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March 07, 2013

TAAL VISTA HOTEL: Enroute to Becoming Tagaytay's First 5-Star Hotel?

March 07, 2013

TAAL VISTA HOTEL: Enroute to Becoming Tagaytay's First 5-Star Hotel?

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Taal Vista Hotel is known to have the best, unobstructed view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake along the Tagaytay Ridge. Its English Tudor mansion-style design evokes a classic appeal, and its amenities and services are being upgraded to become Tagaytay's first 5-Star Hotel.

Here's a must-read Taal Vista Hotel Guide if you are already planning to stay here or if you are looking for an out-of-town destination in Tagaytay.

It also includes some tips for Taal Vista Management on how to improve the overall experience. :)

What's new in Tagaytay in 2013 Series:



a. Lake Wing Rooms

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The BEST rooms in Taal Vista are the Taal Lake View Rooms.

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Each room has a veranda that has an awesome view of Taal Lake.

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It's always relaxing to see Taal Volcano in the Taal Lake with its varying moods, depending on the weather.

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We stayed in a Premier Lake View room with 2 beds -- just perfect for our family of 2 adults and 3 kids. The beds are a bit hard on the back, though, and the pillows feel like they need more fluff inside.

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The restroom is spacious with split shower and toilet, with the wash basin and mirror in the middle.

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The toiletries were just OK. Better bring your own set.

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It has a veranda with 2 chairs and a table so that you can enjoy the view while eating or drinking coffee in the morning.

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The BEST part in any Tagaytay hotel experience along the ridge is watching the sunrise unfold slowly before your eyes. (Sunrise in Tagaytay is much better than Sunset.)

Lake Wing Rates
Deluxe Room - P7,860 with buffet breakfast for 2.
Premier Room - P9,085 with buffet breakfast for 2.
2-bedroom Deluxe Suite - P14,730 with buffet breakfast for 4.

Batangas Suite @ Lake Wing

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If you need a bigger room, go for the Batangas suite room, which also has a stunning view of the lake.

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The restroom is big and equipped with a bathtub that kids would love to play in.

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It has a sala family room area to entertain guests or just to hang out and watch TV in.

Batangas Suite Rates: 
1-bedroom Batangas Suite - P14,730 with buffet breakfast for 2.
2-bedroom Batangas Suite - P22,100 with buffet breakfast for 4.


c. Mountain Wing Rooms

Deluxe King Room - Mountain Wing
(Photo by Taal Vista Hotel)

The Mountain Wing rooms were refurbished in a palette of soothing creams, dusky golds and rich blues with dark wood accents -- as if to compensate for the lack of the Taal Lake view directly from the room.

Mountain Wing Rates
Superior Room - P7,245  with buffet breakfast for 2.
Deluxe Room - P7,860 with buffet breakfast for 2.
Premier Room - P8,470 with buffet breakfast for 2.
1-bedroom Deluxe Suite - P12,275 with buffet breakfast for 2.
1-bedroom Taal Suite - P14,730 with buffet breakfast for 2.
2-bedroom Taal Suite - P22,100 with buffet breakfast for 4.

d. Tagaytay Suite @ Mountain Wing

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The Tagaytay Suite, the 196-square meter "Presidential" Suite in Taal Vista Hotel, is also refurbished and features historic pictures of the hotel alongside exquisite views of the splendid Taal Lake.

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This is the master's bedroom...

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...with its own restroom and bathtub.

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Here's a view of the second bedroom with a view of the mountains.

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A look at the dining area...

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...and the living room with TV.

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The best feature of the presidential suite is the floor-to-ceiling glass wall with a lovely view of the lake in the mountain wing area.

Reserve this for that big occasion with the family, or a big party with friends or business associates.

Tagaytay Suite Rate:

2-bedroom Tagaytay Suite Rate: P30,700/night with buffet breakfast for 4.



a. Dining at the Lobby Lounge

 Lobby Lounge
(Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel

Taal Vista did a good job in upgrading the look of the Lobby Lounge, elevating it to a warm, casual yet elegant ambiance with gold and chocolate hues. It looks out into the sprawling gardens, with the lake as the centerpiece.

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We love the plush chairs and couches...

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...including the vintage-inspired floral fabrics of the big sofa chairs beside the iconic stone fireplace.

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There are cool acoustic performances at night and Philippine cultural dances every weekend at 12:00 noon at Cafe on the Ridge.


b. Cafe on the Ridge All Day Dining Food

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Cafe on the Ridge is the all day dining restaurant of Taal Vista, serving Filipino and Tagaytay favorites and Western cuisine. You have to be patient though since there's very laidback service, which needs to be addressed if they want to become a 5-Star Hotel.

