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“Overpriced, Underdelivered”

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Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa
Manila
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Overpriced, Underdelivered”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Had Bellarocca stayed at a lower price range, and not been touted as a Santorini, the trip would have been great! But because of its published rates and hyped marketing, expectations were created that there was no way they could've lived up to.
What I liked:
Service was at its Filipino best! Amazing! Views from the windows; privacy and sense of seclusion (if you're into that. If not, you'd find the place boring.) Short plane ride (40min), short ride to the dock of 40 mins in a comfortable van, and short boat ride of about 15mins to the resort. Van and boat rides provided by the resort for free. Decent speakers along with the TV, along with free DVDs from their library.
What was disappointing:
Room appointments- stayed at the 2BR Terraza which had 2 balconies to enjoy the majestic view from, but not a single outdoor furniture?!
Food quality- fruit platter for breakfast had 6 thin slices watermelon! This is the Philippines, where fruits abound.
Water activities- snorkelling was a waste of time bec of very little fish and damaged corals
I wouldn't have been as disappointed if my expectations hadn't been set so high, because it is a nice place; just not worth what they think they're worth.
Go to the sulfur spring in the main island and have a good detox soak, but do it in the morning before the crowds come; just ask them to arrange for a tricycle (P500 charge) instead of the van (P5000). Entrance fee is P25. It's very clean.
Tips: ask for the driver of the van to stop by the grocery at Buenavista town so you can buy water, snacks, beer since ZestAir has a luggage allowance of 10kg and the resort only gives 2 small bottles of water daily as comp.
At the Marinduque airport, stay at Mhelet's eatery after checking in for fresh air as the departure area can be quite warm.
Best tip: go on a promo deal, and don't even think Santorini. Then it'll become a great holiday!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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3 Thank homewardboundmanila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
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English first
Level 5 Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2012 via mobile

we went to bellarocca on my husband's birthday. i was able to avail their promo with citibank and asiatravel. i had no issues with the location as it was all part of the adventure. we like seeing new places and enjoying the view. the speedboat ride going to the island gave us a bit of scare because the current was pretty strong that morning. we were welcomed with leis and a song. the golfcart rides were fun, just be sure to hold on to the cart when going up a steep hill. i loved the orientation and the staff was nice. we liked our room too...i enjoyed spending time on the tub after a day's swim. some say the food is expensive, i didn't think it was. it was just like ordering in makati or the fort. plus, hubby and i liked sharing food so we opted to get food that we can share. it's just that their food is so good we ended up ordering a lot hehe... breakfast food was also good - it was not free or a buffet like with other hotels, but that's ok. i heard they do have buffets depending on the number of people staying at the hotel. i think it's practical and i'm with them on that. i don't like food getting wasted. the place is really beautiful and the activities were fun. the staff are good at their job and are proactive in offering free activities. they don't get tired at all. the guy who assisted us when we webt snorkeling also taught us to windsurf. he was so patient with me and hubby and i actually learned how to windsurf! we would have tried the free golf as well but we just didn't have enough time with all the things we did. we had fun and we hope we can go back.

  • Stayed October 2011
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Helpful?
1 Thank pinksocks1208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Makati, Philippines
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 5, 2012

From start to end, service was fantastic. They got everything covered. Bottled water and cold towels were given were provided at certain points of our trip to the resort. We didn't even have to think about our luggage - from the airport, the next time I saw my luggage was in our villa! They even wrap your bags in a plastic bag so that it will not get wet they are on the boat. The staff were welcoming and we were given an overview of the amenities and places where we could enjoy ourselves.

The villa where we stayed in was Xanadu. It had two bedrooms with bathrooms, quarters for the help (with their own bathroom), one common bathroom, dining area, kitchen, infinity pool and Jacuzzi. We brought our own wine, salami and chips because we heard food was expensive. The rooms were spacious and the bathrooms were enormous having their own bathtub (the jacuzzi type) and a separate shower.

The pools were clean except it was shallow so people tend to kneel. The surface of the pool was rough so when you kneel, you would get scratches/wounds. We stayed in our villa at night and enjoyed our pool, jacuzzi, wine and music (the sound system is very sophisticated, you can even plug your own ipod).

