Try your luck at Shamrock Tavern (hotel review)

Unfortunately, I once again got sucked into a black hole that prevented me from keeping my blog updated. It’s been a while since my last post, so now I’m buckling down to get this thing going again. Hopefully you’re still interested in what I have to say. I promise I’ll make this one worthwhile, especially if you’re planning a trip to Sagada, which is what this post will be about.

When I went to Sagada for three days and two nights of exciting albeit exhausting fun (or what I now refer to as the climbapalooza), I signed up for a tour package that put me together with various tour groups to form a big, unrelated tour family. Aside from various activities like descending into an abyss (that has probably inspired multiple horror movies about inhuman creatures living in darkness) and trekking towards a freezing waterfall, the package also included lodging. Two hotels were booked; one group stayed at another place that I forgot the name of, while another group and I ended up at the Shamrock Tavern.

Here we are

I’m not really sure what the history is about the name, but I will say that the exterior is green (like a shamrock), and the inside is largely composed of wooden surfaces (as one might see in a traditional tavern). Anyway, the multi-story building accommodates visitors from solo tourists (like me) to families or groups of friends (like the other group I was with). The sight from the upper floor view deck is incredible; from a distance, you can see the mountains and some rice terraces, all of which get blanketed with fog when the conditions are right.

Clear view
During cold/rainy weather

In the lobby are shelves of books so you don’t get bored in between adventures, and paintings and various cultural decorations adorn the place. There’s also a restaurant, as well as a bar with karaoke. (You remember me mentioning pretending to be asleep to avoid spending more time with the tour group? That’s where they went that night.)

The lobby has a nice collection of books, as well as a TV
I borrowed an umbrella from the front desk at one point
If you absolutely must eat in, here’s the restaurant

My room was simple but pretty adequate for a couple. It had a king-size bed, table and chair, cabinet, and hot-and-cold shower. What you won’t find are a TV, fan or air-conditioning, and phone. Still, if you’re there to disconnect, having no TV or phone isn’t such a bad thing. And keep in mind that Sagada is one of the coldest places in the Philippines, so you’ll hardly mind the lack of fan or air conditioning. There are also multiple power sockets for your gadgets (or laptop if you just can’t completely get away from your job and had to bring it with you, you insane workaholic).

Not bad for a budget accommodation

The place is in walking distance of plenty of restaurants, a couple of the most popular ones being the Sagada Lemon Pie House and Sagada Brew. Stores selling souvenirs are a stone’s throw away as well. The staff is also friendly and helpful.

How was the food at the restaurant? Not that good. From my experience, at least, I felt like I wasted my money on it. On my first night, I was planning on having dinner out, but bad weather kept me indoors, so I had no choice. I went to the restaurant and looked at the menu. The person who I think was in charge tried to convince me to order some soup dish that looked like it was prepared for another group there (two birds, one meal, they were probably thinking), but I didn’t want to take food that wasn’t for public consumption. It’s like crashing a private buffet, you know? I said no and simply ordered some fried chicken. Simplest thing to do, right? I mean, who can fuck up fried chicken?

They could, apparently. Not only was it slightly under-cooked on the inside, it was also completely devoid of any seasoning. They served my food with some vegetables on the side, which were also off in flavor and cold to boot. Needless to say, I was down Php185 but went to bed completely unsatisfied. Coffee was OK, though.

No. Nope. No way
Good coffee for waking (and warming) up

So, would I stay there again? Sure; the location’s great, the room’s sufficient, and the staff is nice. In fact, if you’re planning a budget trip to Sagada, I’d recommend trying this place. You’ll get over the lack of TV (especially if you have a smartphone and Wi-Fi), and you can probably ask to borrow an electric fan. Just have your meals somewhere else (or try it once; maybe I was just unlucky that time).

Before you go, here’s a picture of a puppy. I think it’s the owner’s pet

Overall rating: ★★★✭☆

Shamrock Tavern
Makingking, Barangay Demang, Sagada Mountain Province

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