My partner gave me as a Christmas gift a voucher for Buri Resort from Deal Grocer as it is tagged a "luxury resort." I got excited because I have not been to Puerto Galera and I thought staying in a posh resort in a place that many consider "poor man's Boracay" is an excuse to brave the inconvenience of going there (2 hour drive plus an hour waiting for the boat, and a 75-minute boat ride).
Reservation - So I booked my voucher on January 14 for an overnight stay for May 18. The Manila office promptly sent me thru email a reservation confirmation. When I called on May 15 to re-confirm and ask for boat instructions, I was shocked when the staff couldn't find my reservation and advised me to reschedule as they're fully booked that weekend. I did not budge and sent them the reservation form they sent me last January even if they offered us a free upgrade if we moved our stay a week later. After a day of calls, thankfully, the resort staff were able to arrange something and confirmed our stay.
Arrival - After a chaotic experience at the Port of Batangas, we were finally on the boat to Muelle Port where we'd be picked up by Buri's boat. Upon arrival in Muelle, we were made to wait for 10 minutes as the boat brought another group to the resort. After waiting for 10 minutes and a 5 minute boat ride, we finally arrived at Buri Resort - 5.5 hours after we left Makati at 6:30am that morning.
- Upon arrival, our bags were carried by their crew who directed us to the restaurant where we were welcomed by Helen, the resort's resident manager. After the requisite registration, cold towels, and welcome drinks, we were escorted to our room - the basic garden villa - Vanda.
Room/Villa - The voucher was only for the basic garden villa so that's the only room I could review. And in this case, it seems overpriced:
- There's no TV in the room (for a PhP 5,000-PhP 6,000 worth, there's no TV!),
- No toiletries except shampoo, conditioner, and two small pieces of soap. No wash cloths. No room slippers, no laundry bags - which are all standard amenities for a hotel that tags itself as a top notch resort.
- No safety deposit box (we were not briefed if any is available within the resort)
- The lock of the sliding door is flimsy
- No wifi (Manila office advised us they have those Globe internet USBs per room but we did not find any)
- An old airconditioning unit that took more than an hour to cool even after a housekeeper/electrician, and Helen "checked" the aircon. Only until we switched on/off several times did the compressor outside the villa started to turn.
Facilities/Amenities - There's a restaurant and a bar, there's a spa (we did not try), a boat (overpriced of course!) for tours around Puerto Galera, and kayaks, No wifi, no library, no activities that are organized.
- We used the kayaks twice and the staff seemed not too keen to help us the first time, and were totally absent (the guard & strangers outside were the ones who brought down the paddles) the second time.
- We were able to negotiate with a boatman (much cheaper) to bring us around and when the resort saw him pick us up, we felt that the staff were giving him nasty glances as we did not get the boat from the resort.
- No PABX, or intercom system. Helen told us "it's being overhauled" so we had to text everytime we needed something - ie laundry bags for wet stuff that did not come actually.
Rat/s in the room
- We've been traveling for the past 15 years and this is the first time I've encountered a rat falling from our room's ceiling - TWICE. First time was in the afternoon when we saw it fall from the high ceiling to the floor. We chased it to the bathroom and called Helen and team. It took them 5 minutes to arrive and we lost the rat. The staff I felt did not believe us when we said there's a rat.
- We asked them to put a net above the ceiling which they did. In the evening, as soon as I opened the door to step out, a rat came fell again from the ceiling and scampered away. My shriek actually was heard by the spa attendants who came to ask why.
- I really got upset and demanded to talk to Helen. She offered to move us to a different resort. As this is impractical, we just requested if they could make sure that the ceiling has no more rats or mouse or any other insect. They said it was the first time they had a complaint about rats. I retorted that there's always a first time, and I said I hope it's the last.
- Friendliness of the staff is inconsistent. One moment everyone is smiling and saying hello, the next moment, they'd just pass without acknowledging your presence or even giving a greeting.
- Food also took a long time to order. They advise you to order dinner at 6pm to be ready by dinner at 7-7:30pm.
All in all, the resort does not offer anything unique or a great advantage over other resorts. It's difficult to get to (compared to Laiya), amenities or facilities are so-so, staff/management do not seem to care to organize activities or make the stay more meaningful and memorable, and that rat experience was just too much,,,
Will not recommend. Now I know why it's not on top of Trip Advisor hotels in Puerto Galera.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Buri Resort, a unique boutique resort in the pristine coastal area of Puerto Galera, Mindoro Philippines, about 2 hours by car and 1 hour by boat transfer from Manila has re-opened at end 2007 with new product and completely refurbished villas to reposition the resort as a 4 star quality boutique resort. The resort boasts 12 luxury villas including 6 all new Buri Villas of 2 stories, with plunge pool, 2 bathrooms and exceptional views of Puerto Galera Bay. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Buri Beach Hotel Puerto Galera