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“Superb Stay with Niggles”
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7 reviews
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Overview
Condo/Apartment -
2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 5
Lapu Lapu, Mactan Island, Cebu Island, Visayas

Reviews from our community

Very good - based on 7 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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timtak
thesticks
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Superb Stay with Niggles”
Reviewed August 25, 2015 for a stay in August 2015
3
people found this review helpful

I went with my family (wife, children 9 and 5) for a conference in Cebu while my family had a great time at the Vista Mar pools restaurant and beach.

The apparent is above a sparse but well equipped hotel, adjacent to an old but beautiful resort hotel, in a "security compound" about 1 hours drive from the centre of Cebu City.

The "security compound" is more to keep tourists in that anyone out. That is not to say that it is unsafe. On the contrary the compound is both safe, and gives the impression of safety. The hotel is surrounded by a large uninhabited waste-land, with a few luxury houses and a couple of other hotels. The locals can and do encroach into the compound to use a portion of the waterfront on Sunday's and to provide motor bike taxis at night. But there are at least two guards at each gate and a large area of Fillipino-free space surrounding the hotels. This is in great contrast to just outside the gate where one is suddenly in a highly populated shanty town. I would myself prefer to live in amongst the locals but my young Japanese children, and many of the Koreans that holiday here probably feel nervous mingling with the natives, and hence the resort's attraction. It is an oasis of emptiness in a hubbub of boisterous, noisy, colourful, poverty, kindness and confusion.

So that is the major impression that one gets from staying in the hotel - it is the poor man's Shangri-La: a sense of glorious, or vacuous, isolation next to a quiet beach, surrounded at a distance by a shanty town.

The apartment is very well equipped and the views from the master bedroom and balcony are excellent. The master bedroom views over the sea are the breathtaking and the best but the view from the balcony over the local town provided spectacular views on the first night of four tropic storms flickering orange in the distance.

Konrad, the owner, and his brother in law Abraham, were friendly and helpful. They provided extra toilet paper (I think that is something that we should provide after the first roll or two) and replacement bed linen after my 5 year-old wet the bed (for which I think there should have been a extra charge).

I found it pretty easy to get into Cebu City once I had worked out that I should make it plain to the taxi drivers that I wanted them to use the meter (a must) and that I would give them a big tip if they drive slowly (I wish I knew how to say "with the flow of the traffic" in Tagalog) and NO tip if they weave in and out of the traffic as they are want to do.

And my wife and family had a great time using the two pools at the foot of the hotel, and the two more in the resort about 50m away. I loved using the resort beach where I would go for Km swims over small but colourful fish. There are tiny jellyfish that sting considerably less than nettles, leaving no mark, cured by warm water and soap which put my son and daughter off from using the beach but active adults would enjoy it.

There is a life guard in both pools. My son (9) got so keen he swam more than one km in the pool a day. The resort pool is almost adjacent to the beach and above it, so it gives the appearance of being at one with the ocean (an "infinity pool"). It was probably built about 30 years ago before the Shangri La existed. It gives the impression of being "once the best place to stay in Mactan" but now a bit frayed.

The are restaurants in the resort and in another hotel (Soto Grande) which makes up the trio of hotels owned by the Korean family (I think) that runs the compound. The Soto Grand food is saltier. My wife did not like it.

Those that stay at Konrad's get 50% off food at the Vista Mar resort! (I don't think this is in the description) and we made good use of this. I love the chop suey (with the chef will make spicy on request) and my kids the deep fried chicken. They deliver food to rooms free of charge, though we tipped liberally. Thanks to everyone at the Vista Mar resort m(._.)m

Roland Konrad seems to be a very nice, honest, and generous person. As mentioned above, he and his brother in law provided more than promised. There were some problems, however.

1) When we arrived the TV and Internet did not work. This was NOT for me a problem since
1.1) Abraham came the next two days with a TV repair man and got the TV working. It had been vandalised. On his second trip he brought massive beach towels, perhaps by way
apology.
1.2) I fixed the Internet by turning if off and on.

2) Roland Konrad seems to assume that the ability to text and or have a mobile phone that works in the Philippines is a universal given. Alas, the phone I brought for that purpose broke and Japanese mobile phones are not geared to use outside Japan until very recently at least.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/mobile-phone-service-operators-lift-sim-locks
(There are strange cultural reasons for this, related to the prevalence of "ore-ore" phone fraud, which made the Japanese government side with providers in preventing unlocked phones)

3) The phone in the apartment did not work. Abraham said that the phone would be mended on the second day but this local phone was not fixed during our 8 night stay. This meant that, for instance, I could not tell my wife that I would be late back from work, or that I had bought groceries, resulting in my wife and I purchasing the same food stuffs. I told Roland Konrad of this fact but his response, or lack of one, seemed perhaps to suggest the attitude (2) above -- "Just use your mobile phone, already!" I am not sure but the lack of a phone in the unit *was quite a blow*.

And I repeat that the lack of a phone should be a problem only for SIM-card-challenged Japanese guest since SIM cards are available for purchase from vending machines in the airports, for instance.

4) The beach and two of the pools (at the Vista Mar) restort are not "free" as in the description but cost 100 peso (or one USD) per person per day. Since we used them every day, this was a surcharge of 4 USD per day or 28USD for the week. This is very minor but I think it should be mentioned in the description, or a deal negotiated so that entrance is indeed free.

Other small, and not so small, suggestions for improvement.

