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Friday, January 4, 2013

TAAL VISTA HOTEL: OUT OF TOWN, YET CLOSE TO HOME



            Some time in 2011, I went on a road trip to Tagaytay. One of my stops was Taal Vista Hotel, just to check out the view of Taal Volcano. I walked into the hotel, and truth be told, there was nothing that gave me the inkling it was an actual hotel. I've had an extensive experience with hotels in my life, so think I have a basic knowledge of how hotel staff should be in terms of hospitality and demeanor.

       Sadly, my first impression was that I felt Taal Vista Hotel was being run by robots. When I walked in, no one really noticed me, to the point that I didn't even get so much as a "Good Morning" from the front desk or Bell hops. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting them to roll out the red carpet or throw rose petals in front of my every step, but it's pretty customary for a hotel to treat every guest like they were the most important person in the world. Unfortunately for me, I walked into to Taal Vista Hotel and walked out their doors contemplating whether to use my new found powers of invisibility to fight crime or for world domination. 

        I honestly wasn't expecting a whole lot during a trip back to Taal Vista Hotel in 2012, but instead I was dazzled by the hospitality and graciousness that I had been expecting from a hotel. The difference between now and the previous year was night and day. 

        I knew I was in for an amazing weekend with my family.
       

         Something that I realized throughout my trips to Tagaytay the past few months, is that Tagaytay isn't all that far away. When I would hear "Tagaytay", I would think of no less than a three hour car ride. Apparently, I was way off. If you leave at just the right time, meaning not rush hour, you could get there in an hour, or an hour and a half at most.

      Proving you don't have to go far to get that "Out Of Town" Feel.



         Taal Vista Hotel is an establishment steeped in rich Filipino tradition. My earliest memories of Tagaytay ALWAYS involved a stop at Taal Vista for a quick view of the volcano, and merienda with my family.

          From the moment I stepped into the lobby, the warmth of the staff resonated throughout the entire hotel, something lacking from my visit the year before.. From the security guard manning the door, or the custodian you pass by in the hall, you get the feeling that your needs are constantly being attended to.. Everything a luxury hotel should be. 


             As we waited for our room to be prepared, Rina and I were ushered to the Lobby Lounge for some much deserved refreshments after a long trip from Manila. The Lobby Lounge was a very relaxing place to kick back and have some drinks (even if it was just Iced Tea), and swap stories with my new found friends, Celine and Carissa of Taal Vista Hotel. The Lobby Lounge features a spectacular view of the gorgeous lawn of the hotel, which overlooks unto Taal Lake, wherein the sleeping Taal Volcano resides.


         The amusing part about the sprawling lawn, is how it is very popular with families, especially with children, despite the fact that's its just a large patch of Bermuda grass. I watched families spend hours just taking photographs while running and rolling around in the grass together. The spreading of fun, love, and laughter was clearly infectious. 



        Baby Rain had a wonderful time making me chase her around in the grass, not seeming to care that her father's physical conditioning was not what it once was. 

THE ROOMS


               Celine was kind enough to satisfy my curiosity about what the other rooms in Taal Vista Hotel looked like. She started off her tour by showing us the newly renovated "Mountain Wing", which housed the original lobby of the hotel. The remodeling gave the hotel a chance to re-imagine what they believed was an outdated design. The room was the smallest that I had seen in the hotel, however It did have a nice view of the mountains of Tagaytay. 


          In the other side of the hotel is the Lawn wing, which housed the deluxe room I had stayed in. It had a good, comfortable size to it. Big enough for Baby Rain to walk around freely, but the drawback was that my view was the hotel Courtyard. If you're planning on spending your day in Tagaytay outdoors, the view won't be so bothersome. 


          Just a few doors away from the Deluxe room is the Two Bedroom Deluxe Suite. The room features a ample sized living room area, with two separate bedrooms of similar sizes. 


Deluxe Suite Bedroom 1


Deluxe Suite Bedroom 2


            As impressed as we were the the Deluxe Suite, Celine informed us that we hadn't seen anything yet! She then took us back to the Mountain Wing, and opened the doors to the Tagaytay Suite..



         And I had to say, we were left in awe with how beautiful it was. Save for the parquet floors, The two bedroom suite equipped with a small pantry was very modern and sleek, but more importantly it still had a homey feel in which you could see yourself relaxing in. A spacious living room was highlighted by a couch that seemed to be calling out my name. 



