Camp Holiday, Samal Island
This is a resort that caters mostly to the local market and is doing it very well. Its beach is artificial, surrounded by concrete steps and sea walls and located right next to the ferry landing. But the rows of picnic tables and picnic huts near the water are enough proof of its popularity among the local weekend crowd of Davao City and Samal. Surely its convenient location right beside the ferry landing, where ferries to and from Davao City dock, is one of the reasons for its popularity.
The resort has a wide grassy lawn with a huge swimming pool in the middle under the shades of coconut palms. The restaurant and meeting room are centrally located between the hotel buildings, the beach and the swimming pool.
There are two hotel buildings in the resort and a number of individual rooms near the swimming pool. The buildings have simple architectural design with some buildings painted in bright colours. My room at the second flood has two single beds and lots of space. The room is provided with basic necessities of toilet paper, towels and small pieces of soap. There is hot shower but the water heater in my room did not seem to work. The only amenity in the room is a flat screen TV. Although very basic, the feature of the room that I liked best is the wide veranda that overlooks the lawn, the restaurant and partly the sea.
The housekeeping service is perhaps a notch down. I stayed two nights and room was not made up even though I placed the notice at the door asking for room make up. First time I came in the room seems pretty clean, except that the foot rug by the bathroom seems to have been unchanged. It was full of sand, probably courtesy of the previous occupant. As for the other services, the front desk staffs are pretty efficient and courteous; the restaurant service is efficient and waiters look after the dining guests. Kitchen service can be slow depending on the food ordered. I ordered grilled tuna belly and it took the restaurant a while to serve my food. But for other dishes, these were whipped up rather quickly.
The menu offers local and international food. Based on what we have tried, the food is not extraordinary but servings are ample. Most important, they have my favourite “kinilaw” (Filipino style ceviche) and grilled tuna belly. But it is disappointing for out of town guests like us that fresh fruits, which Davao is well known for, are not available. No brewed coffee either, only instant coffee is served.
The management really runs a tight ship. On our last day we came back to the hotel a bit late (an hour) for check out time. We rushed to our room for a quick shower and final packing only to find out power in our room has been turned off. But it was not a big deal since the shower still ran, the room was naturally lighted and it was a hot and humid day, and a cool shower was a welcome respite.
The hotel is actually pleasant at night when the cool sea breeze delightfully blows and darkness hides the not so pleasant views along the coast. The Camp Holiday is what it is, no pretences. Best use of this hotel, if you are a tourist from out of town, is a staging point for sorties around Samal. There are small restaurants in Babak that offer good local cuisine and fruit stalls that sells the exotic fruits Davao is well known for.
I bet, it is best to avoid weekends in this hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.