Well, where do I start? This hotel unfortunately did not turn out how I expected…
The Maribago Bluewater is located on Mactan Island in the Philippines. Mactan Island is a small island connected to the main island of Cebu by a long bridge. It is more a beach resort location and it is often where most visitors to the island of Cebu stay for that reason. Cebu airport is also located here.
Slight side note here, whilst travelling in the Philippines and waiting at a number of baggage carousels, I noticed the most bizarre items of luggage coming off the planes. The weirdest of which was a white plastic laundry basket, no lid, full with clothes and with just a small string keeping everything in at the top. Someone must seriously go to great lengths to get their laundry done!!
Anyway, I digress…
The hotel is pretty isolated and there isn’t much on offer in the immediate vicinity of the hotel although there is a spa right outside the gates, it may not look like much but they offer the same services for a lot cheaper. Just depends if surroundings when having your treatment are important to you or not! You are therefore pretty limited to what the resort has to offer in terms of food, drink and entertainment.
On arrival we were met with an ice cold drink called a Lemongrass Cooler, I have no idea the exact concoction of the drink but it was surprisingly nice and very refreshing. We had a beach side room in the beach wing of the hotel.(There are also rooms in the spa wing and garden wing). I was pleasantly surprised with the room, although I wouldn’t class it as beach side, there were buildings right in front of us blocking out the beach and sea view but as the doors were huge glass french doors, we had the curtains drawn the whole time anyway otherwise the room would have had zero privacy! There was a sea view reflection in the window of an adjacent room though!
The room was basic but comfy, had two double beds, a mini bar (so cheap as well!) and the bathroom of dreams.The bathroom completely won me over about this room. I was disappointed to note there wasn’t a safe though, so I had to improvise in this regard.
There was a small patio and seating area but due to the location and lack of view I didn’t really make use of this. The room also had a large vase and what I can only describe as a large ladle with holes in. After watching someone in the room next door use it, I realised it was to wash the sand off your feet before entering your room. The small holes reduce the flow of water over your feet, so your feet aren’t completely soaked but the sand is effectively removed.
My one real complaint about the room was the lack of bottled water. There were only two very small bottles of water provided per day. Which given the crazy heat and humidity in the Philippines was just not enough. I ended up having to resort to paying for the additional bottles in the minibar. Luckily though the minibar prices were crazy cheap, so it really didn’t cost much!
This didn’t turn out quite as advertised. When reading up about the hotel it states that it has an Italian, a buffet restaurant with themed nights, and an a la carte restaurant and a seafood restaurant however, in reality, there is one large restaurant which incorporates the buffer, a la carte and Italian and then another smaller restaurant on the seafront that serves seafood. The menu was therefore somewhat limited. The food however was nice but not really anything special. Although, the chocolate cake was delicious!! I do miss their chocolate cake.
I did love the beach bar though, I was surprised that no one else seemed to be using it though. Pretty much every night we had the beach bar to ourselves. They had a happy hour which meant 2 for 1 cocktails and although the choice was limited, they had all the classics on offer. I usually went for my trusty Tequila Sunrise, which seems to be my holiday drink of choice! I could have spent hours here just listening to the retro tunes, sitting in my beanbag chair and sipping my tequila sunrise(s).
I was also introduced to my new addiction, watermelon juice, here. I must have drank gallons of the stuff whilst in the Philippines and I am suffering from serious cravings now back in the UK!
To be honest, the hotel felt a lot smaller than I was expecting and often the pools and beach felt crowded despite the fact the hotel was far from full capacity. There were three pools, a small one in the spa wing, a slightly larger one with a slide for kids (and the odd adult) in the garden wing and then the main pool by the restaurants. The water in the pools was a stunning milky blue and they did look very inviting. We didn’t once use the main pool though as it was constantly full to the brim with people. I found the garden pool was the quietest despite the slide and there was also some shade around this pool, which was a luxury as it was hard to find shade in the resort!
The beach was also small but very pretty none the less. There were about 8 or so cabanas with sunloungers and few more sunloungers set back behind these, as well as a few hammocks. The cabanas were really good, the gave shade if needed, a table to keep your stuff out of the sand and an uninterrupted view of the clear blue sea in front. The sea itself was like bathwater and really nice to swim in. It was though surprisingly salty, you pretty much floated on the surface with zero effort.
Now, onto the worst bit about this hotel, and the reason why I would not stay here again, the events. The bane of my time here. Every single day the hotel was pact to capacity (if not over) with corporate events, family events, birthdays, weddings and more. They take over all the facilities to the point that actual guests are unable to use them themselves. I found this extremely frustrating when I couldn’t find a sun lounger anywhere in the resort due to the number of day guests.
The worst moment was when I was woken up at 9am by a loud speaker that had been set up directly outside our room and people singing karaoke! Not even gentle karaoke, it was full on Mariah Carey type karaoke. It was horrendous and at that moment I was looking forward to moving onto the next destination.
To be honest, I wont stay here again and I also would not recommend it to anyone else. The staff were polite and the room was very nice, the bathroom in particular, but the events completely ruined it for me. I have never experienced something quite like it. The number of events and how they were set up was completely at the detriment of the guests staying at the hotel. Setting up a load speaker and large gathering of people directly outside of people’s hotel rooms is just not acceptable, at any time of day, not least at 9am!