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Reaching the Tipping Point at Plantation Bay Mactan | Philippines Trip 2023

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Hey, you! 👋

So I have another bone to pick and this time it's with Plantation Bay Mactan!

From Mactan Airport, we proceeded to check-in at Plantation Bay Mactan. Our week in Davao was fun and all that (click here for the post), but we needed that one day to relax. Pfff, if only we did that. But I'll get to that in a few minutes.


A couple of months ago, I reserved a family room for my husband's younger sister, her husband, their baby and us. It was a baptism gift from us. This also included breakfast.

My other sister-in-law and her kids had their flight for the US a few hours later and so they stayed with us until our goodbyes. Sad. 😢

When we were still living in the Philippines, our choice of staycation would either be Shangrila Resort, Plantation Bay, Maribago Bluewater, and later on Imperial Palace (which is now known as JPark I believe).

For personal reasons, my family had a preference for Shangrila, while my in-laws liked Plantation Bay mainly for its lagoons. My dad was not a big fan of Plantation Bay because of their food and as you will later learn, that hasn't changed.

Photo taken from:

The Family Room was a perfect choice for us. It had one bed for two and then two bunk beds, so that's four single beds. All in all, it has enough space for 6 people. Our room looked exactly as in the photo above. The kids loved the bean bags! 😆

So we checked-in and found out that our room was in the Palermo building, on the third floor without any elevator. 😵‍💫😵‍💫

This shocked me because these are family rooms, so you expect young kids and lots of suitcases but it's situated on the third floor without any elevator. We didn't carry our suitcases, a nice hotel staff did, but poor guy! I thought that they would at least have a staff elevator or something but nahhhh he carried all of our suitcases up those never-ending stairs. We wanted to tip him because he really deserved it, but the hotel has a no-tipping policy! This would have been great in another situation, but I felt really bad for him and it's not like we could travel light this time. Eventually, we ended up helping him carry down our suitcases when we checked out. The hotel has to treat their staff better than that! 🤯

Anyways ...

Some of us stayed in the room (we were starting to feel not so well at this point) and others went to explore the resort. My head was starting to ache so I decided to chill at the nearest swimming pool while the Husband and others went to the beach. They didn't have any fun there though and they found the beach area very disappointing. In my opinion, Mactan does not have great beaches. It's just that luxury resorts like Shangrila invested a lot to have something that's at least a bit nice for their guests. I wonder why Plantation Bay hasn't done that. I guess their focus was on their lagoons.

A few hours later, we said our goodbyes to my sister-in-law and her kids as they left for the airport. There were tears and crying, but this is not goodbye. This is just a see you soon. ❤️

After they left, the group decided to have one final dinner together because the next day it was the turn of my other sister-in-law to leave. (I hope this isn't too confusing - I should have given my sisters-in-law a number each haha).

Turns out that, that evening 2 of the restaurants were closed. Go figure why. And also unlike a lot of other resorts in the area, they actually don't have a dinner buffet, which I found a bit odd. But anyways, the most shocking part was when I was told that we would have to wait 2 hours to eat dinner. Two hours?? 😱😱 The hotel policy is that you have to pre-book, pre-order, and pre-pay your meal two hours in advance. I wished I was joking, but I'm not. Honestly, have you heard of a similar ridiculous policy anywhere else?!

Again, to eat dinner at Plantation Bay you have to pre-book, pre-order, and pre-pay two hours in advance. I simply could not believe it. And that applies to all restaurants in the resort.

So why such an absurb policy you might ask? Frankly, I have no idea. But the Husband hypothesized the possibility that maybe they don't have a chef at the hotel and so the food comes from outside hence the need for a two-hour head-ups. I don't know - it just doesn't make any sense.

We ended up not having dinner with one of my sisters-in-law and her family. So we said our final goodbyes and they went back to the city where they were staying. It was truly a disappointment not having that last dinner with them. The next morning, they were off to another island to attend a wedding and we were leaving for France two days later so that was it.

So we went back to our family room on the third floor of the Palermo building with no elevator. Haha. We really were not feeling well at this point. The cough was kicking in, We had runny noses and mild fatiguetoo . We wanted to eat something warm, but at the same time we didn't have enough energy to get up and eat. I decided to order food through the online app, Grab, which is similar to Uber Eats or Deliveroo, so we could have something in our tummies. Grab delivers food to the hotel (no problem), but only up to the guard house. They can't go to the lobby or reception, which is understandable. I ordered our favorites - Tortang Talong, Pochero, and Rellenong Pusit. Too bad we were under the weather. I feel like we would have enjoyed this meal so much more if we were well.

That night was a short one. We were lucky to sleep a few good hours. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were up all night taking care of their ill baby while they were also feeling ill. 😔

We thought that breakfast in the morning would help, but mannnnn I feel like that breakfast just made it worse. Haha.

I'm a huge hotel breakfast buffet fan and I was sooo looking forward to this so imagine my surprise when I was told it was Mexican themed.

I love Mexican food, that's not a problem, but if I had wanted to eat a Mexican breakfast I would have vacationed in Mexico where a Mexican chef would have prepared a traditional and authentic Mexican breakfast. Instead, the buffet was filled with trays of what-could-have-been-delicious food. I have an image of an untouched tray of refried beans. What a waste!

Moreover, they made such a point of telling us it was a Mexican breakfast, but again imagine my surprise when I saw that there were a few Korean dishes in the buffet while the only Filipino offer was Ensaymada. There's something very wrong about this honestly.

Was it too much to ask for a Filipino breakfast? Sadly, I think so.

Breakfast was a big flop. The fresh fruits were hard as rock. They had guava, papaya, pineapple, which tasted like nothing. Frankly, I felt embarrassed for them. Is this the best they can provide their guests? And also, none of their fruit juices were freshly pressed, they were all diluted! How hard is it to have fresh orange juice or fresh whatever-is-in-season fruit juice? For the price we paid, this was a major disappointment!

My dad has always said that the food in Plantation Bay was subpar and that he would rather go hands-down to Shangrila Resort. I guess he wasn't wrong after all. If I needed a reminder to not check-in again at Plantation Bay, this was it. And boy, will I remember this.

But I'm not a total bitch. Let me tell you the things I did appreciate at Plantation Bay.

Beyond anything, I think their strongest point is the staff. We did not come across a single rude employee. Always smiling, eager to help, friendly is how I would describe the people I met there.

The no-tipping policy is great because we don't always carry cash around with us, but as an exemption, I would have loved to give tips. We tried, but they firmly refused each time.

Another thing that I quite enjoyed were the electric mini-cars they have to transport guests anywhere in the resort. The lazy person in me loved this very very much. Walking is best of course but sometimes it's nice to be driven around. LOL.

And finally, you can't speak about Plantation Bay without talking about their lagoons. It really is a strong point and makes them different from other resorts in the area. What's nice is that it's big enough so guests aren't squished like sardines. There's enough space for everyone.

But is this enough reason for me to want to come back to plantation Bay? No! This experience has definitely been the tipping point. In the future, I would love to explore the new resorts in the area - seems very promising and nice!

What's your favorite part of a hotel breakfast buffet?

xoxo Elodie

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