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All reviews deluxe villa pizza private pool welcome drink separate toilet years living local staff italian food main pool main town island hopping island tour wonderful stay high tide general luna other guests great food
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Reviewed 29 May 2018

A disappointing experience at an overpriced resort. The photos of the resort are aesthetically pleasing but the service is severely lacking and ruined what could have made the stay a 5 star experience.

Communication from the front desk was non-existent with easy solutions to various issues we encountered during our stay. We experienced problems with the air conditioner breaking in the middle of the night, issues with the in-room safe locking without entering a code first, and the room not properly cleaned from the prior guest (belongings left behind), the first two which could have been fixed quickly had we been told about how to deal with these common issues at the resort.

Housekeeping failed to clean up large dead bugs in the room for days at a time and towels were often dirty and had holes in them. For 16k php/night, I think they can afford to replace the towels once in a while.

It was quite surprising to me that the front desk didn’t have much knowledge about simple questions regarding touristy things, even for the excursions they offer through the hotel. How much time did we get in Sugba Lagoon, what time is best to get picked up by the van, can we combine excursions with other guests, were all met with “I’m not sure.” I came to the conclusion that they didn’t know much because all of the tours they offer are through third party tour agencies, they’re just the middle man.

We rented a scooter through the hotel, I asked how long it would take to ride around the entire island, “I’m not sure.” It felt like we were the first people to ever ask these questions or book through them. The answers I realized after being on the island for 1 day: you get 3 hours in the lagoon, you should get picked up as early as possible - we did 8am and beat a lot of the crowds, and it takes a full day (8 hours) to do a loop on a scooter with stops for photos and the rock pool.

We booked a trip to Sugba Lagoon through the hotel for 4,250 php per person ($85 usd each) as we had limited days and wanted to secure at least one excursion. The booking includes van transportation to and from the dock, the boat, a hotel employee to accompany you and lunch (according to their excursion guide). Overall, the excursion was nice as it was all taken care of for you, but they charge quite a bit over the cost they incur. It’s not a hotel van or boat (I stood next to the hotel employee who rented the boat for 1,600 knowing the cost I paid to the hotel), so you’d get the same experience if you book on your own, they’re just taking advantage of the guests who don’t know how to go about doing the tour themselves. Lunch was also forgotten despite the tour description stating it would be provided, so we didn’t pack any food to bring, which was incredibly frustrating to find that out after sitting in the sun for about 5 hours. Upon return to the hotel, we inquired about the lunch and it is no longer provided as the island doesn’t allow it (which is fine, but don’t let guests think they’re getting it), yet it still says lunch is included on their brochure. Another communication issue. We were told 1,000 php would be deducted per person from the tour for the food. Upon checkout, the front desk only took 500 php off per person and tried to pull a fast one on me, even after questioning the excursion cost looked wrong and repeating what she told us when we returned from the trip. I quickly pulled up the brochure on my phone to check the cost and also compared it to the 3 island tour that has a price for with and without lunch to show the lunch cost was 1,000 php pp. That is when the manager said she would adjust the charge, as if she was extending me a favor. Nice service, right?

If you wish to do the tour yourself, it’s very easy. Just rent a motorbike (350 php/day) or hire a van transport (300 php pp one way) and you can rent a boat and driver from the Del Carmen port for 1,600 php for the entire boat. You’re looking at 2,800 php versus 6,500 php for the same exact experience. Fat Lips, Bravo, Lupita and Kermit all offer the same 3 island tours at a fraction of the cost as well.

The hotel set the tone early for trying to squeeze you for every penny, offering airport transport for 2,000 php one way, the same van service that you can grab right outside the airport for 300 php pp. Get a number for a driver upon arrival so you can text one for transport back to the airport upon departure.

As for the resort, the villa was very nice and spacious and the bed was comfortable. Housekeeping only provided a flat sheet on the bed and nothing else, which was a bit bare bones for my taste. There are many bugs and creatures in the room, but should be expected with where you are. We opted for the Deluxe villa with pool and the pool itself was very big, maybe the same size as the resort pool (which really only two of the four villas would use since the other two have private pools). Despite the private pool, extra towels weren't given and you had to hunt for them yourself. The grounds are well kept, the restaurant at night is gorgeous with hanging lights from the trees on the beach. The beach isn't swimmable as its all rocks, even at high tide, so don't expect to lounge on the sand. The food outside of breakfast was also quite good as well, which most reviews rave about (if you like French & Italian). The complimentary breakfast menu is limited to only a few things and doesn’t change, which got very redundant eating the same 3 options for 5 mornings.

The resort has a lot of potential if it’s run properly and service was whipped into shape. A simple hello when you return to the resort would be a nice place to start instead of a glare and look away. The penny pinching on everything and realizing the extortionate premium they charge you for airport transport and excursions was a huge turn off. When visiting an unknown place, you want to be able to trust the advice you receive from the hotel, the locals who are familiar with the tips and tricks. When we realized they were taking advantage of us, we stopped seeking their guidance and figured everything out on our own.

