ILOILO CITY – Before we even got engaged, my husband and I were already considering Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo for our wedding venue. No kidding. We’ve been discussing wedding plans long before Jessie popped the question in October 2016, and we always knew we wanted to get married in Iloilo. And knowing that a Marriott property will be built in our city shortened our list of options for a venue.
My husband and I at the Courtyard Iloilo pool bar area, with the old Iloilo airport tower in the background
If only it had opened by the time we got married last December 2017, it would have been our hotel of choice for ourselves, our wedding party, and our guests flying in from Manila and abroad. And this was affirmed when my husband and I stayed for two nights at Courtyard Iloilo two weeks after it opened last May 1, 2018—it’s no doubt the best hotel in Iloilo City to date.
Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo is the first international hotel chain to open in the entire province. And while this is no guarantee that a hotel would be the best, Courtyard Iloilo does employ Marriott’s global standards for design, amenities, and service that are unprecedented in Iloilo.
My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding monthsary at Courtyard Iloilo
From the posh design and impressive amenities to the exceptionally warm and efficient service, anyone visiting the fastest developing city in Western Visayas should consider staying at Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo, be it for business or leisure. I list all the reasons why, based on our personal experience.
1. Design and space
Courtyard Iloilo boasts of an innovative lobby space and features Courtyard’s latest contemporary room design. Courtyard Iloilo also provides more choices—not offered anywhere else we’ve stayed in the province—that allow guests to optimize and elevate their hotel and travel experience.
Courtyard Iloilo Junior Suite Bedroom
Courtyard Iloilo Junior Suite Living Room
The Junior Suite has a walk-in closet, ironing board, and other conveniences
The Junior Suite bathroom also has a tub
The 15-story hotel owned by Megaworld Corporation and managed by Marriott International has 326 rooms—16 of which are Junior Suites with a living area and more lounging spots, and 5 of which are PWD-friendly. Besides these rooms, you can also get a Deluxe room with either two twin beds or a king bed.
Courtyard Iloilo Standard King Room
Standard Twin Room
We got the Concierge Club Corner King Room—which is basically your Standard King Room WITH amazing Concierge Club access (see reason #3 below) and a better view since it’s a corner room. The sleek room design makes it comfortable for working, sleeping (the bed is marvelous!), and just lounging and relaxing. Indirect lighting and a neutral color palette make for a soothing and calm ambiance.
Snapshots of our Concierge Club Corner King Room
The bathroom has a “Shower Nook” for toiletries (shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, soap bar) and towels.
My favorite spot in the room is the “Lounge Around” sofa by the floor-to-ceiling window, where I enjoyed reclining while watching TV or reading a book, and usually while sipping wine. When I needed to do some work, I liked that the room had an office chair with wheels that I can move around the room.
The “Lounge Around” sofa between the window and the bed is my favorite spot in our room
Courtyard Iloilo also has a refreshing business lobby environment, where guests about to check in or out can enjoy an open and bright area while awaiting their turn or their transportation. Along with media pods, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a variety of seating zones, the clean and sprawling space is also ideal for just hanging out outside of one’s room or even meeting people. I also love how there’s a relaxing fragrance that permeates the property, which you especially get a whiff of each time you enter the lobby from outside or from the elevators. I was told this was Courtyard by Marriott’s signature scent.
The hotel was designed with a chic and relaxing feel with an earthy touch by P49Design and Associates, Thailand’s foremost design firm. But the chill atmosphere belies the high-security features of the hotel, including the bulletproof and shockproof glass around the entrance, among others.
Courtyard Iloilo Lobby
What truly stood out for me about Courtyard Iloilo is the staff’s topnotch service. Nowhere else in Iloilo were we treated with such warmth and attention throughout our stay. Everyone greeted us a with a warm smile and was quick to attend to our every need—some of which they anticipated, without us even asking. Everyone from concierge and housekeeping to the staff at their in-house restaurant Runway Kitchen and pool bar, their chefs, and their bartenders all seemed ready and happy to serve. And they seemed so sincere about it too.
We were celebrating our 5th wedding monthsary when we checked into the hotel, and they gave us not one, but two cakes! And everyone was greeting us like it was our 5th wedding anniversary—they’re all so sweet! We felt so spoiled and pampered wherever we went.
