First impression. From the main Nasugbu Road in Batangas, you enter a steep side street leading to Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa’s guarded gate. From here it’s a drive downhill to the main building. A big frosted glass backdrop bearing the hotel logo greets you. The lobby is all shiny marble flooring, spot lights, huge chandeliers, ceiling fans and a color theme of black and white and grey. A grand verandah has two arched staircases that lead to the pool and beach areas. The business center and the shop are also at the lobby. The outdoors is perhaps the star of the show. The hotel faces a kilometer-long beach set in a private cove.
Check-in. Efficient. Even if there’s a queue, the line is fast moving. A vibrating pager handed to you at check-in notifies you when your room is ready.
Room. I am booked in a superior suite at the fifth level of the center wing. It may be the lowest room category but I get the best view of the pool and Nasugbu Sea from the verandah.
The room is quite big and designed with the running theme of modern Filipino. Philippine capiz lamps, a bamboo headboard, and ethnic inspired bed linen and furniture are a nice touch. I have a king size bed, desk, cocktail table and a cozy daybed by the window. There’s cable HDMI TV, and en suite bathroom.
There are 217 guestrooms distributed in the north and south wing of the resort’s main building. Rooms at the north wing have a sea view and are relatively newer compared to those at the south wing.
Food. The in house restaurant Island Café, operated by Max’s Restaurant, serves typical Filipino fare like sinigang a tamarind based soup dish, pancit (Chinese noodle dish); and clubhouse sandwiches. Lunch or dinner for two will cost anywhere from P600 (about US $14) to P1,000. Barbecue and cold beer by the pool at sunset is something I recommend trying.
There are good restaurants in the main town center. Lady Christine’s Baby Back Ribs on JP Laurel Street serves good pork barbecue and beef baby back ribs and will not cost an arm and a leg. Tucked away in Barangay Bucana is Kainan Sa Dalampasigan, a great place for seafood and grilled pork. And there are the usual fast foods — Chowking, McDonald’s, Jollibee, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon and Dunkin Donuts.
Activities. I love the resort’s private beach. The sand is cream colored; the waters clear and calm; and the seabed close to shore shallow and safe for kids. Water rides are operated by established water sports operator Networx Jetsports.
The clover-shaped heated pool is divided into three sections — one for toddlers, one for older kids, and one for adults.
There’s a gaming room, in-room massage services, and a volleyball court next to the pool.
Service. Prompt, friendly, efficient.
I like. The relative sense of exclusivity; the beautiful, inviting, clean beach and pool; and the fantastic sunsets. The resort public areas are kept clean and tidy, and service is prompt despite the high occupancy. And most of all, it’s just about three hours’ drive from Manila by car.
Not so keen. The restaurant’s a let-down and the resort’s being strict about bringing in of food. The rooms could use a little makeover.
Verdict. Great for families. Highly recommended.
Superior room at P5,800 (about US$129) per night; deluxe room at P7,800 per night; and suite room at P9,500 per night. There’s an ongoing promo with MetroDeal where a voucher for the resort costs P2,999 per night for four people.
How to get there. A pleasant three-hour drive from Makati City if you leave on a weekday at around 10am. Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) all the way to Tagaytay City, then take the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. When in Nasugbu, turn right on JP Laurel Street (Landmark: Shell gasoline station). Once you pass by Nasugbu’s main town center, you’ll be at the resort in no time. Weekend travel may take longer, depending on the traffic condition in Manila and in Tagaytay. Far East Road, Piloto Wawa, Nasugbu, call +632 908 1111, visit Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller July to September 2015. Updated April 2016