If you have read my previous post on Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, it is no secret then that my monkies were hugely inconsolable when the time came for us to check out. Because the resort was truly one that not only bypassed our expectations but delivered so much more.
To recap, the resort is located a mere ten to fifteen minutes drive from the airport - YAY for a short airport transfer when travelling with kids! - so this meant we were off the plane and swiftly checked into our room... minus the 'are-we-there-yet?'s.
And the beauty of this particular Shangri-La property lies in the lush, tropical grounds and endless amenities it offers. The 13 grassy acres of tropical, beachside gardens are spectacular, with lawns for kids to run amok and family-friendly activities galore. And my word, the activities were enough to even make a grown man jump up with glee.
So here they are - all in their individual glory - the TEN ways that Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa makes it just so darn hard for kids (and some adults too) to bid farewell.
1. Huge Pools
If your kids are anything like my monkies, then just the mere sight of these blue waters will be enough to whip them up into a frenzy.
The swimming pool at the Main Wing consists of several sections of pools linked together, each with various depths so that both children and adults will be able to enjoy some splashing fun.
I particularly loved how the pool is dotted with kids-friendly features, like the squirting water guns located at the shallower end of the pool.
But what took the cake for the monkies was the presence of this.
A winding water slide that they went on countless times.
If you prefer to laze around, minus the ruckus, the swimming pool at the Ocean Wing offers a pretty peaceful alternative.
Speaking of ruckus, rest assured there will be plenty of that at this section of the water area.
The area comes with a water playground complete with water slides, as well as a separate shaded children’s pool. Perfect to keep out the sun's rays for the little ones!
As for the water playground, I guess the photos alone will suffice in telling you how much fun the monkies had.
The children's water play area is just opposite the main pool, with plenty of deck chairs all around, so this makes it ideal for parents to keep watch of their kids while sipping on that ice cold beer. Or at least I enjoyed it. Heh.
Oh, and what better way to top a day's worth of fun by the pools than enjoying a scoop of gelato!
3. Golf Park
Besides the six-hole golf park within the resort, there is also a 14-hole mini-golf course for the little ones to practice a swing or two.
The Mini Golf Rate is PHP300 (or S$9) per round and includes of clubs and balls.
The interesting thing about the golf park is it is themed, with the 14 holes combining sport with lessons in geography, as each hole is a miniature representation of a well-known landmark in the Philippines or Asia. Even our Merlion got a feature!
4. Zip Line
The sprawling nature of the resort also meant that it could even afford to have a Zip Line on its premise. The monkies did not have the chance to give it a go but judging from the looks (and height) of it, I reckon it is probably more for kids than adults.
A key attraction for our monkies was the beach, which was a short walk down from the pool areas.
Of course, a beachside dining cafe will always be welcome. Especially since we were down at the beach EVERY SINGLE DAY while we were at the resort. And happy hours between 4.30pm and 7pm did not hurt too.
For families with younger kids, the resort thoughtfully provides loads of beach toys for the kids and in an enclosed and sheltered area, no less.
But for my monkies, there was always going to be one key highlight.
Swimming among AND feeding the swarm of fishes that swam so close to the shore!
The resort provides bottles of free fish food so you can probably guess the monkies had a field day (or days) ensuring the fishes were thoroughly well-fed.
6. Marine Sanctuary
If you are still unimpressed by what Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa has to offer, then surely this must be the clincher... which was also the reason why the monkies clamoured to go to the beach every single day.
Officially established in 2007, the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary spans six hectares from the resort's beachfront and is teeming with over 160 species of fish, clams and coral. Snorkel sets are available for rental while life jackets - even for kids - are readily available.
The waves are surprisingly virtually non-existent, and all of us including Ale were able to walk out into the sea during low tide. And trust me, the experience will be well worth it.
These were just but a handful of the marine life that the monkies got to see with their very own eyes and it was all fascinating.
One surreal moment during our snorkeling sessions was when we chanced upon this large school of fishes swimming just beneath us. Quite frankly, it was always going to be a different experience seeing it up close compared to watching it on a nature programme.
