Baguio City, the pine-dotted hill station in the Cordilleras, has long been the quintessential escape for lowlanders including myself, whenever I’m based in Metro Manila. The cool-weathered city is conveniently linked by frequent buses from the capital. Tourists are drawn to the city’s public parks, cultural museums, indigenous crafts, and lively food scene.
On my last visit last month, I got to stay at G1 Lodge Design Hotel, a relatively new boutique accommodation conveniently located at #2 Leonard Wood Rd, right smack at the heart of the city. Thanks to its central location, tourist hotspots like SM City Baguio, Session Road and the Baguio Cathedral are just a few minutes walk from the hotel, which proved especially convenient when it rained and taxis are harder to come by. Baguio Museum and Museo Kordilyera were also only 10 to 15 minutes walk from the hotel.
Most interestingly, G1 Lodge Design Hotel is also an architectural gem, which showcases contemporary Cordilleran design abstracted from indigenous forms. Designed by Baguio-based collective Ninety Design Studio, the narrow 10-storey building features an asymmetrical exterior with the front facade screened by timber brise soleil, which shields the structure from sun and rain. The back side of the hotel looks totally different from the front with blocks jutting out at varied angles to increase floor areas and maximize the views.
Inside, creativity is best admired in the reception area on the 5th floor (which is street level to Leonard Wood Rd), where timber slatted ceiling of imported pinewood undulates and curves down behind the front desk – a representation of the mountainous landscape of the Cordillera. The front desk itself is an abstraction of the hagabi, a ceremonial bench of the Ifugao, one of the indigenous peoples of the region. In 2018, the hotel bagged the 2017 Kohler Bold Design Award for the Boldest Urban Hotel.
The 10-storey hotel building features a lobby cafe, function rooms, and 36 guest rooms, which are accessed from the elevators via keycard-secured hallways. Ranging from 12 to 25 square meters in floor area, the room types are named after various fauna. I stayed at a Fox Room on the 8th floor with impeccable views of the city. The corner room had a sofa, a double bed, flat TV with Netflix, toilet and shower, and most surprisingly a small balcony.
The double bed was flushed towards one side of the room next to a window-side platform, which I hoped was cushioned to serve as a day bed. It was could have been the excellent spot to enjoy a cup of hot tea while watching the fog sail in and out of view.
I had a few complaints with the layout of the room, such as the inconvenient lack of light switches near the room entrance. The main room’s only light switches are located are on the far side of the bed. Watching TV was also uncomfortable because the bed and sofa were located perpendicular to the flat-screen TV, which couldn’t be swiveled into a better viewing position.
The hotel’s room types – which accommodates anywhere between one to four persons – are playfully named after animals. Hotel rates start at only ₱1,998 per night on weekdays for the Turtle Room, which accommodates only one person, with no breakfast. The weekend rate is ₱2,498 per night. Find discounted room rates and check availability here!
Accommodations can be booked with or without breakfast included. My Fox Room came with buffet breakfast, which was served daily at 6th floor dining area with nice views of the city. The buffet was modest in size but complete: it had a handful of viands, salad, cereals, breads, and an egg station, which is all I need for a great breakfast!
Raincoat Coffee is the lobby cafe, which is open to the public, located on the fifth level. They serve breakfast plates, soups, finger food, meat dishes and desserts, as well as a varied selection of drinks like coffee and non-coffee based beverages, shakes and cocktails.
Of course, there’s also the option to eat out. There are several restaurants and cafes located at SM City Baguio and along Session Road, just a short walk from the hotel.
How to Get There
G1 Lodge Design Hotel is conveniently located only a five-minute walk away from the bus terminal along Gov. Pack Road next to SM City Baguio – the terminus for a majority of bus lines like Partas and Solid North (departs from PITX). The popular bus company Victory Liner has a separate terminal, located farther away (900 m or 15-minute walk) from the hotel.
Bus trips between Manila and Baguio take between five to six hours.