Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa: a world-class hideaway

Monday, 6 July 2015

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa is a world-class beachside property located in Mactan Island, Cebu.

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Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa is a world-class beachside property located in Mactan Island, Cebu. It's as opulent as other Shangri-La properties around the Philippines but this is our favorite so far because of its breathtaking white cove that stretch out into crystalline waters.

Beach beds at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
Beach benches

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa: a world-class hideaway


    Our first family getaway


    Mactan Island in Cebu is a popular travel destination because of its breathtaking beaches, rich history, and world-class hotels and resorts. It has a lot to offer in terms of tourist spots, making it a popular destination to both Filipino and foreign travelers alike. If you are thinking of what to do in Mactan, whether at day or at night, you will never run out of things to keep your itinerary full.

    Driveway of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    The hotel driveway

    For our Mactan trip, we were to spend a four-night staycation at the lovely Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. Khris and I were very excited since this is our first family trip.

    A port at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    A small port

    After all, Shangri-La is known for its luxurious hotels and resorts. Add to that the fact that Cebu is one of our favorite destinations, with its cosmopolitan vibe that is devoid of the clutter and harried pace of Metro Manila.

    Our flight to Mactan


    We were booked for an early flight via Cebu Pacific because we wanted to have time to explore Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa. 

    Upon our arrival at the Mactan International Airport, we saw one of the coasters of the hotel. We found out from the porter that it was arranged for one of the foreign guests. My sister-in-law and her husband tried their luck and asked the porter if we can hitch. Thankfully, we were allowed a ride but it was for a fee.

    Chandelier and decorations at the lobby of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Chandelier and decorations

    After around 30 minutes through regular traffic, we arrived at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa's lobby. It was as I had expected the hotel to be – spacious, impressive, and superb-looking. The lobby is a big open space which easily took in the cool sea breeze.

    There are also comfortable sofas near the front desk where guests can lounge around. Because of our early morning flight and the fresh air, I almost dozed off at my seat.

    Elegant pieces at the lobby of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Elegant pieces at the lobby

    Check-in at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa


    There were already many guests lined-up at the check-in counter by the time that we got there, even if it was early in the morning. Nonetheless, check-in was a breeze and we were handed our key cards as soon as we finished filling out the usual forms.

    Our room


    My sister-in-law booked an adjoining room for us. Our room was at the ninth level which gave us a good view of the sea from our window.

    Room at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Our room

    As soon as we were inside, we immediately checked out the amenities. It had the standard large-screen LCD television, a study, telephone, mini bar, and a personal refrigerator. The bathroom had a sink, toilet, shower, bathtub, and all the toiletries to ensure that our stay is as comfortable as it can be.

    Soap at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Soap

    Toiletries at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Toiletries

    The big queen-size bed looked inviting and tempting. We would have wanted to sleep but we could not help but go outside and explore the vast gardens and walkways of the property.

    Things to do in Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa


    Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa is a large property, not just the hotel itself but the entire lot area. The gardens as spacious, with the greens intersected by concrete pathways. There's just so many things that you can do right inside the hotel.

    Manicured lawn of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Manicured lawn

    To begin with, here are some of the things that you can see and do in Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa:

    1. Explore the property


    Travel blogger couple at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Taking a rest from all the walking

    This is what we did on our first day at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa. We did a walking tour around the gardens, we checked out the amenities, and observed the busy buzz of the hotel personnel preparing for events as well as evening activities.

    Exploring inside the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Exploring the interior garden

    All that walking around through the property was enough to occupy our whole afternoon. Likewise, it familiarized us with the whole hotel so we would already know what to do and where to go in the subsequent days of our stay.


    2. Swim in any of the hotel's inviting pools


    Travel couple blogger swimming at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Enjoying the swimming pool

    There are several swimming pools within the hotel grounds. If you do not feel like going to the beach, this is the best option to enjoy some sun and water. Kids, most especially, will love the children's pool that features a play area.

    3. Take a dip in the beach


    Travel couple blogger at the beach of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Enjoying the beach

    Probably one of the best features of at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa is its white sand cove. The sand is powdery fine, similar to that in Boracay. What's good about the beach is that it's not crowded plus there are no beachside bars to distract swimmers.

