By Sab

Islands Stay Hotel - A quirky and affordable hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |

The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu is one of those hotels I immediately liked when I saw the pictures online. The rooms looked quirky, a mix of minimalistic and 60's/70's style. But best of all, the Islands Stay Hotel absolutely suited my budget. A single room starts from PHP950 (~US$20), that includes free WiFi.


They have several locations in the Philippines, including two in Cebu. One is situated just a kilometer from the Airport, with the other located uptown, conveniently located in the business area next to Ayala Shopping Mall. I booked the latter and couldn't be happier with my decision...


A taxi from the airport is around PHP200 (~$4) and takes 30 min. Expect to pay more if you get stuck in the rush hour traffic


The Lobby - The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |

The Islands Stay Hotel in uptown Cebu is on the second floor of the building. There is a bank on the ground floor, which means easy access to an ATM at any time.


I was greeted by the cheerful staff, two girls who were obviously expecting me as they knew my name. The lobby was well designed, all in the colors orange, white and lime green. 


Oh I almost forgot to mention: When I walked up the stairs to the lobby, there was a quote on the wall of Henry Miller. "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."


Later, upon entering my room, I saw yet another quote on the wall. It read: 


I'm not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.

(Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey)


Certainly, this hotel is a place for travelers. I like the idea of placing unique quotes on the walls of each room. I totally love travel quotes. Made me thoughtful to read before going to bed each night.


Friendly staff at the reception - The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |


My room was designed in the same color scheme of the hotel: white and green walls with orange circles. I always try the mattress first to see if it's too hard or too soft. This one was perfect, I slept very comfortable. 


The large room - The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |

Also included in the room were a table and two chairs, a flat screen TV, and a bathroom with a hot shower. All completely spotless. The room provided everything I needed for my two days in Cebu. All rooms are air-conditioned, although I barely used the A/C as the room was quite cool. Or maybe it was the time of the year, it wasn't as hot as usual...


Let me show you more of the room... (click to enlarge!)


I should probably mention that most rooms (at least in the uptown branch) have no or just a small window. If you need daylight, well... there is still the lobby, which is bright and spacious if you're looking for a place to get online or read a book.


There is free WiFi all around and for those who didn't bring their own device, you can use the computer in the lobby. 


Free WiFi all around - The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |


The Islands Stay is a budget hotel and comes without breakfast; however, they have some snacks (including chocolate cupcakes, sandwiches, and juices) at the reception for sale. Prices are low, all being PHP100 (~$2) or less. There is also a 7 Eleven around the corner if none of the above satisfies your hunger.


Another option for breakfast is the Ayala Shopping Mall, just a short walk away (~3 min). I was able to have my pick from many good restaurants, and enjoy a delicious breakfast each morning. Alternatively, if you get tired of Ayala Mall, you can take a jeepney (PHP 8) to SM Cebu City. However, in my opinion, Ayala is much nicer with the garden wing. I went twice to to Siam Thai Food (Ayala garden Wing) and hands down, the food was amazing!


Chocolate cup cakes and other snacks... The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |


Overall, I had a pleasant experience at The Islands Stay Hotel . I wouldn’t call it luxurious at all, but it had everything I needed for my stay. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. For example, when I requested a room change (my first room had no window), it was no problem at all - they transferred me to another room right away. 


Finally a room with a window! The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |

The rooms come in four different sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. If your budget allows it, book one of the larger rooms. They're more spacious and some of them have windows.


The Islands Stay Hotel might not be a fancy five star hotel, but it's an excellent value for the price. It's a beautifully designed place combined with friendly service. The rooms are comfortable and clean. Perfect for budget travelers who are looking for a no-frills and tidy place in a great location. I'm definitely coming back.... 

Thank you for reading.


More information:



The Lobby at The Islands Stay Hotel in Cebu, Philippines © Sabrina Iovino |

My hotel experience was made possible by All opinions are my own.





Sabrina Iovino is the founder of She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:

Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.


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Thanks to my Editor Jessica Kay of A Passion And A Passport