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“Disappointing”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of Club Balai Isabel

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Club Balai Isabel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Talisay
Manila, Philippines
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

Stayed for the Easter weekend of April 19 to 20, 2014.

I got to the hotel at 10:30 am and proceeded to register. A gentleman at the front desk accommodated me and told me to come back at 2 pm or earlier since check in was not until then. I decided to have lunch outside the resort and came back at 1:50 pm. When I got to the front desk, there were 2 guests checking in so I queued behind them because this was the right thing to do. By the time my turn came, two or three other guests who did not bother to line up had gone up to the desk and started talking to the front desk staff. I was a bit irritated that that the front desk staff did not even prioritize guests who were lined up but were instead accommodating people randomly. By 2:05 pm, the reception area was crowded with nearly two dozen people trying to check in. I was finally "noticed" after 10 minutes standing in front of them, so one of the staff asked me for my name. Most of the people at the reception had been in the resort since mid morning and, like me, were told to come back at 2 pm for check in. To our disappointment, almost everyone was told, "the rooms are not yet ready". For the next 30 to 40 minutes, I waited patiently, observing what was going on around me. Initially, there were only 3 or 4 front desk staff. Soon, as the guest started to become impatient, more and more staff came until I finally counted 13 of them. However, nothing seemed to be moving. No one was being check in even as the minutes passed. I was asked my name 2 more times by 2 different staff but then they would never come back to me. I noticed they were manually looking up guest's names in a computer print out that they were passing around to other staff. I was wondering why, in this age of computerization, did they not have a front end software for making check ins smoother and trouble free rather than flipping through pages and pages of print outs. Guest started becoming rowdy and 1 or 2 of them were already screaming at the staff. But the staff seemed to run around like headless chicken. There they were, seeming so busy moving about to and fro but nothing was being accomplished. In the meantime, the lobby was sweltering because the crowd had grown to more than 30 people and there was no air conditioning. I saw one female staff from the front desk crew begin to cry, probably out of frustration and confusion as to what she is supposed to do. It was very obvious that the staff lacked proper training. At 2:50 pm, after 1 hour of waiting, I finally got my room keys. I don't know how long the other people behind me had to wait. By the time I left the lobby, everything was in complete chaos.

When I entered my room, I checked all the cabinets.I noticed that housekeeping failed to empty one of the trash bins which still contained plastic food containers which I assume were from the previous guest. Ok, fine.

For the afternoon, I planned to go kayaking. The procedure was to secure a voucher from the front desk so off i went. It was 3:30 by the time I got to the front desk and there were still people who were not yet checked in. Imagine that, the hotel was 1.5 hours delayed already in check these people in. There was still no queue to speak of so I didn't know where and how to get in touch with staff to get my voucher because staff were just darting back and forth trying to process guest complains, concerns and what not. After waiting another 10 minutes, I chanced upon a staff who was returning probably from accompanying a guest to the room. I was finally able to get my voucher. After my 1 hour kayak session, I asked the water sports staff what time they would open the next morning since I wanted to go kayaking again. He said they will be open by 8 am, so I told him I would be back then.

That evening, back in the hotel room, my wife wanted to heat some water in the hot water pot but noticed the inside of the pot was already rusty. We called housekeeping to request for a replacement. They acknowledged and said they would send someone. After 15 minutes, no one came so we called again to follow up. They apologized and said they would send some one. The short of is is NOBODY ever came. Anyway, we just brushed it off and proceeded to go to sleep.

In the middle of the night, my wife woke up to an stomach cramps and diarrhea. I am a person with a very sensitive stomach so if she was ill I would certainly catch a bum stomach if I had eaten the same food she had gotten sick from. But I was not sick. Looking back, the only food she ate that I did not eat was the melon shake and halo halo by the kumintang cafe by the pool. nothing else could have been the culprit.

The next morning I went to get my kayak voucher again. I noticed i was given a different piece of paper than I was the day before. However, I did not question the staff since I assumed that he knew better than I do. When I got to the kayak rental area, it turns out they were not going to open until 9 am. I double checked what the schedule is supposed to be by looking at the hotel's brochures and it said 8 am, plus i distinctly remember having been told the day before that they would be open at 8. Any way, when I finally turned over my voucher to the person-in-charge, he tells me, "sir mali po ito. hindi po ito yung tamang form". by this time, i was not surprised any more by the staff's inefficiency. Good thing, I was able to convince him not to ask me to go get the correct form as he just accepted it anyway.

