The closest beaches to Cebu City, Philippines are on Mactan Island. There, away from the cacophony of activity that makes up much of Cebu is the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa. It only took a 20-minute taxi ride from mid-town Cebu City for me to arrive at this paradise of sorts where the staff is plentiful and ready to point guests towards fun, frolic and R&R.
After meandering along the pathways past two huge pools geared for both kids and adults, I headed to the Shangri-La’s private beach to check out water activity options. From wind surfing, to water skiing to parasailing, there’s plenty to do. My aim was snorkeling, but the tide was out so I stayed dry and saved money.
For someone with a few days stay, it’s possible to get scuba diving certification. PADI certified courses include beginning to advanced diving instruction. There is a marine sanctuary at the resort, or for those wanting to venture further for their scuba dive experience, there are 20 other dive sites within a 30-minute boat ride from the Shangri-La.
Land activities are also plentiful. There are: a 6-hole golf park and a miniature golf course, beach volleyball, a well-appointed health club with exercise equipment that includes a 30-minute circuit training set up, and daily activities. One activity is going on a run with the resort’s lifeguards. Yoga classes and tennis tournaments are other possibilities.
In addition to getting a massage in the outdoors with the ocean and the resort’s lush landscaping as a backdrop, the resort’s spa has a menu of massages and spa treatments that blend Asian and western techniques. Prices here are much, much, much higher than the $6 massage I had at the MonTeray Mountain Resort. Part of the cost, I suppose, is the ambiance and specialty services.
Kids have plenty to keep them entertained as well. If the massive pools with their slides and play structures aren’t enough, there’s an arcade/ game room and other activities designed to hold their interests.
Although I didn’t partake in the watersports or the spa, and my 12 year-old son who would have thought he had landed in one spectacular place wasn’t with me, I did partake in a terrific hamburger at the Buko Bar.
Overlooking one of the pools, the Buko Bar serves pizza and sandwiches. The bar’s menu at the time featured hamburgers with a World Cup theme. [I was there this past June]. Countries with a prominent standing had a hamburger that reflected their country’s culinary sensibility. The clever marketing on the restaurant’s placemat, pulled me in. Plus, a World Cup game was playing on the bar’s TVs. There are four restaurants to choose from for more upscale dining.
Most guests arrive at the Shangri-La Resort from the airport. Many don’t leave the resort, but use their few days stay as an R&R rejuvenation from their lives elsewhere. Many guests come from other parts of Asia because of Cebu’s accessibility and low cost. As I watched several families with young children enjoying themselves, I could see the draw to this version of paradise. Clean, comfortable, great food, things for everyone to do, and quiet.
Through March 31, 2015 there is the Family Fun Package worth checking out. It includes accommodations and breakfast and dinner buffet for two adults and two children below 12; unlimited arcade use for two children; and round-trip shuttle service from the airport. Currently, the exchange rate makes this offer $301 per night.
There are also other package deals geared for couples. Non-offer room rates range from $234 to $526.
Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa
Punta Engano Road,
Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, 6015,
T:(63 32) 231 0288 F:(63 32) 231 1688
You can also compare rates and book through agoda.com.
Post and photos, except for photo of room interior, courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Room photo, courtesy of Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa.