Summer 2014 may be dwindling down to its last few weeks but that doesn’t mean Kaye and I didn’t get to have our fair share of some well-deserved R&R. In fact, we went away from our usual “travel” affair for a relaxing “vacation” instead; and what better place to celebrate the good life than in one of Bohol’s best resort hotels. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Bohol’s best kept secret, The Peacock Garden.
Blogger’s Note: We booked at The Peacock Garden through a promo we got from Deal Grocer. We got the 3D2N stay at the Deluxe Sea View Room for P11,995.00. For price comparison purposes, if we booked directly at The Peacock Garden’s website for the same package, we would’ve shelled about P20k. Agoda also has a 20% off promo which pegs a 3D2N stay for P16k++ (complimentary 30-minute tension reflex massage not included). I’d like to think we got a pretty awesome deal. 🙂
We were fetched by the hotel’s shuttle van upon our arrival at the Tagbilaran seaport (the package included airport/seaport transfers). Right off the bat, we were treated to an unconventional yet ingenious welcome. We were given cold towels (to dab our sun-soaked skin) and cold bottle of water to combat the scorching Bohol heat. Nice touch.
The Peacock Garden is located at Baclayon, near the infamous Baclayon church which was partially destroyed by the strong earthquake last 2013. We arrived after a short 15-minute drive from the port.
Stepping foot inside the Peacock Garden for the first time was a revelation. It was like being transported into another country, with all the luxurious furniture and antique pieces displayed. When they came up with their tagline “A Different World Awaits”, they weren’t kidding about it.
Check-in time was relatively quick. While waiting for the check-in procedure to over, we were treated to The Peacock Garden’s signature welcome drink, the Piñakwan. It’s a delicious concoction of pineapple and watermelon. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t like watermelon.
Blogger’s Note: This blog will not be a chronological blow-by-blow account of our stay at The Peacock Garden. Rather, it would be a showcase of the different amenities the resort has to offer. Kinda like MTV Cribs. Haha.
The Deluxe Sea View Room
After doing the usual check-in procedure, we were led to our designated Deluxe Sea View Room. Our room was located at the second level, with a breathtaking view of the hotel’s infinity pool. You can also choose the room on the lower ground if going from deep sleep to a quick dip in the pool is your thing. Though that won’t beat the view from the upper level rooms, IMO.
We were very impressed with room. The attention to detail is very evident; from the king-sized bed, clean and fluffy pillows and the wardrobe to the classy wooden furniture, flatscreen TV and bathroom. All were very well presented. Didn’t hurt that the room was spotlessly clean.
The Peacock Garden’s Manicured Grounds
The Peacock Garden is probably one the most well-maintained hotels in the country. With a big land area covering the property, the level of detail to each of the resort grounds is very high. The grounds are so beautiful, photography enthusiasts would drool over it. My RX100 surely wasn’t disappointed with what it saw.
You may notice that the place seems very private and secluded. Well, it is, sort of. We went here a few days after the long Holy Week holidays (which is one of the busiest times during the year for almost all hotel and resorts). During the time of our stay, I counted maybe 4-5 rooms occupied which meant that the fewer the hotel guests, the more private and peaceful the place was.
The Infinity Pool
One of the most iconic spots inside the Peacock Garden is the infinity pool. A pool long enough to be considered olympic-sized, it certainly is very inviting whether it be a quick afternoon dip or a long swim session in the morning to burn off your breakfast calories. The infinity pool is one of the resort’s proudest possessions.
We had the entire pool for ourselves on the two occasions that we went for a swim. It doesn’t get any more private than that. And that’s why we were being extra trigger-happy with the pool shots. 😀
One thing that we liked most about the pool is its cleanliness (No molds and mildew!) as it is cleaned and maintained everyday. A pool caretaker/lifeguard is always on the lookout for guests. Towels are provided by the pool so you don’t need to bring your room towels with you.
While the big pool’s depth range from 4 ft.-6 ft., there’s also a kiddie pool perfect for toddlers (and adults, ahem) that are not yet very good at swimming. Then, there’s the round tub.
The Old Heidelberg
If there’s anything I can take from The Peacock Garden and bring it home to Davao, it would be The Old Heidelberg. Seriously, this restaurant is immaculate. IMHO, one of the best restaurants in the country. From the elegant dining chairs to the chandelier and the antique decor to the bar stools, ambience has never been this grand and warm.
Included in our package was complimentary breakfast at the Old Heidelberg. Now, breakfast food here is quite different from that of other hotels. Basically, there is a mini buffet section composed of cereal, fruit, Filipino sweets, cold cuts, bread, jam and some drinks. Aside from the buffet, you also get to order a plated breakfast set of your choice. The Old Heidelberg knows how to do breakfast and they do it BIG. This is how morning meals should be done!
