Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Summertime at Island Cove Resort & Leisure Park

I've been going to Island Cove Resort since I was in high school. Its our go-to place for our summer outings, videoke nights, birthday celebrations and other special occasions. Since our home is only about 20 minutes away, staying the night at the resort was never an option because I'd rather stay in my room where I can sleep beyond the standard 12noon check-out time. 

Back in March just before the Holy Week, my colleagues with our families scheduled a weekend of summer bonding at Island Cove. Initial option was to drive all the way to Nasugbu, Batangas and stay at Canyon Cove but due to unavailability of rooms that can accommodate our big group, we all agreed to book at Island Cove instead. Besides, its the perfect opportunity to finally get to stay there after so many years of just visiting for day tours.

Hotel guests are allowed free entrance at Oceania Swim and Splash Park which is open from 8AM to 6PM on weekdays and until 8PM on weekends and holidays. The best water park this side of town boasts of a 3,000 square meter two-layered lagoon shaped swimming pool with four giant slides and a splash park for kids to enjoy. Entrance fee for day trippers are the following:

  • Weekday - Php370 (adult) / Php300 (kids)
  • Weekend - Php390 (adult) / Php320 (kids)
  • Night rate - Php260 (adults and kids)

Island Cove Resort is also a popular wedding, debut and graduation venue in Cavite.

The hotel offers different room types to cater to your budget and occupancy requirement. Since it was just CS and I, we requested for a deluxe room with a king bed. For a family of 4, the best room to reserve is the deluxe twin room with 2 double beds. Room amenities include air-conditioning, a cable television, private veranda, WiFi access, drinking water in re-usable sanitary tumbler, safety deposit box and a newly renovate bathroom with generic toiletries.

Complimentary breakfast buffet is served at Sangley Point, an all-day dining option open daily from 6AM to 10PM. Selection is mainly Filipino breakfast favorites such as arroz caldo, nilagang kamote, tinapa (smoked fish), longganisa, tocino, tapa, corned beef and fried rice.

Pros: Tight security, convenient location, ample parking space, decent resort facilities, dated but well-kept rooms, polite and helpful staff and delicious Filipino breakfast.

Cons: Weak internet signal inside the rooms, 2 out of the 4 slides in Oceania was non-operational and early closing time at the kid's splash park.

Island Resort and Leisure Park
Binakayan, Kawit
Cavite, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 810-7878

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Zuzuni Hotel: A Revisit Before Boracay's Closure

With Boracay closing to tourist arrivals starting April 26 for the next 6 months, I can't help but feel bad for the people whose livelihood will be greatly affected by this government mandated masterplan to redevelop the island paradise into a more livable and greener community. We may have different takes on this issue but one thing's for sure, we only have one planet and doing nothing to rehabilitate Boracay poses a greater threat in the future.

Last January, CS and I traveled back to Boracay for a weekend of fun and relaxation with some friends. As our previous stay at Zuzuni Boutique Hotel has been nothing short of amazing, it was a no-brainer to just book the same hotel. But instead of reserving the same room type, I upgraded our accommodation to a premier beachfront room for more space to walk around to.

Best decision I made for that trip.

The spacious air-conditioned room with balcony comes with a king-sized bed with senso-memory mattress, 39″ LED cable TV, mini-ref, safety deposit, hot & cold shower, and a reliable wifi internet access. The room can sleep up to 3 adults since it comes with a provision for an extra bed.

As to be expected, service was exceptional, room was immaculately clean, and the food at Cozina, one of the most underrated restaurants in Boracay, was delectable. Our trip was only 3 months apart so everything was pretty much the same as before. For a more detailed review of Zuzuni, please read my post on our stay last October 2017 here.


Zuzuni Boutique Hotel
Station 1, Boracay Island
Malay, Aklan, Philippines
Tel.: (6336) 288-4477

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hotel Review: Golden Holiday Hotel, Hanoi VN

It might be the local cuisine, its old charm, or the friendly people that we met in our past travels - there's something/s that keep drawing us back to Hanoi, Vietnam. Just 3 and a half hours away from Manila via plane, I was able to score a great deal from yet another irresistible Cebu Pacific promo that only cost us about Php4500/person round trip airfare. But as with majority of budget carriers, schedules are red eye flights so we arrived around one in the morning and was forced to pay for a hotel room a day in advance so I'd be guaranteed an accommodation upon arrival. Nevertheless, I still managed to book a room that fits our requirements: must be clean and comfortable, offers reasonable rates, easily accessible within Old Quarter, and comes with complimentary breakfast - all adequately met by my hotel of choice, Hanoi Golden Holiday Hotel.

Moreover, this boutique hotel takes pride in having a dedicated and professional team that ensures its guests have a memorable stay in the city. Apart from the basic hotel facilities, Hanoi Golden also offers airport transfers, 24/7 front desk and security, concierge, currency exchange services, Vietnam tour packages and many more. Since I knew that we'd be spending most of our time out, I passed on the room with a private balcony and got the suite with a city view instead.


The perfectly designed golden suite double room has large windows to let the natural light in and offers modern amenities like a 42" TV with Netflix and free wireless internet. That's on top of its basic room features such as a double bed, airconditioning unit, complimentary coffee and tea, safety deposit box, iron and ironing facilities, private toilet and bath, sitting area and a mini bar.

Another thing to love about Agoda is the flexibility in its room rates. Guests have the option to book rooms depending on their budget and needs. While breakfast is always a good idea, there are days when you had to leave your hotel early in the morning even before the usual 6AM breakfast time. With Agoda, you can book rooms without breakfast to cut down your room rate instead of paying the full amount. But since we don't have a tour or a flight to catch, I opted for a room with buffet breakfast for two. Variety is quite limited, as to be expected as this is a boutique hotel, but the dishes offered were appetizing and tasty. Besides, the street food in Hanoi is something to look forward to so leaving the hotel in a half full stomach is the best way to go.

Pros: Warm reception, helpful staff, affordable room rates, great location, spacious and well designed room and allows late check-out but subject to room availability. Another notable thing about the hotel is that aside from letting guests leave their bags after check-out, guests are permitted to use the shower on the lower ground level, complete with towels and bathroom amenities, to freshen up before leaving. They surely take hospitality to a whole new level.

Cons: Except for the slow internet that made Netflix on TV impossible to stream, we loved our stay at Hanoi Golden Holiday; it definitely tops the list of our favorite hotels in the city.


Hanoi Golden Holiday Hotel
43 Hang Dong, Old Quarter
Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel.: (8424) 32004833
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