06 March, 2012

Coco Grove Resort - Siquijor

As mentioned at the start of my Siquijor blog thread, Coco Grove Resort was actually my first choice of accommodations options when I made our Siquijor itinerary but I gave way to my friend who preferred to stay at La Playa (but we ended up staying at the Danish Lagoon as stated HERE).  I also agreed with Yen because Coco Grove's reservation and cancellation policies are so stiff.  

That is, as pictured from a screenshot of an e-mail I got from them, that they require 50% deposit (and to UCPB at that, whose branches here in Cebu I'm not familiar with) and that regardless of any cancellation reasons be it force majeure, they will not cancel one's reservation but just move the reservation dates or give a refund but keep 25% of the payment made.  Wow.  If indeed we booked here, we would have been in a mess as our original travel date was canceled due to an earthquake.

We had every intention of finding another resort though when we arrived in Siquijor primarily because even if the Danish Lagoon was okay, its beach was not and Yen was after a very nice beach.  Thus, when we went to Coco Grove for dinner and finding it to our liking, we immediately made a reservation and as was their policy, paid Php 2,500.00 for a standard room outright.

This is the lobby of the resort.

That was furnished with wooden sculpture like this cat.

We arrived here at past 12:00 noon and since our room was not yet ready, opted to just deposit our luggage so we could proceed with our tours of Lugnason Falls, Mt. Bandilaan and Butterfly Garden.

When we came back at about 5:00 PM, we claimed our bags and were given our room key.  We were pleased to know that we were upgraded for free from a standard room to an executive one, which is two categories higher than standard and worth Php 3,800.00 per night.  How's that for a good welcome, huh. 

While waiting for  the bell staff, we met Macky, the resort's resident parrot, which reminded me of our very own Cranky parrot in Plantation Bay's  lobby.  As there was a signage in Macky's post warning guests that it bites, I dared not come close to it.  

He does look brooding, don't you think?

Still, I was amused by its antics because the staffs would coax it to spread its wings and dance and it would .  Unfortunately, I was unable to capture it on camera.

Our Room
Our room was Plantation III and located on the second floor.  Here's how the building where our room was located looked like from outside.

Here's a shot of the same but taken at night time.

As our room was Plantation III and earlier because of Macky, I kidded Yen that wherever I go, Plantation Bay seemed to still haunt me.  

Upon entering, I couldn't help but notice the quaint look of our room.   

And the small bed.

If this was already an executive room, how would a standard room look like?

The bathroom though was quite spacious.

There's also a private balcony though its view was limited to trees.  

The Restaurants
Coco Grove Resort has two restaurants namely Sunset Restaurant and Salamandas Restaurant all of which I have already reviewed in detail  in my previous posts.

Having dined in Sunset Restaurant twice and in Salamandas Restaurant once, I can say that these restaurants are so overhyped.  The food was expensive but not worth the price as they tasted bland.  Service could also get slow.  The ambiance for both was nice though because like the rest of the resort, each was tastefully furnished.

My contact with the staffs of Coco Grove was limited because we were only here for a short time.  The ones at the front desk were friendly and efficient and our food attendants at the Salamandas Restaurant were accommodating.  As mentioned in this post though, a food attendant at Sunset Restaurant totally ruined our dining experience there with his snobbery.

The bellman who brought us to our room also annoyed me because he was eavesdropping on my conversation with Yen and at some point, would even butt in in our conversation.  After depositing our stuff, he also lingered in our doorway, obviously waiting for a tip, which we did give.

Other Facilities
Coco Grove also has spa.  I actually wanted to have a massage but was unable to because of our tight schedule.

It also has a souvenir shop.  Pardon the photo quality as these were taken during our 10:00 PM leisure walk around the resort, which was right after our late snack at Sunset Restaurant.

They have a bar too.

And a bird sanctuary.

But I did not see any birds there and the bellman told us it's because it's not the season for birds.  I did find these pigeons on our way to Salamandas Restaurant.

The Beachfront
Its expansive beachfront and very good access to the beach are two of Coco Grove's main selling points.  Click HERE to view my detailed post about it.

The Pools
The resort has two swimming pools.  An Olympic-sized one that was near our room.

And this, which was close to Sunset Restaurant and its bar.

Yen and I originally planned to go swimming in its pools but I slept and woke up late and so we were unable to even enjoy this facility.  

Lushly Landscaped

Another pro for the resort is that it is lushly landscaped.  The above photo is taken at its entrance.  All around the resort too, trees abound and coconut trees dotted its beachfront.

Tastefully designed
The photo below is taken right beside the front desk.  

All around the resort too are lamps light this.

That come in handy at night.

Primarily, the overhyped restaurants that serve expensive but tasteless food.  Also, some of its staff should get more training on customer relations.  And yeah, maybe a little flexibility when it comes to their reservation and cancellation policies.

As a hotelier and traveler myself, I know that guests sometimes change their travel plans and so Coco Grove should not impose cancellation fees provided that guests cancel their reservation within a certain period of time e.g. in a week.

