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Bellarocca Rocks! [1 of 3]

OAP | Bellarocca Blog Series
Bellarocca Rocks! 
The Food @ Bellarocca Awesome Things to do in Bellarocca 

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-49

Bellarocca, which means beautiful rock, is the latest, much-talked about destination in the country. I would like to share our experience with you to sort through the hype. We did have an awesome experience in Bellarocca but with a few disappointments -- particularly with the food.

 

The Santorini-themed geometric architecture (with its super white walls against a backdrop of deep blue sea and clear blue sky) is psychologically refreshing when you see it. To have the best experience, reserve the garden or cliffside villas where you can have a private scenic view that you can enjoy in your own infinity pool. 

 

 

 

 

 

People visit this rock island off the coast of Marinduque to re-energize and have a relaxing, incognito escape. I was expecting to have decent food for its 5 star-hotel priced menu, but the food was not good for me. Also, with its Greek theme, we were expecting some Mediterranean options at least, but it was only limited to continental and Filipino dishes. I felt robbed every time I ate because we were "captive customers" of their food for 2-3 days. I don't mind paying for overpriced good food but paying for overpriced ho-hum food is a bit insane.

 

Quality of food aside, the overall Bellarocca experience rocks because of the unique ambiance and the French GM who interacts with every single guest. To think, the resort is allegedly second to Amanpulo in terms of revenue even with its not-so-good food and not-so-great beach. I'm amazed actually by how they were able to market the place. (I salute the PR agency that promoted this island rock, turning it into one of the hottest places to go this 2010.)


Where is the Best Place to Stay in Bellarocca?

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-54 
Cliffside Villas
Villas - One (1) Bedroom - $840/night - valid until December 2010
Villas - Two (2) Bedrooms (maximum of 4 adults) - $1,320/night - valid until December 2010

No doubt, the best place to stay on the island would be the two bedroom cliffside villa! What some people do is have two families rent the 2-bedroom villas. The cliffside villas are located on the sides of the island with an unobstructed view of the sea, directly facing the sunset.

There are four (4) 2-bedroom cliffside villas, namely, Athena, Zeus, Neptune (Facade above) and Hermes. I would recommend the Athena villa where it is a bit private because it is not along the golf cart route.

There are two (2) 1-bedroom cliffside villas, namely, Brizo and Aphrodite. The Aphrodite is the most hidden and directly faces the sunset. It only has one villa beside it, which is Athena.
 
Going up the ramp from the Marina, the cliffside villas that you will pass by would be Hermes, Aphrodite, Neptune, Zeus, Athena and finally Brizo.

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-60
This is the view of the jacuzzi in the Athena Cliffside Villa.

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-64
Below the jacuzzi is the infinity pool. (photo from Athena Villa)

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-73Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-67Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-76 Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-77Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-68Arriving @ Bellarocca-127

The two bedroom villas have a queen-size bed in the master bedroom, which has doors opening to the infinity pool. It also has a second floor with two single beds. The master comfort room has a bathtub and see-through showers.

The living room is equipped with a state-of-the-art-looking DVD system with surround sound, but it only plays DVDs from a specific region. All the rooms in Bellarocca have Skype phones that are very hard to use (and sometimes, the IP connection is down).

The villas have a kitchen that is used by the butchers when they prepare the meals for you in the villas. It's not meant for you to bring food and cook inside the villas.

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-44
Xanadu Garden Villa
Villas - One (1) Bedroom - $840/night - valid until December 2010
Villas - Two (2) Bedrooms (maximum of 4 adults) - $1,320/night - valid until December 2010

If you cannot get any of the 6 cliffside villas, the next best thing would be the 4 garden villas. The difference is that the garden villas are located in the interior of the island and you would have a view of the cliffside villas.

There is a 2-bedroom villa called Xanadu, and three (3) 1-bedroom villas called Valhalla (with a movie theater), Eden and Nirvana. The room rates of the cliffside villas and garden villas are the same. It is on a first-come, first-served basis, so it would be best to reserve the cliffside villas ahead of time.

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Here is the Sunset view from the Xanadu Garden Villa where you will see a top view of the Neptune Cliffside Villa.

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-130
The best part of staying in a villa is you have your own private infinity pool facing the sunset! It is so nice -- I vow to return and stay in these villas with my family. Aidan and Joshua would surely enjoy it!

Last Day @ Bellarocca-206
For most people, staying in the hotel is the most affordable escape package at Bellarocca. This is the view of the lap pool of the Bellarocca Hotel.

Arriving @ Bellarocca-111
Hotel Deluxe Rooms (21 available rooms - $420/night - valid until December 2010)

We stayed in a Hotel Deluxe room with a great view of Mt. Malindig. I like the room with its see-through bathroom because it is more spacious when you look at it. Also, you can see your kids sleeping on the bed while you relax in the bathtub and watch TV. :)

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-120
Hotel Junior Suites (3 available rooms - $480/night - valid until December 2010)

Sometimes, if the Junior Suites are free, the staff can upgrade your Deluxe accommodation to a Junior Suite. It is a bit bigger, but no more see-through bathroom. Also, the Junior suites are located on the edge of the hotel. Our view of Mt. Malindig was not good anymore, especially the room on the ground floor.

The room rates basically cover a maximum of 2 children (12 years and below) in the room with at least 2 adults. A 3rd child in the room will be charged the Extra Person Rate already. We requested a crib for Raphael, which they gladly accommodated.

Easter Sunday @ Bellarocca-122
Extra Person/Bed ($60/night - valid until December 2010)

The extra bed is worth it. Besides a very comfortable bed, a bathrobe, towel, slippers and toiletries of your choice are included.

There were also Hotel One (1) Bedroom Suites (6 available rooms - $660/night - valid until December 2010), which we did not have a chance to see.

Last Day @ Bellarocca-129
Terraza (10 available rooms - $540/night - valid until December 2010)

The Terraza rooms have a terrace like the ones in Fundacion Pacita. They face Mt. Malindig directly. These rooms were not open yet when we visited Bellarocca.

Last Day @ Bellarocca-25
The structure of the Casas was built already, but there's no furniture inside yet.

When the Casas open, it would most probably destroy the "exclusive feel" of the place and you will have people crowding the infinity pool and the lap pool. At the moment, with just the Villas and Hotel open, you won't see most of the people yet, giving you the feeling that you are alone on the island.

It is better to go now in 2010 before this opens.

How to get to Bellarocca?

Arriving @ Bellarocca-4
The 19-seater planes of Seair and Zestair fly from Manila to Marinduque for 30-45 minutes. We recommend flying via Seair. It would cost you about P5,000 roundtrip per person.

The planes are non-pressurized and the Seair planes are more reliable. These are the types of planes that are a bit bumpy and are smaller than the 32-seater planes that fly to Batanes. The stewardess literally bids you farewell and hops off the plane after her pre-departure safety demonstration.

Arriving @ Bellarocca-33

From the airport of Marinduque, you will travel 45 minutes going to the right side of the airport to the town of Lipata, Municipality of Buenavista, where Bellarocca Island is located. Boac, the capital of Marinduque, is on the left side of the airport and you won't pass by the town.

It is actually a slightly sad ride because you can see only a few trees and you can feel a bit of the destruction of the marine life.

Arriving @ Bellarocca-60
At the pier, a rubber speed boat and a small yacht (depending on the number of people) will take you on a 5-minute ride, crossing to the island.

Last Day @ Bellarocca-58
You can also travel via Private transfers, which include luxury yachts, charter flights, or via helicopter (which lands directly on Bellarocca).

Arriving @ Bellarocca-8
There is a RORO Terminal in Boac, Marinduque if you really want to save money getting there. 

Bellarocca Resort
Barangay - Tungib - Lipata, Municipality of Buenavista
Province of Marinduque, Philippines

Office Address: Suite 2804, 28th Floor, Ayala Life-FGU Center
6811 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1229 Philippines 
Telephone: +63 2 817 7290; +63 2 328 8831          
Fax: +63 2 817 5879; +63 2 892 4102         
Email: info@bellaroccaresorts.com           
Website: www.bellaroccaresorts.com

Read More: OAP | Bellarocca Blog Series
1. Bellarocca Rocks! 

2. The Food @ Bellarocca 
3. Awesome Things to do in Bellarocca 

Disclosure clause:
Our Bellarocca Hotel was part of the prize package of the Sofitel Siete Pecados Contest -- here's the winning entry: Planning Your Awesome Sofitel Escape. We paid for our Seair Flights, all the Meals and all other expenses. We don't really know the owners or the PR agency marketing Bellarocca. We just met the French GM during our visit :)

Live an Awesome Life,


anton 
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Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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P.S. Always make sure to check out their Bellarocca Travel Packages

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What is is about the food that you didn't like? Was it taste? Presentation? Service? You just can't say you were disappointed with the food without giving specifics.

I alloted an entire blog post on the Food @ Bellarocca which is the 3rd part of this series...

who alleges its 2nd in revenue to aman pulo?
thats a bold call, aman is something on its own even though it might not be the best resort in the country in all aspects

Hi Anton,

2 of my friends and I are choosing between Bellarocca and Misibis, but Bellarocca is winning right now because of your post. But like you, food is also a major consideration for me, especially if we can't bring our own food or buy from somewhere (does no one sell fresh seafood or something?).

My question is, do the rates you quoted for the villas change depending on the number of persons? There are only 3 of us, and we want to book Aphrodite. Will there be a rate for the extra person?

Also, any thoughts on their Mi Amore package? That's what we're thinking of getting.

The rates for the villas are fixed. The single-bedroom villa is good for 2 and the two-bedroom is good for 4. An option is get the single-bedroom cliff villas and then add an-extra bed. 


Fresh seafood is a luxury in Marinduque. I heard the marine life in Marinduque is a bit devastated because of the mining and illegal fishing. It is the anti-thesis of El Nido.

For the Mi Amore package, here is how you would evaluate it. 


