Picture-perfect Siama Hotel takes Filipino design and dining to a higher level.
Siama Hotel is the latest addition to the bustling tourism activity in the Bicol region. Located in Sorsogon City, this beautiful resort combines the feeling of being welcomed into a local’s home with that of taking a long-overdue holiday far, far away. It elevates Filipino culture in every respect: the furnishings feel familiar but are given a contemporary look; their accommodating staff lives up to the Filipino spirit of hospitality; and oh my, let’s not even get started on the food. I’d probably go back just for a taste of that laing na manok!
My friends and I took a Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Legazpi, Albay. With the help of the hotel, you can pre-arrange for a van pickup for a roundtrip cost of P4,800. A friendly driver greeted us at the airport, and the drive to Siama took about an hour and 20 minutes. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with glasses of cold coconut juice—a perfect start to a relaxing vacation!
The Common Areas
It’s clear that design takes center stage at this 30-room boutique hotel in the middle of a coconut plantation. Created by architect and furniture designer Milo Naval, this resort oasis is stunning from the outside, with its wooden slats and rattan pedicabs casually parked out front (can I have one, please?).
The common area feels more like a showroom than a hotel lobby. Beautiful pieces of local furniture are scattered around large, open spaces. Giant slabs of polished wood are used as communal tables, accented by white capiz shell lamps. Everywhere you look, indigenous materials are tastefully given a modern twist, and the contrast between the cool concrete walls and warmth of the wood gives the place a sexy yet homey vibe. And when the sun comes streaming in in the afternoons, the entire place just glows.
But the highlight for me is the sprawling view that greets you as you step outside. The 25-meter long pool surrounded by coconut trees will make you want to jump in right away, and the giant hammock hanging just above it will make you want to lounge around with a good book, cocktail in hand. We couldn’t resist taking a (group) selfie at this picture-perfect spot!
Like the rest of the resort, the rooms are a beautiful exercise in minimalism, neutral colors, and texture. The four-poster bed we had in our room felt like a cocoon I didn’t want to get out of. But the view from the balcony of our second-floor corner room definitely gave me the incentive to.
The only problem with the room was that there was no door separating the bathroom from the bedroom. While my girlfriends and I are pretty tight from being friends from high school, we still needed a little privacy when it came to shower time! So while that’s probably great for vacationing couples, it would have been nice if guests like us were given a different option.
Breakfast and dinner came with the room rates already, so you only need to worry about lunch. If you decide to enjoy the resort and stay in, they can cook a complete meal with four courses (plus dessert!) for only P500 per person. Believe me, once you try the food, you’ll probably be willing to even pay a bit more!
They tell you what’s on the menu upon arrival so you can immediately tell them if you want anything changed. Some favorites during our stay were the halaan soup, grilled chicken and pork barbecue, tinolang manok, whole fried fish with mango-chili sauce, ensaladang pako (fiddlehead fern), local scallops cooked in gata and sigarilyas (winged bean), and pan-fried pampano with garlic chips. Each meal is customized for each group of guests, so the four of us had so much food to ourselves!
Not a fan of shellfish? Just shout out any other Filipino dish you can think of and they’ll get the ingredients to make it for you. So picky eaters can definitely have their say!
Siama Hotel definitely scores high in design and dining. Almost everything is Instagram-worthy (even the potted plant in the bathroom!) and the food can rival even the likes of personal favorites like Sarsa and Manam. Their cooking has a strong Bicolano flavor (with coconut milk present in all of our meals), but if they were to open a restaurant in Manila, I’m sure people would go in droves—it’s that good! The food was the highlight of our stay there, and every meal was something I looked forward to.
Service can still be improved, though. To our confusion, we were initially told that there was only one room available that could only accommodate two people, which was strange because they arranged for an airport transfer for four. And they forgot to service our rooms even though we were by the pool the whole afternoon.
If you want to swim, you’ll still have to ask for beach towels, and in the hospitality industry, I feel like a little anticipation of guests’ needs really goes a long way. But the staff was warm, extremely friendly, and helpful, so it somehow made up for it. Perhaps it’s because they had only been open for several months when we stayed there, so hopefully these minor operational issues have already been ironed out by now!
Plus points for unlimited water bottle refills, though, so no need to buy water!
What to Do
Siama Hotel is all about the ultimate staycation! But if you’re the type who can’t sit still, Legazpi is home to Mayon Volcano, which is famous for its perfect cone.
Donsol is also about two hours away from Siama, so if you want to swim with the whale sharks, this is another activity to consider. A full-day excursion can be booked via the hotel for a total of P6,500 for a group of four.
If you’re not so lucky with the weather (like we were), you can book in-room massages instead, or borrow some board games like Pictionary and Jenga from the front desk. Wifi is also available in the common area only, but the connection is a bit weak; 3G/LTE signal is horrendous, too. So be prepared to disconnect from the world and enjoy your holiday. Because isn’t that what vacations are for? Staying at Siama Hotel is the relaxing city break we all need every now and then.
Now, if we could only bring home some of their furniture…
Siama Hotel, Sitio San Lorenzo, Bibincahan, Sorsogon, 0917 881 6497, 0998 982 8101, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.siamahotel.com