The kitchen is *excellently* equipped even with condiments (salt, pepper, cooking oil, soy sauce) it would be even better if there were
1) Kitchen scissors
2) A wider plastic spatula for the frying pans
3) A glass lid for the frying pans
4) Bigger European Man-sized mugs

The equipment in the kitchen and living room may have been purchased in part in Germany or, for reasons unknown, the plugs are round pinned whereas all the sockets in the apartment are square pinned. And there is only one adapter. This means that we would have to move this one adapter around the apartment. I suggest that the owners remove the round pin plugs and rewire the appliances with square (US/Japan) standard plugs. It was strange being in a situation where ones own appliances fit the sockets, but the appliances provided in the apartment do not! I have round to square pin plug adapters but I did not think to bring them. Who would!?

Finally the apartment is sort of closed in on itself. The sofa faces the wall. The balcony wall is thick and the window sill rather high. Especially after the building work on the skyrise buildings viewable from the balcony side of the apartment is complete, I suggest (a major renovation) moving the door to the minor bedroom to the dinning room area, lowering the main window sill, and moving the sofa to the opposite wall so that one can sit on the sofa and look at the view. Even then it may be impossible to change the balcony railing-wall, since it would effect the external appearance of the hotel. At the moment the only place to enjoy the view is the master bedroom, and by getting out on the balcony. Sitting on the chairs in the apartment one faces the walls.

But, all in all, we had a really great time. Thank you.

More regarding the "Security Compound" and Transport from it to Cebu City

It may be that the owners of the security compound have deliberately made it difficult for more timid holiday makers to leave the compound so that
1) The purchase the vast majority of their food at the hotel
2) The hotels can charge a premium on taxi fares. All taxis ordered from the hotel charge 50 (Ken Taxis) or 100 (Scorpion and other Taxi companies) pesos on top of the metered rate. My guess is that the hotel takes 50 pesos, but I may be wrong. Just ask at the reception and they will order a taxi. Or wander over to the gate an pick up a bike or trike to the main road and jump into a "Highway Parkmall" jeepney if you can fit. The fare is only 10 peso per person as opposed to 300 to 400 by taxi. I loved the Jeepneys but my son did not.

It is the predisposition of taxi drivers to overtake, undertake, use the horn, and do anything to get there fast so as to get the next fare, that makes Philippine taxi transport so unpleasant. If the taxis would only drive with the flow, then the roads are quite stress free. Some drivers understand so little English and are so keen to get their next fare that they ignore the "slowly," but with sign language and making the amount plain "I will give you an extra 100 peso if you drive slowly" (it is only 3USD), the journey in and out of the City was quite relaxing.

I also found that jeepneys were fine too, if you can get in since they do not weave in out of the traffic either (though there are stories of jeepney races ending in tragedy!).

When I last went to the Philippines I stayed in Manilla. What with the guns that the guards carry, and the tense feel on the streets, where it is alleged there is theft even in daylight, I felt scared for my whole stay. Here in Cebu I got used to being out of the "security compound" surrounding "La Mirada" hotel/apartments. I enjoyed ridging one of the colourful converted light trucks (called jeepneys) serve as buses for up to about 16 Filipinos at a time. I got on the back of a bike taxi and went to a local bar after my family had gone to bed. We also as a family got on the Angasil Port to Santa Rosa, Olango Island ferry, accessible from a hole in the security perimeter to the North East of the Vista Mar resort. The ferry trip, on the hand made boat full of Filipino Islanders murmuring "ooh" at each rough wave, was one of the most enjoyable tourist experiences in my life.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Kitchen & utensils Bathroom cleanliness
Other facilities & amenities Service
Liked best: Easy access to Vista Mar restort, pools, restaurant and that Ferry!
Liked least: The taxi drivers. The broken phone.
Travelling group: Young Children
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bartz56
Wollongong, Australia
1 review
“All the comforts of home plus an amazing view in Mactan Cebu”
Reviewed April 21, 2015 for a stay in April 2015

This unit has it all. It is within a secured complex of 3 properties with access to each and every one. Suits a family of up to 4 very comfortably and has amazing views in all directions.

Everyone of the staff were extremely pleasant and friendly especially those who worked at the Beach Club restaurant.

It's very central to all tourist destinations and attractions and we found it easy to get around. Taxis were available on call with a minimum wait of only 10 minutes.

The beach front was continuously kept clean and ideal for those who love ocean swimming like us. It has a relaxed atmosphere unlike the hustle and bustle of the more popular 5 star hotels nearby.

Special thanks to Abraham for his timely arrival for pick up and drop off to the airport, his friendliness and local knowledge.

We definitely will return.

Value Rooms
Location Cleanliness
Service
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gigi825
Tanauan City, Philippines
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect Getaway”
Reviewed January 30, 2015 for a stay in January 2015
2
people found this review helpful

Overall, this property has all the amenities for a comfortable stay. It is very clean and nicely decorated. The kitchen utensils, plates etc are top of the line suited for an elegant dinner. The view of the ocean is perfect from the masters br and living rm. Restaurant and beach has an easy access from the condo and other restaurants can be reached by tricycle. No problem with the transfer and drop off to and from the airport. We really enjoyed our stay and thanks to Abraham and Girlie for the best service. I will come back again and will definitely recommend this luxury condo for a perfect vacation.

Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alebati
Luanco, Spain
Level 6 Contributor
258 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2015 for a stay in August 2015
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How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: La vista desde la Habitación principal
Liked least: un poco apartado del pueblo para ir caminando , nos gusta entrar en contacto con la vida local
Travelling group: Family with Teenagers
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Older travelers Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
7 Sep 2015
Thanks for your nice feedback... always welcome back...
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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