CAFE ON THE RIDGE DINING MENU (10.00am to 10.00pm)Appetizers, Salads, SoupsFilipino Dishes | Pasta and Noodles, Oven Baked Pizza, Sandwiches, Vegetarian | Desserts

DRINKS MENUBeverage List | Alcoholic Beverages  | Wines by the Glass, Sparkling and White Wines by the bottle | Rose and Red Wine by the bottle 

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Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (P290 +10% service charge + local tax). Crisp hearts of romaine, tossed with our homemade Caesar dressing, crisp bacon bits with croutons.

You won't go wrong with ordering greens in Tagaytay, which are always fresh and crisp.

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Gourmet Crispy Tawilis (P240 +10% service charge + local tax). Deep-fried, lightly breaded crispy fish found only in Taal Lake, served with native kaong vinegar, freshly crushed garlic and Tagaytay peppercorns.

One of the unique tasty treats in Taal Lake is the crispy tawilis -- it's usually fried and very crispy. You have to eat all the fish meat with the bones and, yes, even the head. The Taal Vista version is really good.

(Another one to try would be Maliputo, but it's very seasonal.)

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Minestrone Soup (P140 +10% service charge + local tax). Rich, tomato-based vegetable soup garnished with penne noodles.

The minestrone soup is also good, served hot, and flavorful.

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Gambas Al Ajillo (P320 +10% service charge +local tax). Tiger prawn tossed in Spanish paprika, olive oil, garlic and freshly squeezed lemon and zest.

A good starter too but a bit expensive, served with a few pieces of prawns.

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Chicken Fingers

For the kids, you can always order chicken fingers with gravy and fries.

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Oxtail Kare-Kare (P405 +10% service charge + local tax). Braised ox tail and tripe in a rich peanut sauce with banana heart, eggplant, string beans and pechay, served with shrimp paste (bagoong alamang).

One of their signature dishes is the Kare Kare. The rich and peanut-y sauce is very good. The only thing is, the bagoong is too salty.

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Sizzling Bulalo Steak (P330 +10% service charge + local tax). Sizzling tender beef shank smothered in mushroom gravy and homemade demiglace from the Batangas Bulalo Shanks.

Bulalo is also a signature dish in Tagaytay. You can order it with soup or have it served sizzling style. The Sizzling Bulalo Steak version is delicious too, with good portions of meat and yummy bone marrow.

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Margherita Pizza (P400 +10% service charge + local tax). Basil tomato, pesto and melting white cheese.

The pizzas are good too, served in thin crust version with ample toppings.

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Volcano Eruption (P275 +10% service charge + local tax). Our signature dessert! Rich chocolate cake oozing with chocolate fudge, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The best dessert for us is the Volcano Eruption. The chocolate lava in the middle really oozes delectably.

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Warm Buko Pie ala Mode (P190 +10% service charge + local tax)Homemande coconut and custard pie.

Their homemade version of the buko pie is good and has soft coconut layers. Perfect with ice cream!

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Don't order the cakes on display. This was a bit stale already when we ordered it.


c. Taal Vista Buffet Breakfast

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The breakfast buffet is simple, has good variety, and is just right to satisfy your breakfast craving. Best of all, you have the option to dine al fresco with a good view of the lake.

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Best to eat early and avoid the breakfast crowd, especially during peak seasons.

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They have Homemade Taho.

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Salted fish of the day that changes from Daing to Danggit.

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Really good and hot soup of the day options.

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Panini for a quick sandwich fix.

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Waffles and Pancakes.

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Egg station.



a. What to do with Kids

Outdoor Pool
(Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel)

You can swim with the kids when the sun is out and the weather's warm. The pool is located in the mountain wing area.  It's not heated, though, so the water is a bit cold.

Kids' Corner
(Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel)

There's also a kids' playroom to entertain your makukulit kids.


b. High Altitude Romance @ Asmara Spa

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Asmara Spa Menu: Synergies and IndulgencesMassages and Body Works | Body Treatments 

They have a spa that needs to be refurbished as well to match their 5-Star hotel aspirations.

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There is a couple room option for that romantic escape with your special someone.

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Romantic Getaway (P6,900 +10% service charge +12% expanded value added tax). This euphoric experience for two begins with a foot bliss of your choice and continues with a salt and aloe vera body glow. The highlight of this pampering is a scented flower bath while enjoying a glass of wine. Your sensual interlude concludes with an aromatherapy massage using Ylang Ylang essential oil, known for its aphrodisiac and relaxing qualities.

You might want to try their couple's package. (Note: You have to book in advance this couples room with the bathtub).

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Aromatherapy Massage (60 mins - P1,250 +10% service charge +12% VAT).

The massage was just OK.

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Here's a view of the second couples room, which is smaller and has no bathtub option.


c. Enjoy the Rolling Hills and Taal Lake View

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The best feature of Taal Vista is still its hilly, sprawling garden...

