Laiya, San Juan, Batangas is relatively the most accessible place from Manila where one can have a quiet and relaxing commune with the sun, sand and sea. It has several resorts to choose from, and one seems to have gone beyond the typical. This is Estrellas de Mendoza Playa Resort, where me and hubby stayed during the recent long weekend, It is the only resort in Laiya with a 7-storey hotel with scenic elevator and ALL rooms facing the beach. It also has about 15 Med inspired cabanas (costs 16k pesos/night) and a huge freeform infinity pool.
We arrived at the resort shortly before noon. After getting all details from us on check-in, we were immediately advised that rooms will be available by 2pm yet, which is the norm during peak season. They directed us to the restaurant for lunch or refreshments instead, while waiting.
The resto is more like a huge dining hall, with a very casual setting of tables that sit 6-8 persons each. Service is good, food is good and with variety. Prices area reasonable as most items in the menu are good for 2-3 persons. (I loved their sizzling squid and their blueberry cheesecake.) At dinner, guests had a choice of having it al fresco by the beach or in the dining hall. This arrangement is usually done during times when hotel is fully booked. And there is the option of having room service too. Breakfast was served buffet in another dining hall at the 7th floor.
Our room was spacious, with 32" LCD TV, safety deposit box and coffee/tea making facilities. Linens and towels smelled fresh. Pillows were soft enough and mattress firm. It has a lot of cabinets and storage spaces ideal for a family's long staycation. The room has a view of the pool, the beach and the roof of cabanas below. We had a couple of issues, though:
1) the console for the cable TV wasn't where it should be. We had to ask housekeeping for it. A staff arrived with the console, connected it but turned out it didnt have "load" for the subscribed channels. I found that weird! The staff said he will have it "loaded". He left and came back after 15 mins, tried the channels again and still didnt work. He left the TV on and advised us to wait for a few minutes. The channels came up after a while.
2) the bath's drainage was clogged but was attended by housekeeping right away.
3) the shower heads werent well cleaned.
Estrellas' main attraction is the swimming pool with a wading pool for kids. It's blue sand finish (instead of tiles) gives its water a blue color making it so much more inviting. It has lifeguards stationed in at least 4 points around the pool and beach area. The surrounding area is very spacious. Despite being fully booked and has so many guests, the resort didnt seem crowded.
The beach isnt that gorgeous though. During high tide, it looks great with the white sandy shoreline right next to the pool. But at low tide, the greenish brownish sand reveals itself and the sea is about 100 meters away. The area isnt ideal for snorkeling either.
In general, our stay was very relaxing and pleasant. They have enough staff who are able to attend to guests asap. I think, it's because, they were systematic and organized in doing their jobs. They didnt appear stressed and each staff never failed to smile. This surely isnt going to be our last time in this charming seaside retreat.
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- Also Known As:
- Estrellas De Mendoza Playa Hotel San Juan