A "boutique hotel" with "luxurious accommodation"? You must be joking!
We - myself, partner and two children (5 yrs and 15 months) - spent five nights here over the Christmas period and left feeling pretty deflated. I'll be as objective and fair as I can, but I really fail to see how any guests - particularly families - can leave feeling on such a high!
The PBCR's location is stunning, no question. The views from the terrace/pool/beach are all fantastic and, although we didn't try it, other guests raved about the snorkelling, often just a few yards off-shore. The sea is clear, warm and a beautiful colour against the coral/sand combination on the sea-bed.
Food, in general, is of a very good standard, and presented in a very professional manner. The Christmas Eve 'buffet' was superb, with delicious turkey/beef/ham/seafood and plenty of accompanying vegetables/rice. The only slight negative was the wine; advertised as 'free-flow', indeed it was. But the standard measure is 125ml and, whilst your glass was topped up if you asked, we felt uncomfortable doing so after having had two or three. The only fly in an otherwise splendid ointment.
The sailing trip we had was great. Only my son and I went - it's not suitable for very young children which, unfortunately, we weren't made aware of at the time of booking, so my partner stayed behind with our baby - but it was fantastic weather and a real treat. We were very grateful that David had managed to fix one of the boat's cables, which had broken but a few days earlier, so that we could take this trip before we left.
The property - including the beach - is kept, in the main, extremely clean. And the pool is lovely and inviting.
The staff are, almost unfailingly, extremely helpful, polite and accommodating.
Prices for drinks/snacks/meals are reasonable, by Western standards.
The (pre-booking) contact/service you will get will be excellent. We almost booked on the strength of this alone. Very polite, very helpful and very swift.
Unfortunately rather a lot to cite...
To claim PBCR is a "boutique hotel" with "luxurious accommodation" (see the website) is a gross misrepresentation. We had the family room - which is the same size as a double - and it left a lot to be desired. The furniture is generally of a poor standard; no runners on drawers, mis-aligned doors and made of wood that seems to have been simply thrown together (take a look under the beds). There was no cot for our baby upon arrival, and when it did turn up we found a cockroach scurrying about under the mini-mattress. The A/C is generally OK - even if it does kick in with a noisy vengeance every 15 mins or so - but the bathroom has no hot water to the basin. Our basin tap was very loose (David kindly fixed it, after I'd had to draw it to his attention) and the mirror was dilapidated. There was also what we suspected to be a 'toilet' stain on the bathroom rug - we asked for it to be cleaned. The "garden view" advertised is nothing of the sort. The property boundary lies a few feet away, and the only time we looked out was shortly before one of the staff walked past right outside the window - the curtains remained closed thereafter. Be prepared, also, to spend your nights with geckos glued to the ceiling/walls a few feet away...
For a resort that claims to have a family room, it is surprising that they do not have a single high chair for dining. Our daughter was fed either on our lap or sat in her buggy.
Despite the food being, generally, of a good quality, we would have been happy to book a single, set dish for our evening meal. Half-boarders are almost 'told' what they will be eating that evening, although Delia did try to make sure that she wasn't serving us with something we utterly detested or something we might have some kind of reaction to. Breakfasts - save for the Christmas Day champagne one (very nice) - are very ordinary. Toast (often cold), butter (always hard) jam etc, plus cereal and tea/coffee/water. Juice you pay for, as you will for anything cooked.
I had to send back half of a lunch-time sandwich because the bread was visibly mouldy, and was given the explanation (by the staff) that it was not, and was simply something to do with the "baking" method - nonsense! After 20 mins waiting, I had to ask for a replacement.
Despite my commending the resort's cleanliness, I should point out that litter (not washed up) could almost always be spotted in patches down at the beach, and that cobwebs can be found under the beds, at least they could in the family room. And anyone seeking adventure should take a look under the sofa in the lounge. I only spotted it because one of our kids' toys rolled underneath, but I couldn't even guess when it was last swept!
There were other little annoyances, such as being charged, at the end of our stay, for food we'd not ordered, and for water - three bottles in the room, daily - that we'd been led to believe were complimentary.
PBCR is also a 30-min walk from the 'town'. We didn't venture, leaving ourselves confined to the resort itself, albeit of our own choice.
WiFi is acceptable, at best, and on a par with dial-up, at worst, even if one positions their lap-top within inches of the router. Given the time of year - and being 6000 miles from 'home' - we were disappointed not to be able to have a decent Skype conversation with our parents/family to wish them a 'Happy Christmas'.
