My family stayed at this hotel just after the new year, and given this is a Shangri-La we came away quite disappointed with our visit, although there were some highlights.
First and foremost, the best aspect of the resort is the amazing service and friendliness of the staff. From the very first moment we were greeted at the airport all the way through entire stay, we were constantly greeted with smiles, friendliness and offers to assist with anything we needed. I congratulate the hotel on this accomplishment as it is very difficult to do this consistently across all levels of a property so this was a highlight of our stay.
The other very positive piece of feedback is that overall, the resort’s amenities and activities are excellent, especially the marine reserve. The snorkelling was perhaps the best I have ever enjoyed off the beach of a resort, and the quality of marine life and the obvious effort that has gone into preserving the marine environment is to be applauded. I also appreciated having the beach, as although many on Trip Advisor have downplayed it as being artificial, I didn’t mind that whatsoever and to be frank could hardly tell in any case. In my mind, the key to a successful holiday at an island family resort is options: having both a beach and a pool, kid-focused facilities, and indoor and outdoor activities, and the Shangri-La Mactan does fairly well on all those counts.
Unfortunately, too many things outweighed the positives in terms of our overall experience at the resort. First off, upon arrival in our room in the Ocean Wing we were extremely underwhelmed with it. We could have been in any basic, dull global hotel chain hotel room - it just did not feel like a Shangri-La room at all. This was compounded by the fact that when we booked, we believed that an Ocean Wing room included all the benefits of the Ocean Club.
The website booking page said nothing about a different room rate for the Ocean Club benefits, so if you are looking at staying in the Ocean Wing and you want the full Ocean Club package, you need to be sure that on the website you go to the Ocean Club page first and THEN click on “Reserve a Room” to see the different price options for the Ocean Club. We only figured this out after conferring with the staff, who also didn’t seem to be clear on how the site worked. This was confusing and very frustrating, given we booked months ahead of time.
We even got a call from the hotel's reservation manager 2 days' prior to arrival asking us if we wanted to take advantage of a F&B credit offer, with no mention at all that we'd booked an Ocean Wing room but apparently did not have the Ocean Club benefits. Again, this was extremely confusing and annoying and it was a disappointing start to our visit as we chose the resort and the Ocean Wing specifically because we wanted full Ocean Club/Wing benefits. Despite this issue, and going back to my opening comments about terrific service, the Duty Manager Terrence quickly recognised the situation and graciously offered us full Ocean Club benefits during our stay.
This was greatly appreciated and quite astute of Terrence as it was pretty clear my wife and I were very disappointed with the situation and it was a very quick and simple way to address our disappointment. Regardless, I really think that the rooms in the Ocean Wing desperately need a makeover, as they simply do not live up to Shangri-La standards, are not good value for the money and were a significant disappointment for us.
Also, be aware that even with the Ocean Club package many things at the resort cost extra. As example, near the main swimming pool there’s an outdoor games area which has a free pool table, but then they charge 250 pesos for only 30 minutes for a pool table in the E-Zone which seemed excessive. Also, the mini-golf course needs a significant refurbishment as well and yet that too cost extra (and has only 14 holes which is also strange.) We went down the road to another 5-star resort to have dinner one night, and their prices for wine and beer were (in most instances) about half the cost of the Shangri-La; as example, a San Miguel beer at the other resort was 95 pesos vs. 180 pesos at the Shangri-La.
Also, be aware that everything is "plus-plus-plus" on top of the price, as anything you pay for at the resort is subjected to two government taxes and also a service charge, and thus everything costs at least 25% more than is advertised. I was told that the service charge actually goes to the employees (so that not just restaurant workers get tips but everyone from the servers to the desk staff to the cleaning crew get a cut of the service fees) which hopefully is the case as given the exemplary service they provide they all deserve it!
All in all, the resort has great promise but too many annoying factors really let it down for us, especially as a Shangri-La property. That being said, if you are looking for a great family resort and the above feedback doesn’t really put you off, I’m sure you can have a great time at this property.
Note comments in review about Ocean Wing vs. Ocean Club. However, even if you don't want to pay...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.