The “Bluewater Maribago”:http://www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph/ is situated on the Philippine island of Mactan which is reached via a bridge from the larger island of Cebu. We arrived at 12.30pm and, even though check in wasn’t until 3pm, room 235 on the ground floor was ready.
There were two double beds in the large room which was well equipped with mini bar, complimentary water, safe, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, wardrobe and bedside tables and a shared bedside lamp. The AC was a bit icy and if you were in the nearest bed, you needed to be under the covers to avoid a frozen shoulder. The floor was practical, tiled and each room had a patio – ours looked out to the pool, with a dining table and four cane chairs.
The bathroom was a reasonable size but had the worst shower for a long time and over a narrow, deep, sloping bath: once you’d got your footing secured it was best not to move around too much.
This was a very family-friendly hotel with three pools with slides, round shapes and bridges. We preferred the man-made beach area with around 20 sun beds and a parasol with intercom for the ordering of drinks or snacks. The sea was lovely and warm but too shallow for swimming. There was a private island which you could take a boat across to.
There was a main, central restaurant, a pizza place and a speciality fish restaurant. In the main restaurant we found fire eaters and drummers in full flow swiftly followed by traditional dancing. The menu was good and our food fine, but large groups made it noisy. At breakfast there was an excellent selection and a particularly large Asian display of things that we didn’t know what to do with.
This was a lovely hotel, but we encountered numerous problems which led us to question their customer priorities: tourists, large family groups or corporate events.
First Day/Night – at check in we were informed that 350 people were arriving for an evening corporate event. As this was next to the beach, our afternoon’s sunbathing was impacted by the setting up of the event, the testing of the PA system/disco and the practise session of the fire eating entertainment.
Second Day/Night – having returned from a day’s sightseeing we found a corporate team building event in full flow, again next to the beach. This involved 100 people running amok, making animal noises and generally doing ‘exercises’ whilst whipped into a frenzy by the facilitators.
Third Day/Night – After complaining about the events, the manager told us a ‘small private party’ had been booked on the beach in the evening. Unfortunately, this was set up from mid-morning and we found ourselves in the midst of low tables, bean bags and flaming torches.
Departing – the night before we were due to leave, we discovered conflicting information about out onward departure and went to check with reception. Here we were told our agents had left a message confirming our pick-up time was an hour earlier. They’d tried telephoning our room, but we were out, and they’d made no effort to leave a message in our room. This could have had major problems as we were catching a flight.
The poor manager could only apologise and offered us 50% off a meal in The Cove restaurant which we accepted. This was a speciality fish restaurant and on arrival we were shown to a reserved table for two with the place settings in the wrong seats for the view. We ordered seared salmon and tuna with ginger and wasabi to start and then scallops with green bean salad and prawn risotto. Whilst the food was good, the service wasn’t with one main coming out before the starter.
After our experiences, we feel that the hotel isn’t suitable for couples who can be overwhelmed by family or corporate groups.