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Lalaguna Villas
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Reviewed March 1, 2017 via mobile

Lalaguna Villas was par for everything with the exception of the view which was a hole in one! We stayed at the penthouse with a balcony and that view alone was worth the night stay other than that unless you are sharing the penthouse with a group of people it's quite expensive.

They do have a boat that picks you up from the harbor which is great and starts things off quite nice.

The rooms were clean and definitely accommodating but nothing is free! You are given an awesome amount of bathroom supplies but be warned they all come at a price! There was a 3D TV which was fun to use. Their internet was high speed which I believe is far and few between in this area.

Depending on the person and the family this may ve a positive or a negative -- there is no elevator. So if you are staying at the penthouse or a high numbered room you are working to get there -- talk about a leg burn!

The pool is nice and great for families. The restaurant/bar has great service and the bartender is awesome. He mixes great drinks. The food though is just par -- nothing super fantastic or something to go out of your way to eat.

The one great thing at Lalaguna is the dive resort they partner with. Their front desk customer service is also very good and the staff are very friendly.

Overall it's a little over priced (but we did stay at one of the most expensive rooms) but the view was spectacular and the service pretty good.

Stayed: December 2016, traveled with friends
1  Thank kcaleda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2017 via mobile

Visited La Laguna Villas Jan. 31 to Feb 10th 2017 with a special someone and a lovely couple from Austria.

I must agree LLV is one of the nicest hotel in Sabang/Puerto Galera. I must commend that it has approachable and helpful staff (Kudos esp. Bar/Poolside, Receptions/Frontdesk, Security & SpeedBoat Crews).

There was just a little misunderstanding during the check out when the housekeeping staff inaccurately reported we ate 2 bars of chocolates in the fridge which were never there when we arrived, as well as the deo that H-staff thought belongs to LLV. The report was corrected, when we mentioned that we didn't even use any of the complimentary toiletries they have provided since day 1, as we have brought our personal toiletries.

Overall, it didn't affect my impression of LLV and its staff.

Very Good rating for now as there's a room for improvement especially for the housekeeping staff who plays a very critical role not only to keep the room clean and neat but most especially he/she is expected to be 100℅ accurate in validating the room's conditions when the guests are ready to check out.

Lesson learned: Next time? maybe i will take a photo of the fridge, bathroom or any storage box that has anything that can be billed during the check out. Lol! :)

Stayed: February 2017, traveled as a couple
1  Thank GoWithTheFLOW842
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, Owner at Lalaguna Villas, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2017


Sorry about the mistake with the chocolate charge. No need to photograph the fridge next time, because we have tightened up on this in 3 ways:
- first, you automatically get an email with full details anytime any item is charged to you room; minibar replenishment is always charged to your room, so you will know immediately if something goes wrong and requires action.
- second, our HK team will only fill the fridge in full, or not at all, and this will be checked during room orientation.
- third, I have promised not to sneak into unoccupied rooms and eat the chocolate from the minibars.

We think these measures, especially the last one, will reduce errors to microscopic levels.

Not to make excuses, but we were a little understaffed during that busiest period of the year, as some employees were still chasing the roof which was literally blown off their house during the typhoon on Xmas day. These events are uncommon so there is a very good chance that your next visit will be completely perfect, as we strive to do with every visit by every guest.

Thanks for your feedback; this prompted a timely review and improvement of some of our procedures.


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Reviewed January 21, 2017 via mobile

My fiancé and I recently stayed here and I can say that this place was definitely the best hotel I came across when walking around Sabang. The staff were super friendly and helpful. The rooms were clean and well maintained (despite the recent typhoon). And all of the facilities were impeccable.

The only fault we really found was the private transfer from Manila airport which took 6+ hours to get there (mainly due to heavy wind preventing the smaller private boat followed by their car breaking down). To be honest though these things were more or less out of their control. Would definitely recommend this place to people looking to stay in Sabang.

Stayed: January 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Tom G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2017

Was at hotel day after a Typhoon came threw the area. Hotel did not send any information stating that services would be limited. No cable TV, back up power only, limited internet. The hotel also has no access to the town unless you want to walk on the beach, which you cannot due at high tide with wet feet. Or take their boat and again walk through the water.

