You won't find many beaches as tropical, nice, and unspoiled as Isla Jardin del Mar's. Add the positioning of the rooms along the beach (each room is a Filipino-style nipa hut on short stilts) overlooking the tropical blue ocean just 10 meters away at high-tide, and this should be a perfect tropical oasis.
If you go to Isla Jardin del Mar be prepared for Filipino multi-family groups with mobile karaoke-boxes with huge bass speakers and their thudding disco-dance music until the small hours. And be prepared for hotel staff who will look at you as if you're an alien when you suggest they ask the offending guests to turn-down the volume. There is supposed to be a 10pm noise-curfew but I just returned from a one-night stay and was kept awake until around 2:30am by a group having a karaoke party on the beach who then restarted at 9am this morning.
Given this could be a true tropical escape I don't understand why the hotel does not enforce a noise ban. I also don't understand why the family groups want to haul their karaoke-boxes 1.5 hours from General Santos City just to have a karaoke-party they could much more easily have in their own back-yards. Maybe I really am an alien.....
Another reviewer mentioned the sand is sharp and full of broken coral; in pl;aces it is but this is a 750m long beach and 80% or more of it is fine white-sand. If you swim out too far there are sharp coral and volcanic rocks underfoot. so just be careful where you choose to swim.
The beach is beautiful. Softly swaying palms and the soft sound of waves on the beach make for a gorgeous sunset experience. This place would be perfect except for the karaoke group next door....
The rooms are very basic beach-huts. The Suites are called that simply because they have en-suite toilet and shower. Another reviewer mentioned the problem of walking sand into the room: the hotel should provide each room with a brush and a door-mat (the door-mat to trap the worst of the sand and the brush to sweep out what remains). Once you walk even a small amount of sand into the room it seems to soon get everywhere.
The bed is OK; the linen is just simple cheap nylon-cotton. There are just two smallish bath-towels, no hand-towels and no bath-mat to stand on when you come out of the shower. Not providing a bath-mat is inexcusable and if I go again I will remember to takes towels and a bath-mat with me.
Amenities are very very basic; just a sachet of shampoo, so don't forget your shaving-kit, tooth-brushes and your own shampoo and shower-soap.
The toilet-shower is very small and seems designed for an average height (165cm or so) Filipino. The toilet is slightly small (mine leaked from the flush-box) and the shower is also small. The shower does have hot-water though and water-pressure was good.
My room had an air-conditioner which was probably twice as powerful as needed for such a small room. I turned the air-conditioner off because the room got too cold (in fact next time I would choose the cheaper room with fan only).
The food is excellent. The menu is slightly limited and some items were not available, but every dish I ordered was excellent. Prices were very reasonable given the resort restaurant has no competition within several miles and once you're in the resort there is no other place to go.
The staff seemed very efficient although lax on enforcing the 10pm noise-curfew. People were often cleaning various parts of the resort.
Isla Jardin del Mar has an excellent location, a beautiful beach, clean ocean, and great food. Assuming you're lucky and pick a time when there are no karaoke parties headed there then this is a must stay resort if you're in the Gensan area. It's a long way from Gensan (about 1.5 hours by car) but in a different world. Except for that karaoke noise this is the closest I have come to a true tropical paradise.
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