Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao: sprawling gardens, rustic charm and unique heritage

By on June 28, 2015

Waterfront Insular - lobby
I noticed that it took our van quite some time or a few seconds shy of a minute just to reach Waterfront Insular Hotel’s lobby from its main entrance along JP Laurel Avenue. That’s when I realized that this premier hotel in Davao City is quite expansive, something that even its own website seems too modest to admit.

My friends and I would later be informed by Ms. Jessica Segura, one of the hotel’s executives, that the entire property is around 8 hectares, which includes sprawling gardens and its very own beach with scenic views of the Davao Gulf and nearby Samal Island.
Waterfront Insular - Pool

Waterfront Insular - beach front

Waterfront Insular Davao is really postcard pretty and could already double as a separate destination in Davao.


Accommodations with rustic charm and modern amenities

All this vast open space is complemented well by the hotel’s interiors, from the wooden floors to the indigenous decors, exude a rustic yet elegant feel. It’s a charming throwback to another era.
Waterfront Insular - corridor

The rooms however are equipped with modern conveniences that both businessmen and leisure travelers need these days – a mini-bar, a writing desk, coffee-making facility, flatscreen TVs and a strong Wifi connection among many others.

We stayed by the way at a Standard Room that time, but if I should find myself back at Waterfront Insular someday, I’ll book myself the opulent Presidential Suite. It has its own kitchen, a spacious receiving and dining area. From its balcony, you can also see wonderful views of the sea.

Waterfront Insular - Presidential Suite

Live large at the hotel’s Presidential Suite.

Waterfront Insular - Presidential Suite receiving area

I wouldn’t be able to afford even a few hours of sleep at the Presidential Suite of course. I can settle though for a Premium Deluxe which unlike our Standard Room, has a veranda that overlooks the garden and the pool. It is the perfect spot where one can read a book with a fancy cocktail or a good cup of coffee for company.

Waterfront Insular - Deluxe Premium Room

The hotel’s Premier Deluxe.

Waterfront Insular - Deluxe Premium Room Amenities


Various dining facilities

Waterfront Insular has actually a variety of bars/restaurants to choose from – Vinta Bar, Pizzaiolo, the recently renovated La Parilla for alfresco dining and Café Uno. Since my friends and I were out of the hotel most of the time, we were only able to try the latter during breakfasts.

Waterfront Insular - Cafe Uno
It serves a delectable mix of local produce (Tip: Don’t miss out on the Malagos cheese on display), Filipino staples and Western favorites.


A unique heritage

What intrigued me the most about Waterfront Insular is that it was designed by no less than Leandro V. Locsin, a National Artist for Architecture in the Philippines. It opened in 1961 and was later acquired by Waterfront in 1999.

Waterfront Insular - sprawing property

The “Insular” was retained as a tribute to the hotel’s unique architectural heritage. It is also a truly “Davao brand” so to speak. My Davao-based friends told me that back then, it was theplace to be seen.

In certain respects, it still is to this day but it has now been serving to a broad spectrum of discerning clientele – from tourists who want a restful resort experience in their Davao vacation, up to the locals who frequent here to momentarily escape the urban hustle.

Waterfront Insular - gazebo

I wished I knew how Locsin originally envisioned the hotel. I imagine that he chose to highlight the property’s generous spaces by building long stretches of 2-storey annexes, instead of dotting the landscape with monolithic highrises.

Waterfront Insular - garden

I am eager to know though how Waterfront Insular positions itself in the years to come, now that it’s managed by Waterfront, a successful hotel group that oversees 3 other prestigious properties in the country. It can certainly bank on the merits I’ve already mentioned, but it also has to be cognizant especially of the entry of savvier hotels in the city.

Even if we stayed briefly there, I can still say that this hotel has a very promising future ahead of it.

Book your stay at Waterfront Insular via Agoda.


The blogger would like to thank Waterfront Insular Hotel for his wonderful stay in Davao City. For bookings, promos, and other inquiries, please contact:

Waterfront Insular Hotel

Lanang, Davao City 8000
T: (6382) 233 2881 to 87

AirAsia has daily flights between lechon-capital Cebu and durian-country Davao. For bookings, please visit their website – For promo flights and updates, follow AirAsiaPH in their official Twitter and FB accounts.

  1. Reply

    Kim Halasan Nagal

    June 30, 2015

    Still one of my preferred places for hanging out. Though my neighborhood has changed a lot, this hotel reminds me how Davao once was.

  2. Reply

    Carissa Bongalosa

    July 3, 2015

    Ohh.. thanks for the glimpse, Bren! 🙂 The hotel looks no less than impressive.


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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