Despite the storm that hit Luzon during our visit, our family enjoyed our short, overnight trip to Las Casas. In between the intermittent rain, we had the chance to walk around the premises and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The winds by the beach were quite strong, but a cool respite from the usual Manila heat. Actually, I think the timing of our visit was perfect because the weather was comfortable. I can just imagine how terribly warm this place can get during the summer.
We drove for about 3 hours from Manila. SCTEX was very convenient. What I really liked about the place is the very personalized service provided by the staff. As soon as we entered the premises and gave our last name, the guards (which were interestingly dressed as guwardiya sibils) already knew we were staying overnight, and directed us where to go. The front desk staff also addressed us by name, which was quite a pleasant surprise. Even during dinner, we had a table reserved under our name.
The room exuded an old world appeal, in keeping with the theme of the resort. However, it was quite dark inside with only yellow lights, so it was quite difficult for reading. Our family of 7 (5 adults and 2 kids) took the studio deluxe loft, which was very spacious and comfortable for us. I had pre-paid and requested for 2 extra bed set-ups. When we got to our room, however, there was only 1 King Bed located at the loft. I called the reception to complain because I have been told the studio deluxe loft had 2 queen beds. I also had specifically requested for 2 extra beds because we were 7 people. It turns out the room allocated to us (Room 201) is the only studio deluxe loft with (1) King size bed ONLY. That was quite a disappointment for me. Although I must say the staff was quick in addressing my concern and immediately set up 4 additional beds for me (2 beds free of charge). I didn't like the mattresses. They were too firm for me.
The bathroom was ok, not much to complain about except for the shower which faced the glass door partition. As a result, water leaked out of the shower area. Water was also leaking under the sink area, but it wasn't a big problem.
The heritage tour is not a big thrill. The guide just says whatever is already in the brochure. I had expected more trivia regarding the houses, their owners, and in general, about life during the Spanish times. The advantage of going with the tour is being able to go inside the houses. However, at the time of our visit, most of the houses were occupied by guests so we couldn't go inside. That I do not understand. I am very grateful for what the resort owners have done to preserve our heritage, but I don't quite get why they allow guests to stay in the houses overnight. I felt a bit shortchanged for not being able to see the inside of the houses.
Anyway, my kids enjoyed the kalesa drive. At P50 per person, the kalesa will take you around to see the entire area of the resort. Not quite worth it as it is easy to cover the whole area by foot, except if like me, you have kids who have never been on a kalesa before.
Food is quite expensive, but good. Breakfast buffet was also good. In the brochure it says there are street food available at the Plaza, as well as native delicacies such as puto bumbong and bibingka. Sadly, there wasn't anything available during our visit, maybe because it was raining. I had looked forward to that. The panaderia at the Escolta is misleading. They do not sell freshly baked bread as it says in the brochure. They only sell grocery snacks. Don't make the same mistake we did. We bought canned sodas from the store, thinking they would be cheaper than if we got from the hotel room's mini-bar. It was P55 from the store and only P40 from the mini-bar!
On the ground floor of the hotel, there is a photo shop where they allow you to wear Filipino costumes and they take photos of you within the premises. It was quite expensive but a very good souvenir. P550 for (1) 5R black & white photo and (2) 4R black & white photos. P200 for every (3) additional 4R colored shots (optional).
Over-all it was a good trip. The place is very serene. I can imagine writers who would very much enjoy the tranquility that the place can offer. A good place for photographers too! Photos come out postcard-perfect, no matter how amateur you are. For families though, an overnight trip would be enough. There's not much to do in this place. You can cover the grounds in 1 afternoon. Swim in the pool and get a massage. That's it, but the place is really beautiful.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.