Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Zamboanga Adventure: Exploring Asia's Latin City (Lantaka Hotel by the Sea)

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Zamboanga was originally called the City of Flowers even before another city used it, and so apparently they gave way and just used the monicker Asia's Latin City instead to also highlight the Chavacano (Spanish-based creole language) speaking residents of the city.

This is probably why when I entered the lobby of the Lantaka Hotel by the Sea, there were so many flowers, aside from the cannons, used to decorate the place. Flowers do beautify everything including the vintage, and Lantaka Hotel by the Sea is a popular heritage site known all over the Philippines as Zamboanga's pride and foremost hotel.

Although vintage, the location of the hotel is more than perfect. Located at the NS Valderossa street, it is just a stone's throw away from everywhere else including the Zamboanga city hall, Paseo Del Mar, Fort Pilar, Plaza del Pilar,  and the newly constructed Cinematheque Zamboanga.

But what I consider the best part is the magnificent vantage point towards the crystalline waters of the Moro Gulf and the Basilan Island. You get to dine on the veranda of the in-house coffee shop and watch the sun rise and set on the beautiful Moro Gulf.

A miniature "lantaka" cannon decorates the reception counter

I mentioned cannons earlier as another popular decor at the hotel because a "lantaka" , where the hotel got its name, is a type of bronze cannon that were mounted on merchant vessels traveling the waterways of Malay Archipelago.

Basically, you have two choices. You can choose to be booked on the old wing where you'll see a fantastic view of the sea or the new wing for a view of their large swimming pool surrounded by towering palm trees. Take your pick. What you just have to take note is that there would be some "vintage" issues in some of the rooms like a clog or leaking sink due to wear and tear. 

The hotel, on the other hand,  is continuously maintaining and renovating to improve their facilities. Of course, due to the age of the old wing, it is understandable that a problem will occasionally appear though very rare.

Lantaka Hotel by the Sea signage

Lantaka Hotel by the Sea located along NS Valderossa street

The Lantaka Hotel by the Sea also conveniently houses the Department of Tourism Region 9 office at its ground floor. Our host will often meet us at the hotel where a service vehicle will wait for us to go to other places for certain activities like the birdwatching done at Mt. Baluno and the Pasonanca Watershed. This was also the meeting place when we went for a tour around Zamboanga along with the members of the Wild Bord Club of the Philippines including the foreign delegates coming from different countries.

Welcome to one of the oldest hotels in Zamboanga

To provide a little bit of history, I've read that the hotel was originally just an American officers Quarters and Club which was then called "Lantaka Flats."  When the Americans left, it was later purchased by a mestizo – Mr. Antonio Bayot, who later on ran it as a regular fashionable sea side resort hotel naming it Hotel Bayot. Until in the 1970’s, Mr. Bayot sold it to the Walstrom family and now it grew to become one of the most popular hotels in Zamboanga.

A wagon bench at the lobby

Plenty of seats at the lobby area and beside is where you can buy pearl jewelries

Our charming receptionists

Another  miniature "lantaka" cannon sculpture that can e found at the lobby

Bamboo and flowers decorate a portion of the lobby

More flowers on display at the lobby

Decors like these give the lobby a sophisticated ambiance

A creative decor of long-stemmed flowers and bottles

Chandeleir to decorate as well

The chandeleirs are made of "capiz" for that vintage look

I think this is the entrance to the Breeza Hall which can be considered as their main ballroom where activities can be held

Several chairs and tables and a stage area for programs

 The hotel also offers facilities like an al fresco restaurant which offer a smorgasboard lunch

Coffee shop by the sea

A view of the bamboo huts by the sea and the swimming pool

A large cannon on display by the sea along with two vinta sails

Lantaka cannon by the sea

A magnificent view of the sea welcomes all guests at the Lantaka Hotel

More bamboo huts by the pool side

More seats available at the area near the Talisay Bar decorated by vinta sails

Another view of the vinta decorated area where the Talisay Bar serving Japanese food is located

The pool with several bamboo huts around it

The large swimming pool at the Lantaka Hotel by the Sea

Rear entrance to the Lanai Suites wing of the hotel

A view of the pool from one of the bamboo huts
They say that if you go on further away, there is a portion that is called the "Boracay" area, that used to be a dining area as well, because it is setup to resemble like you're in the beaches of Boracay.
If you go on exploring the hotel a little more, you'll find another hall decorated with lots of bamboos. We had to go on tour already so we were not able to explore and take photos of the rest of the hotel facilities.

Lantaka Hotel by the Sea
is a contemporary two-story oceanfront hotel located at Petit Barracks, on southwestern side of Mindanao Island
is known for its well-appointed, spacious and comfortable accommodations to provide the perfect haven for the business and leisure travelers. It is just five minutes from the Zamboanga International Airport and ten minutes away from the bustling city.

There is no other hotel in Zamboanga city that offers the same experience as the Lantaka Hotel by the Sea. If you want to be immersed in a historical ambiance and rich culture, this is where you should stay whenever you are in Zamboanga.

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