Luxury Hotel Review: Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu Philippines

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Typhoon Haiyan was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, just last month, in November 2013. I visited Cebu, Philippines earlier this year, and was happy to hear that the Shangri-La Mactan resort were I stayed was not damaged. The resort and nearby Cebu airport are functional and visits to the area contribute to the local economy. Shangri-La Hotels launched “Bayanihan for the Philippines,” a public campaign to support its Relief, Rebuild and Rehabilitate for two villages on the island. You can read more about the their aid efforts on the dedicated website Shangri-La Cares.

Shangri-La certainly stands for it’s name, a paradise on earth – especially when one is traveling with kids. We have stayed in two other Shangri-Las before – but in city setting so they are not fully comparable, bar for the two common facts: the most amazing breakfast buffets ever and fantastic service! I stayed with my three children the last leg of our solo adventures in Philippines in the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa, and I did I wish we could have stayed there longer!

Shangri-La Cebu

Pretty deluxe room with a sea and pool view. The rooms are furnished with traditional Filipino style, and in Ocean Wing they are even more luxurious

The hotel minibus collects the guest from the airport, which is just a short drive away and the concierge smoothly checks the guests in while refreshing drinks are being served for the newcomers. Staff shows the guests to the rooms and tells about amenities available and events of the day. I already start feeling more relaxed for flying solo with three little children is no easy feat.

Shangri-La Cebu - kids toiletries

It might sounds trivial, but small details such as children’s toiletries make a huge difference when one is traveling for a longer period, or with a carry-on only, as there is no space to carry everything and air travel has liquid restrictions

The room is lovely and airy and set ready with fresh flowers and a fruit basket, plus milk and cookies for the children. The children are delighted, even more so when they realize that the bathroom is stacked with children’s toiletries  – including some barbie toothpaste and kids slippers. Shangri-La Cebu pools The beauty of this particular Shangri-La property lies in the lush, tropical grounds and endless amenities it offers: there are two separate pools area, water play area for smaller children, water slide, adventure mini golf, outdoor play area, a very impressive indoor play with slides and climbing frames and kids club activities, white-sand beach and all kids of watersports…the list goes on. This resort certainly has been built with families in mind, although there are some special treats on offer for adults only, such as the beautiful Chi-spa with its own pool , and there are also facilities for golf and tennis.

Haven for relaxation - a massage hut with sea views in ShangriLa Mactan, Cebu. Philippines

Outdoor massage area with breathtaking sea views

The climate is pleasant: the temperature was around 30c/86F during our visit in January, and we had some cloudy days, which actually were very welcome after some scotching heat we experienced in the rain forest during our previous stop. This was the perfect weather to enjoy some drinks and a lunch outdoors by the pool – the poolside service is fast and there is also a little ice cream store by the main pool.

 Shangri-La room service

Shangri-La Mactan has several restaurants, but since my children we active all throughout they day either by playing in the pool or the beach, the playground of the mini-golf ground I knew that they would probably end up falling asleep in the restaurant, so we used room service only in the evenings. I was very pleasantly surprised by the pricing of the food as often luxury resorts have pretty expensive room service.

The menu was extensive, food tasty and beautifully presented and my sometimes picky little twin boy ate happily everything I had ordered him. Keeping food in mind the breakfast is a meal one should never miss in a Shangri-La – anything you can think of is probably on offer there, and more. We just absolutely love the Shangri-La breakfast experience.

Shangri-La Mactan

Moms love: beautifully pressed, clean laundry hamper waiting in the room!

And here comes my insider Shangri-La tip: normally the best offers can be found in Shangri-La’s own website: I picked an option with breakfast, children’s club and laundry service included as breakfast is otherwise very expensive. You may find a cheaper room price on one of those hotel booking sites, but normally the breakfast is not included, not is any other additional service – and the room view tends to be worse than when booking directly. So check carefully all available options before you book your next dream holiday!

Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu. Philippines

At dusk romantic fires are lit around the property

Shangri-La Mactan play area

Nothing beats the good old swing time – and moms approve the sun shades stretched over the play area. One can easily supervise the children from a comfy hammock nearby…

Shangri-La Mactan water play area

The design of the water plays area is very thoughtful: the children can play even during the midday hours as the trees and special canopies provide shaded areas. The large water slide into the main pool and water cannons were also firm favorites witlhall the children

Shangri-La Mactan indoor play area

The indoor and outdoor play options are extensive: there are guided activities in the kids club, a huge adventure play where even the older kids have something fun to experience. There is also a separate play area for toddlers

Shangri-La Mactan - adults Chi spa

The adults-only pool at the Chi Spa is a hidden gem [image by Shangri-La Mactan]

On the beach - ShangriLa Mactan in Cebu. Philippines

Everyone felt sad to have to bid farewell to this little paradise in Philippines

About Reeta Laaksonen

Reeta Laaksonen and her family are always on the move. For her, home is where her family is - which is currently near London, UK. Reeta has lived in five different countries and by the age three her twins had lived on three continents already. When this family is not planning their next move, you will probably find them hiking, visiting temples, old castles or relaxing on some secluded beach. She thinks that every day is special, with the next adventures waiting right behind the corner. Reeta loves gardening and decorating, and has a passion for good wines. Besides writing she also pours her energy on learning Mandarin Chinese and baking with her children. For more stories about travel, décor, inspiration and global family lifestyle visit Reeta’s blog House of Anaïs and connect with Reeta on Twitter @houseofanais. Check out also House of Anaïs on Pinterest.

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