By late morning, I got back to my hotel room and discovered that the toilet was not flushing properly. it seemed clogged. in the meantime, my wife was awake and needing some hot water to sooth her tummy. I called front desk to report the toilet and remind them about the hot water pot that I had requested the night before. Again, they said they would send some body. 15 minutes passed, and no one came. I called front desk again to follow up. By this time I was speaking in an agitated voice, saying this was an emergency. they apologized and said they would relay to housekeeping and make sure some one goes. I waited another 30 minutes. NO ONE came to fix the toilet nor replace the hot pot.

With regard to cleanliness, the corners of the ceilings in the room and bathroom are visibly starting to have some cobweb, though barely noticeable to the untrained eye. Looking out at the balcony, I couldn't help but notice the plant box below littered with hundreds of cigarette butts. I know this has everything to do with classless, uneducated guests who know nothing about keeping the environment clean, but if the hotel had any foresight, they would have provided ashtrays in every balcony so that people would not resort to flicking their butts to the plant boxes below, which, unfortunately was right next to "beach front". the printed house rules on site and online declare that pets are not allowed in the resort grounds. however i saw more than 3 different dogs during my stay there being walked around by guests. One of the dogs was in the front desk reception area. What's up with that?!

Guest rooms had no clocks.
There was a cooking range and cupboard but absolutely zero dining utensils or cooking equipment like pots or pans.
The do not disturb sign does not fit on the door knobs.
There's no pen and paper in the room.
Paid Wi Fi is advertised on resort's on line page but is in reality non existent in the hotel rooms.
People are allowed to swim in pools wearing T shirts.

All of the above I can forgive and turn a blind eye to except for the EXTREMELY LOUSY SERVICE. Management is to blame here. It is very poor business practice to not train your people properly. It seems you are just out to get the guest's money and not give back its worth. I was never made to feel so unimportant as a guest as I have been in this resort. What a shame because I think the resort has potential if it were managed by people who understand what being in the hospitality business is all about.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MickeyMouse130
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kristine T, Owner at Club Balai Isabel, responded to this review, April 23, 2014
Thank you so much for your review. We are truly sorry that you had such a disappointing experience with us, and that most of all, you were made to feel unimportant.

With every guest that comes through our gates, we consider it our mission to give them a positive and relaxing experience, and make it worth their time and money, of course. However, we know that we failed to deliver that level of service to you and some other guests during the weekend you stayed with us. We are fully aware of grave mistakes made, and we are currently working hard to correct these mistakes and make sure that it does not happen again.

We really appreciate the level of detail that you provided, and the level-headedness with which it was presented. You can be sure that we will be going through every point in your review with each and every member of our team, from the top down.

Again, we are incredibly sorry that you experiences this at Club Balai Isabel. We try our best to give each guest a "WOW" experience, as we call it. Unfortunately, sometimes we fail. And to be "sometimes great" is not our goal. We understand if you would not want to stay with us in the future, but in the event that you change your mind someday, we hope that your experience with us will be better than great.

Sincerely,
The Team at Club Balai Isabel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (139)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 17, 2014 via mobile

Have just left Balai after a ten day stay. Now I feel refreshed and ready to get back into work in the UK.
The staff were as friendly and efficient as ever and the food was great.
I have now stayed here many times and I am never disappointed.
Plus every year I visit there are more improvements, the restaurant has been extended, a new bar has been built, a much bigger menu added, the trees and plants etc. grown higher and even more beautiful.
Thoroughly recommend Balai if you need a short or long break away from a hectic schedule , recharge your batteries and enjoy the peaceful ambience and beautiful views.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Afeneley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taytay, Philippines
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 7, 2014

