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“Could have been so much more :-(”

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Kamana Sanctuary Resort and Spa
Reviewed March 28, 2014

The Sister and I were particularly excited to stay at Kamana Sanctuary because we saw some awesome pictures online. Though the reviews were spotty, we were willing to give them a shot. Olongapo and Subic aren’t known for their resorts. There’s mostly small mom and pop operations throughout the city and we wanted our Mamang to be comfortable where we were staying. At Kamana Sanctuary, we booked one of their Casitas – an over-water bungalow with direct island views. We were told that these 10-12 Casitas were the best accommodations of the entire resort. Heck, this was my first over-water bungalow and I was excited!

While the resort is beautiful, it was a little bit of a Monet ("Clueless" reference – nice to look at from far but a little scary up-close!)

First, the Good:

The Over-water Casitas – great views of the clear water below and awesome patio to relax in.

The Pool – very nice infinity pool and the water was perfect, even for a midnight swim.

The Restaurant – for the most part, the food at the restaurant was good.

The Amenities – well appointed bathrooms with rainfall shower heads AND hot water (hot water is a luxury in the Philippines!)

Now, the Bad:

No lobby area - There was no designated lobby area – in fact, the “lobby” was inside the restaurant area – which made for a very confusingcheck-in process.

Unfriendly, untrained, and limited staff – The check in staff were less than friendly. After a terse hello, they immediately asked for my credit card and proceeded to tell me that they’re charging the card for an extra $50 for
incidentals on top of what we’ve already paid for the stay. Hmmmm…we’ve stayed at hotels all over the world and this is the first I’ve heard of this. Additionally, members of the staff were confused with who was in charge of what – even getting our luggage to our room. Finally, they decided that it was the security person’s job to get us checked into our Casita. OK, I guess. The poor guard didn’t really know what to do either. After we opened the door to the Casita, he unloaded our bags and say goodbye. Meanwhile, we were left to figure out where the phones, the fridge, and the safe were. While it wasn’t the biggest deal, it showed a lack of customer service and care for their guests.

Broken items in need of Repair – First, our phone was broken. You had to literally dial for 5 minutes before it connected the call to the front desk. Second, tiles in the pool were broken and this can lead to a very serious accident if someone gets one of their hands or feet stuck in the holes. Finally, our safe was not working. To me, one of the most important things inside your hotel room is the safe. Carlos and I don’t even book hotels without them because the first thing we do is put our valuables, including our passports, inside the safe when we travel so that we know they are secure. The maintenance staff finally had to come in to swap out a new safe that was working.

After discovering the broken safe, I finally had to call the front desk to ask to speak with the manager. Amongst
other issues during our check-in, I was also concerned that my emails and even Facebook messages were left unanswered prior to our trip. I wanted their staff to know that this was a special surprise for our Grandma and
wanted to know if they could accommodate a large party for dinner for our extended family during our stay. I
also wanted to see about adding additional hotel guests to our Casita because our cousin wanted to join us for the night. I did not receive a response to any of my prior messages and it was definitely cause for concern. (Looking back now, I should have taken this as a sign that this was not going to be a very good stay and looked for an alternative hotel.)

For her part, Anna, the Manager, did her best. She said that all of their emails and online messages were handled at their Manila office and she was going to follow up on it. It was water under the bridge at this point. She also apologized for the lack of welcome and care that the staff showed when we arrived. She mentioned that because of cost-cutting measures, she had to hire new (READ: cheaper, less-trained) staff and they were still learning the ropes. Right as she was explaining this, we heard a loud thud in the bathroom. (And it goes from bad to worse LoL!) It seems the maintenance person dropped the broken safe on the floor and broke the tiles in the bathroom. At this point, we all just had to have a good laugh. Anna offered to move us to another Casita to salvage what was left of our stay. The Sister and I just looked at each other. We were over this stay – we just had to make the most of the situation.

http://www.thefrugalweds.com/1/post/2014/03/sisters-trip-to-the-philippines-part-2-our-review-ofkamana-sanctuary.html#.UzXaZ3jn_mI


(To read the rest of our review and view additional pictures, please visit http://www.thefrugalweds.com)

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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6  Thank thefrugalweds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 19, 2014 via mobile

We stayed there for a few days with family. We did a lot of research prior to booking and decided this was the best option. Boy oh boy... We were duped!

First of all...they don't post anywhere that this place is not handicapped accessible. So my parents were booked on the second floor! My dad cannot go up stairs. Nowhere on their website does if give any hint that there are no elevators. Because we had to change the room to a first floor room because THEY didn't put on their website that they discriminate to the handicapped ... WE were charged extra!!! That's right! Extra! That's not right!

The only good meal they have is the breakfast! Everything else is limited pickings on their menu!

Service was poor! Either orders were never right or things we asked for were never brought to us or forgotten!

The pool! On the website it looked beautiful but in reality it was small and didn't give he appearance it did on the website. Also... I almost cracked my head open on the pool. Whomever designed it decided to use marble around the pool!!! Extremely slippery! So I was walking on it and slipped fell into the pool and left that resort with a huge bruise on my rear!! Wow! Lucky for them nothing more serious didn't happen!

We had a casita. That was nice! Probably the nicest part of the trip staying in our casita and hanging out on the balcony. However... I really didn't like looking out and seeing ships or barges on the other side of the bay! What an eye sore.

I would not recommend this place!

Stayed: April 2013
4  Thank Pinkflower00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2014 via mobile

Decided on booking the expensive villa/casita (around $280/night) for our wedding anniversary. We requested for the farthest casita from the main area to get a corner view and to have the quietest holiday as much as possible.

