Imagine staying in a stylish bed & breakfast tucked away in a small Philippine island town. Now imagine a world-class beach nearby...with almost no tourists. For me, this dream came true. Stone Creek House is a townhouse that has been converted to a boutique hotel, and it's one of the reasons I fell in love with this charming little island...
Words & Photos By Nathan Allen
Romblon province is made up of 3 Philippine islands, and Romblon island is one of them. It's easy to get confused. Stone Creek House is located on the island of Romblon.
I had just stepped off the ferry from Tablas, which is the island west of Romblon. Dazed from a lack of sleep over the past few days, I stumbled through the streets looking for a good person to ask where Stone Creek House was. The trike (tuk tuk) drivers swarmed me to offer a ride.
To my surprise, one of the drivers asked me if I was Nathan. "Carlos is expecting you", he said. I looked down and noticed his tricycle had a New York taxi cab design. Having lived in NYC at one time, I took this as a good sign.
Arnold was the friendly drivers' name, and 1 minute later, we had arrived at Stone Creek House.
I felt bad, because I had no signal on Tablas island, and wasn't able to confirm to Carlos (the owner) that I was coming for sure. To make matters worse, due to my crazy schedule, I arrived a day earlier than we had discussed. Carlos was very kind, and handled all this quite gracefully.
My Bedroom Suite
He showed me to my spacious room (it was a suite, really) with a private entrance on the ground floor. First impression was definitely good! Carlos explained that Romblon island is the "marble capital of the Philippines", and I could see the elegant, white stone incorporated into the design around my room.
There was also an interesting cutaway stone design on the wall, as you can see below. It quickly became apparent why he chose the name "Stone Creek House".
Carlos is Filipino by blood, but actually very much American. He was raised in New York, hence the NYC themed trike that dropped me off at Stone Creek. However, his family goes back generations here in Romblon, and he is quite a wealth of knowledge for anything and everything tourism related.
Self Taught Designer w/ a Knack For Repurposing
Carlos has a background in advertising, not design....but amazingly, Stone Creek House is all his own design. He did an excellent job repurposing old materials, such as the piece of jeepney (jeep) suspension above, which now functions as a towel rack in the shower. When you're there in the room, also note the cut-open Italian Coca Cola dispenser, which is now the bathroom sink!
As you can see below , the room is quite spacious, and the elegant marble "headboard" above the mahogany bed frame is a nice touch.
Here you will notice more repurposing: The corrugated metal on the wall, along with another part of the jeepney suspension, which is used as a door handle in this case. If you're wondering....yes, the bed is as heavenly comfortable as it looks. I think it's even a tempurpedic mattress!
Room Decor - It's All About the Details
This rustic old door has been refinished, painted, and now supports a series of shelves displaying decorative items. Apparently Stone Creek House even has its own custom scent (see spray bottle below): Grapefruit + Jasmine.
Carlos' knowledge is not just limited to Romblon tourism...he is a dedicated history + Star Wars + trivia buff as well. An avid reader, he keep plenty of books in the rooms for his guests.
Of course you would expect a room of this caliber to include air conditioning, and it does. There is also a water heater in the shower...even a simple thing like that can be rare on a small provincial island like this.
The flat screen TV is loaded with cable channels, and the upper rooms are best for wifi, from what I've heard (the wifi was actually being repaired when I was there, but supposedly, Stone Creek House usually has one of the fastest signals).
The upper floor has a common living room space with great natural light. There is also a unique spiral staircase that leads up to the roof deck.
The roof deck affords an overview of everyday life on the streets, and in the market nearby.
Actually, I think the location–right smack in the middle of the local community–is part of Stone Creek House's charm. My room actually had floor-to-ceiling windows that face the street. It is a perfect mirror from the outside, but a normal window from the inside (you can see people outside, but they can't see you.)
This provides a unique look at every day life...people coming and going...visiting the small shops and market nearby. A bit of warning, though: At night people can see inside the room a bit, so make sure you close the curtains when you're inside or when you leave.
Another tip: Bring plenty of cash with you, because there's only 1 international ATM in town, and it isn't always reliable.
So yes, this location really gives you the best of both worlds: Boracay-grade beaches (without the crowds), and "big city" standards in terms of service + accommodation.
To top it off, thanks to the island's small but tight-knit expat community, you can also find excellent + affordable international food options within walking distance! Of course, there are plenty of good Filipino options as well.
Yes, if you make the effort to explore, you'll find that Romblon is really something special (look for my full post soon). Stone Creek House represents the best this charming island has to offer.
I appreciate the opportunity to share this experience with my readers.
(continued below, but I'd be honored if you follow along with me)
Contact Info, Rates & Reviews
I'm not the only one who loves Stone Creek House, check the reviews on Tripadvisor...nothing but glowing praise - both for the hotel, and Carlos as a top-notch host.
Find Stone Creek House on Facebook HERE
Tip: You may be able to rent the entire building on Airbnb HERE
- Nathan Allen
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!
Related blog: Goodbye, Gopro...I Finally Review the TG-4 Underwater Camera
Flying to the Philippines can be cheaper than you might think. You can browse cheap flights HERE. - Nathan
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