Tourism is slowly picking up from where it left off before the pandemic, and with restrictions easing out globally, Cebu tourism stakeholders want a chunk of that tourism pie as revenge travelers are on the lookout for new destinations to visit. In Cebu alone, a number of hotels and resorts have opened over the past few months and I got to stay at a new resort in northern Cebu recently, El Mar Resort and Spa.
El Mar Resort is a resort located in a 89.9 hectare enclave covering the towns of Sogod and Borbon in Northern Cebu. The resort opened at the height of the pandemic and continues to be on “soft-opening” mode as more amenities are being added to complete the luxury resort. Here are reasons to stay at El Mar Resort and Spa before everyone else does:
Location: so near yet so “far”
The resort is located around 2 hours from Cebu City. It is a scenic leisurely drive on a mostly-coastal highway and once you are inside the property, it feels like you are transported to another world, where peace is at its maximum and decibel levels on the minimum. You will be greeted by a central fountain and greens as far as the eye can see, you’ll feel like you’re on a retreat.
A Peaceful Stay
El Mar Resort and Spa currently has 50 rooms: a combination of seaview rooms, “casita” suites, and a presidential villa, and the owners no longer intend to add more, to ensure maximum privacy and luxury for their guests. You won’t really notice there are other in-house guests until you encounter them during breakfast. In-house guests also have their own cove, where day-use guests are restricted access.
We were billeted at a Deluxe Seaview Room. These rooms are the closest to the beach, with terraces that afford a view of the sunrise (unfortunately we were not blessed with one during our stay). This October, you may book this room (good for two with breakfast) at P6,828 nett on Mondays-Thursdays, and P8,491 nett on Fridays-Sundays.
The room was very spacious at 94sqm. Guests may choose between a king bed or two twin beds. It comes with a telephone, Smart TV (with Netflix), free wi-fi access, instant coffee and tea, a mini-bar, 2 complimentary water bottles.
The bathroom has a separate shower, deep-soaking bathtub, hair-dryer, complimentary bath amenities, in-room slippers, bath robes, and I love that the toilet has a bidet.
The room has a well-functioning air-conditioner and comfortable pillows so I had a good quality sleep. There’s one minor detail that I wish to point out though and that’s the location of the light switches. They’re located by the main door and I wish there was a master switch by the bedside for convenience. That, plus additional power outlets since we have too much gadgets to charge nowadays. But it’s also important to note that the seaview rooms are the “oldest” rooms before the M. Lhuillier Group acquired the property, so I’m sure these rooms will be improved soon.
Meanwhile, we also got the chance to check out the Presidential Villa. If you’re a family or a group of friends, you may wanna check this out.
This ensuite four-bedroom luxurious oceanfront villa, which comes with its own private infinity pool with a picturesque view will allow your group to make the most of your staycation away from home. The villa comes with coffee and tea amenities, complimentary bottled water, mini bar, huge living area, electronic safe and smart TVs. It also has a kitchen, game room and mini-theater.
For October, the Presidential Villa is available for P30,094 nett on Mondays-Thursdays and P31,881 nett on Fridays-Sundays, with breakfast for 8.
El Mar Resort currently has two dining outlets. The resort’s all-day dining restaurant, Sunrise Pavilion, is where buffet breakfasts are served. It also offers themed buffets and a la carte menu. La Playa Bar & Cafe, has an exquisite a la carte menu. It also serves cocktails and wines in a comfortable al fresco setting. The food at El Mar is fantastic, and I was pleasantly surprised that it’s very affordable. Check out some of their must-try dishes below:
Massages and Water Activities
While your stay at El Mar already entitles you to unlimited access to their white sand beach coves, they also have motorized and non-motorized watersports available to get your adrenaline pumping. Their massages are also amazing! You may opt to have them inside your room or by the beachfront. El Mar also has a provision for bonfires under the stars, and established trails for leisurely treks around the property.
The Best is yet to come!
El Mar is currently a full-service resort already but more facilities will be developed by phases until early next year as it aims for five-star status. A grand lobby will be built for a wonderful sense of arrival. And while massages can already be availed by guests, a spa facility is in the works. Guests can also look forward to a beachfront infinity pool. An abandoned structure perched on top of a hill is also planned to be repurposed into an all-glass fine dining restaurant. More amenities like function halls for events and special occasions, and more facilities are also in the pipeline. Despite this, the management assures that it is committed to continue offering the resort and its food at affordable prices, considering how frugal the Cebuano market is.
*cover photo drone shot by Carlo Olano of Kalami Cebu