The second part of the Bellarocca series focuses on why the food needs a lot of improvement in the resort. This post is not meant to discourage you from going to Bellarocca but to be straightforward about what to expect and what will you be paying for.
Also, I want to challenge Bellarocca to improve its dishes because it is really unfair to serve not-so-good food at such expensive prices. We don’t want the Philippines to be known for having 5-star resorts with ho-hum food, do we?
Greek Salad (P420 +10%sc). Feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, onions, olives. Served with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.
This salad is one of the few Greek-inspired food in this Santorini-themed resort’s menu. The vegetables are good — not freshly picked but at least they don’t look tired. The dressing’s healthy but forgettable.
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.)
The Imperial Suite at Sofitel is probably the best presidential suite among the hotels here in Manila because of its awesome view of the Manila Bay Sunset. It is located on the top floor of Sofitel and offers a 180-degree view of Manila Bay. We’re so blessed to experience staying for one night in this Presidential Suite. It was part of the prize package for the Siete Pecados contest my brother and I joined last December.
Here is the photo essay of our Imperial Suite experience in Sofitel at the start of 2010:
Checking in a hotel within Manila to spend your long weekend is becoming a trend these days, especially for families who don’t want the hassle of a road trip and just want to have a relaxing escape. Sofitel is one of my favorite hotels because it transports you to a resort setting — without you having to leave the heart of Manila. It is a great place for families with kids and for couples who just want to escape the stress of everyday business life. Plus, it’s about one hour away from Makati.
Here are some suggestions on how to plan your Sofitel Escape…
I would recommend Hotel Kimberly if you are looking for a quiet escape in Tagaytay away from the hustle and bustle of the Tagaytay Ridge. This 4 star hotel is located 3 km away from the main Tagaytay ridge road. Once you see the Korean Resto Neul Boom Garden along the main road, turn to Amadeo road and drive for 5 mins to the hotel.
Its location is surrounded by subdivision which gives it a provincial feel. It targets couples who want a secluded escape and families with kids who want a peaceful existence. The place is conducive for relaxing and we slept most of the time with Syoti and Aidan.
Aidan loved the playground and wanted to try the swimming pool but it was too cold. Overall, the food is just OK so you would see people only eating in the restaurant because of the free breakfast included with the stay. I like the zen and modern feel of the rooms and specially the lobby! The best part of your stay in Hotel Kimberly is the super warm service of the 100% Filipino staff!
When we visited last Jan 5, there were a couple who were celebrating their anniversary. The guy surprise his wife with a massage and a romantic date at T-house. You can talk to the T-house manager to organize your candlelight romantic date complete with a flutist and a singer (who happens to be the manager).
T H E D E F I N I T I V E G U I D E T O T – H O U S E , T A G A Y T A Y T-House embodies the luxurious charms of a Boutique Hotel with the service and warmth of a Bed and Breakfast Place, and affordability of a typical hotel outside Metro Manila. It is a blessed place with sacred grounds because of its close proximity to the Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish Church. It redefines your definition of a weekend escape in Tagaytay!
I thought twice if I was going to post this. In the spirit of the valentines season, we decided to share this with you. January 11 was our 4th year anniversary and it was kinda difficult to plan surprises these days for my wife. Here is a sneak peek…
Admittedly, it was hard to plan an anniversary surprise for my wife. On our first anniversary, we went to the land of the Samurai’s in Kyoto, Japan. Our last two anniversaries was forgettable because of the pregancy in 2005 and I was on travel in Cebu on our anniversary day (which I learned to be a no-no). So this year’s anniversary would be different and I learned not to take it forgranted :).
We always wanted to try out Westin’s Couple’s Spa Room ever since we saw it 2 years ago. When we tried it this year, we realized that the entire Philippines Westin Hotel is now bought by Sofitel Hotel group. They offer three (3) packages under the brand name Suite Romance Package:
Passion (180 minutes) – P7,500 (2) Fresh Fruit Shake (1) Bottle of Champagne (2) Passionate Massage (2) Body Moisturizing Treatment with herbal lotions (2) Foot Spa treatment (2) Four-course gourmet meal by Spiral! 30-minute private time for the couple Use of bathrobe and slippers
Sensual (120 minutes) – P4,500
(2) Fresh Fruit Shake (2) Sensual Massage (2) Body Moisturizing Treatment with herbal lotions Box of hand-made chocolate pralines or truffles Pot of hot tea infusion 30-minute private time for the couple Use of bathrobe and slippers
Tender (90 minutes) – P3,000 candlelit whirlpool bath of crystal bubbles (2) Tender Massage (2) Chilled bottled mineral water 30-minute private time for the couple Use of bathrobe and slippers
We tried the Passionate package primarily because of the 4-course Spiral dinner and the foot spa pampering! The photo above is the how the couple’s room looks like. This was featured in Us girls, and so I wanted to share with you the actual experience. Bottomline, the massage was great as expected but the Spiral food was so-so. I expected too much I guess on the Spiral dinner but we both agree that the package would have been worth it if the dinner was very good. The room looked old but I must admit it was well maintained. It was a great way to spend our anniversary 🙂
Amazing Transformation! Kudos to the Fuego Hotels group!
I was flabbergasted when I saw Taal Vista Hotel. This was the last place in Tagaytay that I don’t want to be seen in and for decades, this has been off my travel destination or even culinary adventure place. Fast forward to 2005 and the new generation of Pinoys would enjoy the re-envigorated Taal Vista Hotel. Gone where the days of Mass Crowds flocking to see the taal volcano from this viewpoint where this was the only public free spot together with picnic grove. With P100 parking fee, you really need to either stay on overnight or eat in this place just to enjoy this place. Read on for the surpises that awaits you in this hotel.