They should also do something about the stairs leading to our room as it was so steep and when it's dark, going up could be troublesome.

They should also make it non-slip perhaps by overlaying the surface with sandpaper.

With its expansive beachfront, I imagined the resort as a perfect venue for beachfront weddings.

And with its many cabanas as pictured below, it could also host intimate meals for families or corporate groups.   

I was told the above set-up is for tomorrow's breakfast.

My Verdict
Coco Grove for me is the best resort to stay in when in Siquijor.  Its beachfront is nice and it also has very good access to the beach.  And if saltwater is not to your preference, they have not just one but two freshwater pools.    

Though a little expensive that other resorts, staying here is worthwhile as the place is really pretty and offers a wide variety of options be it for couples or a family. 

Now if only they will work on their food, it would be an absolute heaven!  

Moon-watching at Siquijor's Coco Grove Resort

After our late-night snack at Sunset Restaurant, Yen and I roamed around the resort.  We initially planned to go night swimming but later decided against it.  I thus just decided to rest on the loungers as I listened to some music from my iPod.

When I looked up, I couldn't help but notice how weird the moon looked that night.

I found the above interesting but most of my friends were scared by these as they said it looked like shots from a horror movie.

And this is how the moon looked like framed against the building where our room was located.

And the zoomed-in shots.

Interesting or scary?  What do you think?

Late-night Snack at Sunset Restaurant

Because we were so tired from our two-day very physically demanding tour of Siquijor, after our rather disappointing late lunch in Coco Grove's Salamandas Restaurant, Yen and I decided to take a rest then tour the resort at maybe 7:00 or 8:00 PM. 

But we were so tired that after a quick shower, I slept!  Yen also did not wake me up as she was fine with watching the news and also took a nap herself.  When I woke up, it was already 9:00 PM and my tummy was grumbling.

And so Yen and I decided to have a snack at Sunset Restaurant, which was the only open restaurant at the time and the same restaurant where we had our dinner the previous night.

While waiting for my food, I walked by the beachfront and took photos of the restaurant and its setting.

Then my order of Cheese Sticks priced at Php 120.00 was served. 

 Cheese Sticks are cheese wrapped in pastry and deep fried.  

This was the only food from Coco Grove that I liked.  Oh well, maybe it's because I am a sucker for things cheesy (I mean the food, okay?  Though I'm kind of romantic too.  Ha ha!)  that even the cheese sticks sold at Php 10.00 in UP can brighten up my day.

Ever the dessert lover, I couldn't stop myself from ordering their Halo-Halo, one of my all-time favorite desserts. 

But I was so disappointed when I tasted it as it was the weirdest halo-halo I ever had due to it having mango, watermelon and pineapple.  The watermelon and banana lakatan were bland and the mangoes and pineapples were sour.  Gross.  What more, its consistency was already liquid-y and the ice was not finely crushed.  It was so not worth my Php 120.00 that I asked the food attendant if this was their standard Halo-Halo serving and she said yes as it's a "tropical" one thus the mangoes, watermelon and pineapple.  

Dang!  Why wasn't that detailed in their menu so I could have ordered something else?  I only saw Halo-Halo in the menu so I thought it is the usual one that consists of Buko (young coconut) shreds, Langka (jackfruit), Ube (purple yam), Nata de coco, Kaong, Leche Flan, Garbanzos (chickpeas), Banana (the saba variety) and Kamote (sweet potato).  Click HERE on what this yummy dessert should have.

One of the two things (the other being my yummy cheese sticks) that saved this otherwise mess of a meal was the serenaders who personally went to our table and entertained us with their music.

Coco Grove at Dusk

The above photo was taken at Coco Grove's beachfront.

While sitting on the shoreline and documenting the sunset, I found it really interesting that while the view to my right side was that of a very colorful yellow orange sky, the one to my left was of a light and dark blue sky tinged with white or yellow.  

Aren't the above such calming views?

05 March, 2012

My Best Photo of Coco Grove's Sunset

The above photo is my best shot of the sunset as viewed from Coco Grove's beachfront.  

In a set of more than a dozen sunset photos, I picked this one because I love how the reflective almost half-sun is colored white and haloed yellow.  From yellow, the halo darkens to yellow orange to orange and orange red.  The encompassing dark clouds above and the still waters beneath it also provide a great frame to this absolutely breathtaking sunset.  

Sunset at Coco Grove, Siquijor

As our table at Salamandas Restaurant was right by the entrance, it afforded us a good view of the setting sun.

From time to time though, I had to leave Yen so I could take better shots as my view was hampered by some coconut trees.

I normally couldn't be bothered when I am having my meal but if the view is as lovely  as the one below, of course, I just couldn't just pass the opportunity to capture it with my trusty camera.

And so I totally abandoned my meal for about 20 minutes as I documented the setting sun.

I watched, amazed, as little by little, the sun descended on the horizon where it would meet the sea.

And left the sky above with stunning shades of yellow and orange.

And later, of shades of orange gold.