Environmentalism has been embraced by many businesses in Manila, and the eight-year-old Cocoon Boutique Hotel is just one of them. Located a stone’s throw away from the thumping Tomas Morato party district in Quezon City, its six-story structure stands unassuming in a quiet residential area occasionally dotted with fast food restaurants.
Coconuts Manila was invited to visit it on a recent Saturday, and found it to be a worthy staycation spot for those who want to relax in the metro.
While its exterior is fairly unremarkable, its lobby gives a warm welcome to guests with bespoke couches, carefully chosen objets d’art, and a massive Murano chandelier that lights up the entire area. A well-polished grand piano sits on a corner, while floor-to-ceiling mirrors give off the illusion that the lobby is larger than it really is. Orange appears to be the dominant color in the lobby, from the couches to the walls.
Unlike in bigger hotels where check-in could take long time, Cocoon is similar to other boutique establishments in that guests can get their room key in just a couple of minutes. The warm, friendly staff are quick to assist guests with their belongings. They’re pretty intuitive and extremely helpful.
As part of its sustainability mantra, Cocoon repurposed old, discarded materials in creating different parts of the hotel. According to manager Annie Concovar, they used reclaimed wood and metal which were bought from the merchants of North Luzon, who knocked down homes partly damaged by the violent eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the 1990s.
If this is true, it certainly does not look it because the rooms look good as new. We were also told that the wall behind the TV, the hardwood desk, and wood-paneled floors were created from old discarded pieces of wood.
We stayed in a deluxe room (from PHP3,920/US$75.20 per night) with two beds, each with strategically placed reading lights. The mattress is perfect and is almost as good as the ones used in international hotel chains. The room also comes with a medium-sized marble bathtub that gives a perfect view of the television, allowing guests to watch TV and soak into fragrant bubbles at the same time.
For people who don’t care much for soaking in tubs, they can use the rain shower head installed in a small shower area. The hotel’s toiletries — ironically contained in small plastic bottles — are as good as ones that are commercially available.
The hotel is quite small, and there isn’t much to see on the property grounds. One of the areas worth checking out, however, is its charming rooftop garden where Cocoon grows vegetables that are used as ingredients in its restaurant.
It’s a perfect example of an urban garden: Plants are grown in small pots, which are then placed in medium-sized, darkly painted steel racks. It’s proof that people can grow their own food even if they don’t have a spacious yard.
Cocoon also serves nicely cooked breakfasts, from local fare such as tocilog to more international ones such as Eggs Benedict. They don’t have buffet spreads laid out for breakfast, but the restaurant’s a la carte meals are sure to satisfy any hungry guest — what’s especially cool is that the room rates are already inclusive of breakfast, too, so guests do not have to pay a separate fee for that.
The hotel also has a cute pool that’s perfect for kids. It was deserted when we were there, possibly because the city’s noontime temperature was hovering near 36 degrees that day, but we can imagine a lot of children would love to take a dip in it.
A one-night stay is not enough for a guest to say if the hotel truly operates in an environmentally sustainable manner. It’s laudable that they hire people who live nearby, believing that doing so would minimize their carbon footprint.
Concovar also said that they hire people who are passionate about saving the environment. But the operation of a hotel, at its core, is not “green.” They are similar to hospitals where air conditioning units are turned on all the time and guests — like those who love using the tubs — use up vast amounts of water.
But Cocoon is, undeniably, a wonderful hotel for staycations. Its rooms are comfortable, relaxing, and relatively bigger than other boutique properties. Its design is tasteful and free of kitsch. What really stood out to us was how friendly the staff are, and how helpful they were throughout our stay — shoutout to the staff for letting us borrow a phone charger during our visit, too.
They don’t host any side activities, such as rooftop parties or musical events, here — but we really didn’t mind because Tomas Morato has a slew of entertainment options, and it’s just a six-minute walk from the hotel.
Our only complaint stems from their spa. The walls there are too thin, which makes it easy to hear other people talking. While we liked their one hour massage (PHP580/US$11.12), it was done in a tiny, warm room on a slightly uncomfortable bed. The spa also has other services such as manicure and pedicure (PHP440/US$8.44); body scrub (from PHP890/US$17.07); and a two-hour combination of body wrap, scrub, and massage (PHP1,990/US$38.17). However, we didn’t have enough time to try everything — we just wanted to lounge in our room. No regrets.
Overall, Cocoon is an elegant place to stay for tourists looking for a personal touch in their accommodations, as well as for Filipinos who need a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of Manila.
Aside from deluxe room, the hotel has other more spacious rooms: studio room (from PHP5,040/US$96.69), one bedroom suite (from PHP6,720/US$128.92), two-bedroom junior suite (from PHP7,840/ and two-bedroom master suite (from PHP9,520/US$182.64). All rates are already inclusive of a la carte breakfast.
Cocoon Boutique Hotel is at No. 61 Scout Tobias cor. Scout Rallos Streets, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City
Phone: (632) 208 4748 or (63) 925 789 9907
Update: The management of Cocoon Hotel said that the plastic bottles used for the hotel’s toiletries were made of cornstarch and are biodegradable. However, Coconuts has no way to check if this is really the case.