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“Something for everyone + pet friendly!”
Review of Solana

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Solana
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Reviewed January 24, 2012

Although I do not dive, my husband, sister and brother in law are avid and advanced divers. Over the past several years, we have visited Philippine dive resorts in Puerto Galera, Palawan, Cebu and Dumaguete. And everywhere we go, they invariably say that overall, Anilao can't be beat for diving. We usually stay in resorts in the USD100-125 range, and that price range doesn't guarantee any notable quality if you compare to international standards. Generally, you will encounter indifferent cuisine not included in you rate, threadbare, sometimes stained and ripped towels, sluggish plumbing, and sweet and cheerful staff who aren't particularly well trained. Other horrors have included 100% polyester sheets and menus with five different types of schnitzel, but little else. The tourism industry is still pretty young in the Philippines, so that's just part of the evolution, as well as some of its charm: you will not be hounded by touts and trinket sellers as can happen in other, more touristed places. They are around, but have always been respectful and smiling.

If you look at Solana with these factors in mind, you will begin to appreciate its efforts. If you take the basics for granted, you won't notice the refinements Solana provides. Your room will be clean, pleasant, and comfortable, with lots of windows and easily ventilated with fresh air. Decor is appropriate, tasteful and provides a sense of place. You will have cotton sheets and towels that are freshly laundered and new, bottles of water by your bedside, and plumbing and AC that is in reliable working order. Your food and purified water in the dining pavillion are part of your rate. Food is simple, Filipino home cooking, varied, tasty and complete with lots of fresh fruit and veg at every meal. Try finding green veg in other places! It's rare! Desserts and the fried bananas at merienda tea time are treats. Make sure to try their home baked bread, which you can arrange to take home with you. The resort itself is clean, well maintained, with plenty of space and seating to eat, lounge and enjoy the view. Its like staying at a friend's very nice beach house:cosy and homey. Crowing roosters are ubiquitous in Philippine provinces, and they are rigged to go off at dawn--in every time zone in the world. Mercifully, and miraculously, no roosters within earshot of Solana! I have to say that wifi is spotty at best in Solana, but that has been my experience throughout the Philippines outside metropolitan areas, so I don't feel that is in their control. Consider it part of your total getaway!

Another plus of Solana: it's easy to get to from Manila. They provide a clean, well maintained vehicle stocked with bottled water and crackers, driven by a responsible and safe driver. Not always a given anywhere in the world--thank you, Romulo.

When I factor all that in and compare the price of flights and transfers, as well as overall travel time to other dive sites, Anilao and Solana are an excellent value for a relaxing getaway whether you dive or not. In fact, we may be back for another visit in early February--my third--husband's fourth.

We've seen families, couples, solo travelers, gay people, foreigners and Filipinos all happy, relaxed, welcomed there. My personal favorite aspect of Solana is that they are pet friendly! The only place I've found in the Philippines. I never thought I would find a place that I found comfortable, where my husband enjoyed the diving and where our little mutt could come with us, having a grand time on the beach!

Solana is a low key, intimate, relaxed and cosy place with a great mellow vibe. Think of it more in terms of a bed and breakfast experience. If you're looking for a glitzy, glam-Asian mega resort, it's not for you.

Room Tip: Beach front cottages are small, but excellent views. Solana suite has a nice, private living area w...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Cristina R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 - 39 of 53 reviews

Reviewed January 5, 2012

As I said in my last review, I would be revisiting this resort and so what has changed?

Well the people running the resort have changed, I believe Adrian (the previous manager) is now running a dive school in Bohol but has anything changed with that?

Well it seems now that the food is still fairly decent by Philippine standards, with a serve yourself buffet. I would advise that you try and get their earlier on if possible as although the food is kept warm, it invariably tastes better when hot as opposed to luke warm and cold. Also the complimentary wine that was served on our initial visit is no longer part of the meal, which is a shame but it wasn't too much of an inconvenience given they had plenty of cold San Miguels!

The accommodation remains largely unchanged, which is basic but very homely and clean and a lot better than many other resorts that we had visited. One thing that is worth pointing out is that in today's modern world, having 2 plug sockets in our room was something of an inconvenience as we need to charge camera batteries, strobe batteries, laptops, phones etc so if we did visit again we would definitely take a multi plug socket.

