I have been to few hostels in the Philippines which have satisfied me as much as Harold’s Mansion has. They provide the energy so unique to hostels that can’t be merely found in more formal accommodations. They are a paragon of value-for-money, which I always love.
- Location: superb. A few minute’s walk to the famed Rizal Boulevard, where you are afforded beautiful seaside walks, and the plethora of bars and places to eat from the low-end to the indulgent.
- FREE DRINKING WATER: I often find this incurs a significant denture in funds when traveling. Good, clean, drinking water, when travelling for several days, can be expensive if constantly bought. Harold’s offers this for free around the hostel, and cold, too.
- Good rooftop bar: where you can have as much free coffee or tea throughout the day as you want. There is also a pool table, a HUGE TV, and several couches and tables which make it quite easy to meet and interact with other travelers. Place is also WIFI-enabled.
- Price: Incredibly good that it seems more than what you pay for. In the dorm rooms, there is a split-type A/C which runs at night. Dorm rooms are also gender-segregated. In the private fan rooms, there is hot water, tissue paper, a flat screen TV with cable, a fan, and a comfortably-sized queen bed. Not to mention a lot of extra space in the room. 5 stars for me on price.
- Free breakfast: If unlimited coffee and unlimited buttered/jam pan de sal is good enough for you, which was, for me.
- Dive shop: They also own the dive shop next door. I haven’t had the chance to canvass prices, but the equipment looked to be in good condition.
- Complete tours: They offer everything you might possibly want to do around the area. Dumaguete’s nearby mountains and falls, whaleshark watching, Apo Island tours, diving, cave tours, Sumilon Island, etc.
- Borrowable bikes: The bikes are in need of serious rust help, but they are free to use. Scooters and motorcycles are also for rent for about Php350 for the whole day.
- I suppose they have to get their profit somewhere. For the price and convenience Harold’s accommodation offers you, doing tours with them is a little on the overpriced side. I of course opted for the DIY method, for example, of whaleshark watching in nearby Cebu, for about 1/4 of the price they were offering at the Hostel. The rates aren’t expensive by any means. But if you have the knowledge and patience to try and find things out on your own, then you will be able to save hundreds of Pesos. I cannot vouch for the other tours, though, as I didn’t have time to do much in Dumaguete. I do get the feeling that the tours are of good quality and not just the out-to-get-your-money kind.
- During the summer months, THE HEAT IN THE FAN ROOMS IS UNBEARABLE. Although this isn’t their fault by any means. We tried to get the cheapest fan room possible, but they advised us against it due to the room being on the rooftop where, according to them, it could get worse than a sauna. So for a P100 more, we chose a fan room on the second floor, which was at sauna-level, the humidity and heat of it, even at night, but it had big windows we could open to provide at least a little breeze.
Overall, I would highly recommend this place. I wouldn’t think of staying anywhere else when in Dumaguete, especially if you are in-transit. We stayed for a day only, having come from Siquijor, and awaiting the next bus to Bacolod. It was a good experience. Dumaguete has a nice, chill, nightlife as well.