Trip Index (what we have published so far):
I had booked the Marco Polo when Orbitz graciously had those no-minimum-spend coupons, so the effective rate was less than $10 per night for me. The official rate was more like $60 a night at the time of booking.
So what do you get for such a low price at the Marco Polo Davao?
I arrived from the airport and wanted to check in and just grab a quick shower. I walked up to to the front desk agent and it went like this:
Agent – Welcome to the Marco Polo, sir. Are you checking in?
Me – Yes. Please find my reservations – one reservation for two nights and an additional reservation for one more night. I will be here for 3 nights in total (I said as I handed over my passport).
Agent – Sir, I can’t find the second reservation.
Me – Are you sure? (followed by several minutes of searching…)
Me – Never mind. Let’s do the first reservation only for now and I’ll come back to the front desk on the day the first reservation is running out.
Agent – OK, so let me confirm. You will only be here for TWO (!) nights then.
At this point, I was ready to write off the hotel – how silly is such a conversation?
After 10 more receipts and printouts I eventually got my room key and walked up to my room. The room wasn’t huge, but was very well appointed and in great shape, with a work desk and a spacious bathroom. The AC was very quiet and fast.
The internet was slow though and very unpredictable with speeds in the 1 Mbit range, then crawling to a stop just seconds later. This was the most frustrating part of my stay. If it hadn’t worked at all I could have said something, but it constantly changed performance….
The hotel is perfectly located in the city center of Davao (actually at a rather busy intersection) and it’s a short walk or drive to several malls and restaurants.
The jewel of the hotel is the pool area. It’s quiet, sunny, flawlessly tiled and just a serene area. That’s where it occurred to me that if this hotel were a Hyatt (with faster internet), in most places they would charge $200+ per night and not $60.
Breakfast had so many available items that I was overwhelmed. It was also very busy, but I eventually found some pastries that were excellent (most of the food was not, unfortunately).
I visited the hotel’s gym and it was pretty adequate – good equipment, but a bit small and cramped.
I also made use of the lobby bar (hoping for faster internet, but that was not meant to be).
My interactions with the staff over the course of 3 days were usually better than at the front desk, but they could still be infuriating. English fluency in the Philippines is excellent and it’s hard to find anyone who DOES NOT speak a couple of words of English, but my inquiry about a tour option to Samal Island was met with stares and then with wildly different options (ranging in price from $10 to $120) and no-one had a clear idea of what or how to do that.
All in all, this place certainly has its flaws – with some staff training, new internet lines and minor renovations it could easily become a Hyatt Regency or Grand Hyatt and drive rooms rates into the triple digits. Go there before it happens and discover Davao – a place that is certainly off the beaten map, but worth discovering!
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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