    A family at the beach of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    My sister-in-law and her family

    Fish in the water at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Fishes swimming

    In addition, the water is crystal-clear. You can actually fishes swimming beside you. Throw a bit of sand to the water and the fish will flock around the bits of sand, thinking that it's food. 

    4. Spend a quiet afternoon by the beach and watch the sunset


    Couple travel blogger at the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa cove
    Strolling along the beach

    If you want to take a break from all the swimming and water activities, you can spend a quiet afternoon at the beach under the shade of an umbrella.

    Beach essentials at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Beach essentials

    Take a good book with you and read, then wait for the sun to set. It's a view that you will definitely enjoy.

    5. Have a great night out at the bar


    Fireworks at dusk at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Dusk signals the start of the nightlife at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa

    If you love night outs, then head over to Cowrie Cove Bar, located right at the garden. Order a nice drink and enjoy the lively music curated by a guest DJ every night. You will also be treated to a show as bartenders show off their skills.

    6. Visit the open-air chapel


    Open-air chapel at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    The open-air chapel

    There is an open-air chapel at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa's garden. If you want a moment of peace and quiet, you can visit the chapel and have a few minutes of prayer.

    7. Book a relaxing spa session at Chi, The Spa



    Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Entering the gardens of Chi, The Spa

    If you want a relaxing treatment for your aching muscles, then book a satisfying wellness session at Chi, The Spa.

    A centerpiece inside Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Inside Chi, The Spa

    Upon entering Chi, The Spa, you will immediately be greeted with an uplifting vibe and aroma. The calming music is the perfect invitation for you to lie down on a massage bed and let yourself be pampered. 

    8. Sleep all you want


    What's stopping you from sleeping? You are on vacation, anyway, so take advantage of the opportunity to recharge yourself. You do not always have to be up and about and on the move to be able to say that you had a worthwhile vacation. Sleep is the ultimate relaxation.

    Dining at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa


    There are several dining options at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa so you do not need to go outside to eat. Nevertheless, if you do want to go outside the hotel and try other restaurants, you might not find one within the immediate vicinity of the hotel. You can get a cab to take you to a well-known restaurant around the area or take the hotel's shuttle bus to Cebu City where there are more restaurant options.

    Anyway, these are the options that we tried at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa:

    Acqua Restaurant


    We ate most of our meals at Acqua Restaurant. The interiors of the restaurant are bright and spacious, and the tables and seats were comfortable.

    Crispy pata at Acqua Restaurant at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Crispy pata

    We tried Acqua Restaurant's sinigang na baboy and crispy pata. The sinigang na baboy is a huge bowl of steaming broth with vegetables and chunks of pork.

    The hot soup looked really tempting but, on my first sip I was taken aback because it was too sour, like jaw-numbing sour. I like my sinigang sour but it should still have the right balance of saltiness and spice. Anyway, I just added a dash of salt to my soup and that did the trick well.

    Sinigang at Acqua Restaurant at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    A steaming bowl of sinigang na baboy at Acqua Restaurant

    The crispy pata is another story though. Clichéd as it may sound, but it was sinfully good! The pork skin was crispy and it had the right level of saltiness. The meat was tender and went well with the spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

    We also tried the Greek and Caesar Salads, and the seafood pasta. The Caesar Salad was good; the vegetables are fresh, crisp, and just lightly dressed but it was intensely flavorful. It had chunks of feta cheese which lent a salty-creamy taste to the salad.

    Interesting wall decors at Acqua Restaurant at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Interesting caricature of famous personalities hanging on the wall

    The seafood pasta, on the other hand, was extremely satisfying. It had generous helpings of seafood slices swimming in copious amounts of red sauce.

    The restaurant's staff were also very gracious. When we had lunch here, our orders came late, so the restaurant crew said that we can get dessert from the buffet area. I loaded a huge plate with chunks of fresh fruit and I got myself scoops of ube and vanilla ice cream with all the delicious toppings.

    Taking a walk at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Taking a walk after our meal

    In general, service was good and fast. The staff was very accommodating of our requests. However, since this is a hotel restaurant, expect the food to be pricey.

    Tea of Spring


    Our family had dinner at Tea of Spring during our second night at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa. As the name suggests, Tea of Spring offers oriental cuisine in its menu.