              The couch conveniently faced a big flat screen TV, in which I could imagine making myself at home and watching a Lakers Game Romantic-Comedy with Rina. 


           The Large Master bedroom had a king sized bed and a glorious view of the Tagaytay mountains, reaching out to the Lake. 


The second bedroom had twin beds with 
picturesque view of the mountainside.

          Rina commented that since Tagaytay is a very popular wedding destination, this room was perfect as a bridal suite, as the room can also double up as the bride and her entourage's preparation room before the wedding ceremony. 


            Rina, Rain and I, were billeted in the Premiere Room located at the Lawn Wing. THIS is what I had envisioned when I would imagined what my stay in Taal Vista Hotel would be like. The room was a more spacious version of our first Deluxe Room.. but with something different that actually made a world of difference. 


              This wasn't just any room. This was a room with a view. This was a room with a balcony overlooking Taal Lake. A room directly facing Taal Volcano. 


            The balcony had just enough space for them to put two chairs and a small coffee table. It was the perfect place to sit down in on a breezy afternoon and enjoy a good book (Despite what Rina says, "Archie Double Digest" counts as a book!). 


             The view was absolutely breathtaking. The majestic Taal Volcano laid right in front of my eyes, I couldn't think of a better room to have stayed in at Taal Vista Hotel. 

KIDS CORNER


            We took Baby Rain to the Kids corner, which was basically an adorable Little Tykes playground. Baby Rain went absolutely nuts upon walking into the room, and seeing the large area she had to play in! 

        I love playing "Peekaboo" with Baby Rain, so when I saw there was a small crevice under the slide that I believed I could fit in to give her a little "scare", I thought it would be fun to do so!


              The "scare" didn't exactly go as planned.

      As I tried going through the hole, my leg got caught on something, limiting my mobility. 


    Baby Rain was kind enough to try to help me..


               But after seeing that I was stuck in too tight, not to mention she was getting a little bored, she decided to go off and continue playing..


         Rina, on the other hand, could do nothing but laugh at her husband, doing his best impression of Winnie The Pooh in Rabbit's hole.


And yes, after taking a few more pictures, Rina eventually helped me out. 

THE GAME ROOM



 The simple, yet cozy Game Room consisted of a Billiard table..

A Dart Board....

 And a chess table, making it a very popular hang out for the kids!


ASMARA SPA




            Something I gotta say though, is that the grounds of Taal Vista Hotel is spans such a large area, it does take a toll on your legs. After a day of walking around, trying to keep up with Baby Rain, I felt a massage was due to me. 

        The wonderful people of Asmara Spa showed me their Single Room, which apart from the bed, even feature a lounge chair for a relaxing foot massage.  


          The more spacious couples room was actually ideal room for a husband and wife looking to share some "me" time, yet not totally away from one another.   

         Unfortunately, Rina wasn't comfortable leaving Baby Rain with the Baby Sitter that the Hotel offered to provide, so I went and got a soothing massage all by myself..


Hello Ladies... ;) 



SWIMMING POOL



           Taal Vista Hotel also has a lovely outdoor pool in which you could relax in. A nice thing about it is that they have a kiddie pool section as well. 




      Baby Rain loves the water, and had so much fun!


CAFE ON THE RIDGE



             Taal Vista Hotel features a very welcoming dining experience in their Cafe On The Ridge. The restaurant features a wide range of Filipino and Continental dishes to choose from. My first time to go there was to sample their breakfast buffet..

BREAKFAST

        Cafe on the Ridge's Breakfast Buffet consisted of the necessary staples for me..


                  Juicy Breakfast Sausages..


Savory Corned Beef...


And of course, BACON! 


Something you should definitely try are their waffles,
 especially if it's freshly made!


               For me, the best place to enjoy your breakfast at Cafe on the Ridge, is of course, on the ridge, facing the glory of Taal Volcano. 



Although Baby Rain did not seem amused..
(You can see my plate on the bottom right is filled to the brim with MEAT)


LUNCH BUFFET

          On my second visit to Taal Vista Hotel, I had lunch at Cafe On The Ridge with some other bloggers. This time, I had their Lunch buffet spread at my mercy.. The highlights were..


THE LECHON BELLY ROLL!!!!!



BBQ Liempo!!



