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Anya Resort brings luxury boutique hotel living to Tagaytay
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Finally, a chuva-approved hotel opens in Tagaytay.
And by that, I mean a place I could actually stay in because it has modern bathrooms with clean lines. For me, bathrooms are everything. If I’m not comfortable in my hotel bathroom, I’d rather stay home.
There is seriously a lack of chuva-approved hotels in the Philippines, that’s why I was very excited when I learned about Anya Resort from my friend Alexei Villaraza, who arranged a special tour for us.

Anya Resort

Anya Resort opened last July 2017, and is just one of three Philippine hotels included in the exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It is managed by Anya Hospitality Corp.—a partnership between Roxaco Land and Fuego Hotels.

Anya Resort

We drove to Tagaytay on a Tuesday morning, 11 AM and got there around 1 PM. Not bad.
You drive through this bamboo-lined road

Anya Resort

and arrive at this resort

Anya Resort

Frankly, I was shocked at the security we had to deal with. The gated community is heavily guarded so if safety and security are your concerns, then you’ll be happy there.

Anya Resort

Exclusivity, privacy, and space are at the core of the Anya philosophy, said Joe Escalambre, Sales Director at Anya Resort & Residences who welcomed us upon arrival.

Anya Resort
Joe Escalambre with General Manager Peter D’souza

There are 88 rooms distributed over eleven two-storey blocks.

Anya Resort

From the main building, which houses the reception area, three restaurants, and two function rooms, you can walk to your room or take a golf cart.

Anya Resort

The hotel was busy when we arrived. There was a large group from Max’s, I saw my friend Mark de Joya, and cute couple Audee and Kristel Villaraza, who were just checking out.

Anya Resort

“What we loved most were the little surprises. The resort knew I was celebrating my birthday, and they made is feel special was through small, repeated surprises,” he shared.
“Normally, resorts have a standard 2 PM check-in time. Anya does not practice this. You can check-in and check-out anytime through your Lifestyle Assistant. We arrived at 9:30 AM and it was great knowing we still had a fully day to enjoy the amenities.”
“There was a security personnel standing outside of our suite the entire time. At first, we found this odd, but seeing a security detail whenever we would step out gave us a good sense of safety. He didn’t follow us. He just guarded the perimeter area,” said Audee.

Anya Resort
The lobby

Anya Resort

Units at Anya Resort have been sold to investors from Php 11 million for a studio to Php 21 million for a one-bedroom. The rooms are enrolled in a lease-back program where they are rented out as hotel rooms. Right now, they have a special rate ranging from Php 5,200-Php 6,900.
Joe gave us a tour of the two room types.
The one bedroom (101 to 127 square meters) has a living room and kitchenette

Anya Resort
Anya Resort

and a spacious bathroom

Anya Resort
Anya Resort

The studio is 49 square meters and has either one king-sized or two double beds, plus a daybed for a third guest.

Anya Resort
Anya Resort

Plus the beautiful bathroom

Anya Resort

The rooms also have balconies and terraces.
Next we toured the three dining outlets.
Heading Anya Resort’s food and beverage department is Relais and Chateau-recognized chef Emmanuel Stroobant, who writes books, appears on TV, and owns restaurants in Singapore.

Samira is the all-day dining restaurant while Anila is a cafe and wine bar.

Anya Resort

Amra is a deli that serves pizza, pasta and sandwiches that you can enjoy by the poolside.

Anya Resort
Photo: Audee Villaraza
Photo: Audee Villaraza

Personalized service is also at the heart of the Anya Resort brand. There are Lifestyle Assistants who can make arrangements for guests before and during their stay. For example, they can tailor activities for you and your kids. If the kids want to go swimming, the Lifestyle Assistants can arrange a day trip to Punta Fuego. The resort also has a heated pool.

Anya Resort

Photo: Audee Villaraza
Photo: Audee Villaraza

I asked about Internet and cable TV because kids will not go anywhere without Wifi. I am happy to report that Anya Resort has both. For older people, there’s a spa.

Anya Resort

Anya Resort

Anya Resort represents the second phase of the 7.2-hectare Anya Resort & Residences development in Tagaytay City. The first phase comprises residential lots, which the owners can develop in accordance with three different house designs. The third phase will offer 134 residential units in 10 low-rise condominiums.