Major construction going on at the hotel and the hotel next to it. The owner store the trash next to the pool area and very bad odors. No lifts in the hotel and many stairs for most rooms. They had me booked on the 7th floor with no lift......... was changed to lower floor. They do not understand safety of the guests, stairways with railings on only one side and open falls of several meters on the other side. And someone believed covering the only railing in Christmas Decorations so you could not use it was a good thing.

They out and out lie about hotel claim split Air Conditioners, my room had noisy window type. We ate in the restaurant one night and one of the steaks was served at a dangerous rare temperature. But since they were cooking on a home style BBG Grill next to the pool my friend just recooked his own steak as the staff was busy elsewhere. Overall while they calm to be a newer hotel buildings have peeling paint, damage and show a lack of care. My friend ordered and booked what was claimed to be a 2 bedroom suite, again management lies, like with the A/C not a 2 bedroom suite but two rooms side by side.

But the final proof that this hotel is not as represented was when the check out bill came and they tried to claim if we used credit cards a surcharge would be added for the card processing fees. This is absolutely never allowed under the credit card processing agreements. FYI anyone charge these fees should dispute the charges with your credit card provider.

This review would be very different if the hotel offered the services they claimed or priced the rooms at the correct level for the hotel. The issues other than stealing with credit card fraud by the hotel could all be overlooked if the rates charged were half of the current rates. But even then would not be my choice for place to stay again. They sent us many emails during our stay should have sent email before check in saying services limited.

  • Stayed: December 2016, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Siam Trading P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, Owner at Lalaguna Villas, responded to this reviewResponded February 8, 2017

Todd, everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but it is inappropriate to use terms such as “liars”, "stealing" and “fraud” in a forum where accuracy and impartial observation is encouraged. Your review is biased and premeditated, and offensive of course, and there are other aspects to it which I will take up directly with TA offline.

But for the sake of the other readers of TA, I must comment on each of the points in the review to allow them to decide which version of reality is more likely to be accurate.

The first point is a telling one. You are annoyed that we did not contact you to inform you of “loss of services”. As you stated, you arrived the day after a typhoon had ripped through the area. I can agree with that comment (but little else in your review) and I will further volunteer the information that the typhoon was a strong one and hit us hard. The strongest typhoon in recent years was Yolanda, which slightly missed us. This one caught us right down the middle and wreaked havoc. It probably did not make the international news because there were remarkably few deaths, but the central government immediately declared our island of Mindoro to be a state of calamity. The area was without power for almost 3 weeks. Roads were blocked by fallen trees. So many family homes lost their roof, at least half our staff among that number; several resorts were also rendered roofless. The water supply was compromised. The sea was too wild for even the largest ferries for 2 days afterward. And worst of all, at least in the eyes of this reviewer, the local cable TV connection was lost, and is still down, as I write this more than a month afterwards (although today we spotted their engineers nearby so maybe this ordeal is drawing to a close).

Lalaguna Villas is a solidly built resort, utilizing high quality building components and techniques, in order to survive the constant attack of the salty atmosphere and a brutally hot son. We have applied advanced technology in leading edge ways and we have backups for almost every crucial part of our infrastructure. Our sliding doors, windows and glass fences are all tempered or laminated glass (which I hope goes some way to refute the outrageous allegation that we have little regard for guest safety). As a result, our buildings were relatively unscathed, with the only loss of roofing being from the temporary roof over our poolside cafe. We had no broken windows or doors, although a lot of scratches and scrapes from flying debris and some localized flooding when gutters become clogged with leaves and trees which had traveled some miles seemingly for this very purpose. This battering might account for the wear and tear our keen-eyed reviewer noted.

We prepared for the typhoon by having on hand a second backup generator in addition to our state of the art battery farm which stores 280 KW of power. Alone on this island, our lights were never out, a beacon to remind the 300km/h winds that the human race would survive all this and more. Well, to be honest, we did have a power outage. It lasted less than 5 minutes and was caused by the fact that two of our nine (yes, nine) inverters overloaded at the same time. Such things always seem to occur at the most inconvenient time, but it took less than 5 minutes to rebalance the load on our three-phase power grid and restore power.

