The Philippines is a nation composed of more than 7,000 islands, but one of its most famous is Cebu known for its bustling city and tropical resorts. The Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort is one of the newest to open on the island, but also serves as the first resort for the Marriott Bonvoy family to open in the Philippines. Fronting the spectacular and sparkling sea and with a host of onsite amenities, this is a resort destination drawing visitors from near and far. The restaurants are truly top caliber, and the spa here offers unique Filipino treatments. Here are five reasons why you will want to visit Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort when looking for an Asian vacation retreat.
This property has been open for one year, but is just starting to make headlines for its top-notch offerings. One thing that is immediately apparent is that the hotel is perfectly positioned for views. The lobby is on the fifth floor, which means that rooms are even higher with recreational perks below. Its elevated position means that the views from this vantage point are unobstructed and nothing short of beautiful. The sun rises immediately in front of the hotel. Whether enjoying the vista from your balcony, the numerous pool decks or the beach, it’s hard to miss.
An open-air lobby also brings the natural beauty inside the building. Arrivals are immediately met with views of the passing waves and swaying palm trees. Designers built the building in such a way that green spaces abound including a lawn for yoga or kids activities. From the outdoor patios in restaurants to some of the guest rooms that even have windows in the bathroom, it’s hard to miss the turquoise waters from the Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort.
It’s not just the crystal-clear water you can see from the hotel. The hotel faces the Hilutungan Channel, a rich sanctuary for wildlife, and Olango Island, known for being one of the world’s top bird spotting sights during migration.
Accommodations here take a decidedly Filipino slant to their design. With 261 rooms and suites, hardwood floors and paneling create a tropical look with typical Cebuano artwork and fabric design pieces throughout the building. Those facing the courtyard take in the lush gardens and neighboring residential tower, which is also part of Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. The ocean view rooms are especially popular.
Beyond the traditional rooms, a collection of suites is available for those that need more space. These include the enormous Junior Suites that have separate living areas with dining tables and sofas. Executive Suites step up the acreage even more. They have dining rooms, completely separate living rooms and a proper study for those that must lean into their remote work lifestyle. The creme de la creme is the Honeymoon and even bigger Presidential Suites with wraparound balconies. Their positions on the corner of the building give them dual views.
All rooms have soaking tubs, plus drenching rain showers, and most come with balconies. The bathrooms are coated in marble and feature separate walk-in closets. Every imaginable toiletry is available including the standard Gilchrist & Soames products from eco-friendly pump bottles. Sheraton has a bespoke scent using woody and floral notes used around the world. Plush robes and slippers are in all rooms, and flip flops are available to take to the pool or beach.
The hotel has upped the ante for dining in Cebu opting for a worldly approach that appeals to all palates. It starts with 5 Cien, which is open for three meals a day starting with an elaborate breakfast buffet. Cebuano delicacies are on the menu all day long like a taho station plus a sikwate (a popular chocolate drink) or tablea station. Live cooking stations allow some guests to personalize their order.
Dip (Nikkei) restaurant is a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant serving a long roster of dishes from sushi to sizzling meat and seafood dishes. An open kitchen allows guests to be a part of the action. Vegetarian options are not forgotten either. The colorful dining room has great views of the sea, and guests can opt to dine indoors or outside.
The cave bar, named Buhi Bar, is carved into the historic rocks that have been here for centuries. Small rocky banquettes provide another option for those that want a bit more sunshine while enjoying Mediterranean tapas and craft cocktails. From here, guests can order drinks and snacks to enjoy by the pool or in the bar. There is also a bakery and bar with grab-and-go items, ice cream and drinks in the lobby. This is where top-status Marriott Bonvoy members can enjoy evening cocktails and tapas on the house since there is no formal club lounge here.
The pools and spa
The pools spill down the side of the hill with an infinity edge that makes it seem like the water is dropping into the sea. Lounge chairs line the edges, and families frolic in the water. There are small little coves where adults can have more privacy with shade and sun both an option. More chairs are down on the sandy beach for those that want to relax with the lapping waves.
Sheraton’s first branded spa in Asia opened at this resort. With six treatment rooms and plenty of relaxation areas, this spa uses numerous Filipino-based treatment styles. This unique offering makes it a spa not to miss. Relaxation areas include saunas and steam rooms, and a couple’s treatment room has its own place to chill.
A fitness room boasts modern equipment with perfect views of the sea. Chilled water, towels and the latest workout equipment all stands at the ready. A host of wellness activities take place each day from beach jogs and badminton tournaments to kite making and cookie decorating. Nonmotorized watersport equipment is available to borrow.
Filipino people in general are known for warm hospitality, but management here has done an exceptional job with the onsite team. Every person you encounter places their hand over their heart in the most genuine greeting. They will ask you how your stay is going and provide recommendations on what to do. This sort of welcome truly sets this property apart from other resorts in the region, which is already known for top service.
This is especially important since the hotel has plenty of meeting space onsite, including a ballroom for 500. When hosting a conference or social event here, the way your guests are treated is key. The Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort will not disappoint, whether here for vacation or work.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.