Now for the diving. Anilao is a gem, more for the small stuff/macro than the big stuff. What makes it a pleasure to dive is the divermasters, and interesting the same divemaster we had the first time in 2008 was still there and was our dive guide for the 4 days, and by 'our' and mean my buddy and me. For the whole 4 days we were treated to just the 3 of us and were able to choose which dive sites we visited and when. Having this much flexibility and personal attention makes the dives so much better. In addition to this, the dive masters in the Philippines are very proud of the marine diversity and are also very knowledgeable on where things hide so are able to show you a wonderful variety of marine life, from the minute mm shrimps and crabs to the pairs of huge frogfish. Every dive is interesting and if you like taking photographs their is an abundance of opportunity. I have dived in Malaysia, Indonesia, The Great Barrier Reef and other more known sites in the Philippines such as Puerto Galera and Bohol yet still find myself liking the remoteness and diversity Anilao has to offer. The other major benefit is you can drive from Manila.

Although I have now done around 25 dives in Anilao, I still think I will be going back in 2012 if solely for the fact it takes very little time to get there from HK, and I would stay at Solano again.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Klembo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2011

You really can't complain about anything at Dive Solana.

Correspondence was excellent prior to our getting there, and once there the service was incredibly efficient and personal. We stayed in the beach-front villa (2) and the location and view was amazing. The rooms are basic with 2 queens and a bathroom, extremely clean, and air-conditioned. They don't have a tv or radio - but that's the point at this place. The facilities around the resort are all you need, with the staff responding to anything you need.

The Divemaster Celso and the boat team provided an amazingly efficient operation - understanding dive experience and what sites to choose as a result. What stood out for us was that he always chose a site that provided a challenge to our experience to build confidence while feeling completely safe. Thank-you Celso!

This is a perfect getaway!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank tandsilva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2011

I was invited to my boyfriend's company outing held in this resort. After the 4-hour ride from Quezon City, we found the 270-step downward stairs punishing. However, the nice staff who carried our luggage, the welcome drinks, and the ready dinner buffet have compensated for what we have to go through just to get to the resort.

Each room has a veranda which offers a great view of the beach. Snorkeling equipment, beach boots, and kayaks are available for rent.

What made our stay most enjoyable are the food, wi-fi at the clubhouse, snorkeling (beautiful fishes even at just 3feet deep), sleeping at the sun beds, the nearby sombrero island, and just plain lazying around the resort.

  • Stayed: April 2011
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2  Thank jam_hour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2011

Stayed at Solana for a few days of relaxation and it exceeded my expectations. I am not a diver and despite the resort well-known by professional divers, I took a chance and enjoyed my stay tremendously. The service is very warm and sincere - attesting to the true Filipino hospitality. The views and the rooms are very peaceful and relaxing. I must admit that we just lazed around and stuffed ourselves wtih the good selection buffet of local and international dishes. I am quite surprised with the other posting indicating that their stay here was not worth the value because management definitely does not charge 5-star rate. Solana is not a Four Seasons or an Aman resort - but the warm service, relaxing and comfortable rooms, beautiful seascape and good food - makes it a hidden gem of its own!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Anonymous8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2011

We were picked up from the airport by their shuttle and brought directly to their resort. Their driver was careful in obeserving traffic safely which was something since it was a weekend and traffic was really bad. I would not say the property is at par with a Shangrila or Four Season's but the standards and amenities were much more than we expected from a resort in Anilao. We paid about $150/nite for two people which included breakfast, lunch , dinner buffet for two people plus complimentary snacks in between which we found very reasonable. Staff were friendly and courteous always puntuating their sentences with "sir". Given it was buffet meals all through out our stay, we could not complain about speed of service. What made our experience with Solana excellent was the way they took care of our requirements before our dives and welcomed us back like family once we got back on land.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank KowloonKid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2011

It was easy to get to since the website gave excelllent and very exact directions...once we got there, we immediately felt right at home since the staff was really friendly and courteous. The rooms are very "homey" and the owners did an excellent job in putting in a lot of little details to make our stay very comfortable. The place is simply beautiful...you don't need to be a diver to enjoy the place. Great place to just lounge and enjoy the surroundings. The food was delicious and always well-paired (matched) since the main meals are served buffet-style. Although they may want to expand the a la carte menu for those that want in-between meals. It was worth every penny...already looking forward to our next trip there...

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank edj196208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Solana

Address: San Teodoro, Mabini, Luzon, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Mabini
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Price Range: $152 - $260 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dive Solana is found with the backdrop of the mountains, and the coastal peninsula of Anilao, Batangas. Dive Solana provides generous space, salt air and thick flora to relax mind, body and spirit.There is a 200 step stairway from the street level and parking to the resort proper allows for more quiet and privacy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Solana Hotel Mabini
Solana Hotel Batangas
Solana Batangas/Mabini, Philippines

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