I even had the opportunity to swim to the farthest (safe) point of the sanctuary. The monkies did not follow as it was pretty deep but I enjoyed my precious moments away from them... no matter how short that may be.
Safe to say, the Marine Sanctuary is the one thing that all of us sorely miss at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa!
7. Sea Sports
The dreamy turquoise waters also allow for all kinds of activities such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, para-sailing, windsurfing, sailing or deep-sea fishing. All for a fee, of course. For diving enthusiasts, there are more than 20 dive sites teeming with marine life within a half-hour boat ride from the resort.
8. Adventure Zone & Toddler Zone
Kids still have energy to expend after a day out under the sun, you say? Then this Indoor Playground will no doubt illicit more squeals and screams from them!
Only thing is this is not any ordinary Indoor Playground; it is one that is home to a 3-lane Wave Slide and one heart-stopping Drop Slide.
Much like the Advenrture Zone the monkies experience in Golden Sands Resort in Penang, the one slide that the monkies adored and could not seem to get tired of was the wavy blue drop slide which see them go slamming into a pool of colourful balls again and again.
Of course, there are the usual playgym-kind of obstacles with hanging bridges and ropes but I think the slides still retained very much of their attention.
There is also an outdoor area, where kids can indulge in some art and craft activity.
The Adventure Zone is chargeable at PHP200 (S$6) per child per hour, although some room packages do include a few hours of free play. Oh, and remember to pack socks and long sleeved tops as they are a MUST for kids entering the playground.
For toddlers and younger kids aged 3 and below, there is a separate Toddler’s Zone which comes in a safe and enclosed environment away from the bigger kids. Entry is free for hotel guests but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Older kids, teenagers and parents can opt for the E-Zone, with pool tables, table football, XBox consoles and a snack bar to keep everyone duly entertained.
There is even a mini arcade centre!
10. Daily Activities
Adults need not feel left out, with daily activities such as Yoga at CHI, The Spa, Garden Tour and Beach Volleyball. But the one that I will highly recommend is the FREE Snorkeling Safari session, where guests will be able to explore the Marine Sanctuary together with a trained marine biologist.
So I guess it is not difficult to see why the monkies were extremely reluctant to bid the resort farewell when the time came for us to check out. The reasons above, and the fact they had to say goddbye to their beloved hermit crabs.
Yes, when the monkies were not busy exploring the depths of the sea, they were preoccupied with looking for hermit crabs - big and small.
And for what purpose? To let them participate in a hermit crab race on the sand of course!
So if you are a fan of a big resort packed with fun things to do with kids then yes, Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa is definitely the only resort you should consider when holidaying in Cebu.
Also, as our departure date from Cebu was also forecasted to be the day that the super typhoon slammed onto the Philippines' shores, Cebu Pacific Air rescheduled our return flight ever so promptly and brought forward our return date by one day, thanks to its daily schedule of flights between Singapore and Cebu.
As you can probably guess, we will definitely be back in Cebu sooner than later. And frankly, the monkies can't wait.
For more photos of our amazing experience in Cebu, see our Facebook photo album HERE.
Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa
Punta Engano Road, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, 6015, PhilippinesWebsite: www.shangri-la.com/cebu/mactanresort/
Family Fun Package
Available from now until 31 March 2015
The Family Fun Package includes:
- Room accommodation and daily buffet breakfast for two (2) adults
- Children below 12 years enjoy complimentary buffet meals when accompanied by an adult (maximum of two (2) children)
- Daily dinner buffet with unlimited standard drinks for two (2) adults and two (2) children
- Unlimited access to the Adventure Zone for a maximum of two (2) children
- Round-trip shuttle bus transfers to/from the airport for two (2) adults and two (2) children
- Fish house making activity for the family
- Savings of 15% on Food & Beverage services, CHI, The Spa treatments for adults and laundry and pressing services
- Welcome drink upon arrival
- Access to the Health Club for adults: whirlpool bath, steam room, sauna, gym
- Complimentary in-room wired Internet and Wi-Fi access
- Scheduled complimentary recreational activities
For more information, visit HERE.