Apart from these minutes, whereas every other resort and commercial operation had to turn their backup generators off to rest for a few hours in every 24, we simply swapped unnoticed between battery and generator, for day after day after day, without a moment’s interruption for 3 weeks until power was restored. The ONLY compromise we asked of our guests was a request to not waste power, but this is a standard plea we make for environmental reasons. Aside from that, we provided our customary 24/7 operation, including room service, despite a reduced staff roster, as many of our team understandably searched for their roof or a temporary substitute.

From the guest perspective, lights, entertainment systems, and of course air conditioners were not compromised in any way. While some people traveled far to our resort simply to charge their phones, our guests merely plugged into the convenient USB ports beside the bed in most rooms, or at the bar and cafe in the public areas. Many people praised our performance during the post-typhoon period, this review being the sole exception.

On the subject of air conditioners, we did not lie, as you so extravagantly declare, Todd. We have 40+ aircon units in operation. Most of them are Samsung digital inverter models. All except one are split systems; the sole exception happened to be the one in your room. But this wasn’t intended to be your room, as you know. You booked the cheapest available room through an agent online, and failed to respond to our pre-arrival email providing details about your arrangements and inviting any special requests. Therefore it was completely unexpected when you revealed you had a knee problem preventing you from climbing stairs. It is the sort of thing worth mentioning, I suggest, which would have avoided the need to reshuffle our fully booked resort to find you a room just above ground level. Only by this combination of circumstances did you find a window aircon system, the last room so equipped, a room which you would not have encountered in the normal course of events. To put it into context also, compared to the resorts without power, and especially those without roofs, the extra noise from this unit is surely a minor inconvenience, one which will be addressed long before you return next Xmas, and hardly evidence of a premeditated campaign to mislead the public.

Circling back to where we started, your review begins by stating that we should have informed guests before arrival about the loss of services. Apart from the cable TV network being down, which is of course beyond our control, there were no other reductions in service, and in fact our service levels were even further than usual above the standard possible at other resorts in the region, restricted as they are by infrastructural issues. So then it must be the TV service to which you refer.

You arrived on the 27th, on that we can agree. So to be of any use to you, our alert that the TV cable operator was off the air would need to be sent to you the day before, on the 26th. On Xmas day the typhoon hit, so the 26th was recovery and cleanup day. Moreover, all sea traffic was cancelled, so we had to contact all incoming guests to explain the situation and arrange rescheduled transfers for them; in addition to the in-house guests who were scheduled to leave but could not, who also needed their transportation and other arrangements to be rescheduled.

In the middle of these genuinely urgent and important tasks, nobody thought to check if the cable TV service was working. Even had we done so, I am fairly sure nobody would have thought to contact incoming guests to say “FYI. The cable TV is out. Maybe it will be fixed by the time you arrive, we don’t really know and there is no way to find out right now. Our satellite service still works, but only premium rooms have that option. Thank you and have a nice day.” No, I don’t see that happening. Not by us, not by any resort. Nor do I see the point. How could we know for how long the service would be down? How could we know that this service was essential to your happiness during your two day visit. And really, Todd, knowing that a typhoon preceded your arrival, you could have requested information on any specific concerns and received a prompt reply.

After arrival, had you informed us you were miserable without TV, we would have offered you our Cignal satellite TV package, for P100/day, and mentioned the free access available in the clubhouse and at the pool bar.

There are several other points made in this review, shorter rehearsals of which appeared weeks earlier in every possible forum. I will attempt to address them all, albeit briefly.

We have searched throughout the resort and cannot find a staircase with a several meter drop on the side, or any drop at all, not protected by a handrail. I can confirm that our main staircase has handrails on both sides all the way up except for the first flight where it is only on one side. I agree with you that the Xmas decorations on the handrail of the stairs to the pool deck, which rise only 1.4 meters, were not a good idea, although they did look nice.

The “owner” does not not choose to store malodorous garbage beside the pool. You can readily verify my implausible explanation if necessary, but one of the many hardships imposed upon the entire province during the official state of calamity that existed during and long after your fleeting visit was that there was no garbage collection, because there was simply no accessible place to take it. This applied to every resort and business in the region. We had very few responsible options in this respect and chose to store it in a room where we store building materials.