It was a joy. The casita was awesome. It was huge and had a really huge soft bed. And the bathroom was huge too, with complete amenities, his and hers sink, and a nice tub with a separate shower area. The balcony was amazing as the casita sits right on the beachfront (you would even think the villa would just decide to sail away).

We did not bother to explore the place nor go swimming. The beach was a bit rocky and the infinity pool was far from our place. All we wanted to do was to laze away all day and night in the villa doing nothing. All I did was lie down on the minibeds out on the balcony, with an iPod and mini speaker, and just stared out into the sea, with jazz music, the waves and water ripples playing in the background. Just heavenly and perfect. We availed of room service and had all our meals out in the balcony.

Downside: Food was utterly disappointing. Been reading some posts here saying the same thing. They seriously need to replace their head chef and menu right away.

Another downside was the massage service. Coming with an P850 price tag, one would expect a very unique massage. But sorry, there was nothing different about it. I could get the same kind of massage for less than half the price in Manila.

Overall, I would say the casita was totally a joy to stay in.Would make sure to stay there again.

  • Stayed: March 2014
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1  Thank JemAng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2014

Kamana Sanctuary Resorts and Spa were featured on a TV show that apparently features luxurious places and things but Kamana is a different thing.

Although, our room was nice (considering that it is the best room they have the "Casitas"), the place is totally different. It is located near the abandoned Clark international airport and some industrial plant, that has the atmosphere of a Steve Austin action movie, featuring Stephen Baldwin.

The food is beyond ridiculous. Their Gourmet roast beef ciabata sandwich is basically gardenia bread with cheap beef inside. Their restaurant was close with a woman sleeping with an open mouth.

The place was featured bigger and fancier than it really is. Aside from the fact that this might be completely over priced and overrated, it also has some weird, creepy and cold vibe that makes you wanna leave the first night (which we did).... They have a SMALL volleyball court and swimming pool that were featured bigger than what they are.

The rates were expensive for what they offer too...

Basically this place makes you wanna stay at home instead.

Room Tip: casitas was their most expensive room.. But is the only room acceptable...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank JOresa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

Finally able to book rooms at this resort. I have been trying to book ever since they opened and was able to last December and the resort didn't disappoint.

I have to warn though, rooms rates are a bit on the pricey side but for me it is well worth it. We were able to book the Deluxe Twin, Deluxe Single and Standard Twin rooms during our stay. All the rooms are big compared to other resorts. The twin rooms (standard or deluxe) comes with 2 queen side beds that can comfortably sleep up to 4 adults. The single rooms comes with a king size bed plus a sofa that can also sleep an adult. The bathroom is also big like one of the reviewers said, you can dance the tango inside the bathroom with room to spare.

There is an infinity pool (semi salt water) that kids would love. The beach is clean but quite small and a bit rocky. I would recommend a walk towards the other end of beach during sunrise or sunset.

But you I think you paid for is the serenity of the place. Nestled between the sea and a forest reserve, the place is for relaxation. It would be been complete if they really had a nice spa to boot but I didn't think there was a spa to speak of as of this writing.

Over-all, I definitely would go back to this place. Of the other resorts in the immediate vicinity, only Anvaya Cove would be a better choice, that is if you are a member of Anvaya.

Room Tip: Deluxe rooms overlook the pool, so if you have kids probably get these rooms so you can keep an eye...
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank grouchalv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014

if you are the type of person who just wants to relax, chill out, have a good quality time with family or friends, then this is a good place for you. you could read a book by your veranda or by the pool. play beach volley ball by the sands. build sand castle with the kids. walk along the sea shore. take a dip in the pool. or play board games. drink and eat while listing to a band or just hang out by the veranda, kayak. snorkel. then this is the perfect place. there's no internet/wi-fi in the rooms, but then, you don't really need it.
i like that there are 2 beds even in a deluxe room.
i like that there are 4 soft pillows on each bed instead of the usual 2.

good food.

during dinner, they forgot our food since they served it 45 minutes late. they made up for it by being extra attentive to us that dinner time. :)

i like the place. but i think Php7,700 for a de luxe room is way too expensive.
not worth the Php7,700. if its like Php6,000, it will be great

Room Tip: book a room in the first floor to be near the pool area and/or the beach. nicer and more convenient...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank RicaMae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

For a family of 5 adults and 1 baby, we booked 2 rooms – a deluxe twin with loft and a casita – for an overnight stay. Check-in was quick (5-10 minutes) as everything was paid for on-line and also it was a lean weekend (3rd weekend of January 2014). Check-out was also a breeze.

The price is on the steep side but you pay for exclusivity and a really quiet place.

Both rooms were generally clean, except for some cigarette butts at the veranda of the deluxe twin room. In fairness to the hotel, it would be difficult to see them as they were inserted below the veranda seats.

Facilities are nice and modern. The infinity pool is saltwater but not heated. It was freezing when we were there. The beach front near the pool is clean but rocky. It is swimmable. The beach near the casitas (on the other end of the resort) is really nice for a quiet morning/afternoon stroll.

Breakfast was just ok, nothing to rave about.

Yes, we would return again and would recommend the place to anyone seeking a weekend getaway on the quiet side of Subic Bay Freeport.

Room Tip: Budget permitting, get the Casita on the farthest side of the resort. It is quiet, with only the br...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank GMViloria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kamana Sanctuary Resort and Spa

Address: Nabasan Beach Illanin Forest | West District, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Luzon 2222, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Central Luzon Region > Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Amenities:
Beach Casino and Gambling Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Price Range: $123 - $237 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Kamana Sanctuary Resort and Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 48
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Kamana Sanctuary Hotel Subic Bay

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