Plantation Bay Resort is one of the most iconic resort that is deeply rooted in the province of Cebu. It is widely known for its beautiful and gigantic waterways set in a 11.4 hectares of secluded property. Hailed as the largest privately owned waterway in the world, it would be hard not to be amaze by its splendor. It is operational in already two decades and time isn't always an advantage for any resort. See my in depth Plantation Bay Resort Review of how it performs now after more than twenty years of existence.
Location: Marigondon, Mactan Island 6015 Philippines
Contacts: +6332-505-9800 / +639176313750 / +639176313917
WiFi: Yes (anywhere in the resort's ground)
Activities Offered: pools & slides, kayaking, SUP (stand up paddle), wall climbing, biking *free*, diving, snorkeling, beach volleyball, fishing & fish feeding, golf, tennis, archery, whale shark & island adventure and many more.
Plantation Bay is one of the legendary resort in Mactan island which remains on top of the competition even after two decades of operation and it has been on my list for a must visit for so long so when an opportunity knocks I open the door without hesitation. It is a weekend stay from a friend abroad on a Bedroom Suite - Xanadu Cottage.
FIRST IMPRESSION: I was amaze of the scale and beauty of their artificial lagoons. They have two larger-than-life lagoons with a white sand island in the middle. It would be hard not to be amaze with those and add the countless of smaller lagoons and pool then a one day exploration will never be enough to cover those. However, they really can't have it all because the interior design overall just doesn't shout luxury. They opt for a native ambience so it is understandable to not be too flashy with the furnishing but they forget to be classy as well that is necessary for the resort of their calibre. Some furniture update would do them good to catch up with the growing trend of the modern world. The ceiling painting in Kilimanjaro Kafe looks cheap. It seems they forgot to update the furnishing they have frozen in time over two decades ago.
CLEANLINESS: The resort is spotless no matter how huge it is they made an effort to keep it in a tip toe shape even the humongous lagoons and white sand island.
LOCATION: If solitary and privacy is what you are searching for then this resort is ideal for you. It is very far from the crowded city. Good for diving and snorkeling because it is facing the Olango Wildlife Sanctuary but just don't set an expectation from its real coastline because it may disappoint you.
ROOMS: Spacious, complete with the necessary amenities and depending on the accommodation type you avail for you are given your own free WiFi and relieves you of the stress of sharing it with other guests.
SERVICE: The staff is quick to respond to your needs if you phone them. Everyone is hospitable to give you a warm smile and greeting when you encounter them outside on a stroll.
VALUE: It is expensive as expected from a five star resort but you will get the worth of your money. The cheapest room they have costs $160+ / Php7000+ (Poolside Room) and day tour packages costs around $44+ / Php2000 per person. They have loads of activity on their facility that will keep you entertain all throughout your stay.
FOOD: They have four available restaurants each caters to a specific cuisine but if you opt for a native Filipino delicacies then Kilimanjaro Kafe is a good choice because that's where we dine most. The variety in the menu is good enough not to bore your taste buds but some dish lacks a distance taste that will associate it to the restaurant. They need a signature dish that only they offer. Pochero & Pancit Canton is recommendable.
Given the scale of the resort it would be hard to keep up in cleaning the different area but they succeed in doing so. I did not notice any specks of trash anywhere. The fresh water in the pool is crystal clear and the lagoon's saltwater glows with an aquamarine tint. It really helps them those artificial waterways have a free flowing mechanism to constantly keep it clean.
Conveniently, they place bucket of water in the entrance of your room to wash out your feet after a good stroll in the different facilities of the resort and prevent sands from entering the room. In my stroll in the entirety f the resort I spotted some cleaners in almost all corner of the resort to tidy things up. I'm impressed of their waste disposal they have and they rightfully claim the luxury they offer to the guests. Even the peninsula beach is spotless that is why a thought runs through my brain that only an artificial beach can be as clean as this. One thing that I can commend is to add more waste disposal bins on some area because I notice most of them are concentrated near the rooms and restaurants only. This is the biggest asset that they should keep up.
Mactan island is widely known for the world class resorts which rest on this small island. Plantation Bay is in Marigondon therefore making it convenient for the tourist because it is near the airport (around 30 minutes ride) and over an hour from Cebu city. If you made a reservation you can contact them to fetch you a free ride from the airport to the resort. There are buses which heads to Cebu city on specific time of the day and vice versa.