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...that is relatively safe for kids to explore.

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I love how they decided to keep an open frontage along the ridge where families can just enjoy the view, unobstructed. You have to be a checked-in guest or restaurant customer to enjoy the view.

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Taal Volcano is always the perfect backdrop for that memorable family portrait.

(My dad and brother Rommel in the photo.)

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The view is priceless -- lush mountain greens in the foreground, Taal Lake as the centerpiece, and the clear blue sky as the background.

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At night, the big dome lights up with different colors.


d. Enjoy Special Events Out of Town:

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Taal Vista is a good place to celebrate awesome occasions with the family, like Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the long weekends. You can even watch special events there like Manny Pacquiao fights or special concerts.

They always have special promotions during special events.


e. Attend a Beautiful Tagaytay Sunday Mass

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It's wonderful to hear mass at the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish church along the main highway and near the Tagaytay rotunda. Check out the Daily and Sunday Mass schedules.

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Overall, Taal Vista Hotel is a good default venue for celebrating special occasions out of town with the family. It's also a good place to treat balikbayans to a hearty Filipino meal and to enjoy the cool Baguio-like weather and panoramic view of Taal Lake.

You have to be patient with the service though (especially during peak seasons) because it is a bit provincially lax. This is the first thing they need to address to achieve 5-Star Hotel status. The beds and pillows are a bit old, but the veranda lake view compensates for it. The spa needs refurbishment too. Nevertheless, the food is good -- and the ambiance and view make it more yummy. :)


Tudor Facade at Night
(Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel)

Through the Years with Taal Vista Hotel

From its founding in 1939, Taal Vista Hotel, located in Tagaytay City, has been the preeminent vantage point of choice to enjoy the stunning view of the majestic Taal Volcano—world-famous for its unique placement, being a volcano within a lake, which is within a volcano within a larger lake. As the world’s smallest active volcano, it is a breathtaking sight that is not to be missed.

The English Tudor Mansion-style hotel features a brilliant blend of timeless architecture and first-class modern amenities, while the surrounding lake is evocative of an even more magical atmosphere that will leave you breathless. Unsurpassed in terms of style and service, peerless location, and favored by a crisp, cool climate—Taal Vista Hotel is your perfect haven in Tagaytay.

Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City, Philippines

Manila Sales Office
Ground Floor, OneE-comCenter Ocean Drive,
Mall of Asia Complex CBP-1A Pasay City 1300, Philippines

Telephone Number: +(6346) 413-1000, +(632) 917-8225
Mobile: +63 (917) 809-1254
Website: www.TaalVistaHotel.com
Twitter: @TaalVistaHotel

Mountain Wing:
Superior Room - P7,245
Deluxe Room - P7,860
Premier Room - P8,470
1-bedroom Deluxe Suite - P12,275
1-bedroom Taal Suite - P14,730
2-bedroom Taal Suite - P22,100
2-bedroom Tagaytay Suite - P30,700

Lake Wing:
Deluxe Room - P7,860
Premier Room - P9,085
2-bedroom Deluxe Suite - P14,730
1-bedroom Batangas Suite - P14,730
2-bedroom Batangas Suite - P22,100

All rates with buffet breakfast for 2 except for all 2-bedroom suite rooms, which include buffet breakfast for 4.


What's new in Tagaytay in 2013 Series:

Live an Awesome Life,

anton  signature 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Follow @antondiaz and Like our Official Facebook Page: Our Awesome Planet :) 
If you have tips on awesome food and travel destinations, please email me at anton@diaz.ph.

Full Disclosure: We stayed a number of times at Taal Vista but our recent stay was courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel.  I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. We only feature awesome experiences in the blog.

I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don't receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.

P.S. Always ask for the special promo price for the rooms, which is applicable to most days except for the really peak season like Holy Week.

Father's Day Elevator Poster

P.P.S. Good luck to Mr. Walid Wafik, who is tasked to elevate the Taal Vista Experience to 5-star Hotel status. With his experience in Shangri-La Mactan, I'm excited to see big improvements in Taal Vista.

Mr. Walid Wafik 3
(Photo courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel)

Taal Vista Hotel Announces New General Manager

Elizabeth T. Sy, President of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, recently appointed Mr. Walid Wafik as General Manager of Taal Vista Hotel. As General Manager, he is responsible for the hotel’s daily operations and special projects. 

Mr. Wafik brings with him over two decades of hospitality management experience having worked for a lengthy list of international hotel chains across the globe including Oberoi Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

Rising from the ranks and with his extensive experience working for both city and resort hotels in the U.S., Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East , Mr. Wafik has built an amazing record of improving both guest and employee satisfaction.

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