Taal Vista Hotel remains at the top of the list of places you must visit when you’re in Tagaytay. Its trifecta of superior features and amenities include unparalleled views, 260 comfortable rooms and excellent food.
An impromptu overnight stay in Taal Vista’s Lakeside wing proved to be one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions we have made for quite some time. A Lakeside wing stay is a departure from our usual choice, a classic room in the venerable hotel’s Mountainside wing. This time, we had a view of next-door neighbor Skyranch (but no noise bothered us at all) and a slice of the lake. Our room was a tad smaller than the rooms from the other wing but is as comfortable and relaxing. Very clean, with spare lines and subtle tones, I appreciated the huge closet space, a long table for writing, a bench to stash our luggage and super comfy slippers. Even my kid approved of the spacious bathroom with separate glass-encased toilet and shower areas. It even has a retractable clothesline for when you need to do a bit of hand washing or hang the children’s wet swim wear. But what got the thumbs up from everybody was the super fast internet connection! Yep, checking social media and posting hotelfies was an absolute breeze.
Of course, we cannot resist the call of beauty outside the comforts of our room. Cocooning can wait when your hotel is located in a prime spot with gorgeous, expansive views of famous Taal Lake and the volcano it surrounds. Adding serious plus points to the view is the hotel garden with towering, hundreds-of-years-old trees and manicured green grass. Looking at these majestic trees that have stood tall even before the hotel was built, we cannot help but feel grateful that Taal Vista has taken very good care of its property for such a long time.
We shared this sentiment with Hotel Manager Rorie Ylagan and she said that they are serious in preserving the history of the hotel, including of course the natural beauty that has made it an iconic landmark in Tagaytay. Not surprisingly, they take the same approach in taking care of their employees. Ms. Rorie shared that their longest serving employee worked for 40 years before retiring at age 65. They’ve also had homegrown employees or those who started their on the job training (OJT) at the hotel, remained onboard for many years, and grew with Taal Vista. Pondering upon the reason why many staff remain loyal, Ms Rorie claimed that perhaps like her, she finds working in this hotel therapeutic because of the natural beauty all around. “I would confidently say na at least 90% ng mga tao dito masaya silang pumapasok sa trabaho. Para silang nasa isang malaking playground or park. When I myself need a break, I just walk in the garden, look at the view, and I am instantly refreshed,” she said with a wide smile. Definitely beats having a job in the city where retail therapy is the common stress reliever. So do take a walk in the garden especially at night when the lights are on and temperatures have cooled down. It is the perfect way to end the day.
Mornings at Taal Vista, especially having breakfast buffet at Veranda is the best way to start another good day. Veranda is one of the hotel’s restaurants that offers Filipino heritage food or heirloom recipes with a twist. In addition to a sumptuous buffet breakfast, Veranda also offers daily lunch buffet for checked-in and walk-in guests. Its beachy colors of turquoise, sand and lime make the place look fresh and bright. The full length glass walls effectively brings the outside in; having breakfast with Taal as backdrop is another reason why a stay at this hotel is a smart move. A fire pit has been added just outside the restaurant, and at night, offers light and warmth against the chill.
Let’s get back to the incredible buffet spread at Veranda that is available daily, even for non-staying guests. Honestly, the quality and variety of their breakfast offering puts the hotel high up in terms of food. The bread station offered several kinds of sliced bread, including pan de sal (which I noted with glee, does not have the pan de sal “dust” common to this bread type), as well as fancier banana bread, cupcakes, French Toast and more. The freshest and most vibrant looking greens were on display at the Salad Station with several types of dressing, including pineapple, passionfruit (unique to my palate) and my favorite ranch. Cold salads were also available, with an array of mild and creamy cheeses. If like me, you are craving for the rich, perfect potato salad handmade by your mother and grandmother, look no further. Veranda has it!
Cereals and fruits, coffee, chocolate and juices all look appetizing and attractive from their display counters. But being Pinoy, I gravitated towards the mains with delicious traditional breakfast choices: bacon, a variety of longganiza from different parts of the Philippines, and the best crispy corned beef I have had in a hotel. Baked fish was also available if you want a healthier alternative. An omelette fully stuffed with all ingredients is always good when you cannot be bothered with choices. If a bowl of hearty arroz caldo is more to your speed, the buffet has that too.
We almost spent the entire time allotted for breakfast going back and forth the different stations. But we made sure to take a brief mid-morning nap before checking out. Happy and content, we were not surprised that Taal Vista has stood proud and strong for 78 years. Most of us remember running through the very same garden as rambunctious little children, our parents making it a habit to take the whole family to the hotel. We still have faded black and white photos of family pictures taken in the garden with Taal Lake as backdrop. Today, you can still have the same background for selfies and groufies. Another thing that has not changed is that Taal Vista Hotel still offers real value for money, with exceptional products that people actually appreciate. This Christmas for example, Taal Vista will offer do-it-yourself hampers that can be filled with your choice of homemade goodies created by their very own people. This was conceptualized in response to people’s need to be in control of things, especially in deciding what goes into their gift giving baskets. Also, watch out for exclusive packages with unbeatable deals that target families looking for perfectly practical reasons to indulge in a staycation. To top it off, you can expect excellent service from a hotel with the only four-star ranking in the city. No wonder Taal Vista is very much a part of the lives of many Filipino families. Ms. Rorie even shared stories of couples celebrating their milestones right in Taal Vista: from their wedding receptions to their kids’ birthdays, their anniversary parties all the way until their own kids get married and celebrate their own babies’ parties!
Some things remain fabulously, gloriously, thankfully the same. Isn’t it time you visit an original landmark in Tagaytay soon
Taal Vista Hotel is conveniently located at Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway Tagaytay City 4120, Philippines. For reservations and inquiries, please call +63 (2) 917-8225 / +63(46) 413-1000.