Family Fun at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu
An aerial view of the grounds of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa
Traveling to an island destination in the Philippines can be easy or tricky, depending on the island you plan to visit and of course, the group of people you are with.
When my boyfriend Jo brought his three kids to the Philippines from San Francisco for the first time, he and I wanted to show them the beauty of the country they barely knew. There are so many gorgeous Philippine islands that I had difficulty narrowing down my options.
In then end, I chose Cebu for our weekend destination. There are many flights flying from Manila to Cebu on a daily basis and vice versa, so it’s easy to accommodate a large group. Booking flights on Philippine Airlines was a breeze, with ideal departure and arrival times. Due to the availability of several flights, airfare was cheaper than to other destinations, too.
Welcome drinks upon arrival
Finally, the deciding factor of going to Cebu was Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. I’ve been here several times before for work, with friends and with family, and I know Shangri-La’s Mactan boasts of five-star facilities and unparalleled service. However, what I didn’t know is that from now until September 30, 2017, the resort is offering an amazing Family Fun Package. For only a minimum of P13,700++ a night for two adults and up to two children, guests are entitled to the following benefits: ( Click here to see rates and availability )
- Daily buffet breakfast for two adults
- Choice of daily dinner buffet at Tides with free-flowing standard beverages for two adults or daily dinner set menu at Acqua, for two adults and two children
- Unlimited access to the three-storey playground, Adventure Zone, for up to two children
- Unlimited use of snorkel sets and kayaks during the stay – perfect for exploring the 350-metre beach cove and the famous Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary
- Regularly scheduled complimentary resort activities such as yoga, garden tours, Zumba and a snorkeling safari
Aside from this, they also offer the following:
- Round-trip shuttle bus transfers to / from the airport for two (2) adults and two (2) children. The resort is conveniently located near the Mactan-Cebu International Airport
- Complimentary laundry service for one (1) bag of laundry per stay
- High-speed broadband Internet and Wi-Fi access throughout the resort
- Savings of 20% on Food and Beverage services (excluding In-Room Dining, Minibar and Banquets)
- Savings of 20% on CHI, The Spa treatments for adults
- Savings of 20% on laundry and pressing services
Checking out all these benefits made it almost impossible to resist such an offer!
Knowing I would be traveling with two 12-year-olds, a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old, I wanted to ensure we had certain creature comforts that Shangri-La Mactan provides such as 24-hour dining options, clean, comfortable rooms and good facilities for both adults and children. Jo’s son Luke was wary of every little bug on this trip – so I knew the rooms at Shang would be perfect without any surprise insects hovering or floating about, especially in the middle of the night!
Staying at a resort with a flexible dining arrangement was the best decision we could have made! On other island destinations, there have been many a time where the food service was slow and menu options were limited. The Tides Café offered ala carte dining and a buffet featuring Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and continental stations. Everyone could enjoy a different cuisine, all at the same time. The choices were endless. Furthermore, the atmosphere was casual and the kids could be their noisy selves without bothering any other diners. An added bonus was the “unlimited wine and beer” part. It is brilliant of management to sense that parents need their own little pockets of adult time!
Our kaboodle exploring Bohol for the day
The next day, we woke up early to have quick breakfast at Tides again as we needed to catch an early ferry to Tagbilaran. We were gone all-day hunting tarsiers and Chocolate Hills with only snacks and a quick lunch at Jollibee to sustain us. We arrived back at the hotel around 9:45PM to have dinner. A service staff told us we only had 15 minutes before the buffet closed. It was so convenient to have food already waiting for us, as we were all tired and starving!
Jo went out later to meet his Cebu-based friends but I begged off, needing some rest and quiet. While the kids were all in bed, I took a nice, long, hot unhurried shower. I blow-dried my hair while wearing a fluffy Shang bathrobe, then watched movies on the TV. It felt like such luxury after riding freezing ferries, cramped vans and walking up and down the 100 steps to view the Chocolate Hills.
The pool all to themselves
The next morning, I told the kids that everyone could have a free morning. My son Enzo wanted to stay in the room and play with his iPad (another bonus—wifi!), while the others went swimming and snorkeling.
It’s only at a resort like Shangri-La’s Mactan where I would feel safe enough to leave the kids together at the pool, as there are several lifeguards stationed there and helpful staff everywhere. Jo’s daughter Lana and I took advantage of the free kayaks and snorkeling. This was Lana’s first time to snorkel under the sea!
It was such a convenience to charge everything to the room instead of having to carry cash around. Plus with the free bag of laundry as part of our package, for the first time ever I came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes. This was a major benefit for Jo, who didn’t have to do laundry anymore for the rest of their trip.
Happy faces greet you at every turn, Shangri-La style
I do love the adventure of discovering new islands, spelunking and meeting new travelers at secret beaches around the Philippines, but when you are traveling with kids and want a happy medium where everyone (including you!) can somehow also have an enjoyable vacation, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa is an excellent choice. Book your family weekend getaway with their family fun package and you won’t regret it. My only regret is that I didn’t get to book a massage at the famed Chi Spa…ah, well. Maybe next time!