With the traffic in Manila expected to get even worse in the coming years, most of us just desperately want to get away from it all and take a nice, relaxing vacation… forever. Okay, maybe not that long.
If you’ve memorized when the long weekend holidays are for 2015 and are now in the middle of planning multiple weekend getaways or maybe even week-long breaks, this list should come in handy.
Here’s what looloo reviewers rated as the top 10 Philippine hotels outside Metro Manila for 2014.
Acuatico Beach Resort & Hotel is just 2-3 hours away from Manila. One of the most popular beach resorts in Batangas, Acuatico is famous for its infinity pool which provides a breathtaking view of the Tayabas Bay. The best part? Their infinity pool comes with a sunken bar in the middle of it! After all, what is better than chilling in the pool than chilling in the pool with a drink in your hand?
If you don’t like staying in a man-made body of water and would rather be one with nature, Acuatico isn’t called a beach resort for nothing. Just a couple of feet away from the hotel is the white and sandy beach of Laiya. Get your dose of exercise by kayaking and using their pedal boat for free… or just find a beach chair and chill some more. We won’t judge.
Owned and developed by the SM group, Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club is a members-only beach club located in the 5,800-hectare Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas.
An ideal weekend destination, it’s impossible to run out of things to do when you visit. From looking at their beautiful 4-hectare man-made lagoon to going bowling to playing beach volleyball (they even have a basketball and tennis court) to even hiking, there is something to do for everyone in the family or barkada.
If you’re not a member, don’t worry! As long as you know someone who owns a unit here, you can still visit and enjoy the country club. There are also Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club unit owners who rent their units out to non-members. If these two options aren’t possible, you can always book a stay at Pico Sands Hotel, also located in Hamilo Coast.
Inspired by the beautiful Oia, the most famous village in Santorini, Greece, guests are welcomed with picturesque, whitewashed and blue-domed architecture set against the backdrop of the West Philippine Sea. After you’re done appreciating the beautiful scenery, you can go cycling, head to San Juan (15 minutes away) to go surfing, hit the greens and play golf, or try your luck and go to Thunderbird Resorts’ Fiesta Casinos.
If you’re tired of the hot and humid weather in the Philippines, head up north to Baguio and check yourself into The Manor, a hotel beautifully set in the midst of towering pine trees. Opened in 2002, this classic European manor-inspired hotel is located on the southeastern side of Baguio called Camp John Hay, a 690-hectare area built during the American occupation as an R&R (rest and relaxation) facility for their military.
Its luxurious ambience requires no air conditioning units — all you have to do is open the hotel room windows to let the fresh, cool air in. For the vacationer with a sweet tooth, reviewers also mention the freshly baked raisin bread and strawberry shortcake from the hotel bakeshop.
6. Costa PacificaNumber of Reviews in 2014: 14 Average Rating for 2014: 4.43 / 5.00
Costa Pacifica has only been open for about two years but some reviewers are already calling it “the best resort in Baler.” Based on the reviews we’ve read, it looks like Costa Pacifica quickly figured out the winning combination of offering great service, good food (reviewers love their pizza!), and spacious rooms – all in a top-notch location in Baler, Aurora.
The hotel has over 100 suites, two pools, a restaurant, and quick access to Sabang Beach, a popular surfing spot in Baler. Known to also have that “chill tropical vibe,” it’s the perfect place to retreat to after a tiring day with the waves.
Conveniently located along Boracay’s Station 1, Two Seasons Boracay is just steps away from the famous white beach. Depending on which room you pick, you can even watch the famous Boracay sunset in the comfort of your own hotel room.
Equipped with its own private pool, large bathrooms, minimalist room designs, and all at reasonable rates, it is wise to book your stay months in advance – especially since they only have 34 rooms.
And let’s not forget about their food. They’re known to have the “best Four Cheese Pizza on the island.” If pizza is too common for you then you’ll have to try their crazy yet much-raved about Oyster Sisig. Good food, spacious rooms and a top location at reasonable prices are just some of the things that make Two Seasons Boracay a highly rated hotel.
A club founded by Governor General William Cameron Forbes during the American occupation, Baguio Country Club has been around for over 100 years. Its name being synonymous with prestige, tranquility, and exclusivity, it has continued to attract VIPs and guests looking for that perfect vacation in the City of Pines.
From the breathtaking views to the heated pools to the magnificent golf course, staying at the Baguio Country Club is filled with numerous amenities matched with impeccable service — all designed to give you a rewarding experience.
If you are lucky enough to be a member or be sponsored by one, you can choose to stay in any of their cozy rooms (ranging from deluxe rooms to presidential suites) or if you’re with a larger group, stay in one of their cottages for that ultimate vacation house experience in Baguio.
A refreshing addition to this list is Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (when translated, roughly means “Philippine Houses of Acuzar”) – a heritage hotel in Bagac, Bataan that should be on top of any history buff’s bucket list.
Jose “Jerry” Acuzar is the architect/art collector behind Las Casas Filipinas and the painstaking relocation of the heritage houses you’ll find on this 400-hectare property. The 27 heritage houses dating from the 18th to 19th centuries come from all over the country creating a unique heritage park that not only takes you back in time but also gives you a tour of different places in the Philippines.
You can book a room or even a house (up to 7 bedrooms!) and get a feel for what life was like in the Philippines without cars, malls, or *gasp* the internet. See the Las Casas Filipinas staff dressed in Filipinianas and revolutionary garb. Tour the area and not just learn about Philippine history, but actually see it.
From Bataan’s Philippine heritage hotel Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, we fast forward to the Swiss-based Mövenpick Resort & Spa in Mactan Island, Cebu. Opened in 2013 with a ₱500 million transformation, it was even the 2nd most Googled local destination in the Philippines for that same year.
High ceilings, interiors that are predominantly white with pops of blue and turquoise, Chopard toiletries, a private beach — everything about Mövenpick is modern. Designed for the active adult, they offer yoga, pilates, and Zumba classes. At night, after you marvel at how even more beautiful the place becomes, you can head to the Ibiza beach club, an outdoor lounge and bar housing world-class talent.
And if you have kids, not to worry. According to one reviewer, Mövenpick is at the same time, a “very child-friendly place.”
The hotel with the highest rating for 2014 on this list, Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu doesn’t just stop at offering their guests spacious rooms and excellent service; they also make sure that all their guests – including children – will stay happily busy and entertained for days.
Suffering from a terrible case of #SepAnx is completely normal since this resort has everything you’ll ever need in a vacation. A 350-meter white-sand beach ideal for lounging, a 6-hectare marine sanctuary for the aquatic animal lover, countless water activities like windsurfing, diving courses, and glass-bottom boat rides for the adventurous, a three-floor arcade and water playground for the children… that’s not even half of what’s on their list of things you can do. It’s not surprising that some reviewers find that a three-day stay here isn’t even enough.
With a massive renovation costing over ₱700 million that was completed in 2013, Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa is serious about being one of the top vacation destinations in the country.