The somber, deserted roads seemed like a scene straight out of a horror movie. No lights, no blinking Santa Claus on a sleigh. It was Christmas night and we have been driving straight from Manila for five hours – two of those spent in a horrible traffic in Nuvali and another two just before the Tagaytay Rotonda. And when we reached a sign that said “Welcome to Nasugbu”, we said a collective shit, we just missed the hotel. The mood in the streets and in the car wasn’t Christmasy at all.
We turned back and alas, we saw at a dim corner on the left (right if you’re coming from Manila) the Hellenic gate of Royale Tagaytay Estates, which unbeknownst to some, is the other name of Sunrise Holiday Mansion in Alfonso, Cavite. Even the twisty turns from the gate to the hotel itself is a maze, so for future reference, drive early, unless you like being lost in the dark.
We were led to the family suite and was welcomed by a cockroach on the wall, but we were dead tired to care about a measly roach. A quick dinner, reheated using the room’s well-stocked kitchen (a stove, rice cooker, plates, utensils, cookware and all) and off we snoozed. Mother and the boys had a late booze-up sesh in the dining room, thanks to a small store selling Red Horse and Emperador on the street fronting across the gate. That kind of home leniency is probably one of the best things about staying in serviced residences like Sunrise.
|Eight month old Santa.|
Mornings are better here than night. Tagaytay nights, especially in December, are insufferably cold even when you don’t turn on the fan. The fog’s so thick and slow-moving you won’t see anything.
From the wooden window in our room we had a great view of a vast pineapple farm, the clubhouse, and three floors below, the pool beside the resto – all while we enjoy Sunrise Holiday Mansion’s cheapo and delicious Kapeng Barako (only P50 per tea pot, with milk and sugar; yields 5 to 6 cups!). This, we order via room service every morning when we’re here. The service is a bit slow whether you’re ordering a bucket of ice or coffee, but that last bit is surely worth the wait.
The family suite is adequate for a family of six. There are two rooms, one with a matrimonial bed, the other with a double and a single bed. Each with its own cabinet, vanity table, bathroom and veranda. Only the bathroom in the master’s bedroom has a bathtub though, but both toilets have toiletries, bidets and hot and cold water.
|Top: Master’s bedroom; Below: Second bedroom with double and single beds|
In the middle, a living room with cable TV and yet another veranda. Here, we placed an extra mattress for my brother. Beside the door is a decent dining room.
|Clockwise from left: Living room, kitchen and dining room|
When we weren’t eating or opening Christmas gifts, we were at the poolside. Even on Christmas season though, the pool tends to be empty, understandably with how chilly the water is. We came here on a summery February seven years ago and even then, we had the pool all to ourselves.
Despite it being kilometers away from bustling central Tagaytay, the hotel is a wonderful alternative to the more famous (and usually packed) hotels along the strip. One, it sits at the cusp of Nasugbu, making it a great base if you want to explore Nasugbu beaches, Casino Filipino and nearby Sonya’s Garden.
|View from our room|
Second, the road isn’t as trafficked as the area near the Rotonda, and if you ever need something that isn’t available in the sari-sari store nearby, there’s a 7-11 joint a few minutes away (McDonald’s and Mushroomburger too). You can always cook or bring in take-outs as pleased, no extra charge. There’s a small fridge plus a microwave in every room, whether in the deluxe or the family suite. The parking lot spans hectares. There’s WiFi too, though only mostly in the lobby. And the quiet and green scenery around, just fantastic.
The buildings (there are two) aren’t exactly spanking new. In fact, both show obvious signs of wear, but last time we saw, they were painting the walls and doing refurbishments.
It isn’t freakin’ Days Hotel (which IMO, is just overrated) or Nurture Spa, but this is the hotel where the husband and I celebrated his birthday pre-marriage, where my daughter and the whole gang had our first out-of-town Christmas trip, and where bridesmaid-I prepped up for the wedding of one of my bestfriends in San Antonio de Padua in Silang. For what its worth, Sunrise Holiday Mansion has become quite an unforgettable spot for me in Tagaytay. Yep, despite the cockroach, the few servicing staff, and the pain of getting there.
How To Get To Sunrise Holiday Mansion By Car:
Sunrise Holiday Mansion is located at Alfonso, Cavite, past Splendido, just beside a Flying V gas station and a few blocks away from Sonya’s Garden.