Food can be delivered to the villa and we would eat together in our dining room. They are currently building new structures to accommodate more guests. It is advisable that you ask the staff to tour you around so you can see all the amenities.

We went kayaking and snorkeling, which are free of charge. Although there are no corals, there were a lot of huge fish. There is also a game room where you can play Foosball, billards, chess, board games and borrow DVDs (unfortunately, some of the DVDs are not compatible with the players installed in the villa).

The staff are very gracious and accommodating and they definitely contributed to making our stay very relaxing!

IT IS STRONGLY ADVISED YOU BRING YOUR OWN DRINKS (ALCOHOLIC OR NOT), SNACKS AND EVEN FOOD FOR MEALS because they are expensive. We ordered pizza which was reasonably priced and could feed a many people.

Room Tip: Xanadu is a good villa because it is near the hotel where most of the amenities are
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Anonymous324435365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malolos, Philippines
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

Stayed in their 2 bedroom Terraza for 2 nights. My family is part of a 15-member group who availed of their dealdozen anniversary promo (60k for 4 nights).

Accommodation is worth it for the promo price that we paid but not for the published rate. I was quite surprised that 3 years into operation and they’re still on ‘soft opening’ according to one of the staff that we talked to. We noticed several ‘buildings’ which weren’t operational yet but seemed to have been erected for quite sometime already.

Food is expensive. The clubhouse sandwich I ordered which may be good for 2 if not too hungry costs Php 522 net. Take note that against gov’t regulations, they don’t put in the rates as VAT inclusive so whatever you see there, you have to add up 12% VAT and some percentage too for service charge. Ala carte main course orders for lunch or dinner may cost about Php 600. We opted for buffet dinner at Php925 net. For the price, you get to choose from about 5-6 main course dishes, 2-3 desert options. A cold cuts section with just 2 choices. 1 kind of soup, several breads and butter. Nothing really spectacular.

Activities are rather basic too and only to be expected from resorts such as this. Pools, complimentary snorkelling and kayak, billiards, board games, old dvds, gym, ktv etc. Other watersports have charges which is expensive for my budget. It would have been a major plus for me if they had a playroom for my pre-schooler, unfortunately, there’s none.

Service is ok. Staff are very courteous, always willing to help – pretty much how Filipino hospitality really goes but they can still improve in putting further attention to details like not having to ask us all the time to which room should say our meals be charged considering that there are rather few of us guests staying there at that time.

Nonetheless, I am happy that we had the chance to visit and experience Bellarocca. I’m not saying don’t go there. If you have the money, go for it. But if you’re a budget traveller like me, wait for promos instead.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank SJCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level 6 Contributor
255 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2012

We were assigned the Xanadu, a 2BR Garden Villa but since we booked for only a 1BR, they simply closed the 2nd BR located on the 2nd floor.
So glad we paid the additional cost from a hotel deluxe room. All villa's we learned have private outdoor jacuzzi's and infinity swimming pools. This allowed us to have privacy yet able to swim whenever we wished and to have evening warm water jacuzzi's before turning in for the night.
Snorkeling gear was provided free at the Marine Center. They also assigned an escort to guide us and to make sure we are safe. The water was very clear and there is abundant fish life but there were no live corals nearby. My escort said dynamite fishing before their 2009 operations virtually wiped these out. Today they maintain a no fishing area 200 meters around the island and they make sure no dynamite fishing is allowed in the entire area.
Room service was very good. They even set the table with the proper placemats, drinking glasses, and forks and spoons. The food is warm and newly cooked making it delicious. The squash and string beans cooked in coconut milk was excellent. Also the Pinakbet, a local concoction of vegetables cooked with shrimp paste.
The state of the art sound system and 42inch flat screen TV was so complicated to operate we had to call for help to watch DVDs and also to get back to TV programs. The IT staff who came were gracious and patient with us non-techies.
Overall worth the money and worth recommending to others.

Room Tip: Breakfast is not included in most packages. Ask before joining in on the buffet breakfast spread.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank renesio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2012

To be fair, I am not judging by international standards. The Philippines will never be able to recreate Santorini, and maybe it was a little untimely that I had just been there last summer, but the boat ride up to the beautiful island held SUCH promise that we were incredibly let down when we actually experienced the resort.

