Vivere Azure Anilao
On the last long weekend of August (I love August), H and I finally got to spend time together and decided to drive down to Anilao to check out this new resort. Originally, I suggested we just go to Botique in Tagaytay but still I showed him the website to Vivere Azure since I thought the rooms looked awesome.
Price was deinfitely an issue because the lowest available rate was for the Elan suite which amounted to 6,500 per person per night. Although I had my hesitations, when we found out that all the meals were included in the tab, H thought we should go for it since a) we rarely splurge and b) checking in to the Botique and having to pay for all the food might amount to close to that much anyway.
I paid through credit card and coordinated with the Manila office since they have no payment facilities in the resort itself. It was my first time going to Anilao, and the drive was easy enough although the scattered bowling ball and balikbayan box-sized rocks on the mountainside highway made me a bit nervous (it had been raining).
The resort wasn’t impressive from the outside since it looked not-quite-operational-yet with the bare concrete wall and lopsided and torn tarpaulin banners. Parking was also a bit of a hassle because the gate was right smack beside the narrow highway and the front of the gate looked like it can only accomodate 4 cars at a time. To make matters worse, there was a dilapidated pickup that for some reason was lodged in the main entrance which only gave about 4 inches of space else my car was gonna be scratched.
Anyhoo, we got in and immediately there was an impressive view of the ocean, made even better by the infinity pool and cabanas. We went through the usual paperwork and were given complimentary drinks (lime? Dalandan shake?) First thing I noticed was it was so quiet, practically the only thing I could hear was the tinkling of the fountain water against the pool. The resort guy showed us to our room and pointed out the facilities along the way. Like most of the resorts around Anilao, it was located on a steep hillside. I wished the pathways were lit at night since I though it would be really hard to manage at night if it wasn’t.
So we got to check in to out suite and boy oh boy, it was sweeeeet. Sofas, ceiling to floor linen curtains, nice native decor, a humongous bed (2 queens put together) with a view of the ocean, flat screen TV and a quaint, cute pleasant-smelling adjacent bathroom. Very tastefully done.
I lounged immediately at the balcony overlooking a thick growth of mature bamboo trees on the side, and the sea in front. It was quite windy and the bamboo was swaying with the gusts making lazy creaking sounds which was really calming. I was officially on vacation.
Our afternoon snacks were brought in shortly which was, I suppose the most notable disappointment. It was a couple of ham sandwiches — served on nasty white bread. I just thought it wasn’t a good way to start treating your guests who just paid 13,000 for a night. Too bad because the ham was good — you’re just never supposed to serve white bread on an upscale resort.
- The offensive white bread
- The drinks bar
We then spent the rest of the afternoon on the pool and in the bar (which was high up that it felt like we were on a tree house — so nice). I wish the cocktails could’ve been cheaper but it was 290 which was a bit too much. H had some beers, and I just had a coke. The pool was great, it looked a bit small-ish but it was actually big enough, and the best part about it I think is that you could just stay on the edge with your arms draped over it looking over at the islands in the distance. That’s what we just did, chatting and gossiping til the sun went down and my hands went all pruney. I suppose the only thing is that they should file the tiles off around the edges. It scrapes the skin going down in the pool, not adult-friendly, so definitely not child-friendly.
The highlight of the stay at Vivere Azure was the dinner feast. I say feast because that’s how it felt like to me. We came in at around 7, but the main course wasn’t to be served til 7:30. They had a starter spread though and it was buffet-style. They had a full plate of smoked salmon! I just wanted to grab the tray and run. I love smoked salmon and they’re just so friggin expensive so I was really happy to see it sitting there on the table. There was also an array or fruits and vegetables and dressings. Set against the softly lit restaurant against the sound of waves lapping against the shore downstairs, it was perfect.
I suppose the theme for that night was Japanese inspired because all, expect for the pancit canton (which I though was a bit odd) seemed to be japanese-ish food. Anyhoo I was happy. H ordered a bottle of white wine to go with the food (I had one glass and he downed the rest) and we spent probably the next 2-3 hours chatting again.
The satellite dishes aren’t functioning properly yet, we’ve been told, so we didn’t have cable in our room yet. However, they had a movie library and we could request the DVDs from them. That night we watched the very romantic film The 40-year-old Virgin, after which we didn’t need much encouragement to sleep, since we were tired and it was late.
The morning after, breakfast was in the open space near the beach. Bacons fried to a crisp, chicken longganisa, fried rice.. yum. A couple of cups of coffee, what a nice way to start the morning. H ended up spending the rest of the morning watching semi-pro, while I hung out in the balcony. Couple of minutes later, snack was served (again??), wich I thought was a bit redundant since we just had breakfast… and in a few minutes we were gonna have lunch.
I won’t go into detail but lunch didn’t disappoint. We settled bills and set off home after that. Overall, Vivere Azure was great, although I believe that they should have ffered a bit of dicount of courtesy freebies since it was still a little shabby around the edges (construction materials could still be seen all around the area.. cable was out.. etc). But we came out to spend quality time together and the resort definitely provided us with a good environment for that. I liked teh fact taht the resort was almost full (there were quite a few people during foodie time) but we rarely bumped into them roving around. I do feel that a lot of improvements could be made, I just hope they continue to improve and not go the other way like most other resorts do.