at the lobby near the reception area and waiting lounge, and checking-in was no hassle since reservations have been made in advance.
More than the already impressive hotel lobby, though, the rooms are the best. They can give any hotel room in any five-star hotel in Manila a run for its money. The rooms are spacious and fully equipped with flat-screen LCD TV with cable channels, electronic safe, telephone with IDD/NDD facilities, personal refrigerator, individually controlled air-conditioning so guests can adjust the temperature according to their preference, carpeted floors and plush furnishing. The Deluxe rooms have balconies which provide views of either the Infinity Pool, Mt. Isarog or the historic Naga River where the traditional fluvial procession passes during Naga’s annual Penafrancia Festival. I specially liked the work area because there was a separate glass-topped work table in a corner that was separate from the dresser with a huge mirror in front of it. I gravitated naturally towards the work table with my laptop and churned out a number of articles in between Naga Excursions adventures, food trips, and religious and cultural tours.
However, what ultimately showed The Avenue Plaza Hotel’s concern for its guests’ well-being and comfort was the bed. Each room is equipped with Dew Foam Posture Pedic Beds. Dew Foam is an international quality brand that’s highly reputed for its Posture Pedic Beds, which provide optimum neck and back comfort for a restful and stress-free sleep. Where some hotels’ pillows make me struggle to fall asleep, much less settle into a comfortable and restful sleep, especially on my first day of stay, The Avenue Plaza Hotel’s pillows and beddings quickly lulled me to sleep, so I woke up feeling refreshed and recharged and ready for the day’s new challenges.
I’m also very particular about the bathroom when I stay in a hotel. Here, I put my approval stamp on The Avenue Plaza Hotel’s bathroom with its “Rain Shower.”
Breakfast the next morning took place at Café Plazuela, which can be found right next to the lobby on the ground floor. Slightly sunken, Café Plazuela has a fine dining look and feel, which is perfect for its a la carte menu that features fusion and international dishes. For breakfast, though, it lays out a simple breakfast buffet complete with an egg station so guests can have their eggs cooked according to their preference. I had dried abu (a kind of small fish that’s halved and dried) that’s deep-fried to a golden crisp just like regular danggit or boneless dilis, and I paired it with mushroom and tomato omelette and garlic rice on the first morning. On the second morning, I had fish fillet and pancit canton with a carrot and young corn siding and mushroom omelette again.
Café Plazuela has a view of and easy access to the hotel’s 2-level Infinity Pool, a lovely lap pool and adjoining kiddie pool set in the midst of lush garden greenery.
The hotel, we were told, also has a state-of-the-art Olympia Gym and Sauna, a 24-hour Business Center, a poolside outdoor venue for small occasions called Umbria, and bigger venues for special occasions – The Avenue Tent (good for 1,300 guests), Avenue Convention Plaza (for 650 guests), La Piazza Ballroom (good for 190 guests) and The Boardroom (good for 50 guests).
Best of all, it has WiFi.
And, oh, The Avenue Plaza Hotel stands right behind the Avenue Square, which is Bicol’s first and only premiere lifestyle center where one can find a drug store, a number of restaurants and stores selling clothes, shoes and other merchandise.
(The Avenue Plaza Hotel is located along Magsaysay Ave., Naga City, Camarines Sur. For inquiries and reservations, call (63 54) 473-9999 or 811-7888. Contact number in Manila is 250-8199.)