One of the hotels we stayed in during our impromptu Baguio trip is Casa Vallejo. This property dates back to 1909 so it has that “old world” charm that drew us to it. Here’s my review of the oldest hotel in Baguio City.
I’ve always been a fan of anything historic, from houses to churches, and this more-than-a-century-old property fits the bill perfectly. It’s so easy to find a modern hotel anywhere, but finding a century-old one, especially in the provinces, is not. It’s a great way of experiencing “the way they were.”
If you came from Manila, it is most likely that you’ve passed in front of Casa Vallejo as it is located along one of the major thoroughfares of Baguio City, Session Road. It is a stone’s throw away from a big mall and is walking distance to many attractions including Burnham Park and the public market. It’s definitely one of the most accessible hotels in the city.
Upon check-in, I requested for a room away from the road because I was concerned of the noise from the passing vehicles. Our room don’t have air conditioning (the lows at the time were about 18°c so it’s irrelevant) so our window would most likely be open whenever we’re inside. I was also hoping for some view, not of a road. It was fortunate that we got such a room and better yet, at the end of the hallway so we had two windows.
The window on the side of our bed looks out to a restaurant beside the property (separated by a driveway and parking so there’s still privacy). I was expecting the other one would have a garden or a city view, but alas, it was just a water tank and the back of a climbing wall that they set up behind the hotel.
If you think of a house that is over a century old, you might think of dark, scary rooms with creaking floors and holes in the wall. None of that are true with our room as it’s as what you’d expect from a typical hotel room. To a certain extent, they did try to keep it up with the times by having hot water in the showers, power outlets, a ceiling fan, an LCD TV, etc.
However, some of these “improvements” didn’t really complement the otherwise charming room very well. For instance, while I love that they have a very spacious toilet with a very high ceiling, it does not look like it belong to this hotel! It’s too ‘modern’ for the room yet too ‘old’ to be modern, if you get what I mean. It looks more like an ordinary toilet that you may find in a cheap dormitory and not a boutique hotel. And that small CDR-King brand LCD TV didn’t help add value to the room.
On the plus side though, our room was cool and well ventilated even without air conditioning due to the very high ceiling, two big windows, and the ceiling fan. Natural light also floods the room. The floor area also is just right for two, neither too small nor too big. There’s also Wi-Fi to keep yourself updated and TV has cable. But what I loved the most is that just about everything is made of real, good, and presumably, antique wood, from the floors to the tables and chairs. In fact, I can hardly lift the chair in our room because of how heavy the wood it’s made of, seriously!
Right around the hotel premises, there’s a bookstore, a spa, and a restaurant. There’s also a climbing wall behind it, but it’s of course not for free. We haven’t tried any of these except for the restaurant as we’re always out and about. Note that since Casa Vallejo is an old property and it stands on an uneven ground, you would need to use stairs to get around the area. There are no elevators or wheelchair ramps that I know of.
Breakfast is normally included with the room and it is via their in-house restaurant, Hill Station. This restaurant lies a floor below the lobby and you’d have to take the stairs to get there. I’m unaware if they have other means of getting there other than the stairs. As I stated in my previous post, they do have a dress code here and tank tops, short pants, flip flops, among others are not allowed.
They have a variety of options for the complimentary breakfast. I can only comment on what I was able to taste though, and that’s their corned beef hash. I’d say it’s quite decent. It’s good that it’s complimentary, but I probably won’t seek it as it’s too much carbs on one plate.
For the service, it’s inconsistent. At times, they’re attentive, and at times it’s poor. Imagine catching both scenarios in less than a day’s worth of visit.
Casa Vallejo is by any means not an inexpensive hotel (during our visit at least) and I think they have some valid reasons to justify the price. But as they say, the devil is in the details and here, the image they are trying to portray easily dissipates the moment you see the fixtures in the room.
Is Casa Vallejo worth it? It depends on what you deem is important. Personally, I think it’s worth it because of its excellent location and historical value. Staying here feels like you’ve travelled back in time (ignoring the modern amenities of course), back when Baguio City was spacious and hardly have any people. But I probably won’t suggest staying here very long because personally, I feel like I’m in a cheap dormitory whenever I see the toilet, look out the window, and see that tilted TV! This is really for those seeking a glimpse of the Baguio that was, the nostalgic good old days. They already have the benefit of location and history, they just need to improve some of their amenities. Don’t get me wrong, I love their old Baguio charm, I just didn’t like some of the cheap “improvements” they made.
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