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The famous holiday destination of Cebu actually comprises of Mactan Island, which is what made it famous, and Cebu City, which is across the bridge on the mainland, therefore it can be a little misleading, when talking of Cebu in general terms.
All the resorts with a few exceptions such as Allegre, Badian Island, or Pulchra can be found on Mactan Island. Cebu City itself does offer numerous city hotels such as Marriott and others. However the city hotels are just that. To be perfectly honest, if you are fortunate enough to be traveling to Cebu on business, then we strongly recommend you to stay on Mactan Island. You can enjoy the beautiful resorts, beaches and the sea while you are there. After all, what is nicer than breakfast overlooking the sea, or even an evening stroll along the beach after a hard days work.
Below, we therefore review only the major Resorts on Mactan Island, to help you decide which one may best meet your taste, and requirements. In each review, we tell you of the resort in general terms, internet connectivity, the difference in rooms, their locations and other useful information you will not find anywhere else.
There is a lot to do in Cebu City. However, the resorts tend to be very much self contained. All the facilities are right there, so you never need to leave the hotel. This may not be everyone's idea of an idyllic vacation. It can be boring, spending one or two weeks in the same hotel without moving around. We therefore have added a page to our site about the different restaurants in Cebu. Some of them are located in other hotels. They are still uniquely different establishments with their own culinary specialties and atmosphere. So, take advantage of the link, and at least get to see a little of this small island, even if it may only be going from one hotel to another.
You need to aware of the fact that security at the hotels is very tight. You should not look at this in a negative manner, it is meant to ensure your security. The tight security doesn't mean there is a high risk of terrorist attacks, it is to keep beggars, vendors, and thieves out. One American, who was recently in Cebu, was refused entry at the gate of one resort even though he had an appointment with the general manager of that resort. This simply because the security did not have permission to allow in his chosen method of traveling from one resort to another - a tricycle. Now again, remember that upscale hotels here usually do not have legitimate guests arriving on tricycles. Having said this, the hotels all seem to be as consistent as one another here, but when dealing with upscale resorts, it may be a good idea to call the hotel in advance to let them know you would like to come to lunch or dinner.
For a hotel that has one of the best swimming pools on Mactan Island and very nice rooms to match, this resort is not very well known. The first thing that you see upon arrival is two large, two story unfinished buildings, the beach is not swim-able although we are told that high tide it is possible (we though, say it is not swim-able). The beach itself is of coarse, crushed coral. The beach is a great place to find small shells if that is what you enjoy. However, try to avoid the enormous holes that make up a construction site on half of it. Anyway enough negativity, if you are looking for a nice resort, and you do not need the beach, nor a restaurant with very good culinary skills. If you simply want to relax by the pool and enjoy your nice rooms, then this is a great place. The rooms are all individual in a cone shape, and are very nice indeed. Each room has a large cone ceiling which is thatched on the exterior, a video player (with videos available for rent at Pesos 40), a 'movable' in room safe, and every room, except the standard rooms, has a bathtub in the bathroom. Again, the rooms and the swimming pool are very nice.
Tambuli comprises of three resorts, the Tambuli East, Tambuli West and the Cebu Beach Club (reviewed above). There are quite significant differences between the three so please read carefully. The hotel management has devised a very useful club aspect to the resorts in that you are able to stay at any one of the resorts and use any of the facilities at all three of the resorts, including signing for food or drinks. We would regard the Tambuli West as the most deluxe resort of the three, the Cebu Beach Club in the middle with the Tambuli East bringing up the rear. They are all nice resorts; however they do differ in terms of luxury in respect to room quality, price and also the surroundings, gardens and beauty of the grounds.
This is possibly the most basic of the three Tambuli resorts, but is a great alternative if you are on a smaller budget as you are able to enjoy all the facilities of the other two resorts. The rooms come in two choices, all are air-conditioned, however you have the choice between a Standard and a Superior room. The Standard rooms are basic accommodations and suitable for anyone who does not require a TV, bathtub, or refrigerator. The Superior rooms come complete with TV, refrigerator and bathtub.
The West offers guests substantially more luxury than the Tambuli East. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, and all the rooms are Superior - Deluxe, which include bathtub, cable TV, mini bar, and refrigerator. All rooms come complete with one double and one single bed, and a small balcony for you to enjoy the splendid gardens. We highly recommend rooms 416 - 420 which are the few rooms where you can enjoy an angled view of the sea. The other rooms offer garden and pool views. The hotel has two lovely swimming pools one of which closes at midnight for those wishing for a more romantic swim.
Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautiful resorts on Mactan, Island, Cebu. Why? The hotel only has 15 rooms! This in itself means that the quality of service and attention to detail is excellent and that you are also guaranteed a quiet vacation away. The resort, even though it has only 15 rooms, has a lot of ground and the owners are looking at ways of expanding. This hasn't happened yet, so stay there before they do.
The rooms come in two categories, Deluxe (13) and Senior Suite (2), and are located in two separate buildings. One building is set behind the other and is 2 floors and the one at the front is only one floor. The rooms are very comfortably furnished, with mini bar, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, and a small private balcony in every room. Deluxe rooms in the front building are room numbers 101 - 105, these rooms offer more view of the pool and sea, however they are slightly darker in decoration than the other deluxe rooms.
They are still very nice, however the other rooms have a lighter interior design which some people may prefer. In the 2nd floor building the lower rooms have more of a 'garden view' yet we would recommend the upper rooms (numbers 211-216) in this building, which offer a more landscaped view. Every room has a single and a queen size bed, except two deluxe and the two Senior Suites which have king beds.
The Suites are an excellent choice if budget and availability allows, and they are beautiful. They have wooden rather than tiled floors, have a larger bedroom area, are lighter as they are on a corner and have very large bathrooms. The bathrooms in the suites even have a heart shaped bath Jacuzzi, hand held shower, and are separated from the bedroom by a frosted glass sliding door, which adds to the intimacy of the room. The telephones can easily be connected up to a computer if needed.
The swimming pool is beautiful and faces out directly on the beach and sea, it does not close until 11pm for those intimate dips. The hotel has an excellent lunch buffet served in the small yet romantic beach side restaurant, and at only 299 Pesos served from 11 am - 2 pm should not be missed, even if you are not staying at the hotel. This is an Excellent choice.