Thunderbird Resort is the best resort in the La Union area. It is located in Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando, La Union (about 6 hours away from Manila). This is quite near the La Union airport and about 30 minutes away from the popular San Juan Surf Resort (for those interested in surfing).
The place created a buzz when it opened because it was the first to provide a Santorini-themed resort -- ahead of Bellarocca. Unlike Bellarocca, which is located on an island, Thunderbird is part of the La Union mainland and is easily accessible by car. Also, the resort has a decent Mediterranean restaurant called Olives, which makes up for its so-so buffet breakfast.
For the first time, we brought all the boys on a road trip to Thunderbird. I would like to share with you our Thunderbird experience...
Thunderbird Swimming Pool & Beach
Thunderbird has a swimming pool and a decent beach, good for families that just want to momentarily get away from Manila. Some people go to this resort because of the casino, which was built ahead of the hotel. I originally thought the casino was inside the resort hotel; fortunately, it's in a different building that's a bit far from the hotel.
The huge swimming pool area has a pool bar, a mini waterfall, an infinity pool (at the deep end of the pool), and water polo goals on both sides. It was built with children in mind and reminds me of the swimming pool in Sofitel (but without the water slides).
There is a separate mini-swimming pool, which is about 2 ft. deep. We nicknamed it the Hi-5 pool. :) In case you're wondering, we were playing with the ball used in water polo.
The swimming pool is open from 7am to 10pm (Weekdays) and until 11pm (Weekends).
Joshua loves the water and is not scared to jump in. There have been a number of times already when he surprised us and jumped into a deep pool by himself. It was a bit scary seeing him submerged for 1-2 seconds before we were able to raise him up.
That's why, this summer, Aidan and Joshua are taking swimming lessons.
The beach area is quite nice -- golden sand with a bit of crushed shells and clear blue water. Aidan and Joshua had a fun time playing with the baby waves. You won't really have to worry about letting them explore by the beach because it is shallow and gradually slopes down.
It is quite a walk from the hotel, though. First, you have to go down to the swimming pool, then walk a few minutes along the baywalk before you reach this beach. Swim here first before going to the swimming pool.
Equipment for water activities are also available like for Jet Ski, Banca Ride, Snorkeling, Kayaking and Water Skiing, but I find the rates quite prohibitive. Maybe that's why we didn't see a lot of people using them.
The Cliffs Golf and Beach Club 9-hole golf course.
The only bad thing about Thunderbird Resort is that it only has a few trees, so it can get hot. I'm not sure why they cut down all the trees. You'll see a few palm trees here and there, but I don't think it was designed to be an eco-friendly resort.
Here are the room rates for 2010:
Deluxe / Deluxe VO - P7,000 (Weekday), P7,500 (Weekend Rates)
Deluxe Suite - P16,000 (Weekday/Weekend Rate)
- Rates are inclusive of 10% service charge and applicable local taxes
- Weekday (Sunday - Thursday) / Weekend Rate (Fridays, Saturdays, and Holidays)
- Extra person (max. of 4 adults in a room with no provision for an extra bed) will be charged at P1,000 net/person/night
It comes with the basic amenities: safety deposit box, refrigerator, cable TV with stereo, complimentary bottled water, local newspaper, welcome drinks and -- best of all -- Wi-fi!
The bed's so high that Joshua could not climb up on his own. It's very comfortable, though. You would want to stay in bed once you lie down on it. We actually just decided to watch the entire Season 1 of Glee during our stay in Thunderbird.
BTW, the toiletries look relatively cheap (like those you can find in a local hotel).
There is no spa, but In-Room Massage is available from 7am to 11pm. (See Massage Services.)
The Food @ Thunderbird
Olives, which is a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant with an al fresco terrace, is decent and offers a variety of choices -- from Steaks, to Pizza and Pasta, to a good selection of meat and seafood dishes.
The pizzas are really good because of the wood-fired oven taste. :)
Despite the lamb shank being a bit frozen and the couscous serving a bit small, this still beat any of the dishes served in Bellarocca. (See Food @ Bellarocca.)
You can also order from the Room Service Menu from 11am to 10pm.
In our case, we decided to order take-out in the San Fernando town (about 20 minutes away) and eat the food on the patio overlooking the greens.
We did not try the restaurants in the casino, which include the 24-hour Cabana Bar and the Vegas Cafe. (If you have been to the casino, can you share your experience there?)
Overall, I find Thunderbird the best resort in this northern part of Luzon. However, Bellarocca beats Thunderbird Resorts in terms of overall ambiance, service and quality of amenities (except the food).
We paid for all our accommodations and meals in Olives during our stay in Thunderbird Resorts. I am not related to and don't know any of the Thunderbird owners or management.
We availed of the Stay & Win Package (promo runs until May 31, 2010). This package includes hotel accommodation for 2, complimentary bottle of wine and chocolates for the suite room, a complimentary 15-minute in-room massage, and P300 Casino certificate. We paid for the weekday costs of P5,700 net + an extra person of P1,000 :)
Live an Awesome Life,
P.S. Here is a portrait photo of the boys @ Thunderbird Resort - Poro Point :)