It is true that some of our 2 bedroom accommodation is comprised of two suites side by side, with a common foyer and adjoining terraces, with individual inner front doors. You will find this to be a very common practice in the lodging business. We also have several traditional two bedroom villas, which have a kitchen and a common living area, for those that need that style of accommodation. Again, if specific features are important to you, a click on the link in your pre-arrival email would reveal such details about your allocated room. This alleged shortcoming did not seem to disappoint your friends staying in our beautiful premium rooms anywhere near as much as it did you (staying in our cheapest room), if at all.

You claim the resort has “no access to town”. This is nonsense. It is usually an easy stroll along the beach to the center of the town, less than a kilometer away. However, it is true that our neighbor, in an outrageous breach of local laws and the rules of common courtesy everywhere, stored construction materials on the beach such that, during high tide, this left no clear path without wading through an inch of water. This did affect our guests, and the guests of every resort West of ours. We kindly offered to store these materials on our own property, but the Chinese owners declined without explanation. Perhaps they thought we would steal their garbage. We were ultimately forced to complain to the local authorities, who compelled the neighboring property to clear the beach, which has resolved the problem permanently, I am pleased to say.

We also offer a water taxi service between the resort and the town and other places of interest. I don’t know why you would describe this as requiring you to walk through water. Most guests board the boats by walking up a plank assisted, where necessary, by our staff on either side. I am sure you know of this service because you ordered our boat to collect you from Sabang on one occasion. When you were informed there would be a slight delay as the boat was engaged in dropping off other guests elsewhere, you gave us the benefit of the advice that we should have a spare boat at all times (which would require us to have more boats than rooms, whereas all other resorts have no boats or dive boats, which are used for diving). To rescue you from spending a few extra minutes at the pier, where our sign displaying the water taxi schedule had remarkably survived the tempest and proudly continued its thankless task, our staff ran down the beach to find a boat willing to accept the assignment, paid the boatman in cash, and sent him on a mercy mission to collect your party. Perhaps this boat did not have a long enough plank to reach dry land, unlike our little speedboat. Could this explain why you could not avoid getting your feet wet during your adventurous journey into town?

Nonetheless, it must have been apparent to you that the situation was a temporary problem, and not of our own making, and certainly did not warrant your astounding assertion that there is no access to town, falsely portraying this and other temporary situations as if they are ongoing.

With regard to the credit card surcharge, it is incorrect to say it is never allowed. In enlightened and deregulated countries, the vendor may pass on to the consumer the credit card charges partially or in full. We are one of a relatively few resorts to accept credit cards, as a service to our guests. We advise of this surcharge well in advance, in the pre-arrival email which you appear not to have bothered reading, neither before your arrival, nor as part of your research before writing this ill-informed and vindictive review. I, on the other hand, did take the time to research this and certain other issues before responding. Other resorts in the area, if they accept credit cards at all, do charge a fee, up to 7.5% in some cases. (Ours is only 4%.) Incidentally, while other resorts charge 10% or even more as a service charge, our is a modest 3%.
These rates do not seem to justify your outrageous accusation of “... stealing with credit card fraud ...”.

On the contrary, it seems completely unreasonable to me that a guest could command our staff to charter a boat for him, to pay that boatman in cash, and then be repaid by credit card for that cash advance and lose 4% for our trouble.
Another thing that strikes me as curious is that you would come to settle your account, at the office and buy two XXXXL souvenir t-shirts as a memento of your stoic holiday in the post-typhoon chaos, for a price of P1200, call it $24, for which you paid cash. But when presented with the account for your room charges which amounted to less than the price of the shirts, you insisted upon using a credit card and were even more insistent that the card transaction must not incur a fee. The fee involved was P45. This is less than a dollar.
Ah but it is the principle that counts, I am sure you will say. And so it is. And the principle here is that you had taken a cash advance and not only did we have every right to charge a fee, contrary to your ill-informed statements, we were entitled to a fee twice as much as we humbly requested. Instead we settled for zero.

I should mention that our service charge also is optional. If you feel the service was inadequate, we you merely have to say so and this amount will be removed from your account.

You mention that the resort was not good value for money. It should not be necessary to point out that booking for the period between Xmas and New Year would certainly be considered as peak season. Our rates at that time are probably 75% higher than at the lowest point in the low season. But this is not a point I care to debate, because you have made such outrageous remarks based on such flimsy basis, that it is clear your assessment was predetermined.