Anya Resort

P.S. If you’re bringing a driver, Anya can help you arrange his accommodation at a nearby lodging for Php1,000 per person/per night, inclusive of two meals.

Finally, a chuva-approved hotel in Tagaytay. If only one would open up in Baguio, that would be perfect.
Universe, make it happen!

Anya Resort is at Buenavista Hills Road, Barangay Mag-asawang Ilat, Tagaytay City
Telephone
Manila (632) 657.1640
Cavite (046) 419.8040
Hotline (0998) 577.9999

Email:
lifestyle.assistant@anyaresorts.com
lsm.tagaytay@anyaresorts.com
welcome@anyaresorts.com

For more information or reservations, go to http://anyaresorts.com.

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Qiwellness Living: A destination spa in Tagaytay
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By Dinna Vasquez

Destination spas aren’t really common in the Philippines—probably because we’re spoiled. Massage at home is just a text away and it’s easy to enjoy an hour’s massage at the mall.
But Qiwellness Living, which is a 90-minute drive from Makati, might change your mind.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

Located in Tagaytay, the place is a dining and wellness destination co-owned by Kenneth Tuason and Rita Sanson.
Aside from getting a massage, you can enjoy a view of Taal Volcano, or even spend the night there.

Qi spa, Tagaytay
Qi spa, Tagaytay

You can savor a nine-course Yin-Yang degustacion meal prepared by Chef Jeff Ramirez (who studied and trained in Australia) or order a la carte.

Qi spa, Tagaytay
Qi spa, Tagaytay

Kenneth says they chose Tagaytay because of its proximity to Metro Manila, the climate, the view of the mountains, lake and forest.
“There are very few restaurants that offer the dining experience that we offer, and even fewer destination spas in the Philippines. Most of them can be found in hotels and resorts. We want to take you to a different place and time over a meal or a massage,” explains Ken.

Qi spa, Tagaytay
Qi spa, Tagaytay

Kenneth said Qiwellness Living was inspired by Chinese teahouses.
“Traditionally, a Chinese teahouse is a place where one can meditate while sipping and enjoying their tea. Historically, these are situated overlooking mountains, lakes or forests,” he added.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

Just like its next-door neighbor, Domicillo bed and breakfast, the marks of Budji Layug+Royal Pineda Design Architects are everywhere.
The façade is plain except for a red wooden door. The structure is made of concrete and stone, which blends with the surroundings.
Note that the three-story spa is not child-friendly—an active child could slip on the floor or the stairs.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

The healing concept of Qiwellness Living is heavily influenced by traditional Chinese medicine.
We had Qiharmony, the spa’s signature massage which combines reflexology, acupressure and tui-na techniques on the head, neck, shoulders, hands, arms, feet, legs and back, by the yin-yang pool.
In case you are iffy about getting undressed, this treatment is done while you are fully clothed.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

After that, we had tea at the al fresco area, where they also serve cocktails. It rained as we were about to start with the dinner so we moved to the dining hall for the degustacion dinner.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

“In our ‘yin-yang’ cuisine, we prepare our dishes in a way where not one flavor overwhelms the other, but all coexist harmoniously. The balance in colors, textures, aromas, and flavors are all inspired by the yin and the yang,” said Kenneth.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

The menu, which changes according to the season, costs Php 2,880+ (inclusive of VAT, plus 10% service charge). It must be ordered 48 hours in advance.
We started our spring menu with an eel dish, miso soup with mushroom and truffle oil, salmon gravlax with citrus pearls and cream cheese and a fermented tofu soufflé with a spring salad. We also had soba noodles with sea urchin cream, egg and crab.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

The menu had three main courses: flank steak, duck confit a la Peking with pancakes and plum sauce, and lamb belly.
Dessert was something out of a fairy tale. Described as “guava + mango + lemon + edible flowers + herbs +soil,” it was actually an ice cream with crispy flowers and ground chocolate cookies representing the soil.
The cuisine is described as Franco-Asian fusion, cooked using East Asian ingredients and employing modern culinary techniques.

