23 September, 2011

Cebu: A Stay at the Shangri-La

23 September, 2011

Looking for a quick trip out of town and back for a relaxing long weekend is as easy as saying “Cebu”.

There are three airlines that fly direct to Cebu from Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express. Cathay Pacific is of course the more comfortable and reliable airline we all know and love, but Cebu Pacific and Airphill both have great rates. With the flight only 2 hours and 41 minutes, travelling with your kids or on a budget, these options are cost savers.

There are many resorts on the island of Mactan (just off of the island of Cebu), but we chose the very popular and highly recommended Shangri-La. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

Our Cebu Pacific flight got us in at around 5am. Not having booked a room for the previous night, we were very well prepared to pull up some lounge chairs by the pool to catch some sleep until our room was ready in the afternoon. No…the Shangri-La staff went above and beyond the call of duty and somehow found us a room by 6am at no extra charge. No elite status, no slipping crisp bills to the concierge, or even going as far as “showing a little leg,” it was just pure and simple great customer service.

Once you’re at the resort you never have to leave. They have five restaurants on site, spa, golf course, tennis courts, diving center and their own marine park! We found that the facilities were accommodating both for families and couples looking for a romantic getaway. Yes, for a couple with no kids you would think we would be annoyed at the hoards of kids running around, but that wasn’t the case at all. The resort is so big that a couple can easily hide away in a little cabana on your own and sip on fruity drinks while overlooking the gorgeous sea. If you do have kids, then they will certainly never get bored. There is even a game room to let the kids run around and go crazy to release some of that energy.

The Shangri-La’s marine park was certainly the highlight of our trip. If you are into snorkeling or want to get into diving, then the Shangri-La can certainly accommodate your desires.  The marine park is full of colorful and vibrant sea life. The resort provides you with left over bread from breakfast to feed the resident fish. The diving platforms allow you to rest and sun yourself once you’ve reached the edge of the park. If you want to take a boat ride out to some of the surrounding islands, the Shang can set up a day trip for you.

Normally, my husband and I are the adventurer types, taking every opportunity to see anything and everything of significance in each new place we visit. You can head into the Cebu City for the famous Cebano Lechon, stroll through their air conditioned malls, check out a mango plantation or take a guided tour to visit all of the historic Cebano sites. This time around though, we chose to simply relax!

Overall, if you are looking for a great weekend escape, then I highly recommend heading over just a short distance to Cebu. The Shangri-La is of course my choice, but do your research and stay in one of the many resorts the island has to offer. Happy Holidaying!

Read more from Jessica and her passions for food and travel on her blog, American Girl in Hong Kong!

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