We checked in as a group of couples at Club Balai Isabel on April 5-6, 2014. The service staff including the security guards were all polite and even though there were many guests vying for attention to check in at the front office, the reception staff performed exceptionally well to accommodate all of us without resulting to chaos. The place has a close up view of Taal Volcano and is filled with recreation and sightseeing facilities that our group enjoyed doing together. Buffet food for dinner was value for money and with a fantastic solo singer, three hours seemed to pass by quickly. What stood out was the honesty displayed by the housekeeping staff, in particular, Mr. Joel Daza, who turned over my credit card wallet (also with ID's and cash) when I accidentally left it in my room. I realized that I missed something when we were already at home in Taytay, Rizal, a good 3 hours drive on a normal day. I called up Balai several times but could not get through. It was exceptional that Mr. Rod Virrey of Reservation returned my call when my number registered in their cell phone. He coordinated with the Housekeeping unit and arranged with Ms. Diane Sumague of the front office for my return on that same night to claim my wallet. Kudos to the Housekeeping manager, Ms. Ester Montenegro for havng an honest staff, who also waited for me to personnaly deliver my wallet, with all the contents still there, even it was already late at night! Definitely will return and recommend Club Balai Isabel!

Room Tip: Although we were booked in a superior room, the one with the lake view is recommended
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Covs2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dasmarinas City, Philippines
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2014

I went here last January of 2014 with my boyfriend and his family. The place was definitely good and the ambience of the resort is very relaxing but I noticed that their swimming pools were not regularly cleaned and the lakeside (Taal Lake) was sort of filthy. However, you can do a lot of activities in Balai Isabel (biking, billiards, swimming, obstacle courses, badminton, kayaking, etc.) We stayed at Orchard Lane and the rooms were well-furnished and clean. We also enjoyed using the kitchen. Overall, I enjoyed my stay here and will definitely recommend this resort.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dianedelarosa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paranaque, Philippines
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2014

We were here March 1,2014, a weekend. Coming from Paranaque, it was a fast, pleasant, scenic 1.5 hour trip if you're going to use the SLEX and STAR tollways going to this hotel. Arriving at Club Balai Isabel, checking-in was a breeze, parking is NOT A PROBLEM ...thanks to the spacious availability of the entire 10 hectare property. Our hotel room is on the Mabini hotel bldg. cluster just in front of the front desk office. By the balcony at the 3rd floor one would immediately notice the calm picturesque breathtaking view of the lake with the volcano in the background. The room is nice, clean and big. It has its own veranda at the back. The air conditioning is excellent together with the LCD tv. The 2 queen size beds, pillows and linens are fresh and very clean. The bathroom is fine, hot shower is working perfectly. The room also has a counter top with a sink and an ELBA electric stove (which is not working) but overall the room is great for a family of five!

The resort property is very big, it has its own church! You can have an afternoon stroll of the surroundings or even bring your own bike, you can also rent if you want to. They also offer a free tour.. but should I suggest that it should be an electric powered tourist car?..the available tourist car which I rode is a glorified converted multicab emitting an odoriferous smoke, and the driver had a hard time starting the engine..just a constructive criticism, please. But overall, the entire resort is very clean! No garbage everywhere! I give full kudos to the entire management staff, security, sanitary, everyone! I would like to personally thank the team at the front desk for providing an emergency "thing" to my wife who just experienced an unannounced monthly thing..hehe

Ahhh the main attraction for the kids are the pools! The resort has 3 pools located away from each other, the biggest and the best is the Kumintang pool. It has a big kiddie pool; spacious, scenic, clean and beautiful surroundings; lots of available tables and chairs. But if you would like to order food while taking a dip, its best to use the Terraza pool for it is beside the Terraza restaurant which, by the way, serves a sumptuous, palatial dinner buffet meal while being serenaded by a heavenly voice of a single lovely female singer. Ala carte meal is also available for the kids.

Come evening one would really notice the serenity and calmness of the place. It is really a very relaxing stay at Club Balai. Checking-out was also a breeze. My kids asked me if we would go back to this place and my response is... a resounding YES! We would definitely be back to this place again and again and again.