Qi spa, Tagaytay

Ken admits their rates are higher than those of other restaurants and spas in Tagaytay.
“We’d like to think we are catering to a discerning market. But we also have guests that are young, even college students, who are intrigued and would like to experience dining and massages for special occasions.”

Qi spa, Tagaytay

For rates and more information, go to http://qiwellnessliving.ph/home.

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Domicillo: Discover Tagaytay’s newest boutique hotel
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When I was a kid growing up in the ’70s, one event changed my life forever.
My dad took us to a uncle’s house in Dasmariñas Village. It was the most beautiful house I had ever seen—big, modern, with huge garden. I even remember the music that was playing: “Do The Hustle” was the rage at that time and the adults were dancing on the verandah. That visit made me want to own a modern home which I was able to achieve with my husband in our 30s.

A few years ago, a blog reader named Rene Alcala emailed me asking for advice on what is a chuva-approved bathroom. So I met up with Rene and spent the day looking at bathroom fixtures and tiles.
Rene told me he was building a boutique hotel in Tagaytay in collaboration with Budji Layug and other known Filipino designers.

Last November 2014, Domicillo opened quietly, but I only got to see it recently with my husband and kids.
To me it felt like visiting the out-of-town James Bondish home of an eccentric uncle—modern, boxy, concrete, with many levels and much greenery. The feeling I had was similar to that experience I had in the ’70s.

Domicillo
Domicillo

My boys loved the place. I feel though that there are parts that are not kid-friendly and I have some reservations about the bathrooms, just because I have very particular bathroom preferences. But because I feel it deserves a story, I asked my friend and writer Dinna Vasquez to stay for a couple of nights and tell us all about it.

Domicillo

Room with a view at Domicillo
By Dinna Vasquez

There are lots of places to stay in Tagaytay, but many of them do not offer an unobstructed view of Taal Volcano and the surrounding mountains from your room’s window or veranda.
That view is free, of course, but Domicillo gives you the luxury of waking up to a selfie-worthy view.

Domicillo
Domicillo

It’s not just the view that makes Domicillo special. It’s the combination of natural and man-made attractions that make you feel so relaxed you won’t even want to go out of the room to have breakfast.
Domicillo, built along the Tagaytay ridge, is an eight-room boutique hotel that is a design and architectural collaboration between its owner, designer and exporter Rene Alcala and the Budji + Royal architecture firm.

Domicillo

A graveled parking lot with a concrete wall leads to steps and a ramp going down to the hotel.
“This was supposed to be a two-bedroom hotel,” said Alcala. “But when we were building it, after the excavation, Budji told me, ‘This isn’t going to be a two-bedroom. There is space for more.’”

Domicillo

The bed and breakfast, as Alcala prefers to call it, is full of rough, unfinished surfaces—from the raw cement of the floors to the unvarnished wood of the furniture—which is Budji’s signature look.
Alcala made the most of the 1,000-square-meter lot to indulge in his love for plants. There are several varieties of bamboo, giant staghorn ferns, elephant ear taro and many others.

Domicillo
Domicillo
Domicillo

Domicillo used to be a lifestyle store at the Cliffhouse complex in Tagaytay so Alcala, an exporter and the man behind Manila Mirrors, is no stranger to what visitors are looking for when it comes to accommodations.
“Everybody wants a good view because that is one of the reasons why they come here.”
We stayed at Domicillo for two nights as Alcala’s guests in the Layug-designed Premier room with a lower lake view. The room is comfortable enough for two adults and a small child although honestly, the place is more for grown-ups wanting to get away from the city.

Domicillo
Domicillo
Domicillo

It is the perfect hotel for couples who are celebrating anniversaries or simply want to reconnect with each other without the kids and the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila.
Domicillo is also not a place for older people who have difficulty walking or going up and down the stairs.
The Premier rooms, for instance, are two floors below the lobby. But we heard some older balikbayan guests loved the bed and breakfast so much they didn’t care.

DomicilloDomicillo

One couple reportedly didn’t leave the room for three days and ordered food to be brought inside.
We can imagine how they felt as the only times that we went out were for breakfast on our second day, a massage and dinner at the nearby Qi Wellness Living, and when we checked out on our last day. We simply ordered takeout from a fastfood outlet through the hotel’s landline and our orders were brought down to our room.

