Islands Stay, Cebu



A couple of months ago I was a guest of the Department of Trade and Industry at the Creative Cebu Summit. There I talked about my little creative enterprises. Why Cebu? I was part of the team put together by the British Council to assist in forming Creative Cebu in 2009. During that time I met Jay Aldeguer, who was also part of the same British Council program. Jay is the man behind The Islands Group – clothing, souvenirs, banca tours, water sports and more. Back then he had just launched the Islands Banca Cruise – a hip reincarnation of the traditional banca retrofitted with ipod docs and speakers, comfy beanbags and packed lunches. He told me his next dream step was a value chic hotel. Early this year, two branches of Islands Stay Hotels became a reality.

Just like all the existing Islands Group products and services, Islands Stay bears the bright orange logo (what is the name of that cute font?) and hip reincarnation of a traditional hotel/motel/inn. It has chic minimalist and CLEAN interiors. No-frills approach and yet all the basic necessities are there if you need them – including espresso and free wifi. The punchline is, you get all that for as low as P950 per room. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read on…


So while I was in Cebu a couple of months ago, Jay Aldeguer CEO of The Islands Group, invited me to cut the ribbon of Islands Stay Hotel. Also with us was Cebu City Tourism Commissioner Marco Protacio.


No fancy concierge or reception area. Just a straightforward lobby-slash-coffee shop. Since opening, they’ve been enjoying an 85% occupancy rate during dry run, whereas hotels usually average 20% six months after opening. They have a 50% walk-in rate.


How cute is that? Incidentally, the group is targeting Palawan, Bohol and Baguio next.


“We pride ourselves on good design & service. We’re a value hotel but we make sure to make our guests feel relaxed and comfortable, and we’re the only hotel in Cebu that provides cold towels upon check-in,” – Jay Aldeguer.


Instead of using hotel terms like deluxe, standard, suite (which no one really understands why deluxe is not actually luxurious), Islands Stay classifies its room like Tshirt sizes – Small (P950 promo), Medium, Large and Extra Large (P2150). This is the Large room in the the Mactan branch.


I’m not going to say anything cliche about the details, except “Awww.”


The published rate of this room is P1650. For two people! Additional persons will be charged P300 upon check-in. There are two branches – in Mactan which is a 3-minute ride to the airport and Uptown which is a 3-minute walk from Ayala Mall.


They cater to a diverse market – 70% domestic and a healthy international clientele (30%) with different purposes like for business, to visit friends/relatives, flashpackers ie. business-class backpackers.


Free wifi in your room. (I hate having to pay for wifi at hotels).


Another “Awww” detail.


For more information,
Uptown Branch, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City (032) 266-0832
Mactan Branch, M.L. Quezon, Lapulapu City (032 )239-5456



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