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Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa 5.0

Lapu Lapu, Mactan Island, Cebu Island

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Elegant and spacious rooms with minibars, bathtubs, and some ocean views
  • Stunningly landscaped grounds with a tropical island feel
  • Extensive breakfast buffet is included in the room rate; kids eat free buffet for all meals with adults
  • Expansive pool complex includes a waterslide and interactive water playground
  • Several restaurants and bars, with indoor and outdoor dining, plus live music 
  • On-site sporting activities include golf, mini-golf, and tennis
  • Excellent snorkeling at fish sanctuary offshore
  • Chic spa offers Thai, Swedish, and Filipino massages
  • Free airport shuttle bus transfers
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout 
  • Business center with desktop computers and Macs

Cons

  • Resort gets crowded and busy, especially at breakfast
  • No adult-only facilities or pools (a pro for some) 
  • Garden Wing Rooms show some wear and tear
  • Pool views from some rooms partially blocked by resort’s buildings
  • Spa appointments can be difficult to book in the busy season
  • Snorkel rental is expensive

Bottom Line

The 530-room luxury Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa has a beachfront setting, well-manicured tropical grounds, and chic rooms that stand out from the competitors on Mactan Island. On-site activities include a relaxing spa, snorkeling to the fish sanctuary just offshore, and a massive pool complex with a waterslide and aqua playground. Breakfast buffet is free and there are nine restaurants and bars from which to choose. Some rooms include furnished balconies and wonderful ocean views. The resort, however, can get crowded, and guests complain that it's difficult to book spa treatments or get seated for the breakfast without a wait. The resort is super popular with families and has very little just for adults. The nearby Movenpick Hotel offers beach access and contemporary rooms for lower rates, but it's not quite as luxurious as the Shangri-La. 

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Scene

Signature Shangri-La style applied to a tropical island setting

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa manages to replicate the standards of the brand’s signature hotels while incorporating a tropical island feel. From the outside, the low-rise property bears some resemblance to an apartment block. The approach to the lobby is more impressive, with a high, decorative vaulted dark-wood ceiling that leads to the open-air walkway decorated with red-and-gold lanterns, and accented with outdoor seating. The long reception desk is fronted by a living room style seating area with contemporary neutral sofas. Elaborate tropical floral displays add opulence to the reception and concierge desks. 

The resort's expansive grounds are beautifully landscaped. The vast gardens have pathways that meander through grassy lawns dotted with palm trees; thatched pagodas dot the lawns. Split into separate Garden and Ocean wings, the resort’s main buildings are no less evocative, including its corridors and stairwells, and a semi-indoor atrium-like space between facing hallways has trees and shrubbery, with a dramatic stairway. 

Thanks to the beach setting and kid-friendly pool, most of the guests here are families on holiday. While couples do vacation here, they're often overrun by kids, especially during the summer months and school holidays. One bar hosts a two-hour adult-only happy hour and kids aren't allowed at the spa. Otherwise, families have the run of the place. 

Location

On the beach, 50 minutes from downtown Cebu 

Set back from a major road, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is removed from traffic noise and has a stunning beachfront location. The nearby international airport is a 15-minute drive away, and the resort is about a 20-minute drive from the island’s city center. Downtown Cebu is about a 50-minute drive away.

Rooms

Stylish rooms with impressive balcony views

There are 530 rooms at the Shangri-La's Macatan Resort & Spa. Rooms are divided into the Main Wing and the Ocean Wing, with the former providing pool views and the latter providing ocean views. The elegant (and most affordable) Deluxe Rooms feature laminate-style wood flooring and large beds set against a leather headboard that reaches to the ceiling. A chic gray armchair adds further sophistication, and the windows let in natural light. Some of the furniture is scuffed, specifically the bedside tables. Well-stocked minibars (with ramen and prawn crackers) and safes are discreetly positioned in built-in cabinets. Separate built-in day seating is placed atop large drawer units. Bathrooms are spacious, but unspectacular, with black marble built-in vanity sinks and small built-in bathtubs with power showerheads. Narrow balconies are furnished with wicker chairs and provide stunning views of the sea, pool, or gardens, depending on the wing. Rooms without sea views are identical to their pricier ocean-facing neighbors. Note that pool views from some of the rooms are blocked by the resort’s other buildings. 

The huge Ocean View Suites are impressive. Bedrooms are bright and feature large beds and modern art on the walls. The suites have vanity tables and attractive wicker chaise lounges are upholstered in orange fabric. Rooms come with flat-screen TVs and desks in both the bedrooms and the attached living areas, but the office-style swivel desk chairs seem out of place. The living spaces have wood flooring and neutral-toned rugs, tasteful gray sofas and armchairs, dining tables with cream-upholstered chairs, and soft lighting. Like the Deluxe Rooms, the Ocean Suites have minibars and also add Nespresso machines. Bathrooms are brighter and larger than in the Deluxe Rooms. Green-gray vanity counters are topped with huge, stylish mirrors and dual sinks, longer bathtubs, and large separate glass walk-in showers with shelf seats. Long balconies have unobstructed sea views, plus chic, gray-upholstered wooden seating and low wooden tables.

