Overall impression: The place was alright for me for a two night stay, but I wouldn’t want to spend a long vacation there. The beach view, the swimming, the rooms, and the food are of good quality but there’s more to do in Cebu. The traffic on the way to Cebu is bad, and the taxi drivers assume that you’re rich if you’re staying there and will often expect to overcharge you and not use the meter. Also, I wish their shuttle ran more often and to more places than just the airport.
The noise: There was a college reunion going on outside the Vista Mar next door and the band was blaring out music until one in the morning. They let some dogs roam around outside too but I didn’t hear any barking.
The room: I stayed in a suite, and I thought this was a really nice room for the price. There was a safety box in the room and there was a TV in the living room and the bedroom with plenty of channels. There was lots of drawer and closet space for my things. The sofa and bed were both comfortable and the A/C worked great (one in the bedroom and one in the living room). The only real problem with the room was that there was some water leaking from the edges of the sink and the shower water was lukewarm.
Things to do: I was told I could use either of the two pools at the Vista Mar or the one behind the SotoGrande. The Vista Mar pools were nice. I got to take a swim in the sea too. When I saw there was a basketball court, I asked for a basketball but was told they’d charge me per hour to use the court even though I was a guest there. There’s a gym and a sauna at La Mirada next door that I was told I could use, but I didn’t make my way over there. (The same company manages La Mirada, the SotoGrande, and the Vista Mar and they’re all right next to each other).
The clientele: The guests seemed to be the touristy type as opposed to the adventuresome and more cultured backpacker type. I’d say they were more there for the fancy rooms, facilities, and beach than the experience of learning about a foreign culture. I noticed lots of Koreans, some Arabs, and a few Westerners with their Filipino girlfriends/wives at the SotoGrande. One of the staff that had been working there for a year told me that the Filipino families tend to stay next door in the more affordable and less modern Vista Mar. He also told me that the Korean guests didn’t tend to treat him very well.
The service: Although the staff was friendly, I thought the service was average for the PI (Philippines) and could use some improvement. I was supposed to be staying at their sister company, the Vista Mar, but they said my room was being renovated. That worked out though because they upgraded me to a suite at the SotoGrande which was newer, bigger, and better than the Vista Mar room I had paid for. They gave me some fresh mango juice when I arrived at the SotoGrande. I was jetlagged, so I went upstairs and slept. When I came downstairs at 1:30 in the morning, the cook was nice enough to make a sandwich for me but included a 15% tip as part of the bill. The breakfast was good with western and eastern dishes to chose from (yea for bacon and toast). There was no toilet paper in the bathroom next to the Vista Mar’s restaurant next door. I found that out after the bacteria in the food didn’t agree with my digestive system. (I stayed there for the 2nd and 3rd nights of my trip to the PI, and it takes time to adjust to the food people eat 8000 miles away from home).
The location: It is an isolated, private beach resort, which means that you get a nice beach to look at, security guards, and you don’t have to deal with any pushy vendors trying to peddle their products and services to you, like you do in say Boracay. There’s a shuttle that runs to and from the airport but it only runs twice a day. On the way to the hotel from the airport, my taxi driver couldn’t find the place and had to stop and ask for directions. The entrance is a bit tricky to get to. When we were leaving, the first taxi driver tried to charge us extra for having to drive out into the middle of nowhere to pick us up and he wouldn’t use the meter, so we had to wait for the second one. We wound up missing our ferry because the traffic was so bad (it took us an hour and a half to get to the port in Cebu), and because they wouldn’t let me pay my whole bill in one place. After I got done paying for the sandwich I had eaten the first night I stayed there, they told me I had to go next door to the Vista Mar to pay for the lunch I ate the second day even though they’re managed by the same company. What’s worse is that once I got there, I had to wait to use the credit card machine, because somebody was making a transaction upstairs that was preventing the system at the reception desk from working.
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- Also Known As:
- Sotogrande Hotel And Resort
- Sotogrande Hotel Lapu Lapu
- Sotogrande Hotel & Resort Cebu Island/Mactan Island