I must begin by saying that the Shangri-La Mactan Resort in Cebu, Philippines is absolutely breathtaking. I was gazing around in awe from the moment I stepped out of the car and into the open-air hotel lobby to check-in, where I was given a glass of freshly-squeezed, exotic fruit juice in one hand, and a refreshing cold towel in the other.
I was overwhelmed with excitement to explore the 13 acres of tropical, beachside gardens; and after six nights staying there, it continued to pleasantly surprise me, with such a beautiful atmosphere, and spectacular attention to detail.
Throughout the grounds are tucked-away private huts with massage tables in them. Carefully placed under the table, is a bowl of colourful petals floating on water so you’re not staring at a slab of concrete. When you lay on the beach, someone comes around with refreshing pieces of pineapple and mango on a stick, and when you’re running on the treadmill, the trainer comes around every-so-often to give you an icy-cold towel soaked in subtle lavender. Absolute bliss.
Here is my quick tour around the magical gardens:
The resort is swarming with such gentle, friendly staff at every corner you turn, all there ready and waiting to greet you, “Good morning ma’am”, “Good evening ma’am”, with such genuine, delighted smiles on their faces. You can’t help but feel uplifted whenever you meet one of the staff. From the concierge, to the cleaner, to the gardeners, to the henna-tattoo guy on the beach, to the girl that takes your room service order over the phone… Each person seems to ooze such an appreciation, delight and love for their job.
To take your experience to an even higher level (and higher budget), then booking an appointment at the incredible Chi Spa is a must. My experience here was beyond words. The spa has it’s own grounds, and each treatment room is a separate villa. I was so relaxed that I struggled not to fall asleep throughout my facial – I wanted to experience every second! For those that are on a budget, there is a small salon connected to the gym, where I received a fantastic pedicure for a decent price. Not as cheap as what it would be outside the resort, but certainly affordable.
For families, there is a huge selection of activities each day, a marine sanctuary, and a colourful three-storey playground for children. There appeared to be a childcare service also, for those wanting some romance.
The main restaurant provides a huge buffet spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The selections seem endless, and the food is fantastic. You honestly never have to leave the resort. There are a few other water-side restaurants, including a restaurant/bar on the beach that served fantastic cocktails and had a great buzz each night.
The rooms are excellent, all equipped with more amenities than you’d ever need, great furnishings and a spectacular view.
I couldn’t recommend this resort any more, and I promise that you will not want to leave!