The Henry Hotel

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Date of travel

February, 2018

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Culture / Sightseeing

The “Henry Hotel”:, on the Philippine island of Cebu, was a must on our itinerary after reading guidebook descriptions.

From the outside it looked like a big black cube with paint dripping from the roof. The cavernous, industrial-style reception was full of bric-a-brac which included a bright red male figure bowing, shelves with all manner of trinkets, an open plan gift shop and striking paintings hung on the walls. The theme had a strong bias to the UK in terms of Union Jacks in many murals and one painting of Alfred Hitchcock.

Our room, 509, was called a ‘big’ room (no ‘deluxe’ type descriptions here). It lived up to its billing and although it had a trendy concrete floor and ceiling, the seaside mural on the wall above the bed and canopy over it made it homely. There was a mini bar and sweet treats, TV with BBC world, sofa, large bed, good bedside tables, lights and plug points. There was open plan hanging space and a long shelf cum desk.

The sliding bathroom door was in a striking blue which matched the colours in the mural, but the bathroom had large black and white tiles that reeked sixties, with walk in shower, loo and basin, but the lighting was a little lacking for shaving. There were toiletries and a hairdryer and although we had problems with the flushing of the loo on arrival, it was quickly fixed.

I’d thought the concrete floor would be cold for bare feet, and although it wasn’t, slippers were provided. These were noted ‘right and wrong’ in keeping with the hotels ‘hip’ approach. A suggestion is to shave or scrape in the shower to save running a tap which may account for the poor lighting.

The Henry tries to be different and funky with lots of signs that look as though they’ve been written on an old-fashioned typewriter with smudges on certain letters.

There was a small swimming pool at the back with chairs and loungers and a large restaurant with lots of quirky tables and chairs. We had a light lunch on arrival and were served complimentary long thin wafers of bread with a salsa before sharing a tuna sandwich in warm ciabatta.

As we only staying for one night, we ate in. We had the complimentary bread sticks and salsa again and shared a starter of mushrooms adobe (halved button mushrooms, cooked with garlic and herbs) which was light and fresh. For mains we had beef salpicado and mashed potato and a chicken breast stuffed with garlic which came with spaghetti. The plate of salpicado looked very paltry with just 8 bite size pieces of beef (although it was delicious) whilst there were 4 huge chunks of chicken and a pile of spaghetti. Fortunately, we’d agreed in advance to share and they went very well together. We also had a bottle of white wine at a very reasonable 700 Peso/£11.66 and finished with coffee and a small brownie square chosen from the chilled counter. All in all, it was a very nice restaurant but was informal and well designed with lots of seating styles ideal for those wanting a full meal, a drink at the bar or coffee and cake.

Breakfast was a buffet with fruit (pineapple, melon and watermelon), yoghurts, cereal and a hot selection of cooked meats, scrambled eggs, chips, pasta and different rice options. There were also cold meats, cheese, bread, salad components and a machine to make pancakes which we avoided.

The location was just off one of Cebu city’s main roads and was near to shops and a few other restaurants, so you could venture out on foot, although or a short taxi ride would take you right into the centre, which could suit a longer stay.

Helen Jackson

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