Booking: This was difficult enough. They state that you will receive email confirmation within the day (which is important if you are booking a flight for a guest coming from overseas and you like NEED TO KNOW IF THE VACATION IS HAPPENING OR NOT), and the phone staff was completely unhelpful, uninterested, and frankly sounded like they were all asleep at 3pm. Without a Twitter barrage and a hint that I had a connection to the owners, I doubt I ever would have received a reply after one follow up email, two follow up phone calls, and a visit to their office that had conveniently JUST MOVED. Really? Bookings should not be that hard. And that was just for starters.

Accommodations: Fine, except for the ridiculous water stains in the hotel deluxe room. If you're going to make a room sexy by having the shower glass open up to the rest of the room, there better not be several months worth of water stains. It just looks unclean. The finishings were NOT luxe, but by local standards, they're okay. Very comfortable bed and linens, but there were mysterious missing cushions in the chairs of the balcony that looked over a VERY noisy pool full of children and rambunctious adults. Would suggest they move families to another part of the hotel so you don't have to wake up to people screaming and splashing around in a place that advertises serenity. Also, they ran out of ipod docks, never brought up the audio cable that was promised. It's elementary. Please. Again, NOT LUXE.

FOOD: The first thing we noticed is that there is only one restaurant to dine in at the resort. That would have been fine, except that once we were led to what we thought was a nice corner table by the window, we noticed the table linens were FULL of gray stains. They were so abundant we thought they were a pattern at first, but we checked the other tables and there are just these accumulated horrible stains that I don't know how anyone can stomach eating on. We chose to eat al fresco every night since. It just looked DIRTY.

FOOD POISONING: My travel companion experienced an episode of food poisoning where he was prescribed the wrong medicine. We had to call the a doctor in Manila to instruct their "nurse" on what to give him instead (hydrates, seltzers, gatorade, etc), but the reaction time to a crisis such as a sick guest due to OBVIOUS mishandling of food was extremely slow from the clueless staff to the general manager himself (who attributed the food poisoning episode to "a bad reaction"). My travel companion ate all over Manila the day before, ate at a carinderia before the Roro, and was FINE. If you can't get a safe bolognaise at a "luxury" resort, I'm not sure what other excuse you can pull out of your hat other than "we have strict food policies here". Um, we believe it. I'm sorry, he tried to be helpful, but frankly, it was all too little, too late. And the "nurse" tried to charge us for P8 for the diatabs. REALLY? You're going to charge us eight freaking pesos for poisoning a guest? They comped our dinner the next night, which is, I suppose, the least they could do, but of course, they pulled the buffet before I had even gotten past my appetizer plate. No last call and no apologies. Also, the manager promised to send up some crackers to help relieve the stomach of my travel companion and those never came either. I don't even remember a REAL apology from anyone. NOT LUXE.

STAFF: Courteous but clueless. I'm sorry, but someone REALLY good HR exec needs to come in and train everyone. Even when you speak to them in straight Filipino, kahit baklaan mo pa sila, there's still this like blank stare and misinformation/no information that clearly came from a dire lack of training. There were some lovely staff members who really tried to be very warm and accommodating, but if you dont have the information we are seeking, it is really just futile. The general manager was kind (guilty?) enough to accompany us out to leave the island, but by then we were just dying to get back to Manila and away from this "vacation".

AMBIENCE: The place has so much potential. The property itself is beautiful and extremely photogenic. I would say it is a great place to do a photo shoot, but I would be careful with the food (which was not only overpriced...like yeah sure charge me for P400+ for broiled fish, a cup of rice, and lemon butter sauce that I could have made in my kitchen with my eyes closed). I mean, the food was so common. We weren't expecting crazy gourmet, but at least serve us some spaghetti that does not contain hazardous ingredients perfect for food poisoning that they have NO protocol to attend to. ANYWAY, the place itself is beautiful. The infinity pool is quite small. Good luck sharing it with a bunch of rambunctious other resort visitors unless you get there really early in the morning.

