Fun Friday: Revisiting Taal Vista Hotel

Third Friday of the month: Travel / Recreation

I always welcome every chance we get for quick getaways with my family -- a wonderful respite from the daily grind and city living, as well as a great learning opportunity for the children. Tagaytay is one of the most popular local destinations that's within reach.  An hour and a half drive from our place, it's a cool escape that we can easily plan without breaking the bank.  Our leisurely trips usually lead us to Taal Vista Hotel - the top residence of choice for visiting locals and tourists alike.

Taal Vista Hotel is proudly celebrating their 75th anniversary this 2014, and I'm thankful to be a part of their roster of social media guests invited to experience the service and celebrate with them. You can imagine our excitement as we confirmed our accommodations last month. We couldn't wait to visit Taal Vista Hotel again!

"On October 7, 1939, Taal Vista Lodge was officially opened -- the first hotel in the city of Tagaytay.  75 years later, Taal Vista Hotel remains to be a landmark in the city with its iconic Tudor-style architecture and panoramic view of the Taal Lake and Volcano.
The hotel has lined-up exciting activities for the year-long celebration which will culminate in a 1930s Art-Deco theme event for the Taal Vista Hotel 75th Anniversary Gala Party on October 11, 2014."

The kids were still much smaller the last time we stayed at the hotel.  I hope you can read my earlier feature of our holiday stay here in Taal Vista - see and compare how the hotel has improved through the years. I've shared our very pleasant experience, and how happy we were with the service and amenities of the hotel. We just missed swimming before since it was chilly. So, during this recent visit, we made sure the kids enjoyed the pool! =)  

For this post, I'll share with you a photo essay of our fun and relaxing mid-summer overnight stay at Taal Vista Hotel last April 22.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we checked-in, and proceeded to have lunch at Café Veranda. The last time we dined here, it used to be named Café by the Ridge.

The interiors have been updated with more contemporary Asian-tropical theme furnishings.  In one corner, they have a more private family-style dining area with a round table.  We had breakfast there the following morning.

We were hungry from the road trip so I was not able to take food shots from the buffet that day. It was a sumptuous spread of favorite Filipino and continental dishes. My girl took this photo of my fresh watermelon shake, with big brother in the background.  All I can think about was drink, drink, drink.  It was so hot that day!

During lunch, the kids were already bugging us to check out the pool since they've been looking forward to swim at the hotel. We also met with another guest, blogger mom Mariel of The Learning Basket, and her lovely family who were also billeted that day.  Her young kids were as excited to swim that warm afternoon.  Our host, area MarComm manager Celine Arenillo, joined us for lunch and shared their plans for the hotel's 75th anniversary celebration.  She thoughtfully prepared an itinerary for both our families' staycation, making our trip more memorable.

As part of the hotel's 75th anniversary celebration, Café Veranda will feature guest chefs this July to October. Guests can look forward to trying the specialty dishes prepared by former Malacañang Executive Chef Babes Austria, celebrity chefs Jackie and Rolando Laudico, Fernando Aracama, Sau del Rosario, and Bruce Lim, and the hotel's very own Executive Chef Edwin Santos.

"Complementing Taal Vista Hotel’s awarded Café Veranda, will be the opening of the Magnolia Steakhouse in May 2014. The new dining establishment will be devoted to prime cut beef served with a selection of sauces, side dishes and fresh homegrown Tagaytay greens. 
Located in the Magnolia Pavilion on The Ridge, the steakhouse will feature an al fresco dining area and sweeping views of Taal Lake and Volcano."    

After a filling lunch, we took a quick break and immediately, the kids crashed in our beds before I could even take a nice shot of the room! We stayed at the well-appointed Premier Lake Wing room, which features 2 beds, a queen and a double.  The last time we stayed overnight, we had a king and a single in our Deluxe room. It was slightly bigger, but this one has a more modern interior design.

It also has a balcony that opens up to a fantastic view of Taal lake and volcano.

By mid-afternoon, it was swimming time! The pool is modestly sized, and has a shallow kiddie pool on one side where the boy and the girl spent most of their time playing and practicing their strokes.

Later that day, I had a chance to tour the hotel grounds with the girl while the boys watched their shows in the room.

The lobby lounge was also updated with new furniture and a brighter look.  We love this rattan canopy chair! After our walk around the hotel, my girl and I sort of had a "high tea" date. =)  We shared some grilled cheese sandwich while I had a pot of TWG's special hotel blend.  Sarap!

Another new feature of Taal Vista Hotel is their vegetable and herb garden.  Celine took me to the garden and greenhouse since this is the only area I have not yet been to. Look how lush that hedge of dill is, and the lettuce ready for harvest.  The hotel makes use of their fresh organic picks as much as supply can handle the demand in the kitchen.   It's amazing that a first class hotel grows their own herbs and veggies too, thanks to the cool Tagaytay climate and fertile grounds of the hotel.

Lucky for us, we spotted this lone red strawberry in the green house. =)

While we freshen up and prepare for dinner, the hotel managed to surprise us with this gorgeous tent set-up under the beautiful deep blue sky that evening.  The weather was perfect for an al fresco candle-lit dinner.  Truly a night to remember!  

Guests can request for a similar arrangement for special occasions with a set menu, just book in advance.

It was a four-course dinner that I never expected.  It was fab!  

For starters, we had this light and citrus-y smoked salmon and mesclun greens salad, and my favorite (above) -- rich and flavorful tomato coriander soup with crispy bread stick.  

The main course was a Surf and Turf - wowza! The menu said duo of beef and prawn, but what came out was this baby lobster! The steak and seafood came out a bit dry, but were tasty nonetheless.  I was already full and was not able to finish my own dessert, which is a timbale of dark and white chocolate, like a thick mousse.

The kids were also served their classic spaghetti with chicken nuggets, and their own fudge brownie dessert - which I wiped out with the girl! =)

To cap the night, the moms were treated to a full body massage at posh Asmara Spa! This was a perfect ending to a most wonderful day at the hotel.  I really felt pampered the whole day. I was ready to sleep after my treatment!  

The next day, the kids wanted to have a last dip in the pool before we check out.  So, we had breakfast earlier than usual, but only had something light. The buffet offered the usual fare of Asian, American, and European selections - we had these to fill our tummies.  I especially enjoyed my goto lugaw, and the girl finished her crispy bacon with waffle.

Taal Vista Hotel has golf carts on standby to service guests going from East to West wing.  It's quite a long walk from the lobby to the poolside, so we took a quick ride to the other side.

The kids made the most of our stay, and even met new friends! By noon, it's time to say goodbye to Taal.  I encourage you to visit Taal Vista Hotel at least once this summer, or anytime of the year.  Watch our for their anniversary events too!

When traveling to Tagaytay, you can't miss Taal Vista Hotel since the property sits on the ridge by the main road of the city. We also like to pass by the hotel for the view even if we're not staying overnight.  The hotel is sprawling, kids can run around, enjoy nature, dine at the hotel's restaurant, and the whole family can just breath in fresh air and relax by the magnificent view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. Thank you, Celine and Taal Vista Hotel, for your warm accommodations for my family.  No matter how many times we've been here, we don't seem to tire of this place, the view, and everything around it.
Dinner with Celine, Mariel and her family

Taal Vista Hotel 
Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City
4120 Philippines
For inquiries and reservations, call: (632) 917-8225 / (6346) 413-100 / +63917-8091254.
Stay connected:
Twitter: @taalvistahotel
Instagram: @taalvistahotel

You might like to read:
Tagaytay Family Album: Taal Vista Hotel

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