The resort boasts 11 hectares of property that you can leisurely stroll in your free time. They have two huge saltwater lagoons with peninsula beach and a freshwater swimming pool in the middle of the two and Kilimanjaro Kafe is in there too. The real coastline is left much to be desired because it so small and they didn't really put much effort to develop it. They have tennis court, firing range, wall climbing area and archery for those into sports and a children playground as well for the kids. There are countless of freshwater swimming pool that you can enjoy I especially like the one next to Savannah Grill where there is a volcanic fountain. It is widely known as one of the largest privately owned waterways in the world and to hold such title is an enough reason to give this resort a try.
We stayed in Xanadu Lodge and I must say it was a breath of fresh air because it is quite spacious. They have two wash room ( living room & bed room ) but the one in the bedroom is way bigger for personal use which has a hot and cold shower. I guess the wash room in the living is for a quick fix only because it don't have a shower.
HD TV is available both in the living room and bedroom which is equipped with a cable already. To those who just can't seem to leave their online life behind would be glad to know that the room has its own WiFi connection. Before you burst out into pure joy, it is stable but not really fast. I did a speed test with it and only got a three megabytes per second result. Hey! It is enough for your social networking fix but downloading stuff is a no no. You wouldn't really spending time online that much when you can have the whole resort waiting for you to explore.
You can never really go wrong with room service because the staff are quite trained to respond and on a short time possible. On a couple of days spent on the resort the staff always meet our expectation. They are courteous with the guests and always wear that warm smile.
The service in Kilimanjaro Kafe is quite the opposite though. Prepare to be starve for quite awhile because the food takes so long to serve. I suggest to come in the restaurant with a not so hungry state because you would be pissed off of the super slow service. I admire the complimentary bread and butter they serve while waiting for the meal but it just ain't enough sometimes. I really don't understand the missing spoon practice because you are given a complete set of eating utensils except the spoon. They only give it to you once all the ordered dish are complete. I can't think of any other reason why do this.
The resort is expensive so if you lack the funds then I suggest you go look for another one. It is expected that everything is overpriced here so if you are cost cutting it helps to buy the necessary goods in the city. Goods are usually are priced around four times from the original pricing.
Nothing special with the food that Kilimanjaro Kafe has and as expected is expensive. The chicken adobo that I cook at home actually tastes better than the one they serve because it lacks spices. It would help boasts the reputation of the restaurant if they at least come up with one signature dish that only they offer but they didn't. There are a lot of variety of Filipino food to choose from but the lack of choice in desserts doesn't play well with me.
Recommended: Pochero, Pancit Canton, Lechon Kawali, Prawn Cocktails, Home Made Ice Cream
We tried all the restaurants and our favorite is the Fiji Restaurant, although it was raining, the location by the beach is great. The GYM is great, and the road/path inside the resort allows jogging which is great for a runner like me! The breakfast at Kilimanjaro Cafe is great, with a view over the fresh-water pool.
by Jay S
First time to the Philippines for a wedding held at the resort itself. Beautiful location and facilities. We spent two days alone in the day spa! Did a day trip to nearby island and it was honestly the best snorkelling I've ever done (even compared to the Great Barrier Reef). Make sure you get a jetski ride - the waters near the resort are polluted but it's otherwise wonderful cruising up and down the coast. A Davis Cup tennis event was on while we were there (Thailand vs Philippines) and held at the actual resort which was fun. You can pretty much stay in the resort the whole time (we found the traffic outside of it tedious) but floating in the pool with a Pina Colada is heavenly. Will be back with the kids sometime, they'll love the waterslides.
by Bai Y
I guess another reason why I didn't like this place is because it's artificial. I love the ocean and the beach in Plantation Bay wasn't so good. The water wasn't clear. It's way too expensive above all. The restaurants in the complex are expensive and not so good either so you'll have to drive to the city if you want an affordable meal. i wouldn't recommend this to my friends or family. by zoezozo027 fom Manila
by Michael S from China
by MissOpinionated28 from Dubai
by SonicSpringBok from California
Plantation Bay is far from civilization, has expensive food and massage services. I don't understand how this place won the 2013 Traveler's Choice award. If you really want to visit this place, stay for an entire day then go home or transfer the next day. Maybe it will be a lot better if they cut all their prices in half. I don't really know what the $200 is for.
by Duhnica from Quezon City