Monday, June 10, 2019

The Twin Lakes Hotel Experience

Last year my family and I had such a good experience “staycationing” (if there is such a word) that we decided to do it again this year. For my birthday I decided to take the family out to stay overnight at a hotel again. I had originally wanted to do it at Taal Vista Hotel, which was where we stayed last year to celebrate my niece’s birthday, but the suite we used wasn’t available. I looked for other hotels in the area and ended up booking the suite at Twin Lakes Hotel along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway in Batangas (although most people tend to think that this is in Tagaytay, I know I did).

I was planning to review the hotel for my blog when I first booked our stay. What I didn’t know at the time was that Twin Lakes was being managed by a friend of the family. If anyone feels that I’m being a little biased with my review, feel free to call me out on it.  

It is worth noting that the hotel opened in December 2018 and it is fairly new. At the time we first stayed there, some areas of the hotel were still under construction and their facilities were not yet complete. I’ve read reviews of people complaining about the construction, but personally, I wasn’t bothered by it. We didn’t hear or see the parts that were still under construction so it was not a big deal. Maybe the hotel could post a note on their website about it or inform people about booking when they call or email so that they would at least know what to expect. I knew beforehand from the reviews that there was still some work being done so our group was not that bothered by it. 

Checking in was a breeze and we were ushered to our suite after we were done with our welcome drinks. The suite was a combination of two bedrooms and one middle/living area. It was not as huge as the one in Taal Vista but I think for the family this was a better option because we were all closer together. Like Taal Vista, they had a welcome fruit basket in our room when we got there.

The rooms were clean, the bathroom in the bedrooms had a tub and a shower and there was a toilet in the living room area as well. Each room had a balcony, with sliding doors that automatically shut off the AC when it is open to save electricity (that’s just me guessing) since the weather can be a bit cold outside anyway. The bedrooms included bathrobes and slippers for the guests as well as the requisite toiletries. There were mini-fridges in both rooms with sodas. The usual bottled water, coffee, and tea with a small electric kettle was also part of each room. 

The balconies have a good view of their vineyard, although at the time we were there they were newly planted so there wasn’t much to see. I was told that it would look better by the last quarter of the year. I’m looking forward to seeing that. 

For guests who want to go out of the hotel, there is a van service that goes up to the commercial area every hour. We made use of that service a lot when we were there and even got to chat with a very friendly driver, who happily offered us discounts to their family-owned Halo-halo business in Bacoor, Cavite.

Later that evening I decided to join the kids for a swim in the heated infinity pool. I LOVED it! It felt so relaxing taking a dip in the warm water as I looked out at the sky and the stars. A lifeguard was looking out for us who was ready with towels when we needed them. The kids enjoyed the swim so much that they went back in the following day after breakfast. It helped that water was not too deep and that there was a pool for kids. 

The breakfast buffet was good. My mother commented that although the selection was not as wide as Taal Vista’s, it definitely tasted good. We also enjoyed taking in the view on the balcony of the restaurant, something I’m sure a lot of other people would enjoy. 

While the hotel did not have a spa yet, we were able to book a massage from an affiliate spa for my mom with the help of the hotel front desk. The masseuse came to our room and worked on my mom there. She said that it was very relaxing even if it was done in our room.  

My family and I had such a good time that we ended up booking two rooms again recently. We would have loved to have the suite again but since we booked last minute, we could only get two rooms which were, thankfully, right next to each other. 

After we checked in, we roamed around and found (with the help of security personnel who showed us the way) that they already had a gym, which my sister made use of the following day. They were also in the finishing touches of a kid's playroom and a game room (for the older kids like us). We will probably be able to use those facilities next time. 

Sadly, there still wasn’t any spa but we did avail of the massage that my mom got the last time. I have to agree that it was really good. I was so relaxed by the end of it all that I couldn’t keep my eyes open that night even when I promised my sisters that we’d stay up late! The masseuse told my mom that they will also be the same staff at the spa in the hotel once it opens. I’m definitely looking forward to that! Spas are my happy place! 

During our second stay, we decided to try the restaurant for our other meals since we went up to the commercial area the last time. We were happy with our dinner (grilled was the theme of the night) but we were a little disappointed that it was the same selection all over again for lunch. I guess we were hoping for a slightly different fare the following day. Still, we had good meals while we were there. We were a little too full every time!

My sisters and I also decided to try their room service. There weren’t any menus in our room so we ended up going out to the hotel bar to ask around. The person assigned there was very friendly and gave us a menu and several options for drinks since we were looking to have a little alcohol that night. There wasn’t much offered in terms of meals on the menu (with some items that were on the menu that ended up being unavailable), and the ones that were offered weren’t good for sharing like what we had intended. But since the guy assisting us was very friendly and helpful, we still ordered some food and drinks for our room.  

Both times while the experience was not perfect, I have to say that I had a good time at Twin Lakes Hotel. Being a new hotel, it still has a lot to improve on (or should I say, complete) before it can serve its guests to the best of its ability but I think they’re off to a good start. The friendly staff who are always willing to help (I suddenly remembered one of their staff saw me checking out the hallway in case some people could help us with our TV and rushing over to see how he can help) is a big plus. The person to person experience/service is always a big factor on whether or not we come back to a place and this has the kind of people that would make us come back. 

That last morning I had when I sat by the balcony, looked out at the sunrise while I read a book made me feel like I was in a happy place. It was quiet and peaceful and just beautiful. I would definitely come back again. 

You know what? I'd probably be back before the year ends. 


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