This travel dispatch is just in from the fabulous Amy (mom to precious Jack!) in Clearwater Bay:
When you have a baby, the recipe for a perfect weekend getaway includes a quick and easy flight, no visas, a super fast and efficient airport pick-up, zippy travel time to the hotel, yummy food and wine (reasonably priced is always a plus!), a gorgeous resort property and moreover – a staff that goes out of their way to accommodate you and your baby! It’s rare that all these boxes get checked – there’s always something that goes a little sideways when you’re traveling with a baby. But I can tell you, a recent long weekend at the Abaca Resort in Cebu, Philippines renewed my belief that you can indeed have it all.
From the moment we were picked up by the gracious and accommodating staff, we knew we were in for some special treatment. As you can imagine, we weren’t traveling light – in fact with two wee travel companions, we were carting along a ton of gear – two strollers, a couple baby bags each, plus our suitcases…..Our driver whisked all this away, helped us into the van, offered us a cool towel and a bottle of water – and, just like that, we were on our way. A mere 15 minutes later we were already at the resort and being greeted (by name) by the lovely General Manager.
I simply cannot say enough about the quality of the rooms (there are only 8!), the free flowing Gatorade and water, the nightly homemade brownies (dreamy!), the brand spanking new Apple computer in our room, the generously sized bathroom…. and oh – the view! Gorgeous views through wind swept palm trees overlooking clear water…! Though there is no sandy beach at the moment, the resort has just received a permit to build one. So until then, the divine infinity pool will have to do! (wink)
It’s clear that every single possible detail of this resort has been thoroughly thought through – the immaculate rooms, the gorgeous poolside cabanas, the delightful and intimate spa….But the main reasons why I would return in a heartbeat? The fantastic staff, AMAZING food, and just how easy they made it to stay here with a baby. The GM went out of his way to provide a brand new baby bath tub, bottle sterilizer, bottle brush (still new in the package!!), dish soap, drying container, and brand new baby crib with freshly ironed sheets tucked into it! It still amazes me. And every time I was out and about between the room and cabana, I had members of their staff rushing over to me, offering to carry my baby bags and help in any way they could – truly amazing and intuitive service….
Now – on to the FOOD! Chef Wade – a man’s man from Down Under – cooks the type of food you want to eat at every single meal – he’s all about fantastic ingredients and flawless execution…you have to hold yourself back. His standards are the highest, and you can see that from his constant presence in his open kitchen. Chef uses a wood smoking oven to cook just about everything from chickens to pizzas – even the croutons that go on his delicious Caesar salad. And if you can’t find something on his menu, not to worry — he’ll pretty much cook you up anything you can dream of…now that’s service. Perhaps the nicest touch is that he really gets to know his guests, remembers what they like (and don’t like), and usually hand-delivers the food (!). An absolutely polished operation – and a tasty one at that!
Now a final note for you: If you are traveling with your helper (who they so sweetly refer to as “the nanny”), they have “nanny’s quarter’s” which are extremely comfortable. And I have to say, that my fabulous helper was treated with the same grace and level of service that all their guests receive says a lot.
My last tip for you? They fill up fast – so definitely book in advance!!