Monday, November 25, 2013

Shangri-La Mactan Island:A Day in Paradise!

I had originally planned on staying at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa as the "splurge" hotel on our honeymoon.  The luxury chain had really great reviews and the photos on tripadvisor looked awe inspiring.  The thought of us sitting around for days going between the pool and beach seemed a bit daunting.  I know normal people relax on vacation but we get bored very easily and are always on the move.  Also, I read that the food and drinks were very expensive so I was turned off as soon as I heard that.

I still wanted to check out the resort so we bought a day trip package for 3500 Pesos (almost $80.00 a person).  What an expensive day trip?!?! Then I rationalized that I've spent more on jet ski rentals, spa treatments, etc. so I quickly got over it.

Our taxi approached the grounds of the Shangri-La and it was incredible.  The view overlooking the pool and ocean from the open air lobby was magnificent.

The staffed smiled and greeted us throughout our visit.  I thought we would be treated like an ugly
step child since we had to wear special "day visitor" bracelets but that wasn't the case at all!

The price included a lunch buffet in the Tides Restaurant.  That was the first thing we did.  The buffet was good but not exceptional.  There was the usual noodle bar, grilled meats, lechon and sashimi.

I've never had Filipino "Halo Halo" before, its similar to the Cambodian shaved ice dessert with milk, beans, and other toppings you can choose from.

Halo Halo

We went to lay by the man-made beach for a couple of hours and caught up on some reading. The beach staff quickly brought us towels without us even requesting any.  The beach was almost empty.  There were a few Korean tourists and another Western couple.  I imagine most people cancelled their trip due to the recent events.

The reviews were right, the prices were expensive.  Water was about $2.50 each and beers were almost $4.00 each compared to the .50 cents and $1.00 respectively that we pay elsewhere.

We moved towards the main pool after the sun went down.  It was great to swim in the 7.5 Feet water, I hate when pools are too shallow.

Once the sunset, we were sad to leave but we headed back to our hotel.

Was it worth it? It was definitely a great experience but similar to resorts that we've visited in Jamaica and Cancun.  I did appreciate the hotel being under occupied because we pretty much had the beach and pool to ourselves.

If you are visiting the hotel as a day trip, here are some things to know:
(This was directly emailed to me by the hotel when I inquired)

Prices as of 11/25/2013
PhP 3,500
PhP 1,800
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays
PhP 4,000
PhP 2,600
Peak Dates
PhP 4,500
PhP 2,600

Lunch Buffet at Tides Restaurant (drinks not included) 
Free use of beach, pool, towel 
Free use of Gym and Health Club facilities (sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi) 
10% savings on Health Club and Salon Services for adults 
25% savings on Dinner Buffet at Tides Restaurant (excluding drinks) 
20% savings on treatments at Chi the Spa 
Complimentary 2 hours use of Kid’s Adventure Zone for kids (kids must wear long sleeves and socks) 

Day in Paradise package is from 11am-9pm
Lunch buffet is from 12pm-2:30pm only. 
Wristbands shall be worn for the day in availing this package.
One adult, one child policy applies for your safety. 
Passports/ Valid ID with birthdate are required for the kids
Body guards, nannies, assistants pay full adult rate.
Lockers are not provided. Guests are responsible for their belongings.
Sun loungers are on 1st come, 1st serve basis.
No refund/ non rebookable when payment has been made.
Prices may change without prior notice.
Prior reservation is highly recommended. However, reservation for this package shall only be taken 2 weeks maximum, prior to the date of use 
Resort reserves the right to turn down guests when hotel is full

This package shall not be available  when the hotel is full.