Average meals in Bellarocca is P500-700/head via ala carte. Usually if you pay for your own meal, most people do two meals per day -- a Brunch meal and then an early dinner thing. In between, youll have merienda and of course you can sneak in some snacks. 

We usually just do swim or bring a DVD series of our favorite tv shows... For example, we watched the entire season of Glee in one go.

Mi Amore package is an all in package including meals. The Spa is not yet opened so I wouldnt even count the massage as a consideration because without a spa, it would be just like having a local masseur from Marinduque give you a massage in your room.  

I hope they get a new executive chef, for me, bad food can make or break a resort of this price. The resort can be bad but the food fantastic and you wouldnt mind but bad food and you wonder why you even went there in the first place :) just my personal opinion. The place looks beautiful but unfortunately this wont be on my list of places to go.

Thank you for this post and I will share this with a friend who asked about this and will visit the country next year. I totally agree with you that for a 5-star hotel food price, the quality and taste should also be 5-star :-) We had a similar experience at ACUATICO Beach Resort, I did a post, and the food was just okay, not "5-Star" but the price was reasonable. But I still recommend you try Acuatico :)
http://www.mymomfriday.com/2010/03/acuatico-beach-resort-weekend-getaway.html

I've been to both Bellarocca and El Nido Lagen. If I were given a chance to visit again, I'd go to El Nido (Lagen) anytime. For the room, Bellarocca wins, however, for the food and the view, El Nido wins. As a bonus, El Nido's packages comes inclusive of all the water sports and tours.

Has anyone been to Misibis?.. How is it compared to Bellarocca or El Nido?

hi anton,

how was their beach? the resort photos look fantastic, but i would not travel all the way out there just to swim on a pool (which i could do back home in manila)
im a beach nut! i would rather spend money on a decent place with a fantastic beach - boracay, el nido, amanpulo rather than a fantastic resort with a ho hum beach. I was disappointed in Phuket for thesame reason. We stayed at the Sheraton Grande Laguna (awesome resort!) but they only had an average beach. Phi phi islands was awesome though.
anyway, judging from the photos on their website, the beach looks okay. Although i read somewhere on the web that marinduque has many other islands with white sand beaches (and deserted/virginal!)
were you and your family able to do island hopping excursions? Did the resort offer it? if so, then this island would be a good possibility for the future :-)

it is a shell beach, a bit rocky and lots of sea urchins :(  I have  a photo in the next blog posts...


Im also not optimistic about the Island Hopping tour around Marinduque... If you go here, you really go for the ambiance of the Villas or the resort...

Anton

hmmm.. is it worth the price overall? any complimentary/freebies they offer?

So happy I asked you about the package! It seemed the cheapest way to fully experience the resort, and I'm glad you gave me more points to consider.

Bellarocca seems to be more of a hideaway where you do nothing but laze around and relax versus a resort that offers a bit more to do like tours and the like. It would probably be perfect if I'm a haggard celebrity with oney to burn trying to disappear for a while (I so wish) ;-)

I'm reading your take on the food right now, and it's not looking so good. And with the so-so beach... Misibis is looking more and more attractive. I hope Bellarocca takes your feedback into consideration and thanks for the answers.

There are complimentary golf cart service or complimentary upgrades from time to time.


Anton

Yeah I got mixed reviews about Acuatico but yes, we will try it out soon.

hi anton! just wondering.. did you pay your way when you went there or were you sponsored? I hope you can include a disclosure policy in your blog so readers can be more informed/aware with the nature of your post. thanks! :)

OK good point. Sige Ill put a disclosure clause in all the post.


Our hotel was a prize we won from the contest in Sofitel. We paid for our flights and the food :)

why do you keep winning at sofitel?
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

It was just one contest, with lots of prizes... including some gadgets :)

Thank you for this report
Always follow the site and especially your report in particular
Which benefited them greatly to know many details about the Philippines, especially tourism

One important thing , to be a world class resort you must have a world class beach.
Resorts are a world of difference in operations and most of all guest expectation .

Your review is very enlightening .However I ll wait to see the beach pictures before I even think of going here.

Thanks for the review

I just published the last part of this series with a photo of the beach...

Hi Anton, I'm a Marinduqueno, and I've been hearing about Bellarocca for some time. It made me happy to know that one of the coolest tourist destinations in our country is in my province, and I'm glad you enjoyed your stay at the Elephant Island. :-)

They charge $840 a night for a two-bedroom villa? That's soooooooo expensive. And I think resorts like these should offer what is uniquely Filipino in terms of ambiance or architecture, rather than offer "a taste" of what already can be found in other countries.

If food is to be considered, even if i havent been to bellarocca and based on the feedback about food, i would say Misibis doesnt have good food either. for the duration of our stay at Misibis, the only food we appreciated was the lechon on a sunday.. also took them forever to refill the food.. no chef if you want to order for room service at 11pm..and the personnel at their front desk were a bunch of idiots..

That infinity pool looks really awesome. The interior of the accommodation looks first class as well.

Been here last month, loved the place. Too bad we only stayed for 3 days.

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