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Club Balai Isabel
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Reviewed August 26, 2011

It was almost the summer season when we stayed in this resort for a weekend relaxation. Took us almost 2 hours from Manila by SLEX and Star Tollways to reach Talisay, Batangas. It was accessible and had strategic signage to locate the resort.

My 3 friends and I chose the Ylang-Ylang Suite which is good for only 2 persons. We had to ask for extra mattress since the room has only a double-bed to share with.
Kitchenette can be found in the room entrance which is kind of annoying given that it's occupying significant space and was not even allowed to be used by the guests.

Room has:
-double-bed
-21 inch TV with cable but low reception
-kitchenette for display only
-a/c
-toilet and bathroom but no water heater
-room deck with an eyesore view
-cabinet/dresser
-deck with a view of a vacant, undeveloped lot
-free buffet breakfast

Amenities:
-3 swimming pools
-clubhouse/restaurant near the Taal Lake which serves Filipino/Batangas dishes
-gorgeous chapel (venue for celebrities' weddings)
-obstacle course (good for team building exercises)

The lake was in a bad state you could hardly tell if there's still fish.
Still you cannot resist to get much closer to the magnificent view of the Taal volcano.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Anna R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

Me and my family spent an overnight getaway at Club Balai Isabel last August 2011. On our way there, I was a bit worried about the place because of the bad reviews I've read. When we got there around 7:00 PM, it was already dark and I couldn't see much of the surroundings so I couldn't tell yet whether the place was worth it or not. At the business center, the receptionist was really kind and accommodating. They offered us a 60% discount on accommodations since it was a rainy weekday. Lucky for us! We stayed at the first floor of Balai Agoncillo. Rooms were clean, mosquito-free and well-equipped. We had dinner at Terraza Cafe -- food was good and still hot when served but it took them almost an hour to bring it out.

The morning after, we got the chance to stroll around the entire resort. They have 3 big pools, all are clean and well-maintained. The chapel is simple yet beautiful. The basketball and badminton courts are also well-maintained. Though we weren't able to maximize the activities we could've done, I can certainly say that Club Balai Isabel is a great place to relax and bond with family and friends. The trip was definitely worth it. My family had a great time and we're even planning to come back for the holidays.

Tip:
* Ask for a map of the resort so you would know where to go because it's a big place.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank rainbowfizz019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2011

This resort has a very good view of the Taal Volcano. The rooms are clean and very comfortable. The water amenities are good and there are plenty of pools to choose from. Our stay was very relaxing.

As there are only 2 restaurants in the resort, food choices, value for money and taste can still be improved.

Club Balai Isabel usually offers promos especially for non-peak days.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank a3_explore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2011

We went here for a company event (team building). 800+ employees are scheduled to be here in different batches. The place was nice, I enjoyed walking around the resort, talking to friendly resort staffs.

Now the comments... =)
+ (positive), - (negative), a (average)
(a) rooms - rooms are clean, furniture are in good condition.. good water supply

(+ and -) amenities - swimming pool is great.. floating pool is worst.. they are not clean and not for use in short.. it would have been great if it's in use since it's very seldom you'll find one like this.. lake area for me is a no no.. too many algae.. church area is a place of relaxation.. just go upstairs and enjoy the view..

(-) food - in my opinion it's pricey.. i was expecting something different..

(+) activities - lots of amenities for family/team building activities.. highly recommended for this kind of event..

(+) service - staffs are very friendly and approachable.. they seems enjoying what they are doing and fit well for the job..

I would say it was a nice resort to try for a not-so unplanned vacation.. but if your looking for something special, this is not the place..

recommended for team building, family events, wedding.. honeymoon? no! =)

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank SeanArcher21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2011

I have always been the meticulous and apprehensive traveller, especially when it comes to new places. Having done my research, I was truly worried due to a recent negative review about Balai Isabel (about the place having cockroaches, mosquitoes..). But time constraint left us with few choices on where to stay (other resorts were already fully-booked), plus my family really wanted to try this resort. I warned them the place might be infested, and they jokingly replied that they would bring mosquito sprays (harhar..) I finally let them be, but in my mind, I had a feeling Club Balai Isabel was overrated.

My family and I (we were a group of 8) stayed overnight July 16-17 in one of their Orchard Lane suites. My first impression was the front desk staff had really warm sincere smiles on their faces as soon as they saw me enter the reception glass doors. They greeted me pleasantly, and was able to check us in fast and easy. We were given rm102 and one of their staff came with us to the suite. He was helpful enough, and yes the suite is possibly 5mins from reception (a little far but manageable). Unfortunately when my family found out our room was on the ground floor, they told me to check if we could switch to one with a balcony. When my husband and I requested at the front desk for possible room change, the receptionist was very accommodating (all of them were!) and said the only orchard lane suite with balcony available was on the third floor (rm301). We said it was fine, and the room was ready in 30mins (they had to clean and prepare it first since it was not ready for occupancy).

