Going Places: Montemar Beach Club in Bagac, Bataan 


We usually go out to places within 1 or 2-hours drive away from home. This time, we decided to extend it further. Choosing a destination always means considering it to be a kid-friendly place. It has to be where our kids will be able to have fun. 

Montemar Beach Club in Bataan is not a new place. As my husband had estimated, they’re probably existing for around 20years, that I failed to ask, though. Despite that, attraction wise and service wise, they truly have experted their crafts, I think, thru the times. That’s why we didn’t have any complaints to the staffs. They’re very accommodating and they’re doing well in what they needed to do.

I just wish that they could tend more gardens to create more relaxing ambiance in the ground similar or more than to what its beach could offer. More power, Montemar!

This is one of the garden view rooms at Inn 3. Room 306, to be exact. It was a simple yet clean room. It has a veranda where you can enjoy the garden view.

This is the garden. Yes it’s green but I can’t say if it’s enough to make me feel relaxed. It could have been better if it was tended more properly. Though, I understand the management, the whole Montemar area is so big. Maintaining it and continuously making it beautiful is very challenging.

The Deluxe room from another angle. Wi-fi will be charged at Php50.00 per device for 24 hours but signal inside the room weakens. It will be best to browse outside or at the front office.

There were not so much in the bathroom.

Inclusive in the package is the free buffet breakfast for 2. The foods were traditional Filipino breakfast foods. I must say, they have great cooks. We cannot bring foods inside, so all our foods need to be ordered there. I appreciated that foods tasted good, though, quite pricey. Otherwise, it’s automatically a ruined vacation if what we had on the table wasn’t likeable.

This tree house added the attraction. It wasn’t much but thankfully, it led us to discover the playground at the other side.

“Oh, playground!” Both of them shouted. Kids raced their way to get there. I’d guessed, they were too excited to climb those little heights.

I was supposed to get the best shot of the pool. It turned out, this is the best that I’ve got. Ahaha. But, to at least give you a picture of the pavilion pool, it’s wide. It’s suitable for kids. It started shallow then gets deeper to the end. I loved the water temperature. It’s raining when we had our visit, but thankfully, it didn’t feel cold. I thought, we’re actually swimming in a hot spring.

I loved the shore. It was clean. It was calm. A perfect place to get that much needed relaxation.

I wish I could sleep there by the beachside. But, all had been occupied, I wasn’t able to land a spot.

What a beautiful sight, it’s too calm. Just by standing at the shore, inhaling the breathe of salty fresh air, it was enough to wish, I hope this vacation could be extended.

Tides have turned things differently on the next day. The calmness was no longer there. Despite that, the waves have brought more fun. Kids were able to play with the waves.

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Our 2017 Stay in Acacia Hotel Manila


It was the same Acacia Hotel that I remembered 2 or 3 years ago. Nothing much had changed except of course, some of the chairs’ upholstery in the lobby had quite faded. Same quality of service but I felt less satisfied. There were too many guests during our last visit. More guests meant more people need to be sharing with the facilities particularly at the swimming pools, at the gym and at the buffet restaurant. Ahaha. Glutton! But, it was for the kids why we went out in the first place. So, I had no choice but to bear with them and just enjoy just like how our kids did.

These are what will welcome you:

The reception. I got to steal this during their non-busy hours.

Wallings. Are these falling leaves from an acacia tree?

Acaci Coffee Shop view from the top

The lobby. You know you’re in Acacia because of these prints.

My little girl was busy browsing the magazines.

I got the booking thru Trivago.com. With various hotel offers, I was able to select the more affordable choice in Expedia.com. For 2-night stay in a Deluxe room including breakfast for 2, we paid a total of Php9,700.00. That was Php3,880.00 per night and the additional charges of Php1,940.00. Good thing we were upgraded to an Executive Suite in the 15th floor. Most of the time, I saw a housekeeping personnel there. I can always ask to replenish the toiletries and replace the towels. A less stressful way to spend my day, a less soaking wet bathroom floors. Hehe, thanks to the staff manning the floor. 

These were inside our room:

A welcome note. Thank you, as I replied. 🙂 This was matched with apple and orange, just weren’t shown on the picture.

The bed. A comfy, king-sized bed for a family of four. Do you got the same reaction as mine, when I see bed fixed as this, I will be so amazed, really “wow” and would just jump then roll back and forth on it? Ahaha. But, this time, I had to do my photoshoot first.

