Cebu has been teeming with hotels and resorts that offer leisure and de-stressors to travelers, tourists and even “staycationers”. The island province has been blessed with tropical climate– visitors from other places want to make it in their travel bucket list to enjoy the sun and the beaches.

But there are places in Cebu that are not all about beaches.


Recently, this blogger has been able to experience staying at a hotel within the busy urban setting of Cebu. You’d be glad to know that amidst the busy streets with vehicles honking to get to their destinations as fast as they could and the towering skyline mushrooming in the city, there is this garden hotel that can fit to the category of hidden sanctuary. And what I like about this hotel is that, despite its location in the city, it has managed to make itself soundproof from all the noise pollution happening in typical urban setting.

Cebu, being recognized as an urban jungle has this location, dubbed as a hotel in its business registration, but with a setting that is closer to what you get in a paradise within a perimeter teeming with civilized wildlife, busy humans and structures striving to make themselves at pace with the flows of time and technologies.

Knowing more about this hotel has made me wonder about the presence of a vineyard before in an area that is increasingly urban and wild with crazy technologies, making lives more stressful than they are now.

Yes, Montebello Villa Hotel, the protagonist in this story, was once adjacent to a vineyard. It had an expanse that would bring mountain view within your peripheral vision. However, the changes in time and advancement in civilization has made this hotel a secret venue for people who want to run away from stresses in life.

But there  are good things that come out from the changes  in a tropical urban area in Cebu because Montebello Villa Hotel hasn’t lost its touch despite its more than 4 decades in operation. 4 decades, 44 years to be exact, would be a wow in numbers in hotel operation!

People and communities in Cebu, mostly in middle class and upper class demographics, have chosen Montebello Villa Hotel as their venue for wedding ceremonies and reception, birthday parties and corporate events.

And since it’s a garden hotel, you would expect lush garden with an expanse that can accommodate outdoor functions. If it doesn’t rain in the morning and you want to stretch your limbs and muscles, you might as well do some yoga and calisthenics to help you invigorate and replenish the life force within you.


What I like about this hotel is that it has this pond with a grandiose bridge of love and blooms of lotus flowers that spring up in the morning. There’s this serenity I have felt just watching this pond and other flowers apart from the mystical lotus. The feeling of oneness can be felt despite the mystery that has been seemingly put humans into a state of bafflement. It may be crazy as it sounds but I am thankful to experience this sense of wholeness in a hotel that features nature at its best.

Aside from the picturesque garden, this hotel is also known for its Cabanas placed strategically at the poolside. The Cabanas serve its functions in the morning to give shelters to guests as they dine within the swimming area. At night, one can feel the satisfaction of a luxurious episode of grandeur inside the cabana as he views the blue glow of the swimming pool while listening to the smooth jazz music from a group the hotel hires to share the beauty of the sound and auditory vibrations to soothe the soul. And while I was experiencing it during my stay, I accompanied the wistful occurrence with sips of a mojito cocktail and a glittering glass of red wine.


The garden hotel has been advocating healthy lifestyle, apparently through its campaign to hold yoga sessions, the existence of swimming pools and clubs and a sheltered gym offering glass views of the garden.


My staycation experiences are not complete without the wide array of  gastronomic servings during breakfast and at lunch time.


Calamares specialty


Salmon gourmet atop mashed potato


chocolate cakes for desserts

And yet, the best part of my stay is a blissful sleep and relaxation in a room with a kingsized bed, which I believe is the junior suite adjacent to another swimming pool of the hotel.


One of the most unforgettable experiences during that stay was lounging at the terrace area of the room, enjoying the relaxing view of the swimming pool at night while discussing mundane and other interesting things at past midnight near the crack of dawn with my close friends.

Truly, Montebello Villa Hotel brings the charm of contemporary chic despite its 4 decades of operation. The management mantra of the hotel is effective in delivering great results by featuring updated rooms and up-to-date refurbishments of its facilities. What that mantra is, my guess would be: Keeping Tradition, Embracing Innovation.


I think I am right.