Chic, Filipino-style decor throughout, including pavilions with gorgeous bamboo ceilings
Three pools, including lagoon-shaped pool with plume slides and a waterfall
Rooms are large, with chic design; some have stylish outdoor bathrooms
Near a small private offshore island, with palms and cabana huts
Five restaurants, including The Cove for seafood
A la carte or buffet breakfast
Daily themed lunch and dinner buffets with Filipino and Asian cuisine
Kid's club, outdoor playground, and playroom
Spa offers traditional Filipino therapies
Fitness center with personal trainer sessions and Filipino martial art classes
Large selection of games and sports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, Jet-Skiing
Free Wi-Fi in public areas and free parking
Far from downtown Cebu
No in-room Wi-Fi
Hot water can be touch and go
Roadside rooms can get noisy
Expensive spa prices
Outdoor bathtubs and showers in some rooms can attract bugs
Some guests complain about overly salty shower water
Sunbeds and thatch-roof umbrellas in short supply on the beach
The upper-middle-range Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, designed in a chic, Filipiino style, sits in a cove with its own private beach. The 165-room resort has three attractive lagoon-shaped pools and five eateries -- its Cove restaurant gets high praise for its fresh seafood. Family-friendly, the Bluewater Maribago includes a kids' club and playground, and offers such activities as beach volleyball, scuba diving, Jet-Skiing, and snorkeling. Amuma Spa features traditional Filipino therapeutic and healing treatments, but they can be pricey, and many guests head elsewhere for their massages. Axuma Spa Suites have outdoor showers and baths, while Royal Bungalows are right on the beach. But rooms that face the road can get noisy. Travelers seeking a location closer to central Cebu, which is a 55-minute drive away, might want to consider the Summit Circle Hotel.
Attractive Filipino-style design and a pleasant, family-friendly atmosphere
Filipino-style design dominates the resort, resulting in an ambience that feels both relaxed and in tune with the beachfront location. The grounds are sandy almost throughout, extending the simple beach vibe, with plenty of trees and hammocks arranged between the thatch-roofed rooms. The white-sand beach gently slopes into calm water. Set in a quiet cove, the resort offers views of tall hotel buildings in the distance. Hammocks are strung between trees, and attractive palms and chunky thatch-style umbrellas are along the beach, although there could be more of them especially during the busy season.
The attractive lobby is housed in a low, round thatched pavilion, open on all sides; inside, the space is bright and pleasantly designed with a beamed, bamboo-like ceiling, soft lighting, and modern wicker seating with striped cushions in oranges and reds. The spa has stylishly decorated treatment rooms with black-tile floors, and a lobby with slate tiles, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sculptural tree at the center. Floating steps lead to a gorgeous upstairs space, with bright white walls, polished wood floors, and low tables paired with cushioned floor seating. A vaulted ceiling adds to the spacious, airy sensation throughout the spa, which looks out on the pools, and pebbled hallways run between treatment rooms.
The casual, open-air Molto Italiano restaurant manages a Mediterranean feel with beamed ceilings, lantern-style light fixtures, dark-wood seating, and tables draped in turquoise tablecloths. The well-stocked and attractive bar at the resort’s main Allegro restaurant has tall wicker seats, while the elegant open-air setting under a large pavilion is complemented by large, dark-wood ceiling fans and pale wicker tables and chairs. The Cove serves excellent seafood, but its the least stylish in terms of looks, with its black wicker and pale wood chairs, and bland wooden tables. Still, it has stunning sea views and a lovely open-air setting under a bamboo roof. Perhaps the most attractive of all of the Bluewater’s dining spots is the Oyster Bar, which forms part of The Cove, where beanbags are place at low tables on elevated, polished wood flooring under the resort’s signature, Filipino-style bamboo roofing. Tables are set around a circular bar, with additional beanbags and tall seats at the bar. A pleasant outdoor space has pebble-lined wooden decking with comfortable sofas; both the indoor and alfresco seating areas look directly onto the water.
Beachfront location, about a 55-minute drive from Cebu, and 20 minutes to the airport
The beachfront Bluewater Maribago is located on a quiet road with a number of massage shops and other conveniences within close reach. Set on Mactan island, the resort is about a 55-minute drive from central Cebu -- though connected to the mainland by a bridge -- and taxis are nonetheless plentiful. Mactan-Cebu International Airport is a 20- to 30-minute drive from the resort.
Large, chic rooms with floating beds and outdoor bathrooms
Rooms at the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort are spacious, and all come with private verandas. Guests praise the huge beds -- in Premier Deluxe Rooms, beds are cantilevered and floating, which add the extra wow factor. Rooms are chic in design, continuing the Filipino influence seen elsewhere around the property. Minibars, coffee- and tea-making facilities, flat-screen cable TVs, and telephones are standard across all room categories.
Some of the bathrooms are partly outdoors, with bathtubs and showers in the open air -- while they're attractive, guests complain that this arrangement can attract bugs. Other complaints include overly salty shower water, malfunctioning hot water in the bathrooms, and the management's inability to fix these woes. Rooms located in the spa wing (Amuma Spa Suites) are a fair walk from the beachfront and the rest of the resort’s amenities, and some roadside rooms get noise until the early hours of the morning -- for more peace and quiet, opt for a room along the beachfront.
Popular pools and restaurants; plenty of activities and water sports
The resort's three lagoon-shaped pools are attractive and curved, fringed with pebbles and attractive tiling, with grassy areas with a limited number of sunbeds. Facing the low-rise rooms and bordered with wicker seating, the pools have plume slides, a number of small bridges, and miniature decorative islands with shrubbery. A large fountain pours into one end of the main pool, and there's another separate, smaller pool space too. Those visiting the resort for the day can rent towels for a refundable deposit.
The resort’s numerous restaurants get positive guest reviews, in particular The Cove for its excellent selection of freshly caught seafood that diners can select from tanks. The main Allegro restaurant is open 24 hours a day and offers daily themed lunch and dinner buffets, highlighting different areas of Filipino and Asian cuisine; these are accompanied by nightly performances, while breakfast includes a wide selection of dishes, both buffet and al la carte. The buffet area can get crowded, given the large number of guests who book all-inclusive packages. Other restaurants include The Cove’s sophisticated seafront oyster bar, Molto Italiano, with its focus on pizza and pasta, and the Amuma Spa Café & Juice Bar, which serves light meals and great juices and cocktails during the day.
The spa offers high-quality treatments, many based on traditional Filipino techniques, but it's pricey. Guests opting for spa treatments have free access to the indoor and outdoor hot tubs, steam bath, sauna, water shiatsu pool, and tai-chi pavilion. There is a full salon attached to the spa; close by, too, is the well-equipped gym. Guests can also take personal trainer sessions or classes in the Filipino national martial art. Other facilities include billiards and table tennis, a shell-floored tennis court, beach volleyball net, large Twister board and life-size chessboard with sea views, sparsely equipped playground with sandbox, and a separate playroom. A children’s club is also available, as are activities including Jet-Skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and day trips to neighboring islands. A pleasantly shaded marine wildlife lagoon within the resort offers the opportunity of daily feeding, while a private island -- just offshore, about a 10-minute swim or paddleboat ride from the beach -- has palms, thatched cabana huts and a real sense of seclusion. Continuing the resort’s focus on Filipino culture within both its decor and the restaurants’ cuisine, an in-house gallery showcases the work of local artists. Wi-Fi access is available only in the lobby and certain other common areas of the resort.
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