We were pleasantly surprised to see that the room was fully equipped not just with the ref and stove but also with a complete set of pots and pans, plus plates, glasses, spoons and forks (not lacking as i have read in one of the previous posts here). There were also coffee sachets for 8, 6 bottles of water, kettle for heating water, towels, and toiletries. It was a one bedroom suite (really big); the room had two double beds, and in the living room there were two single beds (which could fit both me and my husband) with a pullout bed each. There was a flat-screen tv with cable channels, and a nice little balcony with a pleasant view. The only downside was there was no phone line yet (they were still on the process of installing phone lines to some of the suites) but gave us the reception's mobile number if we needed anything.

There was a nearby smaller pool to our Suites (the garden pool) though we only used the Infinity pool (Kape Kumintang Pool) during our stay there despite the additional walktime. The trees and gardens surrounding our suites were really pretty. Plus you could see the staff cleaning up all the time. And of course, one wouldn't miss the very scenic and gorgeous Taal Volcano nearby... breathtaking! There was a nice little chapel inside the resort which would be really appropriate for weddings. All in all it was a very well-kept and beautiful resort! One could see that the place was packed as expected on a weekend(cars parked everywhere, there were even team buildings going on) but then it never felt crowded! I could feel my tension and worries slipping away seeing how nice the place was and how relaxed and happy my family were. :)

There were spa services available (fish foot spa and butterfly spa!) though we weren't able to try any of those. They also had a lot of activities to offer (especially for water sports enthusiasts) which again, we did not try. We also cannot comment on their food because one of the main reasons we also chose this resort was that the suite where we were staying allowed us to bring in our own food (yey!). And we brought A LOT of yummy Filipino homemade dishes, which suited us more. :)

Some downsides were (1) CLEAR maps should be given to the guests upon checkin. the resort IS big and maps would be more appropriate. we had to go back to reception to ask for them, and the ones they gave us were unclear photocopies that you have to squint your eyes to read properly. (2) the reception desk seemed to not have any connection to the chapel people. we asked saturday night what time the mass services would be the next day, and she informed us that there would be no service. she was one hundred percent sure of it. the next day, my mom said she heard there was a mass going on and it was a real pity since we did not make it and it was a Sunday. i wish they could've given us more accurate information. (3) it would have been better if the lake was suitable for swimming. I don't know if it was a little muddy because it was not for swimming anyway or if it was the other way around. nevertheless, i guess we should've gone to a beachside resort if we really wanted to swim with nature. (4) the pools should open earlier and not at 10am (i am referring to the infinity pool, though the pool by the Terraza opens 8am which is still a bit late compared to other resorts). since checkout is 12nn, it will be a really fast lap and the sun would be scorching if one wishes to take a dip before checking out. (5) also if they were going to be do it like the other 5-star resorts i've been to, the resort should put their pool towel desks near the pools and not in their reception area. or at least one near the infinity pool where guests swim more. it was very irritating having to walk all the way to reception just to get and return our pool towels when we went swimming. or they could at least put the pool towels inside the guest rooms (in different colors from the room towels). this way the guests would not be inconvenienced. (6) lastly phone lines should be installed VERY SOON. it doesn't matter if they have a mobile number. it's not an excuse. emergencies could happen, cellfone signals could get lost, phone batteries could be empty... a lot of things could happen, and they should've prioritized the farside suites such as Orchard lane. it is a pretty far walk especially for elder people. and they would not answer to just an sms or text, you have to call them.

Despite these numerous negativities (i am a critique by nature after all, no offense to anyone), we TRULY had a wonderful time. especially when the receptionist Ms. Mabel allowed us to checkout as late as 2pm :). Plus travel time thru the SLEX was less than two hours! This means we weren't in the least tired by the time we got home to Manila. As a matter of fact, we are already planning a Part 2 when i come back to the Philippines. So the resort truly left us with amazing memories. And it is now a prominent option for family getaways. :)

Definitely NOT overrated. I guess this experience has taught me that sometimes you have to try it firsthand to really know what it's like. Don't be too wary, relax and be open to anything! :) This resort was a VERY PLEASANT SURPRISE. Club Balai Isabel IS surely worth your time and money! :)

Room Tip: if you are with children or elderly, get the orchard lane suites on the ground floor.. stairs are a bit steep.
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank twisted_bratinella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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