Sure, Sta. Monica Beach Club in Dumaguete has been existing for years, and reviews online have mostly been poor. But some time last year, the same group that made Amorita Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol what it is now took over, and they’ve continuously renewed the place. Recently, we went to see how things have been improving. Read more…
We landed at Dumaguete’s Sibulan Airport, and upon leaving the baggage claim area, Ms. Cita, the resort’s delightful general manager warmly welcomed us to the van.
Sta. Monica Beach Club is at a far portion of the city, but accessibility is not a problem. There are a number of tricycles that can be chartered to the resort, and they provide van transfers to the airport next town and the pier in the city, which are both a 15 minute drive away.
Arriving at the resort, we were immediately received by their smiling staff, a tray with cold drinks in hand. It wasn’t before long too that we were ushered to our respective rooms.
Our room, recently refurbished, looked and smelled new. Decor was minimal, but I guess that meant that the cozy rooms were intended for a good rest and sleep after a day of tiring activities. Room amenities included a small fridge with bottled water and a cable LCD TV.
The beds had gleaming white linens, and the pillows thankfully were fluffy and soft. The beds, the linens, and the pillows were luxurious and clearly of high-quality. Leaving early from Manila, I was too tempted to jump into the bed the moment I entered the room. I gave in, but unfortunately, they called us after some minutes to start our tour.
The bathroom didn’t scream five-star, but it was absolutely clean. The bathroom fixtures were still new, and the hot and cold shower had good pressure. They stocked our bathroom with a special lemongrass liquid soap and shampoo in gin bottles that really smelled nice.
Our room was near the swimming pool, which was well-maintained and lit awesomely at night. Tasteful landscaping surrounds the pool area and makes the entire resort attractive.
Dumaguete is admittedly not known for its beaches, but nonetheless, the waters that border the resort provide an gorgeous backdrop and a dramatic sunrise. Fronting the water is a wide, well-manicured lawn that’s ideal for events and luaus.
I always looked forward to the food that was expertly cooked and put together for us. Chef de Cuisine Syl Malenab, formerly of Hyatt Manila and Marriott Cebu, was brought in from Amorita Resort to take the helm of the resort’s kitchen. It proved to be a wise decision.
From grilled tuna with a special sinugba sauce to Dumaguete’s take on pork humba, Chef Syl’s menu was always classic Filipino with an occasional Chinese or European flair. He took advantage of the market’s fresh seafood catch and meats then transformed them into dishes that highlighted natural flavors and exceeded expectations. Good food apparently is one of Sta. Monica Beach Club’s primary selling points, and it draws in even the locals.
There’s something new that they’re trying out—local guided tours, which I will write about soon. When we were there, we explored Dumaguete City, the beautiful Manjuyod Sand Bar, Red Valley Waterfalls, and my favorite Twin Lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao. Each time, we rode their new white van and was entertained by our designated local guide who also is part of their staff. The tours can be arranged for any of their guests.
When we were about to sail to nearby Bohol, we got hit by the biggest curveball of the trip—typhoon Pablo that ravaged Visayas and Mindanao. Strong winds and rainfall frightened us, but for the most part, I was fine being stranded but safe. The hospitable resort staff constantly attended to our needs, and Chef Syl continued to prepare our meals until before our eventual flight back to Manila.I was able to soak up the Dumaguete vibe even more, too.
Sta. Monica Beach Club, now backed by the same team that brought life to alluring Amorita Resort, is promising. Given the progress it is seeing, the resort is absolutely set to be reborn into one of Dumaguete’s new prime hideaways. I’ll definitely be back.
STA. MONICA BEACH RESORT
Barangay Banilad, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Contact: +63 2 553 9549 (Manila) or through Facebook
Rates: 3500 PHP net promo for a deluxe room including transfers and set breakfast for two
Photos above were courtesy of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.