The transfer from the airport (Tacloban) is horrendous. Dress it up as best you can, but it's a fraction over 100 miles (168 kms, the driver told us) and 3.5 hours on some of the most unforgiving roads. An absolute nightmare, particularly with young children.
The steps leading down to the beach are extremely steep, hazardous and entirely un-lit. Beware, if you wish to venture down after dusk and do not have a torch.
There is a small wall (approx 18ins high) between the upper area of the grounds - not more than 8 feet from the pool - and the beach below. It is a sheer drop of perhaps 70 feet or more! There are no 'warning' signs, and it is both nauseating and downright dangerous, particularly when you're holidaying with young children - a CONSTANT worry, to be honest. I am quite sure that any resort in the UK/EU with this sort of hazard would be closed down instantly.
So, there you have it. As honest and fair as I think we can be. Three stars is the absolute maximum I would award. If you're a young couple with a bit of 'adventure' in you, it may well be the right choice. For anyone else - and particularly families - it might not be quite what you had in mind. And, as I've said, a "boutique hotel" with "luxurious accommodation"? Not in a million years! We wouldn't (ever) go back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review. Given your continual family arguments, which were a constant annoyance to our other guests and led to you indulging in the unacceptable behaviour of spending at least 1 night sleeping on the sofa in the hotel lounge, it is not surprising that your holiday was disappointing. Let us address some of the points you make.
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Activities such as catamaran sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, caving, hiking to waterfalls, etc are clearly unsuitable for 15 month old babies who cannot yet walk. We also offer city tours, land trips to other beautiful beaches and fish feeding sanctuaries, and tours by motor boat to nearby islands and to watch dolphins, which are all great for families with babies and infants – as well as for adults.
Our half-board dinners are 4-course set dinners, which are discussed and agreed with guests in advance. The choice for any particular evening is limited but we provide different menus every day even for people who stay for 2 weeks or more as well as for people with special dietary requirements. We also offer 1, 2 or 3 course dinners for people not taking half-board. You ‘upgraded’ to ‘half-board’ after your first dinner, and you ate all 4 courses every night. Wine on Christmas Eve was free flow and was not measured, and glasses were constantly topped up, without guests needing to ask, until dinner was cleared about 10.30pm. Continental breakfast is included in the room rates and comprises tea/coffee/hot chocolate, toast & jam or cereals, fresh fruit or fruit juice. Additional items are available at additional charge. As you spent 2 hours over most of your breakfasts, it is not surprising that your toast was cold.
Internet connection on a remote island in a developing country is never going to be as fast as in a big, developed city. The connection is available in all the guest rooms and public areas (except the beach) and the speed is more than adequate for e-mailing, web browsing and social networking. On Christmas evening 3 people, including yourself, were simultaneously making Skype video calls while several other guests were also successfully connecting to the internet with their mobile devices.
It is a 3 hour non-stop drive for the 165km journey from Tacloban airport to the resort. The road is concrete/asphalt for the entire length, it winds through the mountains for about 50 kilometres and in some places the surface is rough. There is continuous work to maintain and upgrade this road.
It is an 11 metre drop from the garden to the beach, with 36 steps in the staircase.
We are 3 km from Padre Burgos town and both public transport and the resort van are available at a small cost for people who do not wish to walk.
The information in the rooms clearly states that bottled water is not free. You mentioned when you checked out that there was 1 portion of French fries on your bill which you had not consumed. As the amount was so trivial you asked for no adjustment to be made, and we fail to understand why you are complaining about this here. The bread was made freshly every day but there was clearly something, other than mould, in one of your sandwiches. We apologise for this and it took 20 minutes to make a replacement, and we made no charge for either the original or the replacement.
Your points, while exaggerated, about the underside of beds and sofas not being completely clean have been noted and we have updated our cleaning procedures to ensure these types of places are cleaned more often. Our cleaner was spending up to 3 hours a day to clean your room because your clothes, towels, toys, papers, bedclothes, etc were strewn all over the floors and furniture and you used your bathroom to do your laundry with the complimentary bath soap. We keep the beach very clean, as shown in the numerous guest photos posted here, and natural and artificial debris that is continually washed up by the tide and currents is cleared as quickly as humanly possible. Swivel type water taps do work themselves loose, particularly when children play with them, and it was a 5 second job to re-tighten the retaining nut by hand. Geckos are part and parcel of life in the tropics – even in the brand new 38th floor penthouse apartment we occupied when we lived in Singapore!
Thank you, once again, for your comments and giving us the opportunity to respond.
David & Delia.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.