Around this time last year, my friends and I were looking for a beach resort where we could spend quality time with family for the summer. We must have tried a dozen resorts with no success. Each resort was fully booked. As a last resort, we gave up on the beach resorts and tried looking for a place that no one had been to before.
I’d been browsing the web for some time when I came upon blog posts on Sanctuario de San Pablo. Blog posts mind you… that’s because they had no official website other than a facebook page. It wasn’t updated either. We had to do lots more research to finally get the real contact number and inquire. We were lucky to book three casitas on a weekend and I think that was largely because people did not know how to book with them. For a group of 4 pax, we paid around PHP8000-9000 per room inclusive of set breakfast. The rate also included massage for 2pax. They also have an option for bigger families which can fit a group of 6-8 pax.
My family and I had been to San Pablo several times and we’d stayed at several different resorts like Sitio De Amor and Tahanan Ni Aling Meding so we were quite familiar with the directions. However, we decided to let our good friend ‘Waze’ lead the way. What we didn’t notice till much later, was that we were already traveling a different route. It was actually a new road that by-passed the national road and actually let us avoid the usual traffic near the center of San Pablo before joining back into the national road. Try taking that route since it’s faster with less volume of vehicles. It is also much more scenic since I think it was cut through the side of the surrounding hills. Just be careful though since the location of the resort is not yet that precise via Waze, atleast during that time. It’s goes on bit further as opposed to where waze tells you it is. If you pass by Max’s restaurant on your right, then you are on the right track. The resort will be on your left.
Upon arriving, we saw there was ample parking space and relatively few people at the resort. That was kind of a relief given it was a Saturday.
Right before the main entrance to the resort there is a separate building which houses the spa. It seemed to be very busy despite the relatively vacant parking area. We later found out that a number of visitors only availed of the spa services or booked day tours instead of staying overnight. They were mostly local residents of San Pablo.
The lobby which also doubles as the restaurant is located in a pavilion and is quite spacious with high ceilings. On the other end, you get a view of the resort grounds particularly the large pool area, lawn and the casitas.
Overall, we were happy with the casitas except for a few minor details. Note that not all casitas are designed exactly the same. Ours was located nearest the restaurant and pool so it was quite accessible. It had two rooms good for 2 pax each with 1 t&b each. There was also a small dining area and a living room with television. They were well maintained and very clean. Inside the rooms, the temperature was just right but I must say that in the living room, it was quite warm. I also noticed that lighting in the rooms was a bit dim. Management might want to think about investing in additional air-conditioning. We tried opening the windows to improve ventilation but they were unfortunately locked. Some of the other casitas occupied by friends had their living room facing the small lagoon and they had the option of opening their balcony doors which helped with the humidity.
After getting some rest and waiting for our friends to arrive, we decided to explore the resort grounds. I was actually quite curious to see the newer structures that housed the deluxe accommodations. From the outside they looked really nice but my friend said that the interior of the casitas was much better.
The pool area was, of course, the star of the resort. They have one of the largest pool areas among the resorts we’ve stayed in. It also had a small jacuzzi and a water slide. There was a kiddie pool but it was very simple and the kids preferred to be in the big pool with the rest of us. There wasn’t much of a shade around the pool area but we were lucky it was a cloudy day. They did have some pool huts where you could put your things and order food from the restaurant. The great thing about our stay was that we had the pool mostly to ourselves. We spent most of the afternoon till dusk in the pool or enjoying the jacuzzi.
Since the resort had their own restaurant, we decided to try it and take our dinner there. They did not have an extensive menu but their food was good enough. If you prefer to drink liquor they also have that on their menu. I think they charge corkage fees if you bring your own alcohol. Their menu was also reasonably priced. Since we are on the topic of food, the breakfast included in the room is a choice from one of their breakfast set menu.
Other than the pool, the best thing I liked about the resort was the spa. It’s something we rarely get time enough for so Espie and I really enjoyed our couple massage. It left us feeling relaxed and refreshed just in time for the new work week ahead. Staff were very courteous and helpful and there was barely any waiting time for our turn.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Sanctuario de San Pablo and I give them a rating of 4/5. We found the rates to be reasonable especially with the added bonus of the massage. The restaurant food was so-so and could be improved.
If you would like to try out the Sanctuario de San Pablo, they are located at Barangay San Francisco, Calihan, San Pablo City, Laguna. You can contact them through the following: Telephone No: (049) 561-1106 ; (049) 561-3006 ; (02) 546-5243 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org