In my quest to find the best luxury resort in the Philippines, I stumble upon that elusive destination in Cagraray Island in Albay. This is Misibis Bay.
Located around an hour away from Legazpi City, Misibis Bay is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, meaning, this resort has been deemed world class. I've also been hearing about it in countless press releases and features in magazine shows. So, when Deal Grocer offered a weekend escape to the renewed resort, I gave in the temptation to buy.
We were picked up at the airport in a comfortable van. We were even served yummy biscuits and water while in transit. Our escort was pointing to us landmarks along the road. After 20 minutes, we dozed off and suddenly woke up arriving at the resort already.
I wasn't able to take a picture of our arrival but it was interesting. Dancers welcomed us with a native performance. We were the only guests to arrive, so they took an effort to welcome us that way. We were served some drinks and a snack. It was a good beginning, and the service was indeed of high standards.
We were led to our room, a junior suite supposedly. Our previous luxury accommodation was Shangri-la Boracay, so I guess we weren't jumping when we saw this room. It was neat and bright because of the light coming from the glass terrace door and huge bay windows.
The bathroom was also very spacious, just as anyone would expect from a luxury resort. I instantly compared it to Asya Premier's bath, which I still think is the best I have seen.
Though we arrived at 8AM in the resort, we didn't hesitate to explore what was in store for us for the weekend. Misibis Bay had a pleasant beach, inviting as the waters were calm. The sand seemed imported, and the water was not clear.
I liked their cabanas and beach lounges, although it seemed that no one tends to them. Some were wet with rain water, and the white drapes were disorganized. There was also no towels by the lounges. Well, there was no one around as well.
We walked on the sandy beach towards the central part of the resort where the infinity pool was situated. I wondered if there were other guests, because we haven't seen anyone yet. I had this feeling that this luxury resort is deserted, and it wasn't a good thing.
There were beachfront suites which I assumed are already their best rooms. As soon as we reached the swimming pool, we finally spotted a guest, and some resort staff setting up the sun lounges around the pool. So I guess it was early.
I wasn't as impressed with the pool, and this meant a lot to me. It looked really old already, considering that the resort is only 2 to 3 years old. Could it be that Misibis Bay is already decaying?
I felt more and more weary, and wandered into the restaurant. We saw more guests having their breakfast. This part of the resort looked good, however, just like the pool, signs of aging were evident. The walls were starting to look dirty.
To make things worse, as we discover during our stay, the food was extremely unsatisfying. We availed of a buffet lunch for our first meal, and it was one of the worst I had for a luxury resort. There is no other choice in this resort as well. They only had one restaurant. Hence, we tried to plan our menu as best and diverse as possible. However, we only succeeded with one dish, and it was even the chicken tinola (chicken ginger soup).
So, unsatisfied with the food and the pool, we tried to look for good points. However, I wasn't really convinced anymore. The staff were attentive and polite, but there was still something missing.
There was the lagoon pool that wound along clusters of rooms. Some rooms here had jacuzzis and large balconies. The rest looked the same, since we could see the rooms from outside (glass walls).
Misibis Bay was a huge resort, and I really felt disappointed with the way it looked. I really felt it was slowly being neglected, and the resort's upkeep was slowing down. There was another pool near the game room, which I thought was even the best among the three. The lagoon part looked like a mid rise condominium development, and not a luxury resort. Probably I was expecting too much. But hey, this is a recognized luxury world class hotel. I think they should start revisiting that claim.
On a more positive side, Part 2 will feature why we still managed to enjoy Misibis Bay. Stay tuned!