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Abaca-dabra! A Baby Friendly Cebu Gem Works Its Magic

For those wanting to head to Cebu in the Philippines but not enthralled by the enormous family friendly sprawl of the Shangri La... check out Celine’s review of the boutique Abaca Hotel.  She loved it so much, she’s visited three times and is already looking forward to revisiting this year!

The first time we visited the Abaca was just the two of us (suspect our little one was conceived there!).  We hate big resorts like the Shangri La and I had seen some nice ads on Abaca but never managed to book it as there are less than 10 rooms.  We had a fantastic time and saw a family there with ababy.  We thought that the hotel seemed quite friendly to them so when the time came, we would return (which we did – 2nd time with our 3 mth old and 3rd time when he was 14 mths)

Flights
Always Cathay, direct to Cebu approx. 4:30pm flight on Friday and 7pm flight on Monday so 3 full days on site.  Booked through Cathay website.

Hotel
Booked through the Abaca website the first time and then subsequent visits through the Hotel Manager’s email

Transfers
You are picked up at the airport with nice cars (transfers included both ways), equipped with proper carseat without even requesting it

Abaca 1Rooms
The rate includes breakfast, served at the restaurant or in the room (no surcharge).  We have tried all the rooms over the three stays.  For honeymoon style, the pool villa is really nice.  The terrace is right next tothe pool so you can have them nap in the room, be in the pool and actually hear them if they wake up.  Or you can have breakfast on the terrace and have them play in the room in the meantime.  The style is quite contemporary with dark exotic wood.  All rooms are equipped with iMac, iPod docks and they lend you an iPad for your stay for free if you ask.  Wifi is free everywhere within the hotel.

Facilities
Some will argue that there is no beach.  True, but the infinity pool is lovely, super warm (32-34 degrees) and if you swim in the sea, you just have to go down a couple of stairs.  There is a small gym, a small spa but with fantastic therapists and you can also get your massage by the pool in the huge daybeds they have. Abaca 2

Restaurant
We are both French and super picky when it comes to food.  The Chef there is fantastic.  He’s Australian and worked in Hong Kong for a couple of years, I think he told us for Robuchon.  He is happy to accommodate any request you might have regarding your food.  The bread is baked there and the cocktails are great also.

Kid/Staff Friendliness
I’ve never seen such nice people.  Everything is possible.  The Chef would ask me every morning what I wanted for lunch for my little one, how soft or blended it needed to be.  Kids lunch was sent 15min after order, no matter if it was rush hour.  They made us homemade yoghurt for him.  The room was filled with toys, from trains to DVDs, same around the pool.  The spa ladies were come for babysitting, even on short notice for 1 hour if we wanted to have lunch quietly.  The official rate is USD$10 per hour but negotiable.

There is a small indoor playroom as well and you can walk/stroll around the hotel even though it’s small.  To top it all, they will provide you with steriliser, baby bathtub with the adequate toys etc.  When he was 3 months, I had requested Volvic or Evian water for his bottles, which they provided free of charge.  The next year when we arrived in the room, there were 3 bottles of Volvic waiting on the desk.

In Conclusion…
We will definitely go back this year, it’s the perfect spot for a sunny, easy long weekend and it feels like we are at home there.  We went in May and had great weather, at worst 1-2 showers.  We know that if we need anything, they will try and accommodate.  To us, definitely 5*.

The only thing would be that, no matter how friendly they are, this is a boutique hotel and not made for kids.  Luckily, our son does not run around like crazy, he does not jump in the pool or rush to the edge of the terrace.  There is no fence, there are a couple of steps and little ponds around the outdoor beds and in the restaurant.

Value for money, approx USD$500 per night ++ so not cheap but for us it is worth every penny 🙂

1 comment

  1. Nicola

    I can second Celine’s comment that the food and restaurant is amazing. We stayed at the Shangri La Cebu but ate at the Abaca one night and it was by far, the best meal of our trip

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