I like hotels.
I like them so much – and traveling! – that we bought our own timeshare. But like I said in my MoneySmarts guest post:
It gives birth to other expenses – yearly maintenance fees (which went up from P2,500 to P4,000 in the blink of an eye), RCI fees (S$150 annually –in Singapore dollars, but with the current exchange rate, it might as well be in US dollars), booking fees that could range from P2,500 (Asia) to almost P10,000 (outside of Asia). It does not include airfare, or the cost of food. The RCI hotels, although three or four stars, are almost always in the outskirts of the city – that means it is 30 minutes away from where the action is. With the cab fares we are paying, we could have had a decent room at a city hotel with dancing lights, Prada and great food at our doorstep.
But it is not all bad, as we have found out in our two years of owning one.
But it may have outlived its usefulness, I think. We have not used it for two years.
Because travel is now made very affordable – airfare, hotel and tours, for a very low price, are now all in.
And some great hotels are not included in the timeshare ring, like those where guests can have their own villas with their own private plunge pool.
And I have always wanted to stay in one (just one of my crazy-weird dreams).
So I did.
Okay. I have been to Bohol and did the whole Bohol route – looked at a tarsier squarely in the eye (it refused to look at me), did the Loboc River cruise (almost belted out a song), climbed the so-many steps to see the wonder that is the Chocolate Hills (there is a God and He is great), dipped in its seas (crystal blue, shining, shimmering, splendid). But my husband and my daughter have not been there. So I took them. But I wanted a little extra something to perk up our stay (and RCI did not have any hotels there), so I looked at the virtual sites of the hotels in the province and something caught my attention – Amorita.
News reports say that no less than the president of the land stayed there very recently. The packages are also attractive, not too expensive, not too cheap.
I took a chance with Amorita. (I tell you – a website can really give you the “come on” and Amorita has a nice one)
I reserved the standard hotel room. But when I got there knowing what I know about the villas, I requested for an upgrade. But the girl at the counter did not understand me – I did not want to pay more – but getting a $300 room for $150 seemed too much to ask. So I paid more (sigh).
This was the entry way into the restaurant and it was quite fetching, especially with the sun breaking through the opening. Magazines, newspapers and books are littered through the place. There is a fooz ball table, a billiard table and a showcase of desserts whispering to me to please take a bite.
This is the eternity pool which overlooked Alona Beach.
Our very own villa, measuring 120 square meters, with its own private entry way, pocket garden and plunge pool.
The king bed (not sure if it was king) was a little too high for my taste. It was not as endearing as the plush beds of Shangrila Hotels – it was just okay. The bathroom had complimentary L’Occitane products. I asked the concierge for more but she told me – in no uncertain terms – no, but that I could get as much as I can of the other local products (yey?).
The package included a massage by the plunge pool. We had the massage at night. It was divine. The massage therapists brought their own beds, little scented candles and those warm and soothing hands. I swear I heard my boo snore (he would not admit to it).
My boo getting his feet wet. I just wish the plunge pool was heated. It was too cold for any long sitting (and I felt guilty that the water was always flowing).
Comments about this stay:
- Now that I have tasted the “villa” experience, I will probably go back to booking standard rooms. After all, a hotel room is just a place to sleep in. A new place is to be explored. And it seems such a waste of time and money to just stay in the room – no matter how beautiful it is – when there is just too much to do, places to see and people to meet.
- The guided tour is too expensive. An alternative is to just rent a car (comes with a driver and gas, 5 can fit in a car) and have the driver take you to places of interest. If you have a talkative one like ours, he can serve as tour guide too and tell you enchanting stories. You can ask him any questions and request him to take you off the beaten path.
- If you can, try to go to Bohol Bee Farm. It is like a seaside Sonya’s Garden and you can get malunggay-flavored ice cream there. They have affordable packages that come with all the meals and the tours, including a dolphin tour. I was debating whether I should get this one or Amorita. I think I should have gotten the Bee Farm package.
- If you go during the low season like we did, the sea will be a little cloudy.
- Check out Alona Beach and the restaurants along the coast. It is starting to have a Boracay-like feel but a little more laid back.
- I am thinking about using my timeshare again.
Article by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
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