A chic staycation overlooking majestic Taal in Tagaytay, The Philippines: Escala Tagaytay
Updated: Nov 6, 2021
Do you happen to be in Manila and at the same time looking to combine a trip somewhere not too far from the metropolis? Have you heard of a nearby city called Tagaytay? Have you come across a random Instagram picture of someone at an infinity pool overlooking a lake and a volcano? Indeed, I am talking about a chic boutique hotel called Escala Tagaytay! Edmund and I had our 3-night staycation at Escala Tagaytay in late May to early June 2021, and I am beyond thrilled to share our experience about this stunning property.
Chances are that you might have not heard about Tagaytay if you are not from or based in the Philippines. For many people in Manila and its surrounding provinces, Tagaytay has always been a favourite spot for a quick getaway thanks to its close proximity, cool weather and the spectacular views of both the Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano. Having lived in Manila for more than a year, at the time of our staycation, we would have visited Tagaytay much earlier had it not been for the ongoing pandemic.
The city of Tagaytay is located in the province of Cavite and its tourism has greatly benefited from Taal Lake and Taal Volcano - which actually fall under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring province of Batangas. There are several hotels located in Tagaytay that offer the majestic view of Taal, but Escala stands out amongst all those hotels. Believing that Escala Tagaytay is a destination in itself, we quickly booked our staycation for 3 nights immediately right after the lifting of the second lockdown in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces in May 2021.
Tagaytay is located approximately 60km south of Manila. We hired a driver from Tourist Driver Manila after reading excellent reviews of the driver service on Tripadvisor. If you happen to be in Manila and plan to have several excursions nearby whilst needing a driver, we highly recommend Arnold. It took us less than 2 hours to arrive Escala Tagaytay from Manila.
Upon arrival, we were escorted to the testing site to undergo an antigen test by means of nasal swab, prior to our check-in. We felt incredibly safe as the testing policy requires each hotel guest to present a negative result against COVID-19 before entering the hotel.
Escala Tagaytay has a number of room categories to choose from. Depending on your budget and preference, the room categories are ranging from Deluxe, Deluxe Premier, Premier, Cellar Premier, Executive, Family Prestige to Prestige.
Wanting to have a panoramic view of both Taal Lake and Taal Volcano directly from the suite itself, we decided to book the Prestige Room. Our most favourite part of the suite was the private balcony itself, where we could relax while absolutely doing nothing and being in awe of the serenity of Taal during sunsets. Not to forget being able to wake up with the sight of Taal every morning! Truth be told, we really loved the balcony to the extent that we were reluctant to leave it; Thus, we decided to call for in-room dining very often. At the end of the balcony, one can have an expansive view of the hotel’s infinity pool.
Being the hotel’s highest room category, there are 2 units of the Prestige Rooms with 106 square metres floor area each. The suite is so spacious that it comes with a huge king-sized bed, big floor-to-ceiling windows, large wardrobes and an enormous bathroom with a separate bathtub.
There were only two complaints we had about the bathroom including a sink tap - that spewed water in all direction and the mirror - which was a bit distant from where we could stand. Nevertheless, it was by no way something that would stop us from enjoying our stay! In fact, the main reason why we had an enjoyable staycation at Escala Tagaytay was because of our choice of the suite!
Escala Tagaytay is a tastefully designed boutique hotel which is popular among weekenders from nearby Manila as it boasts a panoramic view of Taal, which is highly marketable as a weekend destination in itself. The hotel is a perfect balance of both nature and chic modern relaxation.
From the entrance of the hotel, you can get a good bird’s eye view of their famous infinity pool facing the lake and this also provides the backdrop of the lobby. Famed for being the greatest pool in Tagaytay, the infinity pool which lies along Tagaytay Ridge overlooking the lake is seriously inspiring. If you stay at Escala Tagaytay just for the pool, you surely will not regret it. However, it is pertinent to keep your expectation low since the infinity pool is not heated. So, it can be unbearably cold at times given the relatively cooler climate of Tagaytay.
Though the infinity pool may steal the show, the hotel itself is designed in such a way that it blends well with the landscape, making it always Instagram-ready. With several gorgeous and picture-perfect spots set amidst the natural beauty of the lake and the volcano, guests will be inspired to share their relaxing staycation on social media.
