Did you like the photos of the coast of Anilao with it’s beautiful sunsets you saw here? Then you need a good hotel to enjoy your stay and the Vivere Azure is just that – a gorgeous boutique resort with modern rooms, great service and amazing views over the ocean…
Location: The Vivere Azure, Anilao, is located on the West Coast of Mabini, about 4 hours by car from Manila. While locals (and Google) suggest that it is only 2-3h, the traffic in Manila as well as in Batangas City and Bauan is horrendous, making that unrealistic under the best of circumstances. The hotel provides directions worth following to avoid the worst of it and you might want to bring your navigation system to help as well.
Service: The service is one of the strengths of the resort – the staff is very friendly and attentive, making sure that your stay from arrival to departure is a good experience. Rather than just doing what they have to, they do what will make your stay more pleasant, with many little touches – from the parking attendants to check in, from the restaurant staff to the massage therapists, they all contribute to the overall experience.
Room: The resort has only 13 themed rooms, making for a private atmosphere. We had one of the smaller rooms, “Indigo” at 26sqm, other rooms can be more than 100sqm, accommodating families. The rooms differ in design as well as price, so check out their web site (here) to get an idea of the best fit for you. We entered our room via a small balcony with a bench seat, overlooking the ocean. The bedroom was modern with a vague Asian theme, with the bed facing the windows overlooking the sea. Passing past the bed, there was a small area for the fridge and coffee facilities as well as a desk, leading to the bathroom.
The bathroom had a “porthole” to hallway as an interesting feature and was equally modern and well maintained. A small closet with the safe were located here as well. Everything provided, from the TV to a/c, safe, fridge and kettle, was working well. The internet access was weak – you might want to bring your own mobile service and/or leave your work at home! Overall, the room was fairly small and the ceilings were low. While it is advertised for 3 people, there is only one queen bed with no additional room for a third person. I found the room comfortable and would book it again for a couple. If you’d like more space, I’d recommend to check out their other room types.
Restaurant/Amenities: One of the best features of the hotel is their infinity pool – it offers loungers as well as little cabanas around it, all with great views over the ocean. There is also a little “tree house” where we got an open air massage while still having privacy from other guests below. The Vivere Azure (like many hotels in the Anilao area) is built into the steep cliff and the hotel is near the top of the hill, allowing for the great views, but also making it less convenient for families with small children or people who can’t or don’t want to climb stairs between room/restaurant/pool/parking etc.
There are two restaurant areas: The main bar and restaurant has indoor, open-air seating, also with a nice view, and the secondary area is further down the hill, also with a mixed indoor/outdoor open air seating. During our stay, the lower area was used and it is comfortable. All the meals are included in the room rates and they were delicious. When the resort is busy, they are served buffet style and offered a good selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They managed to keep all the choices available (in small quantities) and refreshed regularly, keeping the quality good as well and avoiding for items to go dry… There were at least three main courses at each meal, plus appetizers, dessert and two choices of soft drinks included in the plan. They offered the Filipino favorites, some with their own fusion’esque twist, keeping the meals interesting.
They offer water sports, like kayaking and snorkeling, as well as scuba diving as activities right at the resort – if you can pull yourself from the nice loungers by the pool. There is a small beach, but it is more a “checklist” item – there is very little natural sand beach in Anilao and no powdery white sand beach like you find on the islands further South. Parking at the resort is tight – there are only 6 spots in the driveway. The attendants will keep your keys, move cars around and park some on the street. If you are nervous about your car, you might want to come early and get one of the spots inside, so it doesn’ get moved around
Overall, the Vivere Azure is one of the more upscale hotels in Anilao and provides a luxurious getaway from Manila with great service, good food in a private, boutique hotel atmosphere. All that comes at a price that is high – both for Anilao and for South East Asia in general, about twice as much as simpler dive resorts charge. You can find their rooms sometimes offered on Agoda, but I suggest to call for best rates as well as last-room availability, especially if you are planning to stay on a weekend. In my opinion, it is worth it for a special occasion and “dream” getaway – the Vivere Azure is the highest rated hotel on Agoda for Anilao and that allows them to charge a price reflecting that acclaim.