Beach

A smallish beach and offshore marine sanctuary 

The white-sand beach, though somewhat small, has plenty of sunbeds and chic white umbrellas, plus tent-like enclosures and cabana-style thatched shelters. There's also a small shaded children’s play area. Water activities cost extra and include almost everything you can do in the water: catamaran sailing, banana rides, Jet Ski, kayaking, parasailing, knee boarding, wind surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. A marine sanctuary just off the shore teems with wildlife and guests can rent snorkel gear to take it all in. The resort also offers scuba diving certification and training. 

Features

Epic swimming pool and large gym

The large, sea-view pool is set amid grassy, palm-fringed grounds, and the pool has convenient walk-in steps. Separated into several zones of different depths, it has plume sides and children’s inflatable toys are available to borrow. There's also a waterslide and interactive water equipment and small slides for kids. The deck is set with modern black sunbeds and white umbrellas, and a lifeguard is on duty. 

The large, bright gym has floor-to-ceiling windows and is well equipped with modern LifeFitness cardio machines and free weights. There's also a well-manicured mini-golf course, plus an attractive main golf course set among palm trees. The large tennis court has its own lounge. The business center has both personal computers and Macs in pods that have their own printers. The resort has numerous well-stocked shops selling food and drinks, clothing and souvenirs, plus an events center that schedules business events and weddings. There's free Wi-Fi access throughout the property. 

For kids, the open-air games hall has a pool table and ping-pong, along with punching bags. The indoor kids' play area is colorful and well-maintained, while a separate adventure zone for older children includes slides and a ball pit. The EZone games cafe has billiards and foosball tables, computer games, a wide selection of video arcade games, and a snack bar.

The resort’s shuttle bus service provides free transfers to and from the airport.

Food

Kids eat free buffet meals with their parents and everyone gets free breakfast.

Most guests eat all of their meals at the resort, especially families, who take advantage of the kids-eat-free policy at Tidesy buffet restaurant. Two children under the age of 12 eat for free with an accompanying adult. Additional children are charged at half-rate. Everyone gets free breakfast buffet, though the lines can be long during busy periods. The hot and cold spread includes both Asian and Western items, with some cooked-to-order items. 

The chic Acqua restaurant has polished dark-wood floors and plenty of natural light, with a black-and-white design on the walls and attractive suspended lights; seating is a mix of white-cushioned sofas and blue-upholstered seats, both in tan wood and matched with similarly attractive tables. Elegant outdoor seating has wooden tables and wicker-style chairs under white umbrellas on an elevated grassy terrace. The menu is Italian comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Breeze restaurant has attractive white wicker chairs and white tables, and lower, colorful wicker-style cushioned seating on a terrace; the bar is under an attractive round cabana-style thatched-roof structure. It's beachside dining with a la carte fare, and there's a cocktail menu. 

The huge lobby lounge is spacious and decorated with high ceilings, chandelier-like centerpieces, and sofa seating set in a large white space filled with natural light. It's open for wine and cocktails, and provides nightly musical entertainment. 

The open-air Buko bar sits under a low pavilion-style structure, with dark timber flooring and vaulted ceilings. Wooden tub seats with ocean-blue cushioning are available under both the main building and outside under umbrellas, from where there are partial sea views and full pool views. The menu mostly consists of sandwiches and pizzas, though a cultural show and native Filipino buffet are offered on selected days.

Cowrie Cove is open for dinner only, and features al fresco dining with a sweeping view of the ocean. Guests can select from signature seafood dishes and a selection of wines. The space has an intimate ambience, with high black stools, and white wicker-style seating, at both tables and the curved bar. 

The Tea of Spring restaurant is decorated in Chinese style, with red lanterns, red tablecloths, and dark-wood seats with green upholstery. Cantonese-style Chinese food is served for lunch and dinner. Dim sum is available for lunch. 

Waves Bar is a haven for adults and hosts a kids-free happy hour daily. The bar's deck overlooks the ocean and DJ Bong Durano and Shrubs Band provide musical entertainment. 

Spa

An elegant spa

The only escape from kids at the resort is CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. It's a tranquil space with curved wooden walkways between ponds with fountains, and an attractive high-ceilinged lobby with dark-wood beams and pillars. The whole area feels spacious, with plenty of soft padded built-in seating. The semi-outdoor showers, outdoor hot tub, and plunge pool are stunning. There are numerous outdoor pavilions and yet another pool, all surrounded by lush plants and shrubbery. Large treatment rooms have vaulted ceilings, modern floor tiling, and receive plenty of natural light through the numerous windows. Guests can choose from reflexology treatments, facials, massages, and an algae wrap. Hair and beauty treatments are available at the salon. Past guests have complained about difficulty in finding appointment times during busy season. 

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Address

Punta Engano Road, Lapu Lapu 6015, Philippines

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