Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Peacock Garden: Europe in Bohol?

I must admit, I had low expectations of the Peacock Garden in Bohol. It bills itself as Bohol’s premier luxury boutique resort. Those many descriptions made it look very pretentious. I was also a bit off with its European design since it was located in a tropical island. It just seemed out of place. So when I entered the imposing gates of the resort and drove across a grand and manicured driveway that led to what looked like a clubhouse from afar, I still didn’t know what to expect.





As soon as we got off our car, a courteous doorman greeted us. I really felt like entering the home of a duke. We were immediately welcomed by the reception staff that wore short skirts and stockings. However, they had an enthusiasm that was very contagious and soon, I was also smiling with a glass of sweet watermelon juice on hand.



Before checking in, we were given a tour of the resort. Our guide was explaining each antique piece that was showcased in the reception lobby and the Old Heidelberg fine dining restaurant. I was surprised to know how much history was brought here as well. There was a piano that was built in the mid 1800s and memorabilia of Rizal from Europe. The guide was rambling actually, while I was observing the pieces. I felt like I was in a museum, and I was just in the lobby of the hotel.



We moved on to a cigar room named Hemingway. I loved the pub like atmosphere of this room. We were then led to The Wine Cellar that had a very interesting collection of spirits. There was also the Pim’s night club that had a lighted dance floor beside it. 




Then, after passing through a grass arch, we finally saw the most exciting part of the resort, its gorgeous infinity pool. 



With a row of relaxing sun loungers with parasols, it was one of the best pool areas I must say in Bohol, enhanced by the spectacular view of the sea and even Pamilacan Island. You’ve got to see this pool at sunset when it is most stunning.



Finally, we reached our room, a Deluxe Sea View Room that had a balcony that was also directly facing the pool. The bed that came with a memory foam topper had a very luxurious feel. The bath was not impressive, though they carried L’Occitane products. 




There was also a quaint living area in one corner, where we had our delicious snacks – grilled German sausage and fried Camembert. The food was excellent by the way, very authentic in taste and unique as well, given that we were in Bohol. It was a welcome break from the usual Filipino fare offered in other resorts.


We ended our day with a treatment in their surprisingly world class Roman inspired Fontana Aurelia Spa. We were shocked to see a Jacuzzi, steam room and very luxurious treatment rooms in this part of Bohol. I would go to Peacock Garden just for its spa. Needless to say, our 90-minute massage with facial was excellently delivered.



Despite some design misfits and the lack of that grandness that one could expect from a European inspired establishment, The Peacock Garden did uphold its billing of a premier luxury boutique resort.


It may not be a 5-star luxury experience, but the immaculate and gracious service and the resort’s secluded appeal made up for that. I just wished the design was much better executed (to think I just arrived from Europe as of this writing).


I was expecting very little from my experience from The Peacock Garden, but that didn’t matter in the end. I was wrong to compare it with my favorites in Bohol and even in the country. The Peacock Garden is a whole different world indeed that no other resort can compare to it – it was a destination in itself.


***

The Peacock Garden
Upper Laya, Baclayon

Bohol 6301 Philippines
+63 38 539 9231 (landline)
+63 917 326 9000 (mobile)

Ambience: 3
Rooms: 2.5
Service: 2.5
Facilities: 3
Dining: 3.5
Over-all Experience: 3
IE Score: 2.91 (Fair)






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