If you have read the post “Escape from Manila II – Taal Lake & Volcano” and are now looking for a hotel to spend the night, Taal Vista is a good place to rest your head! It’s the oldest hotel in Tagaytay, one of the few full-service resorts with lots of amenities and a popular destination! I had been previously for a day trip and enjoyed the lunch and spa visit – enough to come back for a two-night stay with my parents!
Location: The Taal Vista is the oldest hotel in Tagaytay and has a prime spot on the outer rim with spectacular views over Taal Lake! It is set on a large property, so once you enter, you leave the traffic and noise of Tagaytay behind, with only the lake views in front of you! The main building with the restaurant, view terrace and ball rooms has the prime spot, with the premium lake view rooms to the left and the (standard) mountain view rooms to the right, in a newer building.
Service: Check-in was flawless: our rooms were ready on arrival, front desk staff was friendly and the bell boy assisted with my parents luggage (all rooms are a bit of a walk from the reception, so that was appreciated!). Service at the restaurant as well as house keeping were professional. While the staff was friendly, it wasn’t quite as nice as at Club Punta Fuego (read here) or other local hotels in this price class. The follow-through when I reported two minor issues was lacking – neither was resolved during our stay. While this didn’t impact our stay, the Taal Vista can’t afford to rest on its great reputation – new hotels are opening regularly…
Room: I had booked a Premium Lake View Room for my parents and a standard Mountainview Room for myself – and there was a noticeable difference between the two categories. The premium rooms are facing the lake and have a large balcony with great views – you might never want to leave your balcony! They have been recently renovated in a modern decor, tile floors and nice wood furniture. They are very large and have a chaise lounge in addition to the bed, as well as a desk. The bathroom is also generous in size! In comparison, the standard rooms are in a separate building, are much smaller and have not been renovated. They have dark hardwood floors, dark wood and small windows, making them feel gloomy. The bathrooms are in tiles and marble, but could also use a renovation – they are quite dated. Apparently the Taal Vista also realizes this and appears to have started the renovation of the mountain wing: parts were closed during our visit. If you are here for the views (and not for an event), I’d recommend the premium rooms – they are worth the higher price and will make the visit much more special!
Amenities: The Taal Vista lives off its spectacular views – access to the view terrace and restaurant are open to the public and worth a visit, whether you are staying or not! There is a small pool with a few loungers near the mountain wing – it will be fine to rest, read a book or watch your kids play, but nothing special and there were few people using it during our stay. The Taal Vista spa is very nice and we used it on a prior visit! The massages were very good and the setting pleasant. (Un)fortunately, the mountain wing were it is located is under renovation and I wouldn’t want to have a massage with construction noise around you, so we took a pass! If you are coming for some spa time, call ahead to check if the construction has been finished! The available gym is small with a few pieces of equipment – I call it the “check the box” kind of gym. If you are not here for the views, it’s probably to attend a wedding or corporate event – there are plenty of conference rooms to accommodate them. There is a “Kultura” souvenir shop, if you haven’t completed your holiday shopping yet.
Restaurant: The restaurant is one of the best features of the hotel, taking up the prime spot with great views over the lake from both, the indoor and outdoor seating. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet, with its huge choice of fresh fruits, cornflakes, pastries, make-to-order eggs and various hot local and international dishes. Both, quality and selection, were better than at Club Punta Fuego. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the dinner. While the menu has large with a good selection of all the Filipino classics and international favorites, the quality was shockingly poor – any little, local restaurant in Manila can do better than this! There are plenty of restaurants along the rim that serve better food, so I’d recommend to enjoy cocktails for sunset and to leave the hotel for dinner, if you can.
Overall, the Taal Vista is a great base to explore Lake Taal from – the premium rooms are large and comfortable, the views are awesome and the service is good. You have all the options of a large resort, including pool, gym and spa to enjoy, and most of the other hotels can’t offer it all. Skip the restaurant for dinner and there is little to distract from a great experience. I’m sure I will be back at some time in the future!