Tadyang Ng Baka!!

And did I mention...



THE LECHON BELLY ROLL!??!



And I really enjoyed their Brazo de Mercedes, 
because it was really filled with that custard like filling inside


Lunch guests at Cafe on The Ridge were entertained with a cultural show featuring some dancers moving to the beat of live, indigenous instruments..  


And even the foreigners joined, and tried their luck with the Tinikling! 

DINNER

          At night, The management of Taal Vista prepared a mouthwatering BBQ Buffet for their invited bloggers.. and everything I ate was fantastic..

         The highlights were..


The BBQ Beef Ribs.. 



Grilled Liempo


Chicken BBQ..


THE BLOGGERS



           The evening was very special to Rina and I because we got to meet some wonderful friends in the process. Apart from the very accomodating Celine and Carissa of Taal Vista Hotel, Rina and I got to know bloggers Joanne Tan & Nikki Tiu, two of the loveliest people you will ever meet, as well as their wonderful families :)


        I also had a nice, long conversation with the country's top food blogger himself, Anton Diaz. He was kind enough to give me some advice on some stuff, and it was nice to get to know him on a more personal level. Joining us for dinner that evening was the Hotel's general manager, Mr. Walid Wafik, the man that spearheaded the ascension of Taal Vista Hotel into the elite level establishment it is today. 


          If you're looking to get away from the stress of the big city, and you want to take your family out of town without the stress of a long road trip or airplane ride away from home, I would strongly suggest that you consider Tagaytay as your vacation destination.  

     And you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to stay at in Tagaytay, than Taal Vista hotel. 

Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to stay at Taal Vista Hotel.. 
Even just Overnight?   

Stay tuned :) 

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18 comments:

  1. Looks like Baby Rain really had fun. :) Can't laughing at the picture of you in a bathrobe.hahaha. :P


    http://www.dekaphobe.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. She had a blast!! hehe.. haha "Daring" ba?

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    2. can't stop laughing pala.hahaha. :P

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    3. haha grammar nazi ka talaga!

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  2. Sadly for ordinary people and the "uninvited" like us - It is still run by robots

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    Replies
    1. Haha Marty! Give it a try! They really have improved their service leaps and bounds :)

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  3. I also experienced that, I stayed here last May 2012, it was Mother's Day and I did not hear any greeting even Good Morning from any staff. I did not hesitate to fill out the form. I received an email and I was told that they already improve their service "smile campaign" but I'm not sure kung nagawa nga. :(

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    Replies
    1. The changes were made some time in the middle of last year.. upon the arrival of their general manager, Mr. Wafik :)

      The "Cold" demeanor of the employees was the very first thing that even HE noticed when he arrived, and the first thing that he sought to correct.

      If you give it a try again Michi, i'm quite confident that you'll see a huge difference from your last visit :)

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  4. I made the mistake of guzzling some juice while reading this particular post. BIG mistake: I nearly choked when I saw that picture of you in the bathrobe. I was torn between gulping and laughing!

    But seriously, it's cool how the Taal Vista has been whipped into better shape.

    (Oh, and have you tried the Triple B[acon] Breakfast Burrito over at Cantina Deliciosa? They have stalls at Standard Chartered along Ayala and the Galleon over at Paseo. Not only do they pile on the bacon, but you have the option to order EXTRA bacon, as well...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha glad you enjoyed!!

      No i haven't tried that yet!! Thank you for the heads up! Its not too far from my office!

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  5. Looks so much fun!!! I would looove to bring my family there someday!
    *sigh* someday I will. *wipes a tear, and drool from that Lechon Belly Roll!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha drama mo naman almonde! but i dont blame u.. na luha din ako!!

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  6. Hahahahah sensha na, actually effect ng Lechon Belly Roll yun! ;-)

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  7. Hi, Richie and Rina. Thanks so much for this entry. Hope to see you and cute baby Rain again soon!

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  8. Wow! Glad to see this one. I'm so happy that you guys enjoy your stay here. I'm much interested going here soon.

    Elegant Makati Hotel

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  9. Hi. I was wondering...do they have individual orders aside from the buffets? We're staying there tomorrow with our 3 little kids but we don't think they'll be able to consume the buffet for what it's worth, if you know what I mean. (They're 8, 4 and 2 years old). Thanks Would really appreciate a reply.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they have an ala carte menu, May :)

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