Although I’ve attended a few events at the resort in the past and visited friends who stayed there, I have not stayed at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa for a night, until recently when I finally got to stay for a night with my mom.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, one of the top resorts in Mactan, was recently awarded as one of the 10 Most Beautiful Beach Resorts in the country by Guide to the Philippines. It is the only Cebu resort on the esteemed list.
Through my brief visits in the past, I already got a glimpse of the beauty of the resort and what it has to offer but with my recent stay, I am now able to say that indeed, Plantation Bay is a resort like no other. The resort was not spared from the wrath of Typhoon Odette, which damaged to property with a price tag of over a hundred million pesos. But reconstruction continues and they are looking at a full reopening early next year. Allow me to share a few reasons why you should stay at Plantation Bay Resort and Spa:
Water wherever you look
Plantation Bay offers one of the largest privately-owned waterways in the world, with the clean elegance of colonial-plantation architecture set in 11 hectares of secluded grounds. A huge area at the heart of the property is occupied by its saltwater swimming lagoons. Natural or manmade, the sight of water is calming and healing. Most, if not all, rooms are a few steps away from the nearest lagoon. I never expected to enjoy the saltwater pool as much as I did. It had everything one can find in the sea except for the little “inconveniences” like jellyfish, boats, sharp rocks, etc.
Relatively easy to navigate
Upon check-in, we were handed a map to explore the gargantuan resort at our own pace. While it may seem daunting, navigating the resort is quite easy as it follows a circular shape and the names of most buildings and facilities at Plantation Bay follow an alphabetical order from A-Z (counter-clockwise). You may of course opt to be picked up by a golf cart or ride a bike to get to your desired point on the map.
With such a huge area to explore, the possibilities are endless for that Instagram-worthy shot!
We were billeted at a Poolside Room at Leblon Hall where the saltwater pool was literally 5-10 seconds away. The room was simple, very spacious and elegant, with a panoramic view of the lagoons best enjoyed at the veranda.
With two queen beds, comfortable pillows, and a well-functioning air-conditioner, we had a very good sleep. There’s a flat screen TV with premium channels, free wi-fi access, complimentary 4 1-liter bottled water (water is life!), in-room safe, refrigerator, hair dryer, indoor slippers (outdoor slippers are for sale at P100 a pair) and coffee and tea-making facilities.
The bathroom is highlighted by the stone and marble finishes. It has a separate shower. They have a new shower with four heads: the rain shower head located above the head plus three other showers pointing to higher and lower parts of the body; plus custom-made steeping tub and ample counter space. I would’ve wished they had a bidet for the toilet though, but that’s just a minor detail.
There are four distinct restaurants within the resort. If I’m not mistaken, Palermo, which serves hearty tapas and pastas plus steaks, is still closed.
Kilimanjaro Kafe which is located by the pool, used to be open 24/7 pre-pandemic. Now, they’re open at 7-10:30AM (daily themed buffet breakfast) and 10:30AM-9PM (a la carte orders). During our visit, buffet breakfast was a combination of Filipino and American staples plus fresh fruits, choices of bread, cereals, salads, fresh juices and a live cooking station for your omelette. Tip: try their ensaymada!
We had our dinner at Fiji Restaurant (open Wednesdays to Mondays, 12NN-3PM and 6PM-10PM). Located at the resort’s beachfront, it offers fresh seafood, Japanese and other Asian cuisine. The ambiance was truly relaxing with interiors made mostly from wood. Must try here is there Japanese tempura, four jumbo prawns coated with their special batter and deep-fried to perfection. There is a unique way of eating the tempura here that won’t involve any dipping as the tempura sauce and sesame oil are sprayed on it to retain its crispness.
You could never go wrong with grilled meat and seafood! Manny’s Ceviche was also an experience of its own – thinly sliced pugapo sashimi with a hint of tropical fruit in red chili, calamansi, and native spicy vinegar from Mindanao, served on half shells. Don’t even attempt to grab a fork, and just grab the shell straight to your mouth and slurp it all in. By doing this, you get an explosion of flavors: sour, spicy, salty, and umami. The Shrimp Kare-Kare Maki was interesting.
Plantation Bay’s home-made ice cream flavors are the bomb! I enjoyed Salted Caramel the most. The Baked Alaska (meringue-coated vanilla ice cream) was recently re-plated and it tastes as good as it looks. Definitely leave some (or a lot of) room for dessert!
Route 66 Diner is a retro American Diner which we failed to check out during our stay.
Their staff are very attentive and polite, and even with their masks on, I could tell that they were smiling. You could tell that they were well-trained, from the moment you arrive, throughout your stay, until you check-out, they know what they are doing, they’re very attentive and confident with the product that they have.
On a personal note, I have a few friends who are/were working at Plantation Bay and they all agree that it is one of their best workplaces ever, which is probably a reflection of how their management has really valued them. That’s really good news especially now that they’re re-hiring staff in anticipation of increased arrivals as the world continues to open up.
The new center of Mactan
Although I live in Lapu-Lapu City and the resort being 20 minutes away from home, I’ve always considered the location of Plantation Bay to be in the “far end” and more secluded side of the island. It is 35 minutes away from the airport, and with traffic, it is around 90-120 minutes from Cebu City. Its location comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s a good thing that the resort is filled with a myriad of activities so guests would no longer think about going out once they’re inside.
But, with the recent opening of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway and Cordova Bypass Road, Plantation Bay has become more accessible to residents of Cebu City, and even Talisay. On a good day, it would only take 30 minutes to reach downtown Cebu City!
More reasons to come back!
An overnight stay is definitely too short! There are tons of things to do at Plantation Bay and most of them I haven’t done yet like kayak in the lagoon, and a massage at Mogambo Springs Spa, among others. The resort is perfect for individuals, couples, groups and families who want to temporarily be in a peaceful and serene world of their own without all the stresses in the world.
Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City
Phone: +63 (32) 505 9800