Sweet Escape

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Everyone dreams about it. I lived it (for four days)

Cebu is like my second home.

Aside from being the hometown of my husband, the Queen City of the South gives urbanites like me the best of both worlds; a cosmopolitan experience and a soothing setting.

Cebu is synonymous with sumptuous food, fabulous resorts and beaches, and splendid accommodations. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is tops on all three.

The group landed in Cebu exhilarated and excited. We were received by a representative of the hotel (a familiar friendly face to frequent guests) at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at Shang Mactan via shuttle bus and were welcomed at the entrance by outgoing director for sales and marketing Michael Albaña, assistant corporate communications manager Rica Rellon, and the hotel’s new director of sales and marketing Agnes Pacis.

As soon as I entered the lobby, I fell in love with the place. Beautiful. The first thing that caught my attention was the terrific combination of contemporary Filipino capiz, banana leaf, abaca, and rattan furniture with modern interiors. I love the idea that a resort isn’t a characterless building. The spaces are airy and outside are gardens, coconut trees, and even a mini-forest. I immediately enjoyed walking around the well manicured grounds. A guest here will never even feel the need to go into the city to see other spots since the resort itself more than provides enough delightful experiences.

By the time our team was ushered to our respective rooms, I was torn between taking a quick nap and just enough freshening up before we stormed into the lunch buffet. The nap won. Because the hotel had full occupancy, we were ensconced in a room with a view of the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary. Our quarters had three single beds—accommodations for a family holiday—with large comfy pillows and cute little cards placed on fresh sheets that had some text from the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. What a nice touch.

Superb Chow
Its hard not to talk about food when you’re staying at any Shangri-La hotel. Shang Mactan has a great selection of international dishes, whether Asian, Italian, Japanese, Indian, or the local Visayan cuisine. My personal favorite place to eat would definitely be Tides because of the wide array of Asian dishes. I was impressed how the kitchen staff was able to deliver a great culinary variety for guests who, like us, were staying for more than one night.

We also got to dine at the newly opened Italian restaurant Acqua, which overlooks the hotel’s infinity pool. Or you can sit in a corner with a view of the sea. I love how Acqua’s chef put a modern twist on basic Italian dishes like pizza and risotto. Oh, and the pana cotta in three different flavors was simply divine!

I Love the Beach. Period.
Another highlight of our Cebu trip was the beach activities. Frankly, the moment we checked in, all I could think about was: When do I get to hit the water? True to what most people say, Shangri-La Mactan has the best swimming beach in Cebu. The waters are beautiful and warm. I love how easy and convenient it is to enjoy water sports. I discovered kayaking and I liked it! I can’t wait to try it again.

Aside from testing the kayak, our team did lots of snorkeling. What amazes me about snorkeling is its simplicity. All you need is a mask, snorkel, and fins, and voila! Off you go. I must admit that snorkeling in the waters of Shang Mactan is so addictive to the point where you’re tempted to tease the small fish darting past you.

Aside from the restaurants and magnificent pools—and the unbeatable beach experience—we also enjoyed the other conveniences of a working trip: the hotel’s business center, the gym and health club, the bars, and the indoor play and sports areas.

But what sets Shang Mactan apart from the rest is its endearing, cheerful, and well mannered staff. Their friendliness and good service cannot but leave a lasting impression to top an awesome stay.

Print ed: 06/11


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