The TV and your desk. I liked that it just had the right distance from the bed. It’s one of the perks of having a bigger space.

The working area. Another advantage of an Executive Suite, you got an extra space to do your cooking duties.

This lamp, its pair on the other side, another lamp on the desk, plus the TV, were the only lights we had. That was a puzzle to me. I didn’t find any light switch for the main room. I should have asked, though.

I only liked the lotion. The rest, better than nothing. And besides, these were always replenished, how can I complain.

2 set of robes, 2 pairs of slippers, a laundry bag, a flatiron, a vault. They’re all just within the cabinet, at your hands’ reach.

The bathroom, while it wasn’t yet ransacked by the kids.

I needed to take note of these. These were small details but will definitely be a key one day should I need to review my stay here.

 

The other facilities:

A Steakhouse as the Acaci extension at breakfast. As I’ve mentioned, there were too many guests. Lines in the Acaci restaurant for a buffet breakfast had immediately piled up as early as 6:30AM. On our first day, we got to get a seat in the restaurant but on the next day, we had to settle in the satellite extension they’ve prepared here.

The bar.

Acaci restaurant. We were few of the early birds.

The main courses.

Light meals.

Desserts.

These were view of what’s outside the hotel:

From the pool area at the 3rd floor. Look down while waiting for the kids to stop swimming.

This time, look up. 🙂

Oh, it’s lovely. Light flashes at night.

Ending the Year 2016 at Solaire Resort and Casino 

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Facebook has always been a great source for me discovering a good deal. I just saw Solaire’s promo from one of my friend’s posts. Taking advantage of this rare offer, I thought it will be a good gift for the kids.

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Because it was this time of the year when cheers and glees are all around, this tall sparkling Christmas tree parades at the front.

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We booked one of the rooms in Bay Tower. They have this couch for you to sit on while waiting for the elevators which actually didn’t take long before it came. That really was a premium service, if I may add, providing comfort to their guests even not so much of a necessity. Then, you can sense luxury even at your feet because of the soft floor carpets.

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The Deluxe room. A king-sized bed covered with white linens filled with quality pillows. A plus to my husband who preferred a lot of pillows in his bed. I liked otherwise.

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A nice couch at the side to complete your relaxation.

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A TV with variety of channels to watch. It can also be a directory of what the resort has in store for their guests. That door opens up to the mini bar and the refrigerator. A nice way to conceal small stuffs.

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Who wouldn’t fell in love with a room that has a nice view. A glass wall from the floor to the ceiling opening up to the sight of swimming pools and the stretch of Manila Bay.

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A spacious bathroom. The shower is enclosed in a glass wall limiting the water not to splash too much on the floor. Less wet floor means less chores for me, there was no need to wipe the floors all the time.

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Always been one of my favorite subjects to photograph with, the toiletries. There was nothing unique with their offers here except that one usual sized soap. I kept it. I’ll have to try it at home. Ahaha.

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That sparkling ice bucket was cool, of course. Ahaha.

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The robe just fit me. I also like its texture. I also liked their door signs.

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An amazing pool experience awaits you in Solaire. The pool is leveled at 4-ft deep. Our kids didn’t know how to swim yet. The good thing was, the resort can provide a life vest for each of the kids. The lifeguard was also doing his job, making sure everyone was safe.

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A grand staircase. Would you mind climbing up that stairs? It has so much elegance that you might need to stop in every steps, either way, to feel the moment.

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Walking inside Solaire was never a boring experience. Luxury shops, well-decorated walls, great lightings and fixtures, fresh flowers and nicely polished floors, only my husband didn’t appreciate them. Ahaha.

Nothing Compares The Manila Hotel 

I was thinking of spending my birthday in a beach but I can’t decide where to go best. Whenever, I would find an interesting one, it was already fully booked. I just ended up disappointed ’cause my idea of a refreshing vacation couldn’t push through.

Until I run through my favorite deal provider. Voila! They had the Manila Hotel offer. I thought for a second :)…. a weekend staycation this could be a better alternative. That was the historic Manila Hotel, hello? I can put away my initial plan, for now.

We kept the trip as a secret. We didn’t tell our kids we were going to a hotel. That’s why when they realized we were in a facade of a hotel, they can’t contain their excitement. The kids hugged each other and their face were all smiles. I was excited, too, actually. I didn’t think I will be stepping my feet in there. I can only hear it in the news. Of course, we couldn’t afford it before. But, by God’s grace, there we were, finally.