The Superior rooms with an upper lake view have beds designed by Milo Naval while the ones in the Deluxe rooms with a garden view were done by Tess Pasola.

Domicillo
Domicillo
Domicillo

The common areas and the guest rooms are full of mirrors designed by Alcala (they are for sale) and paintings by R.M. de Leon from his personal collection.
In this age of social media, the best way to describe the aesthetics is to say every nook and cranny of Domicillo is Instagram-worthy.

Domicillo
Domicillo
Domicillo

Room rates are inclusive of free minibar in all rooms, daily newspaper, breakfast for two at the hotel’s La Finca restaurant, organic amenities, and one-hour whole body massage for two for the Premier room, or 30-minute head or foot message for the Superior room.
The rooms offer free Wi-Fi and cable TV but because Domicillo is built on a steep terrain, signal problems are expected.
So most of the time, my daughter and I stayed in the room, read and talked. We didn’t watch a minute of television or spend hours on our mobile phones. We were just happy to enjoy each other’s company. Worth a visit!

Domicillo

Domicillo is at Km 58, General Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlika East, Tagaytay City.
For bookings and more information, call (046) 413 3552 or 0922 884 1532.
You can also like them on Facebook.

(Photos: JILSON SECKLER TIU)

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Gates of Hell: Chilline’s T House in Tagaytay
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Be very afraid of websites that don’t update and accommodations that don’t renovate.
Take the description of Chilline’s T House in its website:

PRIVATE. COZY. SPACIOUS
Feel the cool air with a touch of Greek-Balearic flavor. Sitting at the edge of a cliff, T has a spectacular view of the Taal volcano and its lake. The first Asian home to be featured in Architectural Digest, T is a homage to modern design with an uniquely organic flair.
A gracious example of Filipino hospitality, T accepts private bookings as a weekend getaway and is a venue for corporate retreats, private parties and exclusive events.
T now opens its doors to guests with discriminating taste. We invite you to come home to T.

RENTAL RATES
Weekdays: Php 25,000
Weekend Rates, One Night Only: Php 30,000
Weekends (Friday to Sunday) Php 55,000
Rates are exclusive of 12% VAT; Plus 10% Service charge
Please call for holiday, peak season rates and Commercial shoot rates.

Now view the professional photos, starting with the house itself. Not bad…

Chilline's T House in Tagaytay
Chilline's T House in Tagaytay

There’s the day view

Chilline's T House in Tagaytay
Chilline's T House in Tagaytay
Chilline's T House in Tagaytay

and the night view

Chilline's T House in Tagaytay
Chilline's T House in Tagaytay

The bedrooms

Chilline's T House in Tagaytay
Chilline's T House in Tagaytay

And the rest of the features listed on the website:

2 Master Suites
2 Bedrooms
5 baths
Lake View Patio
Hidden Zen Garden
Custom Gourmet Kitchen
Additional Service Kitchen
Swimming Pool
4 Hot Tubs
Sauna and Steam Room
Free Wi-Fi Access

You wouldn’t blame Candy Dizon’s friends and family for wanting to book this, would you?
They paid Php 33,000 for one night but soon found out the website isn’t quite accurate.
Check out the reality of the accommodations, starting with the bedroom—it looks like the chambermaid needs to learn her “hospital corners”…

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

Maybe Woody Woodpecker was a guest?

Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay

Or a really lazy boy

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

Need an extra bed? Go help yourself to the mattress in the dressing room

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

This bathtub has an element of surprise and it ain’t bath salts and petals

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

It has “insect eggs and poop” in it

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

I can’t brush my teeth in here

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

And my poop just backed up. But hey, there’s toilet paper!

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

So Candy searched around the house to look for a cleaner bathroom among the five baths, and found these instead

Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay
Chilline's T house Tagaytay

Wait. It gets worse

Chilline's T house Tagaytay

I swear, I would sue this place ten x Php 33,000 for the agony of seeing these in person. I would scream and run, run far away back to Manila.
So be careful when viewing hotel websites, especially in the Philippines. Trust me!
But wait. Candy says there was a positive side to their stay—I just wonder what that is and I wait for her next entry.
Read Candy’s story HERE.

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