Room Tip: Almost all of the room's front balcony in the hotel where we stayed has a commanding view of...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Adel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City, Philippines
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

I was at this resort over the weekend for a strategic planning session. We were a group of about 15 people. Before going there, I read the reviews and it was quite confusing so I wasnt expecting much. However, when we got there I found it to be a very pleasant place. We were booked at Casa Malvar which is a condotel type of accomodation. It had 2 double beds which were quite comfortable, a small kitchenette and a veranda. The view from the veranda was over a beautiful garden and you could see part of the lake. The rooms was very clean. The kitchenette is not meant to be cooked in..please read the rules, for those complaining that there were no cooking utensils, etc. Coffee and water were available and free. There is a refrigerator whcih you can use but it is not a minibar which is fine as I never use the minibar anyway. The toiletries were complete and were nice. The towels were ok and the water heater worked just fine. The aircon worked fine too. We had a problem closing the veranda door but we called and the maintenance people were there in 2 minutes to fix it. Some of the food was great and some of the food was terrible so you must know what to choose! I suggest to the hotel management to stick to Filipino food which was very good but the attempt of some dishes at Asian fusion was horrible. (i.e. the chicken "inasal" with curry sauce, the pinakbet). Local specialties served for snacks such as the rice cakes and the soups were very good. There was a wedding and that was fine as it finished by 9 pm and didnt disturb us. Someone set off a firecracker though close to midnight which was very noisy. The view was beautiful and the pools looked nice. Dont' expect a beach because this is a lakeside resort! We were busy with the meetings so I don't know about the things that you can do for fun. Overall it was a pleasant stay so I don't know why there were such terrible reviews. I have very high standards as I travel regularly about 7x a year. Maybe the management listened to all the complaints and fixed everything?

Room Tip: If you need a kitchen there may be rooms/cottages which allow cooking
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Happytraveler893
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kristine T, Owner at Club Balai Isabel, responded to this review, April 23, 2014
Thank you so much for your review, and we are so glad that you had a great time.

We appreciate the specific comments and suggestions regarding the food. We will definitely take that into consideration. We are always trying to improve our service, and it's feedback like this that makes us better. We now have pizza and a wide selection of bread at Isabel's Panaderia & Pizzeria, and we would love to know what you think.

Thank you again for your appreciation and taking the time to write this review. We hope that you will visit us again in the future, and that your experience with us will be even better!

Sincerely,
The Team at Club Balai Isabel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2014 via mobile

The good:
- 2.5hr drive from QC (including 1hr lunch stop). The drive from SLEX to Star Toll made the trip fast and pleasant.
- A different view of Taal lake and volcano from the usual Tagaytay view.
- Big area to roam around with lots of things to do like biking, foosball, spa, basketball, and swimming (they have 3 swimming pools).
- they have their own Chapel which has a Sunday Mass at 9.30am.
- the staff were all pleasant and courteous.
- room was ok. It had a balcony with a good view of the lake (we chose the Superior room with view). Dont expect 5star accomodations.

For improvement:
- the breakfast buffet food could've been better. No food for picky kids like ours, hehe.
- moss on the lake, although this isnt the resort's fault.
- our shower heater was intermittent.
- a little overpriced for the state of the room.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank daytripper1021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kristine T, Owner at Club Balai Isabel, responded to this review, April 15, 2014
Thank you so much for your review! We are very glad that you enjoyed your stay at our resort. We appreciate the feedback, both good and bad. We will be working to update our buffet menu to hopefully be able to accommodate even the pickiest of eaters.

As for the moss on the lake, we are working on creating a cleaner environment in the lake for all to enjoy. This is part of our advocacy, as well as being in keeping with our standards of cleanliness.

We will definitely be looking into the condition of our rooms and showers, to make sure that future guests will find it in a better state. If you would not mind sending us more specifics at info@balaiisabel.com, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again, and we hope to see you back at Club Balai Isabel soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Balai Isabel

Property: Club Balai Isabel
Address: Taal Lake | Banga, Talisay, Luzon 4220, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Talisay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Talisay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Balai Isabel 3*
Number of rooms: 228
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Right on the shores of the world-famous Taal Lake and across from its volcano is a place where you can relax, connect and be with nature. Club Balai Isabel offers an option for an active lifestyle with all the comforts of city living. A mere fifteen minutes from the Tagaytay ridge, it offers an up-close and personal view of the lake and its world-famous volcano. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Balai Isabel Hotel Talisay
Hotel Balai Isabel
Club Balai Isabel Batangas/Talisay

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