After I had my bag inspected, passed through the metal detector and got me frisked, I remembered the first word I said was WOW! It was automatic, as if I didn’t know any word than WOW. I saw beautiful staffs who were dressed in Filipiniana. I saw the reception area, where its architecture was like I was back in the Spanish era. I saw grand brass chandeliers hanging in the lobby. How much would one of them will cost? And what I have always been a fan, the high ceiling.

I loved the ambiance. It was a different feeling inside. I didn’t know. Remembering our stay, there was nothing different in the rooms. Other hotels, were better, actually. We even just got a 2-single beds, but still it was okay for us. We just can’t get ruined by these small details.

There was something in their style that made them different. These wood furnitures might be the factor. I wonder how old these antiques could be?

The room was old yet they keep it in style with our modern time. Making sure that what you might need for an enjoyable stay were provided. A dock for your gadgets. An LED TV in the room and another TV in the bathroom. An ecowash for the toilet.

The drinks were for sale at the minibar. But, the fruits were complimentary. At night time, the hotel also provided us with sweet treats. That was another great service different from other hotels.

Adding to the wow factor were these beautiful designs. One of the designs was from the ceiling on the elevator area. The other one was the design in the alternative way from the pool area going to the rooms. That brass vase was perfect match to the grandiose of the hotel.

These what were the kids were excited about, having to had longer swimming time. We loved their pools, especially the kiddie pool. We can let the kids swim on their own. I was just taking my rounds for some photos, while their Daddy was just on the side watching them.

Greens were everywhere. Flowering plants were a sight to see while having a dip in the pool. Or, when you just need to sit down, you can go to the balcony to get a better Manila Bay view and of the harbor. And oh, it looked here that was a floating bar. Yes, kinda, I think that was one good place when you need to chill.

A vintage hotel matched with mesmerizing view equates Manila Hotel. Nothing compares. This was really a treat for the family. Except, for some mommy concerns. Hopefully, kids will behave more, next time :). But, as long as the kids enjoyed, that was surely an experience worth going through again.

How’s my First Airbnb-ing?

Airbnb is one of the talked about topics nowadays. I wasn’t sure why it was so. That’s why when I had the chance to browse a place for Daddy’s birthday, I immediately thought of Airbnb. From then, I was one of the regular visitors in their site

I must say, finding the best deal could be quite challenging. It is much easier if you use the Search option. It could narrow down your choices.

I immediately inputted Tagaytay in the place I wanted to visit, entered our intended dates of stay and other preferences that could fit our needs. Then voila, I have all the selections to choose from. After that were series of reviews and comparisons.

What I’ve got was one of the studio type room in SMDC’s Wind Residences.The room was practically good for four. I made sure that the available beds will be enough for everyone, including our 2 kids, to give us much sweeter sleep. Soap, shampoos and conditioners were also provided. However, you have to bring your own towels. Kitchen equipments were also available. There was no refrigerator, though. Told you, reading and specifying what you need is important.This was what I lacked in this first try.

Room rate: 1,769.00 x 2 nights
Cleaning fee: 519.00
Service fee: 519.00

I may not be keen checking the details inside the house but this one I assured not to miss. Swimming pool should be at the top of my checklist. A must for our kids. However, with Airbnb, most of the time, you came as a guest. Hence, you need to pay for the amenities. The pool rate at Wind was Php150.00 per person. The use of other sports facilities will also incur hourly rates.

I have to commend our host for allowing us to bring play station and an external hard drive, as we cannot scan a channel (of course, there was no TV antenna in it) nor receive an internet signal while inside the unit. You have to go downstairs, in the club house, to get your mobile data working. The place will be best if you wanted to take a time out and have a moment for yourself.

With Airbnb, you cannot expect a service like in a hotel. You cannot expect for turndown services which I think is a plus if you will be staying for more than a night and especially, if kids joined you in your vacation. Sometimes, you might need to clear up things. You knew how kids can behave. So, if you’re a mother, expect additional chores during your stay. Nothing much of a difference while you are at home, it was just you were in a different venue.

All in all, it was a good experience. The kids really loved it. My choice and my experience didn’t necessarily same and will apply to all. So, what are you waiting for? Go check their site or better install their app for easier browsing. Airbnb offers varied, so make sure that you’ve checked all of the room features to know if it will satisfy your requirements. Don’t get hooked, browsing for a place in Airbnb can be addicting. That could be the reason why people talked about it.

Please don’t tell me, I didn’t warn you.

Emilie