The Inn at Cliffhouse
A secret destination in Tagaytay, so secret we drove past three times before we found it, but that's the way owner Jennifer Dee likes it: discreetly tucked away behind an unassuming entrance just off the main road.
We had been meaning to visit since we first arrived in Manila, but somehow the time was never right. With the kids away, though, the parents got to play...
Jennifer Dee and her family have created an attractive and appealing oasis, a world away from the endless traffic jams, noise and pollution along the General Emilio Aguinaldo Highway. Take the steps from the tree-lined car park down to the small plaza nestled on the edge of the cliff. Then walk along a winding path through the trees to the terrace on the southern ridge above Lake Taal. The view is spectacular, overlooking lake and island, volcano and forest reserve, not to mention the glorious new Ferris Wheel that lights up at night like a fireworks display to the west.
Opened in November 2009, Cliffhouse is a haven of calm even when it is swarming with weekend visitors. Many of the original trees on the property have been retained and incorporated into the pretty landscaped gardens in the centre of the complex, which are lit up in the evenings by coloured lanterns hanging from the trees.
Cliffhouse has been built in the style of America’s eastern seaboard, with white weatherboard shop fronts. The complex contains a choice of four home grown restaurants: the Italian restaurant ‘Buon Giorno’; the Filipino ‘Café Platito’; a Café Breton crêperie, and the Fire Lake Grill. There are also three ice-cream vendors and a couple of gift shops.
And then, hidden away from the madding crowd like hobbit holes, are four elegant suites named after four North American lighthouses: Minet’s Ledge; Mantouk Point; Brant Point and West Queddy. Each has a private terrace, two with outdoor Jacuzzis, and a view to send you into raptures. The rooms have been beautifully appointed: a decided flavour of coastal New England blended with contemporary five star luxury, each room decorated in different styles and colours.
Every suite has two premium queen beds, with feather pillows, feather mattresses and fine cotton linen that ensured us a blissfully comfortable and luxurious night’s sleep. There is a shower big enough for the whole family, complimentary wireless internet access, a spacious sitting room and lots of little treats.
Our personalized menu at breakfast was a lovely touch, although a three course breakfast was more than I could face so early in the day, and I think we both would have preferred either a simple eggs-and-bacon arrangement or toast and honey, but the cozy nook we had overlooking the garden was peaceful until the sightseers arrived. Then we simply retired to our private terrace to soak up the view on our own, and dabble in the Jacuzzi.
Most of the reviews I read online were highly complementary about the Cliffhouse Inn, and I definitely agree with them about this tiny slice of heaven with a view to die for, but I would also agree with those who suggest it is not a great place for children. It is, however, perfect for a romantic getaway.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner on the terrace at the Fire Lake Grill, cool breezes whispering around us, a far cry from the humid mugginess we had left behind in Makati. When we returned to our room, the bed had been turned down, a small soft toy lay on the pillow, and a handwritten note from the manager wished us pleasant dreams and a happy anniversary. It was a weekend full of these thoughtful touches that made us feel both special and important, as we sipped our champagne in the Jacuzzi!
This boutique hotel is a charming, indulgent hideaway, a gentle escape from the endless hustle and bustle of Manila. It doesn’t come cheap, but for a special occasion, I thought it was worth every peso. You will come home feeling thoroughly rested and pampered. And of course, if you prefer a little more activity, it is a great base for exploring Tagaytay. For us, simply in need of rest and relaxation after a hectic term, and a little romance for our anniversary, there was no call to move from the terrace. So we didn’t.
- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Cliffhouse Tagaytay Hotel Tagaytay