Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

The first time I saw the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino years back, I looked closely at the opal-green rooftops, or domes. The architecture and design are impressive, yes, but these were not the reasons why my eyes were attracted to those domes. I was more interested, and imagined, that I’d see Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, bouncing back and forth, sliding down the domes, looking for his Esmeralda.

Your usual idea of a hotel is a box-like structure and the highlight is usually the paint color of the building. The Waterfront Cebu City is a bit different. We know that the Waterfront is a hotel, with a casino, but it looks more of a castle. For a city like Cebu that is more “conservative” than the cities of Metro Manila, it’s not unusual to be intimidated with this impressive structure.

Years since we first laid eyes on the Waterfront, after experiencing various hotels and resorts, the stars finally aligned and brought us to the Waterfront-Cebu. The usual travel time from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport used to be 30 minutes, now it could reach two hours. Growth and progress are certainly not all roses.

Found in the new business district of Cebu City, flanked by the Ayala Cebu Business District and the Cebu IT Park, it’s found where the old Lahug Airport used to be, 10 minutes from the Edge Coaster in Crown Regency. It’s beyond the reach of the sweaty congestion of downtown Cebu, as well as the extreme solitude of the upper portion of Lahug, where the Marco Polo Hotel is found. It’s a great location, really.

Facilities include the Casino, right at the second floor, with a strong of restaurants below it. You name it — Japanese, Chinese, Italian, seafood, as well as other cuisines — you’ll find it there. And since we don’t play in casinos (haven’t been to any, but there’s always a first), that means we frequent the restaurants in the hotel and outside. There are great restaurants at the nearby Cebu Business Park and Ayala Center, including the Casa Verde. There’s a swimming pool, a gym and a series of venues for conventions and other events.

[See also The Art of Eating Otap]

I understand that the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino is a 4-star hotel. That rating is, in my opinion, well-deserved. Nevertheless, for a hotel that’s approaching 5 stars, there’s too much to be desired in the room (bed is not immaculately made up), the swimming pool (what’s with the nylon partitions of the pool?), highly visible construction debris at the parking area exit, and the froth desk (took us three redials before we can get through).

The spacious bathroom, at least for our room, is tastefully divided into three distinct sections. There’s the toilet, with its separate door. The bath tub in the middle portion, and the shower at the other side. Give me spectacular bathroom and I can forgive a host of other shortcomings of the hotel.

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