There is only one and only main restaurant in the hotel - Bellissima Restaurant. But fret not, with the hotel’s strategic location in the middle of the city of Tagaytay, there are several popular restaurants and cafes along Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway such as Balay Dako and Bag of Beans Charito.
There is also a gym nearby the pool which we had the opportunity to utilise, the equipment in the gym is fairly sufficient albeit small. The spa service was not made available during our staycation due to the pandemic.
Overall, the customer service at Escala Tagaytay is satisfactory, if not, particularly excellent. Prior to our arrival, there was a delay in responding to our query email that I had to make a follow-up before our decision to go ahead with the booking. However, things were quickly fixed and seamless regarding the payment process in order to secure our reservation. Once the reservation is confirmed, expect to be asked by the reservation team whether there will be a special occasion in conjunction of your stay in order for them to prepare something special and memorable.
The service during our stay was fairly good, the front desk in particular would try to do whatever they can to make our stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Special mention to Lawrence, one of the front desk staff, for being attentive to our each and every need. Also, the effort of the bellboy for escorting us with an umbrella to the hired shuttle van despite the drizzle was highly commendable.
Food & Beverages
Except for one of the lunches we had in the nearby restaurant named Balay Dako (highly recommended), we had all our meals in the hotel - be it at Bellissima Restaurant or in-room dining for a contactless option.
I must say, the aspect that we did not like about the hotel was how limited the food selection was. A hotel breakfast buffet is supposed to be something to look forward to every morning, it is something that we would not usually experience during a typical morning. Given the fact that our stay was during the pandemic and coupled with the possible reason that our 3-night staycation fell on a weekday, it is totally understandable that the choice of breakfast spread was rather limited due to low occupancy. However, we did expect the restaurant to be flexible and accommodating in adjusting the breakfast plate, which it was not the case unfortunately. Even more so, we were given to understand that the breakfast spread is served in an unlimited buffet style during the weekends. So, this is a huge setback to us that we did highlight to the front desk, especially the hotel rate during the weekdays is not far different than the rate during the weekends.
The choices of food for both lunch and dinner were adequate. Of course there were few dishes that are worth mentioning. Aside from that, the restaurant also offers an excellent vantage point of the lake and the volcano, certainly it helps to create a memorable and wholesome dining experience for the guests.
As our suite’s private balcony was our favourite part of the entire hotel for unwinding, some of our meals and afternoon teatimes were served in-room. Our most favourite food in their menu would be their signature Escala Tres Leches that we ordered for at least 3 times in the span of that 3 nights!
Activities & Excursions
Escala Tagaytay is not a resort, but rather a boutique hotel. However, given its excellent location and the great view, one does not have to go out of the hotel in order to marvel nature’s gift! Allow me to emphasise this further, book yourself a Prestige Room if you can spare your penny, we were able to relax and recuperate in the midst of nature. Lying down on the outdoor couch under the sun with a light cool breeze blowing on our faces as we took in the beautiful views of the majestic Taal, it was the best experience that we had at the hotel. Our days were spent lazing at our private balcony, floating around in the infinity pool and gorging on delicious food in-room. We saw absolutely no reason to leave the hotel!
The hotel does provide a shuttle van service to nearby places around Tagaytay with charge, which we utilised since we did not drive. We spent several hours during one of the days to dine at the nearby popular restaurants called Balay Dako and Bag of Beans Charito.
If you are tired of your daily life and work during this pandemic, at the same time looking for a quick getaway that is not too far from Manila, Escala Tagaytay can promise you a great staycation experience! We had another round of lockdown again brought by the pandemic prior to that, but we came home feeling recharged and refreshed right after the staycation. It was worth the wait and investment!
Tagaytay has traditionally been a favourite city for the people of Manila to take a quick escape from the city, but international travellers should also give it a visit as the city is an excellent vantage point to the majestic Taal. Escala Tagaytay is truly a perfect intimate gem shrouded in nature and all its conveniences for yourself and your loved ones.
For bookings and inquiries, you may check their official website here.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. IT IS BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE LAST MAY-JUNE 2021. ALL PHOTOS, THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
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