    The interiors are reminiscent of well-known Chinese restaurants in Manila, with red lanterns hung throughout the place. The tables are big – perfect for any family gathering or celebrations. As can be expected, hot tea is served free and overflowing.

    Family photo in front of Tea of Spring at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Family shot outside Tea of Spring after dinner

    We ordered yang chow fried rice, braised minced beef wit h bean curd sauce, stewed pork ribs, fried chicken for the children, chicken noodle soup, and vegetable and seafood omelet.

    I first tried the stewed pork ribs – it was tender enough but there was nothing splendid about the taste. The braised minced beef was also tender. It had a well-balanced sweet-salty taste but, nonetheless, also ordinary.

    A small bridge at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa's garden
    A small bridge in the garden

    What I enjoyed most was the chicken noodle soup and the omelet. The egg noodles were very firm and tasted rich. The warm soup that was bursting with flavor was a good complement to the rich noodles. This dish had huge slices of shitake mushrooms and fresh Chinese lettuce. As for the omelet, well, you can never go wrong with any fried dish with egg.

    A wall decor of sea urchin shells at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    A wall décor of sea urchin shells

    One thing I discovered during that night was what my sister-in-law called “extraordinary sauce” or XO sauce. We really did not know what it was made of. It looked like the usual chili-garlic sauce in siomai joints but it tasted “funky” at first but it made any dish, whether meat or soup, really delicious.

    I really would not consider it as a superb dinner, but it was, all in all, satisfying. Service was good and fast. What's more, the food was more affordable at Tea of Spring as compared to Acqua Restaurant.

    Room Service


    We tried Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa's room service on our last day at the hotel. After spending the morning at the beach, we ordered fried chicken and pancit before returning to our room. We wanted a quick and light meal since we were still full from our breakfast. 

    However, when we returned to our room, we were surprised to discover a wonderful spread of Cebu Lechon and a big bowl of puso waiting for us. This delicious feast was a complimentary meal courtesy of the hotel.


    Room service at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Cebu Lechon and puso courtesy of the hotel staff

    For those who are  not familiar, puso is rice encased in woven coconut leaves and then steamed or boiled. This is how Cebuanos typically cook and consume their rice. It is usually sold in roadside stalls or eateries and commonly eaten with meats and sauces without the use of utensils.

    On the other hand, Cebu lechon (whole roasted pig) is a mouthwatering dish that the province is also famous for. The cooking method is similar to that of other lechon varieties in the Philippines – whole pig is skewered on a bamboo pole and slowly roasted over hot coals or firewood. 

    Crunchy noodles at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Crunchy fried noodles via room service

    What sets Cebu Lechon apart is that is that the meat and skin are generously seasoned with herbs, spices and salt, infusing a rich flavor to the dish. Most Cebuanos would tell you that you do not need a sauce to go with it and it’s true. The flavorful meat and crunchy skin can be eaten without having to dip it in a sauce.

    I first tasted Cebu lechon at Waterfront Hotel in Lahug during one of our corporate events some years ago and I immediately fell in love with it. For me, a trip to Cebu is not complete without having a bite of Cebu lechon.

    Fried chicken via room service at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    Fried chicken

    The skin is my favorite part because it was very crunchy and tasty – much like chicharon but with a more robust and richer flavor.

    Our Cebu lechon came with a vinegar dipping sauce with slices of red onions and red chilies. It was my first time to try dipping Cebu lechon in vinegar and I must say it was very good. The spicy vinegar provided balance by cutting the richness of the meat.

    Lobby Lounge


    We did not really try the food at Lobby Lounge but Khris and I had coffee here one night. What stands out in the Lobby Lounge is the ambiance.

    Coffee from Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa's Lobby Lounge
    Hot coffee

    The cool sea breeze, the music, the easy chatter and busy buzz of the people coming and going all the more emphasized the feeling that we were on a holiday.

    The breathtaking beach of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
    A magnificent view of the beach

    How to book a room at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa


    If you are interested to book a room at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, you may use the link below to get the best price:

    If you want to find out their latest promos and offers, you may get in touch with them through the following contact information:

    Contact number: (63 32) 231 0288

    Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa is located at Punta Engano Road, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan, Cebu 6015 Philippines

    MAP OF SHANGRI-LA'S MACTAN RESORT & SPA

    Credit cards are honored at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa


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