Baguio City

LOOK: This new Baguio hotel is a modern respite in the heart of the city

Steph Arnaldo

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LOOK: This new Baguio hotel is a modern respite in the heart of the city
Sotogrande Baguio veers away from the city's typical log cabin-themed accommodations, offering a minimalist and simple getaway at a prime location

MANILA, Philippines – Baguio City’s old-timey, well-loved charm never goes out of style – well-maintained heritage structures, generations-old businesses, cabin-themed hotels, and classic landmarks frequented by tourists for years.

Some tourists, however, may be looking for something different on their next trip uphill – something more modern and minimalist, veering away from the typical log cabin aesthetic the Summer Capital of the Philippines is known for.

One of the city’s newest hotels – SotoGrande Baguio – officially opened in February, along Leonard Wood Road, Cabinet Hill, right across Teacher’s Camp.

Managed by Enderun Hotels, SotoGrande is situated at a prime location, easily walkable from various lounge bars and restaurants, and only a 5-10 minute drive away from the city proper (near Sky Ranch, Session Road, and Burnham Park).

SOTOGRANDE LOBBY. Well-lit, spacious, and homey, Sotogrande’s lobby combines modernity with touches of local craft. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Based on the lobby alone, SotoGrande makes itself known as a clean, modern, minimalist, and simple getaway spot that highlights the best of Baguio – cool weather, fresh air, and nature’s finest. Touches of native charm adorn the property – intricate wood carvings of Cordillera region’s tribes and Baguio’s famous landmarks on the lobby ceilings, made by Baguio’s own native artisans.

HAND-CARVED ATWORK. Baguio’s artisans carved wooden paintings specifically for Sotogrande’s lobby. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The lobby is homey and classy, with cozy sofas and a lounge cocktail bar for happy hour.

WAITING AREA. Guests can wait at the lobby’s lounge area that’s located beside an all-day cocktail and coffee bar. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Since the property is new, everything is clean and organized. It’s well-designed, and has prompt guest service. The lobby is spacious and cozy at the same time – fit with sofas for waiting and a lounge cocktail bar for happy hour.

Baby, it’s cold outside: Settling in

If it’s cold outside, stay inside! Sotogrande has a total of 188 rooms – either with twin beds, double beds, or queen beds. Its nightly rates are affordable (starting at P3,000+ a night), considering the accessible location, its comfy bed and pillows, and the basic amenities available per room – toiletries, slippers, refrigerator, smart TV with Netflix, and a coffee/tea station.

QUEEN DELUXE. One of the biggest rooms of the hotel, the Queen Deluxe is simple but equipped with what you need for a cozy stay. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Note that it isn’t a luxury five-star hotel, so the rooms aren’t very big (nothing more than 30 square meters) and the amenities are very straightforward; no frills. However, Sotogrande’s Queen Deluxe (P4,500+) is one of the biggest rooms (including its comfort room), complete with its own sofa and a small balcony facing Sotogrande’s residential building. A nice detail: Ifugao woven textiles used as the headboard. What I was looking for, however, were bedside lamps for ambient lighting.

BAGUIO DETAILS. Handwoven Ifugao textiles are inserted in the headboard. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

There are also special Deluxe Corner rooms, if you’d like a better view of Baguio’s cityscape and greenery. The 43.2 sqm One Bedroom Suite (P10,000) is fit for a family – it comes with a sophisticated and cozy living room and a bedroom with two double beds.

FAMILY SUITE. The One-Bedroom Family Suite has a comfortable living room with a smart TV. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Sotogrande’s value-for-money rate already includes breakfast for two.

BRISA DEL BAGUIO. Sotogrande’s restaurant offers a diverse breakfast buffet. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The breakfast buffet is good, with a diverse selection of breads, jams, and Filipino ulams and favorites, like arroz caldo, a champorado station, pancakes, free-flowing brewed coffee, juices, fresh fruits, and even a taho man on call.

Sotogrande’s restaurant is located by the patio, so you can enjoy Baguio’s cool breeze while dining. The patio is where the hotel’s 24/7 heated pool is located, too.

HEATED POOL. The patio is located on the ground floor, beside the restaurant. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
All-day dining

Hotel restaurants are usually a hit or miss, and thankfully, Sotogrande proves the former! It’s easy to have all your meals at Brisa del Baguio, Sotogrande’s high-quality restaurant with an extensive menu of traditional Filipino recipes, using some indigenous Cordilleran ingredients from local farmers and fine produce unique to the region.

BUTTERED CHICKEN. Savory, tangy, and a tad sweet. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

All the meals we ordered were value-for-money, with big servings good for sharing, an appetizing presentation, and bold flavors. The Buttered Chicken (P520) features crispy and juicy fried chicken coated in a buttery garlic sauce that’s savory, tangy, and a tad sweet, topped with fried garlic.

CHEESY BAKED BANGUS. This dish features four cheeses. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The really cheesy Baked Bangus (P520) is a fresh boneless bangus topped with four cheeses and vegetables, baked until melted and served with French fries; the Kilawin (P480) is a refreshing appetizer of soft and cured white fish in a zingy vinegar dressing and mango tomato salsa.

KINILAW. A refreshing appetizer. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The Dirty Fries (P440) can feed two to three, topped with chili con carne, salsa, and cheese. The Buffalo Chicken (P480) features hefty boneless chicken nuggets that are moist and juicy, tossed in an addictive spicy-tangy buffalo sauce and served with a creamy ranch dressing.

BUFFALO BITES. The sauce is truly addictive. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The Sizzling Sisig (P380) is a soft and chewy kind of sisig, using thrice-cooked pork maskara with tasty liver spread, onion, and chili. Of course, the fresh Strawberry Smoothie didn’t disappoint!

DIRTY FRIES. We like ’em dirty. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Sotogrande’s property also has function rooms for company meetings, a fitness center in the making, and a roof deck that is still being developed.

SIZZLING SISIG. Uses thrice-cooked pork maskara. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you’re looking for a new and affordable accommodation choice on your next Baguio trip that keeps you in the midst of the action but doesn’t feel exactly like old-time Baguio, check out Sotogrande Baguio – the busiest branch among Sotogrande’s other branches in Katipunan and Palawan. It’s a modern getaway with a fresh and updated design that’s straight to the point and comfortable in terms of service, with affordable rates, good food, and a location that’s very convenient. –

To book a room, you can visit Sotogrande Baguio’s website.

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.