Swiss Luxury In the Boondocks

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A three-day staycation in the secluded Grand Quartier luxury condotel in Tagaytay’s premiere Swiss resort inspired much lethargy. That’s how comfortable their suites are

Imagine the isolated Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining and remove the Gothic horror and musty smell of wood.

You now have the Grand Quartier, a condotel- type structure atop the highest terrain of the Crosswinds Resort Suites tucked in the Tagaytay Ridge, 50 kilometers south of Manila.

Inspired by the Swiss architecture of chalets built on the Alps, Crosswinds Resort Suites was launched 15 years ago with quiet fanfare. As roads were paved and custom-built houses sprouted over the years, the allure of living amidst a cool landscape abundant in flora spread among the elites of Manila, with foreigners and wealthy businessmen buying private properties in the enclave.

By 2005, the construction of the first of three luxury hotels gave the public a chance to experience a getaway like no other.

Having been acquainted with hostels along the stretch of Tagaytay Calamba Road, seeing the facade near the main entrance was a pleasant surprise: a stone signage firmly planted among clusters of flowers is flanked with sculptures of Brown Swiss cows.

Weary travelers who reach Tagaytay by way of commute need not worry when getting to the Grand Quartier condotel; a service car will whisk you to the hotel entrance in less than a minute. Free parking is also available to those driving their own vehicles. (Tip: roll down your window as you enter the Crosswinds premises. A word of caution, though: it is best not to ply the zigzag roads of Crosswinds at night, as street lights are unheard of in this part of town.

All suites, from studio to two-bedroom, are equipped with appliances provided by Samsung. From Widescreen LCD television sets, and overhead air conditioners, to two-door refrigerators and DVD players. None of that ceiling-mounted TV abomination. There’s not much difference to the amenities found in the rooms. The two-bedroom suite, however, does have a bathtub, which is not available in most studio and one-bedroom suites in the Grand Quartier.

When checking in, better arm yourself beforehand with pre-packaged food and beverages, as room service is not one of the strongest suits of the Grand Quartier. Since we never met housekeeping during the entire time of our stay, it is safe to assume that one does not need to ask a Do Not Disturb sign if privacy is needed.

Although most places of interest in Tagaytay offer a spectacular view of Taal Lake and an active volcano right smack in the middle of the lake, Villar’s property holding firm Vista Land chose to build their master-planned project on one of the highest points of Tagaytay Ridge sans the picturesque view of Taal Lake. This compromise, however, pays off handsomely as the concept of a simulated Swiss resort has not been *developed* by other real estate companies in the Philippines.

Vista Land made it a point to plant more than 20,000 pine tress along the swerving lanes, giving the traveler the convincing illusion of taking a leisurely walk along the steep roads of Baguio.

About a third of the entire rolling hills within the confines of Crosswinds are still undeveloped, so expect more housing projects to be constructed in groups in the next few years.

Print ed: 09/11

 

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