Your money should be spent elsewhere, unless they can fix a lot of the issues, especially the service.

Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank DJGFunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2018 via mobile

I will be reviewing my stay based on the following categories. VILLA - SERVICE - ACTIVITIES - FOOD - BEACH - FACILITIES. 5 being the highest 1 being the lowest.

VILLA 4/5:
We stayed in Villa 5 which is the biggest, it was stunning, spacious and very rustic. I like the minimal settings, however lightning should be improve. It's quite like "hauted dark" than "cozy dark". When we arrived the blankets weren't set up, only the flat sheet was placed in the bed. Smell of molds hang around the room, and some are visibly present in the toilet area. It can be remove, I am quite sure of that.
SERVICE:3/5
This could have made our stay better, but service was a disappointment. They're friendly.. yes, but lacks the efficiency. Upon check out they gave me the bill and I am still being charged for th 50% of the fulln payment. We were waiting for a van that was not arranged on our check out. Asking us the night before could have cleared the issues. And by the way there's a Php 300/pax shared van please let them know you're taking that instead. They charge Php2000/van one way if you wont ask them for it. During our last breakfast that's the only time we knew you can have something out of the menu like bacon and sides etc.. The servers knew we were having the same breakfast everyday but didnt even care and didn't endeavour to suggest.
ACTIVITIES: 3/5
Same tours as outside just a bit pricier. We opted to rent a van for the day for only Php 2,500/day for 10 hours and you could go anywhere in the island.
FOOD: 3/5
It's okay.. Breakfast was boring. Tourists flock during dinner time so make sure you reserve a table or else their in-house guests must go out in search for dinner table. Try out their pizzas and pastas it's one of the best in the island.
BEACH: 3/5
Don't expect a beach here, during high tide
we tried to swim for 10 mins and that's it.
FACILITIES: 3/5
Only a restaurant, pools and villas. The main pool was stunning however molds by the infinity wall made it unpleasantly looking. This place needs some serious renovation.

This resort is really quaint and nice, imagine only 5 villas in a resort how cool is that. And I hope the management will not take this review negatively, but instead constructively.
• The staff has a lot of potential and trainable.
• The resort can compete well with its peers if improvements can be made soon. Attention to details is the key.
• Don't run the resort like a family vacation house. French guests were even ALLOWED TO SMOKE in the restaurant in violation of the "Nationwide Anti-Smoking bill" completely disrespecting Philippine laws.
I was truly sad that this resort has a lot of potential to improve yet it seems nobody cares. Or perhaps this review will not be taken seriously since anyway they're fully booked most of the time. But it's my duty to review for others to know the real state of this resort, and for the resort to improve not just for their guests but for their well being. You may be one one of the best today but tomorrow I highly doubt it, if you wont act now.

Date of stay: May 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
8  Thank antonvillanueva77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2018

Siargao, Philippines has been a hot destination. Siargao is really beautiful, lots of activities for the whole family, great restos. And Siargao being so popular, you will see a lot of tourists. Kalinaw resort to me is the perfect resort because you are far removed from the crowds. It's very private, great space and beds, nice pool area and food is fantastic. You are centrally located to have a massage nearby, close to Cloud 9 and other restos yet Kalinaw offers a peaceful oasis. You would not use the beach here though as it's rocky. You normally do the island hopping anyway.
Although it is priced higher than the other resorts nearby, if you can stretch your budget a bit more, it's definitely worth it.
Service is good although maybe a little more training here and there. I felt the pool lady was totally not into her job and felt it was a chore to sit around. Need someone with more energy. Otherwise, everyone else was great.

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank Penciltoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2018

Myself and a group of 8 friends stayed at Kalinaw over a long weekend in April and we had a fantastic time. The resort is situated on the beach with a beautiful view over the ocean, close to the main town.

Rooms are spacious and tastefully designed, comfortable for 3-4 family members/friends. The villas are slightly set back from the beach and the main path and there are only 5 of them, so the whole resort feels very peaceful and intimate.

The staff are absolutely charming and very attentive, among the best local staff I have encountered in 10 years living in or travelling to the Philippines.

Final comment reserved for the food, mostly an Italian and French menu. Simply incredible! Some of the best pizza and pasta dishes I have ever tried in Asia. My only minor gripe is that breakfast options could be more varied and substantial (they are still very nice though!).

I will definitely return!

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank charliewarren25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2018

Very deserving of this excellent review thanks to the sublime food (largely Italian but not all) and very helpful and hard-working staff. Rooms are very large, some with individual plunge-pools and all with ocean view. Well kept garden and trees all around. So if you want great food and hospitality, you need to go here.

Date of stay: April 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank THATSGOTTABEOUT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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