Escape from Manila I – Club Punta Fuego

Manila is a mega-city of somewhere between 8 and 15 Million people. On a good day, it’s a bustling city of friendly people with lots of great fun, food and fiestas – I have written about “The Gateway to Paradise”. On a bad day, when you are stuck in chaotic traffic with crazy drivers, you just want to get away! When I was looking for a nice beach destination near the city to take my parents to, I settled on Club Punta Fuego and it was a great choice – my mom didn’t want to leave!

Some of the nicest beach destinations are private clubs and gated communities, only open to members and their guests. Punta Fuego used to be that way, but more recently was opened to the public and welcoming hotel guests to Club Punta Fuego.

CPF BedLocation: Club Punta Fuego is on a peninsula near Nasugbu in Batangas. The traditional way to reach it is via the SLEX highway, the road to Tagaytay at Taal lake and on to the coastal road. It takes about 3 1/2 – 5 hours, depending on traffic and on holiday weekends it can be more. Thankfully, last summer the coastal road from Cavite was opened through the national park, making the drive shorter in distance and by about 1h, depending on where in Manila you are starting. Most of the peninsula is part of a private community, making it exceptionally safe, clean and well organized. The Club is sitting on one of the bigger bays with a great view over the sea!

Service at the Club was exceptionally friendly. On arrival, we were welcomed warmly and sat down for the check-in procedure, enjoying the view over the sea. I had booked an ocean front casita for my parents and a regular room for myself, yet the front desk upgraded me and placed us in two connecting casitas – very thoughtful and unexpected. We got a ride in a golf cart to our rooms. The restaurant staff was equally friendly, reserving our favorite table at the main restaurant for most of our stay, sometimes anticipating our wishes before we even expressed them! That’s about as good as service can get!

CPF BathRooms: The Casitas are very large rooms, three to a villa with connecting doors. We had one room with a large King XL bed and one with two queen size beds. There are a desk and a table with chairs as well, with plenty of room around. The bathroom is equally large with a shower bigger than some bathrooms and an outdoor pocket garden, giving natural light and fresh air, if desired. There is a lot of bathroom amenities, but the quality is mediocre. Each room also has a large balcony, facing the ocean with another table with chairs. You can easily house a family or group in the connecting rooms without feeling crowded! The decor is colorful and modern, but you can spot some wear and tear. From the balcony, you feel like you are in your private paradise, with nobody intruding into your space! The Casitas 1-5 are ocean front and your best pick, with 5 being the closest to the restaurant and pool.

CPF BalconyViewAmenities: A big part of the attraction of these (formerly) private clubs is the level of amenities they provide: from multiple pools (double infinity pool at main site, another at the secondary site), access to two beaches, a small gym, a spa, a games and library room, multiple bars and restaurants, a golf course and on an on… you really never have to leave the resort, and probably won’t after you made your way here. We were perfectly happy to just relax by the pool (after lots of sight seeing before), but it’s nice to know the amenities are there. As in other of these clubs, you have to pay for pretty much everything you use, so ask before you do!

CPF MapRestaurant: Our stay was during the week and the restaurant choices were limited, as only the main restaurant was open at night. The other alternative closes at 6pm, so daytime food only. It wasn’t a problem for us, as we enjoyed both the breakfast buffet and the dinner. The breakfast choices were a little limited compared to hotels of this price class, but comparable to other clubs in the Philippines. You had a choice of pastries, fruits and hot dishes, including local favorites. The dinner menu was hug in comparison, with all the local dishes as well as international choices. The portions were generous and the quality very good, comparable to a good restaurant in Manila. The prices were very reasonable, considering you were a captive audience…

If you live in Manila, are there no business or just on a stop-over, Club Punta Fuego is a great choice. It’s one of the easier beaches to reach, it’s more convenient than Anilao for families and anyone not wanting to climb stairs all day, and it is amazing how remote it feels even though it is just 3h from the noise and bustle of the city! It’s also much better than the newer Pico de Loro Beach Club a little further North with regards to rooms, service and amenities. If you need to get away, this is a great place to go! If the rates seem steep, check out Agoda or HotelQuickly (an app for smartphones similar to HotelTonight) for specials.

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