Warning: This is an exhaustive review and reading all of it might exhaust you but it could also give you an idea of what to expect and tips while staying at View Park Hotel(VPH). It is also written with the intention of giving some suggestions as to how the management of VPH may further develop their property. So if you like exhaustive reviews, read on and enjoy the ride. For those who may not have the time nor the patience to plod on just scroll down and go to my verdict at the bottom of this review for a summary. Here goes...
I booked a standard room and sent a couple of text messages to confirm our stay. Sadly, there was no response from the property. I then sent an email and after a couple of days there was still no response. So finally, I called VPH at the number that I sent the text messages to. Lo and behold the call was picked up and there was actually a live person from VPH on the line. Faith, the VPH staff answered my call and responded to my queries and requests. I felt relieved and assured that my reservation was in order and we could go to their hotel without any fears of any mix ups or what nots.
We arrived at VPH at 10AM, check in time is 2pm. We understood that we were early and we were not looking forward to be checked in already. But that was our plan, we left Manila early so that we could also be in Tagaytay early to avoid the traffic going there. Our plan was to go directly to the hotel, fill up the necessary guest documents and proceed to Mahogany market for brunch.
And so we filled up the necessary documents, showed our vaccination cards which they requested for and got some suggestions from front desk manager Aldrin on what to do in Tagaytay. Our objective was to go to a couple of waterfalls near Tagaytay which we saw on You Tube. Unfortunately the You Tube video did not share landmarks where to find these falls and the map they showed was blurry. All the video had were coordinates to the two waterfalls. We preferred these two waterfalls, namely Miranda and Grotto because they seemed to be nature at its best and unexploited by tourists.
Unfortunately, try as he did, Aldrin also could not give us tips how to get there because he was not also aware of these two waterfalls. He even asked their guard but still nada, zilch. The guard only suggested Ambon Ambon Falls, which was a source of water for the area by the local water utility and which we have seen on You Tube had water pipes connected to it. Aldrin suggested to us Balete waterfalls, which was manmade and touristy. We thanked Aldrin for his efforts but since we are very adventurous we wanted waterfalls that were natural and not exploited too much. And so we had to content ourselves with the usual tourist jaunts like Picnic Grove, Palace in the Sky and Sky Ranch but my review of those places are found in their specific locations here at Trip Advisor. I could almost hear a sigh of relief from those who are reading this exhaustive review.
So after filling up and signing all the necessary documents, we asked if we could leave our stuff at the front desk for security purposes. They gladly gave in to our request. Aldrin asked us if it would be all right if they bring our stuff to our room once it was ready and he would just text us to inform us that we could already check in our room. We then proceeded to Mahogany Market (MM) for brunch and do some shopping. Again that review would be posted in the appropriate section at Trip Advisor on MM.
We finished our brunch at MM, did some pasalubong shopping there and bought some salted eggs, tomatoes, onions for a salted egg salad and some fresh pinipig suman. We finished at MM around 12nn and proceeded back to VPH hotel. Since we haven't received a text message from VPH, we decided to while away some time by stopping by a roadside scenic rest stop to chat and take some pictures of the iconic Taal volcano. By 1pm, there was still no text message but we decided to take our chances and just went straight ahead to VPH.
When we got back at VPH, Aldrin informed us that our room was ready and our stuff was already in our room. I chided Aldrin that he should have kept his promise to send us a text message because we wanted to rest a little bit before going on to other Tagaytay spots. But at the same time I also thanked Aldrin that we were allowed to check into our room at least an hour earlier than the regular 2pm check in. Prospective VPH guests could also try the same method that we did. Lets find out if they are consistent.
We were brought to our standard room C2. We were given a standard metal key to get into our room. As soon as we opened the door, we could smell the fresh and clean scent of the room. The room amenities are basic. A comfortable and firm double bed with a side table, a small table for two, a wooden cabinet with a mini safe inside it to keep your cash and other valuables, a small bathroom with a hot and cold shower and a tiled divider to separate it from the commode. There were basic toiletries like soap, shampoo and disposable toothbrush and toothpaste but no slippers. Bring your own slippers if you don't want to walk around barefoot on the cold floor. It had a window but all you could see would be the side of a VPH guest building. The WIFI signal inside the room was satisfactory. There was also a television with some cable channels. However, the individual airconditioning unit is behind the television so it could be a little difficult to adjust the temperature of the a/c. I wish they could reconfigure the room so that it would be easier to adjust it for the desired room temperature.
For travellers on a budget, the standard room would be sufficient especially if you don't intend to spend too much time cooped inside the room because there are a lot of things to do at VPH and its environs.
VPH has a lot of instagrammable spots. The front building where you could find the reception area, some guest rooms and Siglo Restaurant is already instagrammable with its quaint and cozy look. Its located beside the road that's why if you are in a guest room in that building it might be a tad noisy, with guests checking in/out or dining at Siglo Restaurant and vehicles passing by the road. Incidentally, while we were dining at Siglo Restaurant, a wailing ambulance and a police vehicle with emergency sirens blaring passed by. This was the time of the Kit Thompson incident. I suggest specify a room in the annex building where it could be more quiet.