The reason we sent you many emails while you were staying with us, Todd, in case you didn’t read them, is because we have a feature in our system whereby we send an email describing the full details of any expenditure charged to your room. This enables a guest to catch any errors immediately, instead of grappling with a pile of charge slips at checkout time. Guests who find this intrusive can opt out. It is another eco-friendly initiative which also benefits guests and reduces the possibility of errors made at our guests’ expense. So far, after a couple of months in live usage, all guests but you have been able to recognize the benefits.

Your closing remark, Todd, implies that we should have sent you an email before you arrived, advising you not to come. I sincerely regret that we did not do that.

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Reviewed December 30, 2016 via mobile

Great place to stay with following exceptions. Expect to pay extra for use of the bathroom amenities. I was charged P670 for use of the shampoo. It was a surprise. WTH?
Also, forget leaving the hotel at high tide. The water comes up to the steps and there is no way off the property.
They offer a boat ride between the Sabang pier (arrival/departure) and the hotel but surprise you with P200 charge each way. It's about a 10 minute ride or a 20 minute walk with your luggage. There's no other access other than walking the beach path.
None of this would have been as disappointing if they weren't surprises. Kinda sucks when u get ready for dinner and go to leave the property and can't leave because the high tide is splashing up to the front steps of the property. The beach path ends about 100 meters before this property. Strange!

Stayed: December 2016, traveled as a couple
3  Thank Tim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, Owner at Lalaguna Villas, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2017

Hi Tim
I am sorry to learn of your disappointments. But I need to correct you on a couple of points and explain the other.

There ARE free amenities in all guest rooms. Shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste were provided in complimentary sachets. Perhaps you didn't notice these although they should have been pointed out during your room orientation. There is also a range of larger-sized quality famous-brand items in the Bathroom Minibar, which has a laminated price list displayed either inside or outside the unit enclosing these amenities.

Beginning January 1, or shortly after, we now provide a larger kit of free amenities to our premium and deluxe room guests. The kit uses environmentally-friendly packaging, from a range of products branded "eco-pure", consisting of high quality shampoo, conditioner, razor and shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, a large bar of soap and a shower cap. We had intended to introduce these kits in time for the Xmas peak period but unfortunately encountered delays with the delivery.

You were definitely not charged P670 for a bottle of shampoo. You were correctly charged P300 for a large bottle of Dove Shampoo.

We completely agree with you that there should be no negative surprises for any guest staying at any hotel. We have gone to great lengths to avoid such surprises. For example:

1. We have recently completed testing a new system which immediately emails to guests details of anything charged to their room, including minibar consumption. This gives you immediate feedback on charge details and therefore the opportunity to query something while it is fresh in your mind. We enabled this feature during last month for randomly selected guests to solicit their feedback. Unfortunately you were not one of the test group; but you always have the ability to access your account details online at any time during and after your stay, as described in the departure letter you received the day before checkout.

2. You seem to have overlooked the pre-arrival email which we send routinely to all guests, and which was sent to you on December 15, two weeks ahead of your arrival. This email provides a wealth of useful information, including the option to use our speedboat to transfer to and from Sabang Pier, at a cost of P100 per person each way. We think this is exceptionally good value, as a porter would charge more than this to carry a couple of bags (but not you) to your resort. This fee is waived for guests who book directly with us, which is just one of several such incentives we provide for direct bookings.

About the path along the beach, I share your consternation. This is the result of the construction work being undertaken by our neighbor, who is using several meters of beach as a storage place for materials. This area actually overlaps the high tide mark, meaning there is no obvious path into town available at these times. We have repeatedly requested that our neighbor remove these materials, which is clearly a breach of municipal laws. We even offered to allow them to store the offending mess on our property. They have declined to do so. We have now installed a floodlight to better illuminate the area involved and lodged a formal complaint with the Barangay Chairman, which we had been reluctant to do in the interests of neighborly relations. But this intrusion has continued for several weeks now and of course compromises the convenience of guests at all resorts along Small Lalaguna and Big Lalaguna beaches.

We do hope you return to stay with us again, Tim, at which time I hope that any surprises are pleasant ones. Remember to book directly with us to ride our brand new fast speedboat for free!

Kind regards from the Team at Lalaguna Villas

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