Family vacations abroad are not cheap. And while our country is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world, airfare for these beautiful destinations can get expensive. So the next best thing for a family on a budget? A resort that is just a few hours drive away from Metro Manila, AND it can pass for sun spots like Santorini and Rome — at least on Instagram!
Below are five resorts we spotted after people shared them on Facebook and had an, er, international getaway feel.
1. Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort (the Maldives feel)
The Maldives is a popular luxury travel destination famed for its beaches and resort cottages on stilts near the shoreline. Stilts in Batangas provides the experience of staying at a “floating” cottage. An overnight stay starts at Php6,000 for three persons. You'll have to shell out a little more to stay at one of their floating cottages with rates starting at Php9,400, which comes with that ocean view.
“My family and I had our vacation for the first time in years...What we loved about the whole cottage was the view, you can see the horizon and feel the sea breeze.” --TripAdvisor commenter from Manila, November 2017 Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort Sta. Ana, Calatagan, Batangas Stiltscalataganbeachresort.net
You don't need to wonder which famed destination inspired Camp Netanya Resort and Spa in Batangas. It does feel like you're in Santorini upon seeing the whitewashed facade accentuated by bright blue doors and roofs. Aside from the infinity pool (which offers a stunning sunset view) and diving packages, they also have a spa perfect for parents looking for relaxation and a supervised play area called Kid's Camp for kids to hang out. Their hotel accommodation for a room with four people max starts at Php6,933.
“Beautiful rooms, amazing food and great staff. Love everything about this resort. Just perfect! A perfect place to captured moments. This is actually a very nice place for family and friends!” --TripAdvisor commenter, November 2017
Imagine a little piece of Rome in Bamban, Tarlac! It's called the Goshen Resort and Hotel, and it has a Colosseum-inspired structure, which is surrounded by a garden adorned with goddess-like statues. Teach the kids a thing or two about Roman history while you're at it (we know we're such killjoys). Aside from a pool surrounded by white pillars, they also have a farm area home to lambs, ducks, and bunnies that guests can visit. Room rates start at Php3,000.
“Went here with my family yesterday and we enjoyed our stay. The staff are approachable and so accommodating. I booked the Family Deluxe Room, it's nice as well and huge. Will surely go back here and I highly recommend the resort.” --a review from the Goshen Resort Facebook page
Kahuna Resort in San Juan, La Union has 40 Balinese-inspired cottages and beach houses. The pool and restaurant face the ocean and the sandy beach. It's a nice spot to spend sitting near the rolling waves while the kids play. The resort had also been also included in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Family-friendly Resorts for 2016. Their room rates start at Php5,765 per night.
“One of the most relaxing places to stay in La Union. Perfect for a family getaway. The food is fantastic and employees are accommodating. My family and I did have a wonderful experience. My kids are looking forward to come back for another fun adventure.” --TripAdvisor commenter, November 2017
Kahuna Hotel, Cafe and Restaurant Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union Kahunaresort.com
5. Sundowners Vacation Villas (Greek mood)
If you're looking to bring along a few relatives, Santorini-inspired Sundowners Vacation Villas in Bolinao, Pangasinan may be the perfect getaway. The white and blue structure and design are situated amidst lush greenery and overlooking the sea. Take as many pictures as you want! For their villas, your Php7,000 will be able to accommodate six people (with a max of 8), and the unit includes a spacious balcony, a grilling area, and a fully equipped kitchen.
“It was quite far from the Metro but it was a very nice place. We stayed at the Arthur Villa. It was clean and good enough for 10 people. It is a good place for family getaways where you can bring your own food, cook your own food. It is basically your 'home' with the sea view. It was a bit far from the main Patar beach but if you have your own transportation you can enjoy the other tourist spots in Bolinao.” --TripAdvisor commenter, November 2017