Plantation Bay experience conclusion

This will be the final entry on Plantation Bay (though there will be a few more on Cebu). It might make sense if you read the overview, the first day Plantation Bay experience, and check out the pictures first.

Our last full day in Plantation Bay started late (much like the first full day). Something just made me sleep well there. Around 1:00 or so we went to the Fiji restaurant for breakfast / lunch. We had more of the delicious fresh mango juice and sukiyaki, a Japanese noodle and beef dish. This was easily enough for my wife and I so it turned out to be an excellent value.

As I mentioned before, you don’t want to go to Plantation Bay and live as cheaply as possible. You’ll want to splurge on lots of fresh mango juice, cappuccinos, or whatever. But you can spend a lot less money on food if you get these 2-person meals (I wrote about the Pochero Cebuano style on the first full day description).

I had never had sukiyaki before, but my wife used to have it a lot and said this one was good. We could have had them call us a golf cart to take us to the game room, but we were pretty full and in the mood for a quick walk (the game room is close to Fiji). We spent some time online (you get 30 minutes free /day), playing pool, and playing darts. They also had ping pong, air hockey, and fuze ball.

Then we went to the Savannah to use up the free drink vouchers we had gotten at check in. The free drinks were pretty bad, either soda or cheap juice (not the fresh mango juice, but pineapple juice from the bottle and the like). This was right next to another pool, a shallow one that seemed to be mostly for kids. After the free drinks and reading the newspaper (you get a free one each morning) we went back to the main fresh water pool by the Kilimanjaro cafè.

As usual, we had no trouble finding a “hot tub” area to lounge around in. The resort just never got crowded despite the weekend and the glorious weather. We spent some time there, went swimming in the lagoon, went back to the freshwater pool, and basically lounged around in the water until around 5:00 when we headed to Leblon Hall.

On the top of Leblon Hall there’s an area for watching the sunset. Plantation bay advertises a sunset that’s “among the most beautiful in the world.” It was nice, but I’m not sure there aren’t lots of other equally nice sunsets around. Here’s a picture I took:

After watching the sunset, we went to the Magambo Springs spa but they couldn’t do both my wife and I at the same time — they only had individual openings for the rest of the night.

We went on to the nearby Piazza Palermo. They had some decent live music (piano, voice, saxophone) and my wife spent some time in the shallow pool while I hung around waiting for her to feel like eating. Eventually we went to the Palermo for dinner.

The Italian food there was pretty good. My wife had the tortellini. They were big and looked more like ravioli to me, but tasty. The portion seemed a little small but it was enough for my wife. I had some sort of skewered meat thing with veggies and mashed potatoes. They pour alcohol over the meat and light it on fire at the table for a good 2 seconds of entertainment before you eat. Then you have pools of bad tasting alcohol on your plate and you have to be careful not to drench your food in the stuff. Still it was tasty. It felt a little weird eating in a fancy restaurant in a wet bathing suit.

Then we took a taxi (that just happened to be dropping someone off at the resort) to a spa for massages. Since that spa was not associated with the resort I’ll save that story (nothing’s ever simple) for another day.

Anyway, back at Plantation bay we changed into our bathing suits, left the room through the back door, swam across the lagoon, and headed to the pool by the Kilimanjaro cafè again.

After some more swimming and fooling around in the warm water we walked around the resort, noticing small lizards for the first time. Then we went to the 24-hour Kilimanjaro cafè for a midnight meal. We got more fresh mango juice and tried some calamansi juice which was too bitter for us. My wife ordered Japanese Ramen. Which was very good. My wife thinks the broth was home made. It compared favorably to any of the ramen restaurants I’ve eaten at in Japan. I asked for some of the cookies that they always give you when you order a cappuccino. I was surprised to see that they gave me my cookies for free.

We overheard some Korean guys asking where they could go to meet women and getting some advice from the waiter who probably sent them to a KGV (expensive bar where you buy drinks for women and probably pay from some alone time with them). We asked him about the screaming we heard every night and he said that on the other side of the resort walls some Filipinos were having a fiesta. It made me wonder who was really having fun — the people in the resort or the people out there in the real Cebu. Not that I have any regrets since I was pretty relaxed by that time. The best part of the trip for me was about to come.

On the way back to our room we sat down on some lounge chairs on the sand by the lagoon. We stayed there for a good long time, just talking and looking up at the stars. It was one of those magical moments where I felt totally peaceful and appreciative that I was able to share such a great view of the night sky with the woman I love.

And that was that. We went back to our room, packed, set up a wake up call, and left the next day.


I had a great time in Plantation Bay. Our room was good, the food was good, the fresh mango juice was great, the resort was beautiful, there was plenty to do when we weren’t in the water, there was plenty of warm water where we spent most of our time, there were a few other people but no crowds, and the inconveniences were very minor in comparison.

The few inconveniences:

People have complained about the prices since the resort is more expensive than the impoverished neighborhoods outside. You have to expect that. You could go to Cebu, stay in a cheap hotel (we saw some under $10 a night), eat cheap food on the street, and have yourself a cheap trip. Obviously the resort is for people who want to spend money and experience something luxurious.

People have complained that there’s algae on the bottom of the lagoon. There was algae in some places and it does feel weird when you step on it. So I wore sandals. If you let little things like that ruin your vacation than you have to go somewhere else.

Some people complained about the staff not being friendly enough. I found them overly friendly except for a rude security guy when I rode my bike into a restricted area. Pass a worker at night and you get a big smile and hello. It actually got old after a while but they were definitely friendly. There was a time when we had to wait a while for a worker to come to the swim up bar and give us some mango juice and that probably shouldn’t happen. Overall, we were satisfied with the service we got.

We did see a few bugs in our room the first night, but not after that until the last day when I ate some cookies in the room and then noticed a bunch of ants. I guess they were collecting my cookie crumbs. We were leaving and didn’t mind. My wife and I hate bugs but have no complaints about seeing 2 or 3. That’s life.

Like I said, it was very nice. I’d go back though I might also want to check out the Hilton and the Shangri-la on Cebu (on the bottom of the entry).

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  1. basiio says:

    if ever you make it back to cebu…please try shangrila…service, room, facilities are comparable to plantation island if not better…the only drawback, depends on the time of the year, a big crowd of korean/chinese tourist.

    good reading.

  2. James Trotta says:

    Well Plantation Bay gets a lot of Korean tourists – one employee estimated (unofficially) that the number was around 50% of their total guests. But the resort is so big that it’s hard to imagine ever feeling crowded there.

    I talked to a Filipino guy who has been there three times because it’s “exclusive”. He said it could get busier than it was when I was there, but he had never seen it crowded.

    But I would like to review Shangri-la some day as well.

  3. Charo says:

    Hi James! Hope you can visit Palawan someday – Amanpulo is really pricey, but El Nido is okay. Those are really exclusive resorts. Other resorts you may want to try out there are Dos Palmas and Club Noah Isabelle. I haven’t gone to these resorts but they are highly recommended by friends. I’m planning to go to El Nido by next year. 🙂

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