The walkway leading to the annex building is also instagrammable with its English inspired decors, a wrought iron bench and a vine covered awning providing shade. A few steps from the walkway is their gazebo beside a globe inspired fountain and overlooking their garden that has the "I (heart) View" spot and their spa. The "I (heart) View" sign needs a fresh coat of paint though. I guess Tagaytay weather could be quite telling on painted signs.
You could also take selfies of the Italian palazzo inspired facade of the annex building where you could find a five foot deep small pool and a separate kiddie pool below it. The frontage of the spa and their Siglo Brew Coffee Shop are also beautiful spots to take selfies. There is also an open air area with metal and glass table and chairs overlooking their new and modern building and their four feet deep, infinity blue and white tiled pool.
One of the activities that you could do at VPH is to take a dip in their two pools, which we did. Even at 3pm on a hot and sunny afternoon, the water is still cold. In fact, even if the water could be quite refreshing on a warm sunny day we could only swim for thirty minutes each in both pools. We suggest also that the edges of the steps as you wade into the pools be tiled with a bright colored tile distinguishable from the color of the tiles of the pool so that you could see that you are already at the edge of each step. Water, especially when it is disturbed by even a ripple could give an optical illusion on the depth between steps. Stainless banisters by the steps could also help a lot so that swimmers could have something to cling on as they tentatively wade into the pool.
On our last day at VPH, we transferred to a premium room (Room 107). It gave us an opportunity to see the difference between a standard room and their premium room. There is really a marked difference between both types of room. The room was larger. The bed was bigger and more comfortable. It seemed like there were more cable channels. Likewise, the bathroom was also bigger with a glass divider. The biggest difference is the terrace where you have a cool view of the garden. We took pictures of the view from the room at 5:30am and it was breath taking with the fog in the background.
The most amazing thing we found out was that whether you would be in the standard room or in the premium room, the quality of the service extended by the staff was excellently the same. And mind you, we made the same requests such as buckets of ice, fresh towels, etc. whether we were in the basic room or the premium room.
There was even a time when I had to ask for assistance from the staff because my roommate wouldn't respond to my knocks on the Room 107 door at 5pm. The staff first tried calling the room but still there was no response. I could not get into the room on my own because the premium rooms use magnetic plastic keys that you insert inside a slot to maintain electricity for the room.
The staff used their duplicate pass key but to no avail because the door was double locked. They had to get another key to override the double lock. It turned out my roommate was so fast asleep that neither knocks nor calls inside the room could bother his deep slumber. I guess that was a testament as to how comfortable the bed was that he could not be bothered by anybody. That was quite a scare because I did not know what was happening inside the room, my room mate could have had an accident or worse. Its such a relief that nothing untoward happened and the staff was very helpful in getting me access inside the room.
Finally, I have more suggestions for VPH. One is that they fix the doorbell at Room 107 so that I didn't have to knock on the door because I could be disturbing other guests. Also, they fix the a/c unit above Rm 107 because the condensed water drips down when the water catch overflows and drums on the a/c unit at Rm 107 for about ten seconds and it could be quite disturbing. We thought that our a/c was conking out.
And second, the staff could also pay more close attention to details. Once, when we requested for fresh towels, one of the towels had a 25cent-sized hole. Another time there was a strand of long hair in one of the towels as they delivered it to us. We don't have long hair so definitely it didn't come from us. Check the towels and give it a once over before you hand it out to your guests.
For prospective guests, please be considerate of other guests. Keep your noise level down so that you would not bother other guests. I understand we can feel so comfortable at VPH that we feel so much at home but then we just have to remind ourselves that there are other people here as well who might also want a little quiet and relaxation. The guests above our room were already up at 4am and they were moving and dragging some furniture and we could hear it and it woke us up. I guess the silver lining in it was that we were able to get dawn shots of the view outside our room.
VERDICT: The exemplary service of the staff is the biggest asset of VPH. If you want to be pampered by the service and genuine smiles underneath the face masks but could be discerned from their twinkling eyes, I highly recommend VPH.
VPH has a lot of instagrammable spots and it is just located across Picnic Grove that opens at 6am where you could do some walking, enjoy the iconic Taal volcano without photo bombers because people start to converge at Picnic Grove by 10am. And then you could have your free breakfast at VPH. You could still come back to the Picnic Grove without paying another entrance fee by just showing your entrance fee ticket which is valid for one day.
Location wise, VPH is centrally located, north of it is Palace in the Sky, Napa and the Windmill. South of it is Mahogany Market, Sky Ranch, the pricey and by reservation only Antonio's Garden, the original Mushroom Burger and other Tagaytay draws.
View Park Hotel may not be a five star hotel but it gives more bang for your bucks and the staff is definitely five stars. We will definitely come back especially if they can locate Miranda and Grotto Waterfalls.
A big hurrah for View Park Hotel!!!