Maayo Hotel: An Inviting Abode of Wellness and Luxury

This post was last updated on February 24th, 2021 at 04:20 pm

Imagine a premier wellness facility that feels like a hotel, and a luxury hotel that feels like a home – step into Maayo Hotel Cebu and imagine no more

The hour was not too late as we landed at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, but I was bone weary from Manila’s own segment of the global rat race. I was, to say the least, relieved to learn that the drive to Maayo Hotel would take no more than 15 to 20 minutes – the prospect of a warm meal and a hot shower seemed more inviting than ever. Still, despite my fatigue, it felt good to be back in Cebu. The Queen City of the South, after all, is not only known for its amazing culinary offerings and historic yet festive cultural flavor, but also for its exceptionally gracious brand of famed Filipino hospitality – and I so looked forward to the next three days of all that.

The 4-star Maayo Hotel, among the newest luxury destinations in the city, is an embodiment of the best of Cebu, and more. As integral part of an integrative wellness center, this home-away-from-home is all about pampering and keeping its guests in the pink of health and wellbeing.

Infused with grace and beauty
These two virtues permeate everything about Maayo Hotel; from the rustic elegance of its Neo-Asian interiors and the lavender-hibiscus scent that wafts in the air, to the seamless service afforded by its staff. Truly, grace and beauty abound in many expressions and iterations within Maayo.

The hotel’s reception area on the seventh floor is a sight to behold. Driftwood art (a majestic Philippine Eagle and a life-size mango tree, complete with knotty trunk and sturdy branches) by Mandaue-based British sculptor James Doran-Webb flank the grand wooden staircase in the lobby. While not necessarily expansive, high ceilings create a feel of openness and lead the eye upward to a wall of sculpted steel birds in flight. Just by the concierge, Dayun Lounge, with its indoor mini waterfall, offers a cozy place to enjoy a snack of native glutinous rice cakes with a cup of Cebu’s renowned sikwate (pure and rich hot cocoa). Picture windows boast a view of the cable-stayed Marcelo Fernan Bridge, which glides gracefully above the Cebu-Mactan channel. Teak and acacia wooden flooring add to the warm, cozy feel of the hotel’s reception area. In all, the space evokes the elements of earth, water, air – lest we forget, fire, which emanates from the warmth of every sincerely uttered greeting from its hospitable team.

Doran-Webb’s impressive wooden mango tree sculpture flanks the grand staircase
A cozy section of Dayun Lounge

Local flair and ingenuity
In homage to the province’s rich history and longstanding repute for world-class craftsmanship, regional touches are incorporated into the design aesthetic. It is likewise noteworthy that these elements were not chosen by chance. The wooden bugsay (actual oars purchased from native fisher folk) that serve as decorative and functional handles on the ballroom’s doors represent prosperity and abundance, a nod to a day’s bounteous catch of fish. Banig mats of woven abaca adorn the walls to emulate a feel of tradition, respite, and home. Even the Doran-Webb mango tree is on purpose, a symbol of the region’s thriving mango industry. It therefore comes as no surprise that the hotel’s stylish furniture pieces are products of local Cebu artisans as well.

“It’s ironic because Filipinos are in so many other countries abroad, promoting the tourism of other countries. This is an opportunity for us to promote our own – it’s like a coming-out party,” notes William “Wally” Liu, the hotel’s owner and CEO of the Primary Group of Builders. “Maayo Hotel and Maayo Well, our medical facility, showcase Visayan culture and hospitality.”

Art is likewise an integral part of Maayo Hotel’s character, as Wally and his wife Paulette are aficionados of the visual form of expression, as well as of promoting Cebuano culture. Vibrant paintings by local artists adorn the walls of both the hotel and the medical center.

Art is always a focal point at Maayo Hotel, which plays host to several exhibits through the year

Wellness ensconced in luxury
At the heart of the luxury that envelopes Maayo is the very essence of the facility, and that is the quest for wellness. On a larger scale, it is the group’s mission to create a sense of wellbeing in its guests. “Wellness is a state of being; it’s a journey, not a destination – and that is what we promote,” Liu points out.

To this end, the hotel connects to a state-staircaseof-the art integrative medical facility, Maayo Well (of which I wrote in Expat’s June Issue, visit to read about it). Within the hotel premises, the journey to wellbeing continues: guests are afforded the ultimate in comfort, in each of the 229 well-appointed, spacious rooms. Apart from enjoying access to the wellness facility’s gym and other amenities, guests can unwind at the hotel’s charming roofdeck garden, with its jogging trail and yoga area, and at the infinity pool with its commanding panoramas of the city. Guests who prefer to stay in the comfort of their rooms can book an in-room massage with one of several skilled masseuses accredited by the hotel.

Eat your way to wellness
In line, too, with Maayo’s mission, the hotel’s culinary offerings not only burst with flavor but also with good-for-you goodness. Liu points out that the dishes served at Uma and Ani, two of the establishment’s dining outlets, are made of fine, fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers and are almost entirely organic. Uma’s all-day dining roster highlights Pan-Asian cuisine and Cebuano favorites. Ani focuses on the finer side of dining, with a carefully curated ala-carte menu and a weekend buffet that boasts sumptuous local fare. My personal favorites from this farm-to-fork feast were the plump and juicy grilled King Prawns Provencal, the tender and tasty Chicken Marsala, and the delectable Herbed Crust Scallops. Other bestsellers include the Crispy Pork Ribs and the Lengua Asado.

Hearty crispy Pork Ribs
Mouthwatering Prawns Provencale

Next time you find yourself in Cebu, give yourself a well-deserved break: Maayo Hotel is your eager, willing and able host – moreover, your well-versed guide on the road to wellbeing.

Photos by ANDIE D. SYYAP