WHENEVER Crimson Mactan Resort and Spa is mentioned, what comes to mind is a hideaway composed of well-appointed villas and pristine, lush surroundings. One is seemingly transported from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Cebu to an oasis that is truly a respite for the senses.
We were privileged to arrive in the property amidst a slight drizzle, which served to soothe our tired bodies from our flight out of Manila and the traffic which greeted us at the airport. Upon arrival and checking in to one of the villas, we were welcomed with a simple, symbolic ritual to sort of free our minds from the stress of the combined 3-hour air and land travel (not to mention the prior weekday crawl from Makati City to Naia).
Naturally, of course, we basked into the indoor bliss of our villa, taking our sweet time to immerse ourselves in the verdant indoor garden, and giving in to a short nap in our heavenly-soft bed. It didn’t hurt that we took off our timepieces and abandoned our electronic accouterments, even for a short while (after all, it is said: life happens when we put down our gadgets). It was the perfect setting to let time drift by without a care, let conversations happen, then commune with nature and one’s self. Exactly, what resort living is all about.
The afternoon went slowly by, with just the ambient sound of the TV on. As the evening unfolded, we were treated to one of the best selections of Spanish-cuisine offerings at the property’s very own restaurant Enye by Chele Gonzales–a seven-course dinner at that. But the experience itself deserves a unique narrative outside this feature…
Slowly winding down the day and preparing for some sound slumber, it was a toss-up between the villa’s very own plunge pool or the bathtub to relax the mind and the body. The latter prevailed for soaking in a fragrant, foamy warm bath. Indeed, an ideal prelude to a sound and restful sleep I have had in quite a while.
Morning heralded streaks of sunlight into our room, beckoning us to behold what we have yet to discover at Crimson Mactan. After a hearty buffet breakfast at Saffron Cafe, it was time to hit the outdoors.
Water activities abound inside the Cebu’s premier resort-and-spa facility. Local and international guests were already basking under the tropical sun and azure skies in its pools, where many were anticipating a foam party to start, as well as the beachfront as some gathered to walk barefoot in the powdery sands.
But for adventurous souls, more action awaited at the far corner of the shore.
First, we tried out jet skiing for the first time. As someone who has yet to learn how to drive, navigating the sea speedster proved to be tricky at first. But once I got the hang of it, it was literally smooth sailing in the waters of Mactan. The trick was to be steady on the accelerator, which is found on the right handle of the watercraft. We didn’t fear the calm waters despite a few initial spills, as we had trusty life vests on. After a few tries, we were speeding off and cutting small waves for some adrenaline rush.
Then, we leveled up on the activities, in the real sense, as we took on the skies of Cebu with some parasailing. A gust of wind from our speeding boat floated our parasail, which elevated us some 50 meters or so up in the air, giving us a panoramic-aerial view of Mactan’s landscape as well as those of the surrounding areas. It can be said that it’s a subtle test of one’s hold of heights. No need to fear the separation between the parasailer and the sea, as the calm and quiet up above could easily offset the initial anxiety.
We were back on land after about 2 hours of enjoying the waters of Crimson Mactan. After lunch at Saffron and an hour of rest, it was time to try the property’s signature spa.
Aum offered the ultimate relaxation and reinvigoration retreat that I have ever had so far. As the name suggests, the spa exuded a near-contemplative ambience, with the soothing scents and meditation music pervading the air. The enclave was a combination of both spiritual–for the soul (nearly) and senses, and lavish–for the amenities, evidenced by numerous citations, especially from the World Luxury Spa Awards.
As the receiving staff expertly explained each treatment, I chose to be pampered with one of Aum’s meaningful signature massages. Stepping into the shower room, options for steam and sauna were available as a tone-down preparation for the chosen therapy.
The masseuse started with a foot massage that was in itself, already relaxing. Then we proceeded with the treatment itself, as she checked on the appropriateness of the pressure from her digits, which carefully kneaded my tired shoulders. It was not long after that I slipped into a trance-like state: in between a light slumber, but still conscious of the masterful yet careful strokes of her hands.
In itself, Aum is a complete facility where one could just while away the hours outside of the rooms and facilities. A yoga hall, a watsu or warm pool and cabanas, among others, are more than enough to send one into a state of stillness and serenity, a departure from the pace of the world outside.
Peace and pleasure. Excitement and entrancement. At Crimson Mactan Resort and Spa, it was a welcome escape for an urbanite, even for just a day or two. Its natural charm and tropical ambience will make one want to come back and bask in a slice of life more of the extraordinary.
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