Having had my fill of the sand and sun growing up in Cebu where the beach is 30 minutes away, I've always preferred getaways with a colder climate, such as Tagaytay and Baguio. Though I prefer the cold of Baguio, the thought of an eight hour drive made Tagaytay the more feasible choice for us nowadays.
Thankfully, the Tarlac- Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) opened at the end of 2014, cutting the travel time practically in half, making Baguio more accessible than it's ever been before. I am very fortunate that our family has a summer house in Baguio, so we always had a place to stay when we would visit, but at the same time, I always kinda wondered what it would be like to stay at a hotel when visiting the summer capital of the Philippines.
2015 was the year where I had to wonder no more, as my fellow KTG friends and I were invited by Le Monet Hotel to experience a Baguio vacation!
Named after the great French impressionist painter, Claude Monet, Le Monet Hotel is conveniently located within the popular Baguio tourist spot, Camp John Hay, and just striking distance away from several popular restaurants and outlet stores.
Le Monet is a charming 70 room Hotel whose charm not only lies in its dazzling interiors, but in its people as well. The warmth and hospitality of Le Monet's staff immediately makes you feel right at home.
The staff goes out of their way that you enjoy, not only your stay in their hotel, but in their beautiful city as well.
LE MONET GARDEN
The picturesque Le Monet Garden at the back of the hotel offers you a glimpse of the glorious natural splendor that Baguio is all about.
The garden is absolutely stunning, giving off an almost "enchanted" vibe.
Rina and Rain had fun running around the garden.. Well, basically Rain running around, with Rina chasing her to make sure she didn't trip and fall.. While I.. Umm.. watched from the balcony hehe..
I'll admit, the last thing I would ever think of doing is going for a swim. However I was pleasantly surprised to find the heated pool of Le Monet Hotel to be quite inviting. Imagine after a day of walking around in the cool climate of Baguio, soaking your body into the warm waters of the pool, an evergreen forest as your backdrop?
Le Monet also has mini fitness center, that is equipped with cardio machines and weights. I only saw it through a window, and the machines looked kinda tiring so I didn't bother to go in any more.
DELUXE TWIN ROOM
Whenever I stay in a hotel room, the first thing I look for is the air conditioning controls so I can set it to the coldest settings possible. Howevr, in our Deluxe Twin Room in Le Monet Hotel, I noticed.. Well, there was no airconditioning system present whatsoever.
What it did have, apart from the two fluffy double beds, was a screen door that allows the freshness of the clean, Baguio air fill the room.
The doors open up to a small balcony area that allow you to get the full effect of that famous Baguio breeze, up close and personal.
The comfortable room is equipped with a flat screen TV, cable connection and a DVD player
You're going to find this a little funny, but for me, one of the best parts of the room was the Bathroom!
The system of the toilet reminded me of the Hotel in Korea that I stayed in, which was made for places with colder climates. The mechanism in the seat lets out gentle blasts of air in your posterior, making doing your business an even more pleasurable experience.
But the awesomeness of Le Monet's bathroom doesn't end there.
The bathroom has a TV with Cable connection. I can't count how many times my foot fell asleep in here, it really got me thinking how much I wish I had a similar set up in my own home (Rina won't let me :( Boo...) .
Needless to say, I got really comfortable there.. Made me feel like a king!
Umm.. No, not that one..
A glass barrier separates the shower area, which is equipped with a rain shower head, that thankfully has hot water as well.
DINING AT THE LOBBY
Le Monet Hotel maximizes its modest floor area by letting the dining tables and chair spill out into the Lobby. Although I must admit that they're a little bit bulky for the given space, the Lounge chairs and mini couches are remarkably comfortable.
If you can find me a place in Baguio that serves a better breakfast spread than Le Monet Hotel, I'd love to try it, because I would pit Le Monet's breakfast items against the best in the country today.
The buffet has a wide selection of Breakfast favorites to choose from, but I wanted to show you a few of my favorites..
Not a great picture, I know, but it is important to note that Le Monet's bacon is outstanding. I say important, because it pretty much becomes the perfect garnish to the other dishes that I would be eating again later on.
The Vigan Longaniza is also essential to your Baguio Breakfast.
A nice twist on Sweet ham, that uses Mango Glaze instead of the usual Pineapple
What makes The Lobby's breakfast buffet quite unique is how their staff is very accommodating to its customers wanting to customize their early morning meal.
You may ask them to prepare you Bacon Pancakes with Maple Syrup..
Or their famous Baguio Benedict, which is made with bacon and Vigan Longaniza on top of the Poached Egg and Hollandaise sauce.
The best seat in the house for breakfast has to be on the outside deck, which overlooks the Le Monet Garden, as well as gives you a phenomenal view of the lush forest that lives behind the hotel.
More than just breakfast food, The Lobby serves some sumptuous ala carte dishes as well. We got to sample some of the items of their menu as soon as we arrived from our trip!
Here are some of the highlights..
This simple platter of cheese was made memorable by the deliciously sweet honey that went with it perfectly.
Rina was enamored with this salad that was peppered with fresh strawberries, walnuts and cheese shavings.
Le Monet had one of the best Kare-Kare dishes I've ever tried. The sauce was creamy with a nice touch of sweetness, making eating it with rice sans meat not outside the realm of possibility. Doing so, however, would deprive you of the tender meat and other parts of beef (that I don't eat hehe..), as well as the fresh vegetables.
By favorite dish that we tried for lunch had to be the Beef Steak Tagalog. It was a twist to the classic Pinoy dish, that used a thicker, sweeter sauce than the usual soy sauce based fare. Thin slices of Beef, almost Sukiyaki-cut in fact, was also used. The French Fries were also amazing, almost kettle cooked style, giving it a fantastic crispiness, making it remarkably addicting.
Normally, I wouldn't give a simple fruit platter a second glance, but the amazing freshness, particularly on the watermelon, was too impressive to not mention. Rain, who is a fruit lover, eschewed all the other items and stuck to fruits!
For our last dinner in Baguio, we witnessed the flexibility of Le Monet's hard-working Kitchen Staff, as we enjoyed The Lobby's "Japanese Night"!
Guests were given a wide selection of freshly rolled Sushi to choose from.
I, on the other hand, chose to focus my stomach space on the more traditional Japanese fare..
I'm a sucker for good Japanese Fried Rice..
And the carbo-loading continued with the Yakisoba, that was definitely not stingy with its ingredients!
The Tuna Teppan was nice and juicy..
And the Chicken Teriyaki very flavorful!
Apart from the pork, it's the scrambled egg that I enjoy in Katsudon. Thankfully, there was plenty to go around in Le Monet's version!
There were also quite a few pastries to choose from as a fitting end to your meal.
In terms of taste, the food was a few notches below the authentic Japanese restaurants I would eat at here in Manila, but at roughly around P700? You'll be hard pressed to find a deal as good as that!
With the cool weather and beautiful greens all around, Baguio is undoubtedly one of my favorite places in the country, and my stay at Le Monet has reaffirmed that.
This is the way the city of Baguio was meant to be enjoyed.
Considering this was my very first stay in a hotel at Baguio, Le Monet has set the bar very high.. Truthfully, I don't know how I'll ever go back to staying in our old house when we return (As our family plans to this summer)!
If you're looking to hit up Baguio this coming summer vacation, I strongly recommend you inquire immediately about the availability of rooms at Le Monet Hotel!
TIP: Request for a room with a "Forest View"!!
Thank you Donny and the entire staff of Le Monet Hotel for a memorable vacation!
Le Monet Hotel
Camp John Hay