Breakfast isn’t the only thing Old Heidelberg is an expert at. In fact, all the food we ordered were delicious (well, maybe except for the Champorado during breakfast but we didn’t pay for that so it was ok). And while the food pricing at the Old Heidelberg is a bit on the expensive side (average of P500.00/meal per person), they can get away with it because I can assure you that the food is worth every penny. Their meals also come with big portions so they are also good for sharing.
One famous dessert from the Old Heidelberg is their homemade ice cream. But wait, there’s more to this than meets the eye. See, they just don’t have ordinary ice cream, they have exotic flavored ice cream.
My personal favorite would be the hazelnut and the Erdinger (which really tastes like sweetened San Mig Light). The lomboy and vanilla ginger was really not my cup of tea, although they are worth the try if only to taste the unique and exotic flavors. The apple pie was good, so as the mango chili coriander (though you can really feel the spice of the chili near your throat every single time you swallow the ice cream). Overall, a very satisfying dessert with lots of flavors pleasing to the palate. Their homemade ice cream sampler is definitely a must try!
We’d also like to commend the service of the restaurant staff. They were warm, attentive and had good knowledge of the food on the menu (Some menu items were a bit confusing LOL). They also try their best to speak in English although I respond to them in Bisaya because let’s admit it, talking is easier when using your mother tongue. Unsaon ta man, Bisdak man ta. 😀
Fontana Aurelia Spa
The Fontana Aurelia Spa is the Peacock Garden’s precious relaxation haven. However, this is not one of those run of the mill massage parlors you see everyday. The Peacock Garden’s Fontana Aurelia Spa is the only Philippine spa included in the 2012 Conde Nast Johansens Luxury Spas. That distinction alone would be more than enough to raise your interests on their services.
On our first night, we availed of the complimentary 30-minute tension relief foot massage included in our Deal Grocer package. While the foot massage was really, really good (and we mean really good), 30-minutes of feet pampering just wasn’t enough to enjoy the form of art exhibited by their talented masseuses. We’d like to think that they included the “complimentary” foot massage to give us a very tempting teaser to avail of their premium services. And boy, did that work.
The following day, we decided to avail of their Essentials massage, a 60-minute whole body massage with a 30-minute facial worth P1,650.00. I know, it’s bloody expensive compared to the P400-P800 range of spa services we are used to seeing in ordinary massage parlors but stay here with me.
Before our session began, we called dibs on their lovely jacuzzi (hot tub) and steam bath. The hot tub was very soothing and made our bodies warm enough to be ready for our session. We didn’t care about the steam bath too much since the mist was a bit too much. After lounging around for 15 minutes, we were then led to the couple’s room.
“Damn, this masseuse knows her sh** (expletive).” From the moment the masseuse first stroke the heel of my right foot, this thought instantaneously went through my head. It was that good. All the massages that I previously experienced, vanquished. I couldn’t help but think that the other spas and massage parlors in Davao (or in any other city) are run by amateurs. And while this is a slight knack on other spas, this is also a testament on how good the masseuses are in Fontana Aurelia.
The pressure used throughout was just right and the movements were very fluid. And while I didn’t snooze off during the massage, I was still very satisfied because I got to feel all the soothing strokes on my back, legs and feet. Though the facial left me wanting for more “head massage” (the facial was mostly application of cream and lotion on the face), the Pevonia products used during the massage and facial felt very premium.
After our session was over, we were treated to a nice tea session (though we wished the massage had continued for at least 4 hours if we only had the moolah LOL).
After all was said and done, this was easily the best spa/massage experience we have had so far. We didn’t regret splurging a bit on the massage experience because the dexterity displayed by Fontana Aurelia’s masseuses was just top-notch. Kudos!
The Wine Cellar and Game Room
Other amenities inside The Peacock Garden include the wine cellar and game room. The wine cellar houses expensive imported wines catering to both casual drinkers as well as wine connoiseurs. Since we aren’t big wine drinkers, we skipped that area and went directly to the game room.
The game room has plenty of indoor games for guests to play with. You can play darts, table tennis, foosball and my favorite, billiards. There are also tables and chairs at the corners if you just want to chill and enjoy the picturesque view of the sky and seas.
The Peacock Garden at Night
The Peacock Garden is a gorgeous hotel, but you already know that. It is also equally gorgeous in the evening which meant night shots were an absolute must.
Bottomline is, The Peacock Garden is one of the best (if not THE best) resort hotels we’ve had the pleasure of staying in. I mean, The Peacock Garden really has it all. World class spa? Check. Excellent food? Hell yeah. Gorgeous grounds and rooms? You bet. Superb service? Bank on it. I feel really sorry for the hotels and resorts that we’ll be staying in the future, because The Peacock Garden has raised the bar to another level. And quite frankly, I don’t see it being broken anytime soon. -rod-
THE PEACOCK GARDEN Boutique Hotel & Spa
T +63 38 539 9231
M +63 917 326 9000
F +63 38 540 9487
Upper Laya, Baclayon
Bohol 6301 Philippines