One of the two cakes the Courtyard Iloilo F&B team gave us during our stay
Even their Thai Executive Chef, Chachpol Suaisom, is so friendly and accommodating. He would really go around to chat with guests and get their thoughts on the food. He spent time with us during breakfast on both days, and even hosted a Thai lunch he cooked for us himself right before we checked out (more on this in my Food feature soon).
Jessie and I with Chef Chach
And I don’t think it’s because they all knew my husband and I were there to feature the hotel on my blog. We noticed that this was how they treated all the other guests. And this was also how they were when we visited the hotel’s restaurant and lobby bar on its second day of opening; the staff who served us remembered us from our first visit prior to our stay. For such a new hotel, their staff seemed really ready and unfazed by the influx of guests from Iloilo and out of town who are eager to check out the property.
Personally, I also appreciated that they didn’t automatically assume I’m Ilonggo—and by this I mean they didn’t try to talk to me in Hiligaynon FIRST. Not to say that I prefer people talk to me in English, but as a Manila girl who moved to Iloilo only recently, I find it really awkward when people in other Iloilo hotels, restaurants, and establishments address me in Ilonggo only for me to have to tell them, “Sorry po, Tagalog ako.” In Courtyard, not once did I have to deal with that. People in the service industry here in Iloilo should take a page out of Courtyard’s book and learn not to assume their guests are automatically Ilonggo, unless they have reason to do so, since more and more guests from outside the Hiligaynon-speaking region are visiting this booming city.
3. The Concierge Club
Besides the service, what would make us keep coming back to stay in Courtyard Iloilo (even if we already are Iloilo residents, haha) is their Concierge Club, AKA their VIP or Executive Lounge. My husband and I think this area of Courtyard Iloilo deserves special mention because this is where we spent most of our time in our two-day stay, besides the pool bar and our room.
“Make Your Own Cocktail” bar
This is just one part of the pica-pica spread from 530PM to 730PM
When you book the Concierge Club or Executive rooms, you can get free drinks (coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages) and snacks (peanuts, cookies, and dried fruits) all day, enjoy pica-pica from 530PM to 730PM, and ‘Make Your Own Cocktails’ from 530PM to 930PM. Access is good for two guests only, but you can add P1,500 net per person/per day. This place is conducive to private meetings, as my husband was able to experience for himself with some business partners.
My husband and I definitely took advantage of our Concierge Club access on our two-night stay. This is even where we had dinner on our second night, since they had a great spread of delicious Chicken Teriyaki, other meat dishes, soup, cakes, and fresh fruits. Whenever I needed coffee and a snack while working, I just head up to my favorite spot on the 15th floor, where I also would charge my laptop. On our second night, the head bartender even offered to make drinks for us—and he kept ‘em coming!
I love this little nook at the Concierge Club
If you’re staying at Courtyard Iloilo, we definitely recommend getting Concierge Club access. Super sulit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Whenever I invite family and friends to visit me in Iloilo, one of the first things they ask me is where they can stay that has the best internet connection. Now, I finally have a definitive answer to give: Courtyard Iloilo. It offers the fastest Wi-Fi ever in the entire Iloilo City at 250mbps! Wherever I went at the hotel—our room, the Concierge Club, the restaurant, and even by the pool—I always had such fast internet.
I was able to do some online work at the pool bar
Apart from this, you need not worry about your device losing battery life: Throughout the hotel, there are ample electrical outlets where you can connect. We particularly like that, in addition to several outlets, there are at least four built-in USB ports in our room—by the desk and by the bed—so we can plug our mobile devices without the need for an adaptor. And we can charge all our devices simultaneously without having to fight for a spot, haha (we have two phones each, plus my laptop, so this is always a problem in other hotels).
Courtyard Iloilo Business Center
If you don’t have your laptop with you, they have a business library that features several computer terminals, along with a printer and separate computer stations dedicated solely to printing airline boarding passes and checking flight status. Convenient, huh?
Courtyard Iloilo features an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 180 people. (Sigh, this really would have been perfect for our wedding reception.)
I love their spacious pool with submerged loungers as well as several poolside beds, which are all right in front of the pool bar. Apart from the Concierge Club, this is where I spent most of my time at the hotel—reading and sipping a cocktail while getting a much-needed tan.
