Technically, my headline understates things. This hotel is actually on an island...looking out over a lake, that has another island, which has a volcano...inside of a lake...which has another island...which has ANOTHER volcano. Seriously. This is why they say it's more fun in the Philippines.
This beautiful hotel, located in the cool, mountain region of Tagaytay, has a history stretching back to 1939. It was actually converted to officers' quarters for the Japanese during their Philippine occupation in WWII. In 1945, a U.S. Army Airborne division parachuted down to Tagaytay ridge to help liberate Manila.
Of course, the first thing you notice when you walk into the property are the beautiful views through the giant windows. I was lucky to have perfect weather on arrival, and as a photographer, I knew I should go outside and enjoy the clear view as soon as I could. You never know how quickly the weather will change.
It turns out that, in terms of weather, early February is a great time to visit. Whew! The grounds are beautifully kept, and there are views of (and an entrance to) Sky Ranch next door. There is
a ferris wheel and some amusement park rides there.
The rooms are very clean and updated. They seem to take a "less is more" approach to artwork and wall design here. I appreciated the oversized safety deposit box...anybody who follows this blog knows how important it is for me to fit a 13 inch laptop into. In my opinion, that should be a standard requirement in hotels these days.
I also appreciated the little details, things like remote-control sleeve with printed instructions on how to operate the TV and cable box. The lemongrass soap in the bathroom adds a nice, fragrant touch, too. Speaking of the bathroom, it's huge, and I love a hotel that provides a bathtub (and plenty of hot water)! A hot soak in the tub was just what I needed after a full day of travel to get here.
Then of course, there are these views out my window. The veranda is sooo beautiful. I'm happy I woke to catch this sunrise!
Taal Vista has long corridors that lead to the rooms. I noticed a cool breeze blowing through as I walked from my room, and I loved it! I realized that it's natural, due to the high elevation and open-air design at certain parts of the building. If you spend a lot of time in the sweltering heat of Manila, you will especially love coming here for an escape.
(Click photos for more info)
Check Taal Vista Rates and Reviews HERE
The flooring in the dining room has an art deco type design to it, and I loved that, too. There is a grand piano in the lobby lounge, and it is occasionally used for dinner performances. You really can't escape the beautiful views in this place! No matter where you go, you have expansive views of Taal Lake below. I especially loved the lush, tropical plants used in the landscaping right outside the windows.
The hotel has a few gift shops for local crafts and souvenirs...and there is also an ATM machine on the premises! I thought that was a nice touch.
Send load to friends and family in the Philippines!
I was impressed by *nearly* every single dish I tried. This burger means business...I mean, just look at it! I was also pleased to see Taal Vista offering some of the exceptional new Filipino craft beers. This one is from Pedro Brewcrafters - called "Procrastination Pale Ale".
The buffet options were fresh, delicious, and plentiful. I especially enjoyed my sour green mango shake! Don't worry, sweet mango fans, the yellow option is also just as good:)
Also worth special mention was their fresh baked "pan de sal" (local bread rolls), as well as their cheese bread and French Toast. Oh, great. Now I'm getting hungry.
Oh! How could I forget Bulalo? This Filipino favorite is beef bone-marrow soup, and eating it in the cool climate of Tagaytay seems to be somewhat of a tradition. Honestly, I don't always like bulalo, but Taal Vista's version was really delicious!
Veranda Restaurant has an entire dedicated dessert bar, and even a cotton candy machine (they call it candy floss here)! There is a large assortment of chocolates, cakes, and cookies also available.
There is another dining option pictured above (Taza Fresh Table), but unfortunately I wasn't able to try it due to a scheduling conflict.
One of the real highlights during lunch @ Veranda is the acoustic band that comes to the table and serenades you. They are really good, and they can take almost any request! I especially loved their versions of "Besame Mucho" and the Filipino classic "Dahil Sayo".
From start to finish, the experience at Taal Vista was quite memorable. The service and staff are operating at about 98%, I would say. Quite impressive. I have a few of them I'd like to specifically thank: Kim, Erika, Martin, Jayrome, Lawrence, Shiela, Joyce, and especially Mark and Jonathan.
Thank you for taking such good care of me, and providing the opportunity to share this experience with my readers. I hope to see you all again someday.
You can check rates and read reviews HERE
- Nathan Allen
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