TRAVEL: Zest Air is by far the worst airline we have ever flown and it is the only airline that flies to Bellarocca. Their safety record is questionable at best. Their ONE flight to and from the island is constantly late. The ground staff is completely uninformed. One hour into our flight being late, I went up and inquired as to when and IF we were ever getting off this island. The Zest Air ground staff DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHERE THE PLANE WAS. They had to radio a tower to find out that, big surprise, the plane hadn't even left Manila. As they saw me storming back into the waiting room, it was the only time they saw fit to inform everyone that the plane would be late. YEAH, WE KNEW IT WAS LATE. Thank you for the memo.

IN CLOSING: Bellarocca has so much potential. They just need a bigger investor to clean up the property, install the proper finishings, a better (safer) chef, and a better trained staff from top to bottom in order to command the price and reputation of a "luxury" resort. The island has been blessed with generally nice facilities and the most gorgeous view from and of the island. It's just such a shame that management can't seem to pull it together to make it work. I honestly cannot imagine how anyone can give this place an honest rating of anything more than POOR. And I only didn't rate it TERRIBLE because I gave generous points for effort.

Would not come back. Would not recommend to anyone. My foreign companion is basically traumatized from his experience in Marinduque and Bellarocca. The only thing we really appreciated were the views and the delicious special pandan juice. That's it. BEWARE OF THIS RESORT. You can't tack the word LUXURY on just anything unless you expect your clientele to be stupid. And does Bellarocca think their clientele is stupid?

That might be a good question.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank JCF86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City, Philippines
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2012

It truly is a beautiful rock!

Getting there:

Only Zest Air flies from Manila to Marinduque. The flight takes less than an hour. From Marinduque Airport, shuttles are provided by the resort. The ride takes approximately 30-45 minutes to the dock. From the dock, motorized rubberboats will ferry you to the island. The boat ride takes about 5-8 minutes. Lifevests are provided. NOTE: There's a possibility of getting wet during the boat ride so make sure that all of your electronic gadgets are wrapped in plastic (they provide plastic bags).

Activities:

Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, getting a massage, eating :) They have an entertainment room with a pool table, fooseball, and a library stocked with books and dvds. The gym has treadmills, weights, benchpresses etc and a pingpong table too :) We joined the island tour and were shown some of the other vilas on the island. The view from the Tea House is spectacular! On our second night we had the karaoke room/bar to ourselves!

Room:

My husband and I were billeted in a deluxe room. It was spacious! It had most of the ammenities of a typical 5-star hotel, hairdryer, minibar, refrigerator, safe, flat screen tv, dvd player etc. The balcony provides a nice view. What I loved most about our room is the bathroom! It had clear glass for its walls! (But there were roll-up shades to provide privacy of course!) LAN cable internet access is provided in the room. Our friends however, stayed in one of the Terrazas. It had a dining area good for 6 pax, 2 bedrooms with toilet & bath. The Terraza did not have LAN cable internet access though.

Food:

Try their Kare-kare! We ordered it twice the 3 days we were there. We also loved the complimentary dinner rolls they provide with every meal. We were upgraded to breakfast buffet (valued at P650 per pax)instead of just a continental breakfast! The minute-steak is soo good :) Food is a bit pricey. Be prepared to shell out P500 per meal.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank celine1122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa

Property: Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa
Address: Marinduque Island 4904, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Marinduque Island
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Marinduque Island
Number of rooms: 47
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa in Marinduque is distinct from the other upscale, luxury resorts of its category anywhere in the country. All 20 hectares of Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is mountainous terrain, with its highest point at 114 meters above sea-level. To many seasoned travellers, the images of the picturesque island of Santorini in Greece come to mind upon approaching the resort. Common to both are its rolling terrain and immaculate white buildings perched atop its cliffs: white structures that reflect the sun and contrast with the azure blue sea below. Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is located on a small mountain island of the southern coast of Marinduque and offers 69 luxurious deluxe suites, casas, terrazas and private villas (with individual Jacuzzis and infinity pools). Guests relax in utmost privacy while enjoying the resort's complete aqua sports facilities, a full spa and wellness facility, a 9-hole golf course and other land-based recreational activities. Guests arrive on the island direct via commercial flights (SEAIR or Zest Air), private helicopters, chartered flights from Manila to Marinduque or onboard an exclusive luxury yacht. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bellarocca Island Hotel Marinduque

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