From hostels to capsule rooms: 7 places you can stay in Manila

Rhea Claire Madarang
Where to stay if you don't have a ton to spend

Though not immediately obvious to travelers beyond the shopping malls and the walls of Intramuros, there’s plenty to see in Manila. There are just as many options for accommodations too, apart from the usual 5-star hotels, too. 

And yes, travelers on a budget have many choices – not just hostels. 

Depending on what kind of experience you are looking for, here are some options. 

Note: The sample commercial accommodations for the options below have room offerings P2,000 or below and are favorably reviewed or ranked high in travel review sites like Trip Advisor, or other accommodation review sites.

1. Budget hotels

HOTEL COMFORT ON A BUDGET. One of the rooms below P2,000 for solo travelers in Casa Bocobo Hotel, Ermita, Manila. The hotel offers services like airport transfers, room service and currency exchange. Photo from Casa Bocobo Hotel Facebook page
BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN. One of the rooms in a Go Hotels Metro Manila branch. Photo from Go Hotels Facebook page

You don’t have to go to a 5-star hotel to experience a hotel’s basic comforts. Budget hotels are now aplenty, at a fraction of the rate. If all you need are basic room amenities like a spacious bed, a clean toilet, airconditioning, then go for budget hotels. 

Some budget hotels even offer other services like currency exchange and amenities like room safety deposit boxes. 

Not all budget hotels may have the services you need, though, so it is best to look closely at their list of services before you book. 

For those who want the assurance of quality and consistency, go for budget chain hotels, as these hotels usually have standards across all their branches. In cases of non-chain hotels, though, best to check the online reviews for peace of mind. 

2. Bed and breakfasts

RELAXATION IN THE CITY: Some bed and breakfasts like The Purple Tree in Parañaque City  offer not only a home away from home, but also a resort-type atmosphere, with a pool to take a dip in. Photo courtesy of The Purple Tree Bed & Breakfast

If you want a more homey atmosphere, stay at one of Metro Manila’s bed and breakfast establishments. Bed and breakfasts are usually private homes converted into guest accommodations – and yes, breakfast is part of the room rate. 

3. Apartment and condo rentals

YOUR OWN SPACE. This one-bedroom unit in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, can be rented for P850 a night. Photo courtesy of Airbnb.com
COZY CHIC. This colorful apartment in Quezon City can be rented for below P2,000. Photo courtesy of Airbnb.com

If you want to literally have your own home away from home (at least during your stay in Metro Manila), you can actually rent another person’s house. Avail of apartment and condo rentals to get your own space.

One of the well-known rental booking sites is Airbnb, where different homes from below P1,000 and up are listed for rental. You can contact the owner through the booking site.

Unlike the usual rentals that require you to stay for months, though, Airbnb has properties that can be rented per night or for at least two nights.

And, if you rent a condo in a building with amenities like pool and gym for residents, you usually can avail of those facilities during your stay, too.

4. Hostels

HOSTELS++. Boutique hostels like MNL claim to offer more than typical hostels. For MNL’s case, they offer beds with hotel-grade linen and thick mattresses as well as a modern, unique design in their exteriors and interiors. Photos courtesy of MNL Boutique Hostel
For an affordable price, hostels like Our Melting Pot in Makati already offer dorm-type accommodations (though there are private room options, too), breakfast, and common areas to hang out in and socialize. Photos courtesy of Our Melting Pot Hostel

Hostels win hands down when you are just looking for a bed (even if it is in a dorm room with other guests) and a toilet and bathroom (as long as you don’t mind sharing with other guests).

Dorm-type accommodations in Metro Manila, especially in busy city areas like Makati, usually cost around P500 or more, with breakfast already included. You are also given a locker for your valuables. 

Hostels usually have common areas for dining and socializing. If this is the case, you may avail of their private rooms (there are usually rooms below P2,000), with its own toilet and bathroom or a shared toilet and bathroom. Or, just stay in the dorm and make friends with your roommates. 

Meanwhile, some hostels, called boutique hostels, claim to offer more than typical hostels. Usually, these boutique hostels offer more comfort and services than the average hostel. 

5. Guesthouses 

FOR THE BUDGET TRAVELER. Like hostels, guesthouses like Wanderers Guesthouse have budget rooms (a dorm bed in a fan room starts at P300) and common areas like dining areas. Photo courtesy of Wanderers Guesthouse

Guesthouses, like bed and breakfasts, are traditionally private homes converted into guest acommodations. Nowadays, though, guesthouses also refer to budget accommodations (not necessarily a private home) which offer dorm-type accommodations as well as private rooms. Guesthouses may also offer fan rooms, which are cheaper than airconditioned rooms.

6. Capsule rooms

YOUR OWN CAPSULE. At the moment, Kabayan Hotel in Pasay offers capsule beds for P850 per night. Aside from a bed, capsules have a light, a socket, exhaust fan, a mirror, and a small space for belongings. There are lockers and towel racks outside. Photo courtesy of Kabayan Hotel

The capsule hotel concept, popular in Japan, has very small rooms called capsules, which are usually stacked side by side. A capsule bed is also a budget accommodation option in Metro Manila. Generally, capsules are large enough to fit your bed and a table for you to place your belongings. There is also an outlet for you to plug in your gadgets. 

Toilet and bathroom is shared and outside the capsules. There are also lockers for keeping your belongings when you are away. Basically, staying in a capsule hotel is like staying in a dorm room, except that your bed is enclosed in a capsule.

Staying in a capsule bed may not be a good idea for people with claustrophobic tendencies, but is perfect for those who are big on privacy while they sleep but want to save money. 

7. Couchsurfing

OPEN FOR SURFERS. Photo of a CouchSurfing host’s couch for surfers. Photo by Felix Darren Abante

Sleep at a local’s home for free by signing up as a Couchsurfing member. Couchsurfing, as the name implies, lets you sleep in locals’ homes – on a bed, couch, or whatever sleeping arrangements your host has prepared for you. This is also a way to immerse yourself more in the culture of the place you are visiting – and, your host might even be your new good friend.

Interact with other Couchsurfers online and offline in your area to build your trustworthiness as a possible guest to your prospective hosts. You can also be assured of a host’s reputation through reviews of Couchsurfers and also his/her interactions with other members online. You can also become a host yourself if you have a place to offer.

As always, be careful, mind the reviews, and book at your own risk. – Rappler.com

Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.

 

 

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article said that one of the rooms in Casa Bocobo was under P1000. This has been corrected. We apologize for the oversight.