Resort Review: Club Balai Isabel

Published on August 01, 2012

After a very filling lunch at Hawaiian Bar-B-Que, we went back to the road not knowing that it would literally be a roller coaster ride. According to the resort’s site, there are two ways to get to Club Balai Isabel. We chose the one via Tagaytay. When I saw the map, it was as if I was looking at a person’s digestive system, and the road to the resort is the small intestines. It’s so steep that my husband’s driving skills were put to a test. We arrived at the resort around 2 PM. Fortunately, we were allowed to go inside our room without waiting for the official check-in time.

It was my first time at Club Balai Isabel, second time for Jeff and Joie. We purchased the voucher last year but it took months for the agency to respond to our reservation inquiries. When we finally got a reply from them, they told us that the earliest time that they could accommodate us was on the first week of July. We waited for months so waiting for a couple of more wouldn’t hurt. Since we waited that long, Jeff and Joie had the chance to go there first since their company’s (also my previous company :p) summer outing was held there. Since my brother also works at the same company, I had three heads warning me about Club Balai Isabel. Yes, I used the word WARNING!

I told myself that all businesses have bad days. And I was thinking that since Club Balai Isabel had to cater to a big company of a hundred people, service is most likely to be compromised. Because of all the negative comments I got from them, I decided to lower my expectations. Now, on to the hits and the misses.

THE HITS:

1. ROOM
We availed of the suite for four. Though until now I can’t understand how the price became a “deal”, the room is really nice. It’s clean and very spacious. The bed is just so soft that it always invites me to sleep. These two beds witnessed how Jeff converted us into Monopoly Deal addicts! :p

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The bathroom is clean and well-maintained. A resort/hotel with a spacious bathroom always gets some plus points from me.

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The resort also provides basic toiletries. When Joie noticed that there are only two sets of toiletries, she called the room service and demanded for two more sets in which they gladly obliged.

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The room also has complimentary bottled water and coffee.

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2. SWIMMING POOL
The pools are big and clean. There are also visible lifeguards in both areas. We didn’t get to swim in the bigger pool because there is another pool closer to our room. The one closer to us is facing the resort’s restaurant so we waited for the sun to set before swimming. Baka maumay sila sa mga bilbil namin, mawalan ng gana kumain! :p

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3. CHAPEL
We were able to attend Sunday mass during our weekend getaway. Super duper mega pogi points from Je! :)

4. VIEW OF TAAL
I got so used to seeing Taal Volcano as small as my fist from afar. I’ve been to a lot of places overlooking the lake, but this is definitely the closest I’ve gotten to Taal Volcano. Now I know why it’s a very popular place for wedding receptions. It's because of the romantic vibe it brings to the guests. The view is very serene though it also brings a certain degree of mystery as you look into the lake.

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THE MISSES:

1. FOOD
I remember Jeff, Joie and my brother told me that this was their number one disappointment. Everything was bland and there was even a shortage which forced some of their teammates to go out and find some decent food to eat. Luckily, food shortage was not a problem during our visit. But food being bland stays the same. According to Joie, the food we had was actually better compared to those served to them during the outing. But it didn’t quite pass my standards. My point is, if your resort/hotel is situated in some deserted place where restaurants are inaccessible, you owe it to your guests to serve them with good food. Same thing happened to us in Acuatico. Odds are, guests didn’t come to your place to simply swim and sleep. They need to eat too. Lalo na kung ako ang guest nyo! :p

2. FLIES! FLIES! FLIES!
We have forgiven Club Balai Isabel for serving us with so-so dinner. The appearance of flies that night was still bearable. But the following day, it was horrible! The number of flies “infesting” the food can actually be a perfect scene for a horror movie! To think that we paid for the breakfast buffet, the flies came first to the buffet table. Buti pa ang langaw, libre. I didn’t even have the energy to take photos of the food because if I get a bit inattentive, the flies would get into my food. At umeextra ang langaw sa picture!

I was supposed to get bread from the buffet station. When I checked it, flies were feasting on the basket of bread and even on the different spreads. When I checked the native kalamay/kakanin section, all the knives and serving spoons were covered with flies. I even had to use my own spoon (unused, rewashed and wiped by yours truly) to get my food from the buffet. Of course I only got those with covers in it. The main problem I have is that none from the staff seems to care about how disgusted some people are because of the flies.

The only consolation for us that morning was the fact that a chef was manning the omelette station. The chef was guarding the fresh ingredients from the flies. In fairness, the omelette was good.

3. LACK OF BIDET
In this day and age, bidet is a necessity in resorts and hotels. Heller, sa bahay nga namin may bidet. If they don’t have one, a dipper (tabo) will do. Since both were unavailable, kanya-kanyang diskarte na lang! :p

I realize that this is probably my grossest entry. From flies to lack of bidet. Sorry, guys! :|

4. WATER SUPPLY
Do you remember my story wherein we went to mass in our pajamas without taking a bath? That’s because when we woke up, our water supply was gone! Joie called the front desk and she was told that they’ll work on it.

After breakfast, there was still no water so we were forced to go to mass without even brushing our teeth. I think God would understand. Hihi. 

So the magic question is, will I be coming back to Club Balai Isabel? Unless it’s free, I don’t think so. It’s disappointing because the resort is really overrated. If you think that this review is harsh, wait ‘till you hear what my friends think of this place. :|

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7 comments

  1. Naku, I wanna go there pa naman. :(
    Anyhoo, thanks for the raves and rants review of this resort. I felt really bad about the flies. I hate flies, really.

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  2. Sha, we were really excited that's why we bought the voucher. Kaso, overrated talaga. :|

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  3. Naku! Bwiset yang Balai na yan. Maganda nga view. Maganda pool. Pero teh! Service is ssooooo poor! And the food is OMG! Kung ako ang organizer ng summer outing, nagwawala na ko sa CS. Promise!

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    1. haha.... apir aubrey! Not the most enjoyable summer outing 2012 yun. With all the mishaps sa foodie. :)) Told myself I won't be going back there! :)

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  4. Ok lang yan, charge it to your travel experience. Pag mejo malaki na si Cyler tsaka kami bobongga ng travel para kasama siya. Hihihi

    At pag may baby na kau ni Fafa Boyet mag playdate tau!!! :)

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  5. Aubrey, imagine kayo libre inis na inis na. Kami pa kayang nagbayad? Kalurkey talaga! Nagbayad ako para sa langaw =))

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  6. hinding hindi ako babalik dyan. Yung luau party nga nmin ang daming kulang. host pa naman ako. promise! poor service and uber poor food. tama ka din na ung mga crew nila deadma kung nilalangaw yung food. yuck!

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