Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Family Staycation Weekend at Taal Vista Hotel

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Aside from the cold weather, Tagaytay city is famous for the picturesque sight of the Taal Lake. This is the in demand view that everyone looks forward to. This is also why most establishments offering a great view of the Taal Lake are benefiting a lot from the influx of tourists who want to take a gander of the magnificent postcard-like view of this amazing wonder of nature.

Everyone could not say that they have been truly to Tagaytay without that epic view of Taal Lake among their photos included in their selfies, groupfies and other photo ops may it be with their DSLRs, point and shoot or smartphone cameras. It is just an enigma that Tagaytay, a part of Cavite, is the city raking in tourism interest even though the place is part of Batangas.

But as they say, this is a beauty that is best seen from afar, and where we can marvel at the wonderful creation of nature bringing joy and fascination to everyone who sees it. Just be also sure that you are pointing at the correct Taal volcano as many are making mistakes on this particular fact. It becomes a laughing matter when even Filipinos themselves do not know the real one.

As mentioned earlier, the cold climate in Tagaytay is also a reason why people are coming there for vacation either during summer breaks or weekends. It is the next best choice of reaching a colder temperature compared to Baguio city.

This is why we were thrilled with our family weekend staycation scheduled on April 8 and 9, because we get to temporarily leave the hot and humid weather in Metro Manila, and experience a more bearable one in Tagaytay city. The best part of all is we get to stay at the Taal Vista Hotel which flaunts the best view of the Taal Lake. Besides that, the Sky Ranch is just right beside the hotel offering the Sky Eye and other park attractions that would surely entertain us during the weekend staycation.

An added bonus is the transportation service provided by the hotel where they got the Avis transports service  for our pick-up and drop-off from our residence in Pasig to the hotel and vice versa. The driver picked us up on the early morning of Saturday for an almost three hour travel to Tagaytay.

We also got to dine at their Veranda buffet restaurant for lunch on our first day and breakfast the following morning, and our first night a la carte dinner at their Taza Fresh Table, but we'll tell you all the details of our dining experience at both Veranda and Taza Fresh Table on a different blog post. It deserves their own separate stories so we could give you the magnificent and yummy details about our meals.

The game room had a billiard table and an air hockey table. We were also informed we could use an Xbox that they could put out if we want to play with it; however, we were informed that the games are also old ones. So they may be referring to the old Xbox version.

Aside from the two restaurant and the lounge where you can also order, the hotel also has a swimming pool, gym, game room, spa, business center and plenty of rooms of different sizes at both their Lake View and Mountain View hotels. They have a small section beside the Taza Fresh Table restaurant where you can buy souvenirs from a few stalls there. Not too many choices but there's bound to be something interesting among those items being sold there.

The Lake View part is the newer hotel that is right beside the Sky Ranch area. There's practically a gate between the two properties so I could imagine just walking through there. But I guess that gate is only used for special occasions as we don't see anybody entering or exiting via that way.

We had two rooms at the 4th floor of the Lake View part of Taal Vista Hotel. One for me and my wife, and another one for our three kids. This overjoyed my kids since they could have one room all for their own privacy. My wife and I can say the same thing and with smiles from ear to ear.

Both rooms have two beds, but we got the room with the grand view of the Taal Lake, while they got the one with a view of the Sky Ranch. The rooms were moderately decorated. It is not similar to the newer or top hotels way back in Metro Manila, but they are comfy and spacious enough to accommodate conveniently more than two people.

Our room had something extra - sweet treats compliments of the hotel. Our kids quickly devoured them even before we got all settled in.

The only difference from the Mountain View part of the hotel is that there is no bathtub on our rooms. The swimming pool, gym, entertainment center and spa are also located at the Mountain View part. But its a short walk from both ends of the hotel so there's no problem at all. But maybe they could build another pool at the Lake View portion since it the pool was already a bit crowded when we visited it before lunch time.

The gym had nobody there when we dropped by so it gave us an opportunity to try the equipment out. However, most were only on manual control and a bit outdated already.

At the game room, we tried both billiard and air hockey table where I won in billiards while my youngest kid emerged triumphant in air hockey.

The second day was a bit more relaxed as we enjoyed the comfy beds of the hotel. We went out of our rooms early in the morning to have breakfast at Veranda. When we were roaming around the hotel,  we discovered a mass ongoing at a ground floor function room that the hotel turned into a mini chapel. It was Palm Sunday so we always make it a point to attend church during that particular event where "palaspas" could be distinctively seen carried by church-goers.

The hotel allowed us to extend our check-out time until 4 pm so we could start traveling back home in better weather late in the afternoon. A different driver drove us back home, but we managed to go have some snacks first at Balay Dako where we had some Bibingka, Pancit Antonio and Lumpiang Sariwa. Afterwards, we stopped by The Pink Sisters church nearby to say a short prayer and explore the place in a quick tour, before going back to the van and finally returning home.

It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments since it was our first time staying at Taal Vista Hotel. I have visited the hotel several times in the past but only to attend events there organized by the Department of Tourism so that kept me only seeing the lobby and grounds.

That weekend allowed us to explore every corner of the hotel and be amazed of how beautiful this property really is. If you are not aware yet, it is owned by the SM group of companies just as like the Sky Ranch. For me, this is very precious real estate property that many would want to own it just in case SM sells it, but I'm sure that would never happen since Taal Vista Hotel has become almost iconic in Tagaytay already.

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