Our vacation took a long time to plan. It had to take that long – four families with 10 kids and a pair of grandparents. We were running away from Chinese New Year and taking advantage of 2013’s longest weekend. We eliminated all the countries that celebrated Chinese New Year and checked the cruises (double the normal price) before settling for Cebu in the Philippines.
Now from the time we had the idea to the time of we booked, it was 2 months. In that time, we saw Silkair prices rise from about $300 per ticket to about $550 if we had wanted to stay just three nights in Cebu.
Since I was unwilling to pay so much extra, I opted to extend the trip to six nights and eventually paid about $350 per person. I used the savings to finance the additional nights stay. Originally, we had concerns that it was too long a trip, but it was worth it.
The other families came later, either by budget airlines or through redeemed air miles on Silkair. Their comment at the end were that they wished it were a longer trip.
We stayed at the Plantation Bay and had the cheap poolside rooms, but it was good enough. I appreciated the fact that they were candid enough to share the limitations of the resort on the website.
The resort was ideal for the children with planned activities (sand art, figurine painting, photo frame and flip flop decorating, etc) 3 times a day and its all free. On weekends (Fri – Mon), they even have horse drawn carriages. All of these were never publicised, so they were a pleasant surprise for us.
The other highlight was the special Chinese New Year activities – Dragon Parade and fireworks at night.
So thank you to the recreation manager, Chokie and her team of dedicated staff (Ron, Kristine, Sha and Gem).
The other thing that was fun for the kids is the free tram rides, which are mainly used for transporting guests around the resort. The drivers were especially friendly (Gido, Denver, Reymond, Fredie, Pedy and Vic).
Now the one thing that surprised us was the excellent WIFI connectivity throughout the entire resort, even around the lagoon area. The only place where there is zero WIFI is in the spa area and our room’s bathroom.
Now for the things that are publicised. The pools and lagoon are nice and gives a good variety that you can go to a different place to swim everyday. We stayed in the Windward Cluster, which was nice and quiet. The only thing unpleasant were the mosquitoes, but the staff were happy to provide sprays.
The main disadvantage of the resort is that the restaurants are expensive, but the food is generally good. We found that it is much cheaper to venture out to the nearby Giasano Grand Mall for a meal (inclusive of transportation), which has a few “fast food” type of restaurants as well as a Mexican – Mooon Cafe.
One of our more exciting dinner outings was to one of the “Shoot-to-Kill” restaurants! Fresh seafood. Yummy.