Pool area at night
If you want to host a pool party, there’s a private cocktail area close by. They can’t close the pool for private functions, just to be fair to hotel guests.
Cocktail area close to the pool bar
I didn’t get the chance to work out, but their gym looks amazing! It’s spacious and fully equipped with everything from treadmills and elliptical machines to weights, bench press, and even exercise balls. The gym is open for membership for P5,500 net per month, which includes the use of their locker and shower area, pool, and sauna—the only place I know that has a sauna for public use in Iloilo City. My husband and I are seriously considering signing up.
Courtyard Iloilo Fitness Center
Women’s locker area by the fitness center
Close to the ballrooms, there’s a gift shop that sells chic hand-made clutches and minaudière from Miagao, Iloilo and barong from Aklan—which are perfect for gifts, pasalubong, or a fashion emergency while attending or hosting a formal event here.
Courtyard Iloilo has an in-house restaurant called Runway Kitchen, so named because the hotel is located where the old Iloilo airport used to be. (In fact, you can see the old Iloilo airport’s control tower from the pool bar.) It offers casual, flexible seating; and breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet as well as a la carte options. I’ll have a separate feature on their buffet breakfast and dinner in my blog’s Food section soon.
Meanwhile, The Courtyard lobby bar is where you can hang out while waiting for your room or just any time you want to unwind with some great cocktails, wine, and beer with light bar chow.
The Courtyard lobby bar
The grill and pool bar is also something to look forward to, offering food and cocktails you can enjoy with the view.
Pool bar at night
Grill by the pool bar area
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, guests have convenient access to the district’s growing IT industry and a gateway to the province’s top tourist destinations from Courtyard Iloilo. Located at the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park by Megaworld, it’s right beside the famed Iloilo Convention Center and within walking distance to the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art, BPO buildings, residential towers, and the city’s top commercial centers.
Our room has a view of Iloilo Convention Center (our wedding venue) right next door, as well as other establishments around Iloilo Business Park
Among them is the highly anticipated lifestyle shopping center Festive Walk Mall, which is set to open any day now, boasting of a food hall, 7-theater Dolby Atmos cinema complex that includes two with reclining La-Z Boy seats and unlimited popcorn and drinks, and an open air garden, among many others. It’s poised to house first-class boutiques and world-renowned clothing brands, as well as international and local restaurants, cafes, and bistros—Italianni’s, TGI Fridays, La Lola, and Denny’s are just among the dining establishments rumored to open here.
Across from this is the 1.1-kilometer-long, 22-meter-wide shop-and-dine strip Festive Walk Parade, one of the most popular dining spots in the city, with international restaurants, bistros, cafes, and pubs. On weekends, food trucks set up shop and diners can enjoy local and international cuisine in a street party setting, complete with live entertainment.
Also in the area are must-try restaurants that have been offering locals and visitors alike specialized, international cuisine and the best selection of drinks long before any of these establishments even opened, like Farm To Table, Dova Brunch Cafe, and Iloilo’s own branch of the popular bar Cable Car, all of which enjoy a good crowd any day of the week, but most especially on weekends. And all of this is just within walking distance from the hotel!
Courtyard Iloilo is also close to Jaro Cathedral (where we got married) and other beautiful Iloilo churches, in case you’re planning to get married here, too. It’s also only about 15 minutes from the ferry terminal that takes visitors to Guimaras island, where you can enjoy world-famous mangoes and go island-hopping. I can go on and on, but you get my drift: It’s close to everything that matters!
I appreciate Courtyard Iloilo’s effort to be environment friendly, which you will notice throughout the hotel. They have a guest recycling program, with receptacles for paper, glass, plastic, and metal conveniently located by side exits. Even their toiletries and towels all bear the mark of being eco-conscious, among other little details you’ll notice throughout the hotel when you stay.
And now we get to the part about how much all this would cost you. Rates begin at Php 6,000 per night inclusive of breakfast for two and are subject to taxes and service charge. But if you book now until July 31, 2018, you can still avail of their 3,888++ introductory rate. It doesn’t include breakfast yet, but you can add it at a 50% discount. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, is honored here. If you’re already a Gold or Platinum member, you even automatically get Concierge Club access. Sign up for membership when you check in if you haven’t yet.
Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo is located at Megaworld Boulevard in Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. For reservations, contact 033-3307600 or visit the website.