I’ve promised myself that this year we would have more adventures together as a family.
And by adventures, this could mean anything really…as long as we are together doing something fun or new. It could be traveling together to far off lands, or just taking a short staycation somewhere nearby. It could also be doing something or going somewhere none of us has done or been before.
We already had a beach trip earlier this year (we love the beach!), and are hoping to squeeze in more before the summer’s over (although living in the island paradise that we do, who says we really need to stick to summer!). A bigger trip is already in the works for later this year (it will be our first time to travel outside the country just the four of us!). Meanwhile, I am hoping to sneak in shorter and simpler jaunts closer to home.
Our weekend in Tagaytay was one such mini-jaunt….a chance for a quick but fun weekend escape.
Tagaytay is an easy weekend (or even day trip) destination for us weary city folk. Relatively simple to get to, a car ride of an hour and a half or less, with various routes (if you’re interested in alternate routes let me know…my hubs is the expert!). When you arrive there are a lot of things for all ages to enjoy. Restaurants aplenty covering many cuisines, with everything from the ubiquitous “bulalo” houses (a must in my book! Also tawilis!) to fine dining establishments. There are spas where couples (or singles!) can hide away for the weekend, and parks where kids can run around. And, of course, finding a nice cozy seat with a view, to sip something warm and revivifying while gazing at Taal lake and its famous crater. Listing all the things to do would take up a whole other post (maybe for another time?)!
We were initially going to see a development by Mañosa Properties, which I am currently in love with (I have always been a fan of Bobby Mañosa and his dedication to Filipino design) and we thought…why not make a weekend of it? So that’s what we did! We packed up the whole family (plus my mom!) and off we went…and landed at the pristine white steps of The Boutique Bed & Breakfast.
I have always wanted to check The Boutique out. It’s partly owned by one old high school friend, and its interiors designed another, and its reputation of personalized pampering has always had me intrigued. I’m happy to report that we were not disappointed!
From the moment we arrived, messy bags and noisy kids in tow, we felt well taken care of. When you check in, you are taken to a room with glass shelves lined with all kinds of bath products and fragrances. You then choose which soaps, shampoo sets, and bath salts you would like for your own personal bath experiences! The soap is made with fresh herbs from their farm. You also choose your own room fragrance, which I thought was a nice touch because it makes a hotel room feel less impersonal. You can imagine my mom and I were quite enjoying this process, although we did share the scent-choosing responsibilities with my little ones.
Each room at The Boutique represent a certain emotion and is named as such. Following the theme, each room is also designed differently in the hopes of evoking that theme.
Every room we saw had its own charming yet chic stamp of individuality. And, as a person that actually prefers unique hotel interiors, versus those that actually look like generic “hotel rooms”, I was enchanted.
Aside from the little customized toiletry basket you get, our welcome came with yummy mango basil smoothies and foot massages! Yes! All guests receive a complimentary foot massage or facial cold stone massage during their stay…especially appreciated by the tired drivers in our lives (thank you hubs for always driving!).
Our room was “I Lust” which was quite ironic since we had our two kids (and the nanny!) squeezed in with us. So none of that was going on for sure. Then again that emotion may well be why our kids are here in the first place, so perhaps not too ironic…heehee. In any case, this room comes with a white clawfoot bathtub (right by a window with a gorgeous view of the lake and volcano!!) in the room itself, which my children absolutely loved. You can imagine the riotous bath times that transpired that weekend!
I was also happy to discover that a branch of Tsokolateria has opened in the hotel itself. Formerly only in Baguio, this cafe celebrates our local hot chocolate, and cacao variants.
Aside from the traditional Tsokolate Eh and Tsokolate Ah, they also have dishes inspired by chocolate (like Native Chilli Tsoko Con Carne and Bacon Lechon Kawali & Cacao Nibs).
I had the churros waffle (how could I not!) which is basically churros batter cooked in a waffle iron, and then deep fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar…and then served with hot chocolate. Yes, I am sure you would have done the same in my place. On top of everything, you enjoy all this in a lovely terrace with canopied sofas and an awesome view of the volcano.
At bedtime, you get a “nightcap” of tarragon tea and freshly made cookies. We chose to forgo this as we didn’t want to wake up the kids who were already sleeping peacefully (halleluiah!) but my mother enjoyed it and, being the Instagram mom that she is, made sure to leave some for me the next day, both to try and snap a photo of! I love my mom on so many levels…
My favorite thing about our stay, I would have to say, very typical of me, was breakfast. Breakfast comes with the room and you can choose to have it in the restaurant downstairs or (squee!) in bed. The thought of having a luxurious spread of breakfast dishes in their fluffy bed, while in pajamas, cozying up together, seemed like a great idea until my son, who is still in Tasmanian devil phase, proved otherwise. But really, this is something to do for a romantic getaway for sure! And this breakfast is not just all form and no function. I had the bulalo corned beef which was amazing! It’s shank meat cooked until tender then refried “carne norte” style to make it like our beloved corned beef. Then it is arranged back around the shank bone with its hot bulalo still in the center. So you can spoon a little hot marrow on every scoop of your corned beef. Served with egg and garlic fried rice. Just think about that for a moment. Siiigh.
What really stood out for me however, during our weekend at The Boutique, more than the amenities and services, and maybe even more than the bulalo corned beef (though those were certainly nice!), was the genuine caring of the staff there. They were super helpful, thoughtful, and even really funny. We loved them and do look forward to returning!
The crux of the matter, really, is making memories, investing in this magical intangible that is not going to go into any bank account or college fund, but is most definitely going into the bricks and mortar of this family, into the characters and horizons of my children, and into mine and C‘s memories, to keep us warm when we are old and gray in a way no expensive cashmere coat can. And aren’t those the most important investments of all?
Looking forward to more family adventures, whether they be near or far! I would love to hear your suggestions and recommendations if you have any!
The Boutique Bed and Breakfast
+63 46 4131798
45 Aguinaldo Highway, Silang Crossing East, Tagaytay City