Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is the only resort on the western side of Mactan Island. “They get the sunrises, we get the sunsets—and it’s spectacular,” says David Baldwin, general manager of the second resort under the Dusit Thani brand to open in the Philippines.
With around 11 kilometers of road between Mactan-Cebu International Airport and the resort premises, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu has become a necessary hideaway for tourists — and locals — who want to be in Cebu but need to spare themselves the busy vibe and heavy traffic of the central business district.
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The resort is a sprawling, wide open breathing space for the stressed and the constantly preoccupied. “There really are no bad spots,” Baldwin says. The urge to exhale begins immediately at the open-air lobby, where the diligent staff welcomes you to a peek of the blue waters and mountains of Cebu from the central bar. The lobby lounge, called The View, tempts guests to enjoy a drink or two before going up their room, or maybe even partake of a full meal at the Sea Breeze Café, which is just beside the lobby. The cafe offers local and international cuisines, from breakfast to dinner.
It’s hard to miss the seamless blend of Thai and Filipino culture in this young hotel, which only opened in March 2019. Baldwin, a half-American hotelier, whose mother is from Cebu City, spent four years of his career working in Thailand. He observes, “The two cultures and their service cultures are very complementary. They are very warm and inviting. Thailand and the Philippines are countries who are known for their hospitality and graciousness.”
The harmony of both cultures is evident in the design of the structure, which is owned by Robinsons Land Corporation. The complex has three buildings that use natural and regional products. Cladding many of the walls, tiles, countertops, and furniture are Mactan stones, that were excavated from the construction site itself. Natural palettes—earth tones mostly—enhance the natural environment made visible by open sight lines in most areas.
The hotel has three wings—Mactan, Cebu, and Visayas—that house 272 rooms, “with room to grow a little bit,” the GM adds. There are roughly 90 rooms in each building, which are spread out conveniently throughout. The lobby lounge, where the restaurants and the bar are also located, ties together the Mactan and Cebu wings. The Visayas wing is the furthest one from the center but it has its own private pool, and contains the largest cut of rooms in the entire hotel.
The 100-meter infinity pool is a social media hit. Baldwin says, “At six o’clock, you’ll see a whole line of guests taking selfies with the sunset in the background.”
The pool is the resort’s beating heart, the center of activity and attention—while frolicking in the beach, although allowed, has yet to grow a following.
The view of the ocean is really the resort’s major attraction, and Dusit Thani even makes sure you can see its expanse even while you’re working out in the gym, which is really one of the best things about the resort. The D-Fit Fitness Center, is a fully-functional gym that has glass-to-ceiling windows, that reveal a view of the sea and white docked ships. The treadmills face the horizon. Dusit Thani also has the in-house Namm Spa which offers a complete relaxation package.
With ride-hailing applications available in Cebu City, guests can easily get to local spots outside of the resort—although the hotel may also arrange a transportation service for a rental fee. But while there is always that attraction to venture out, there are quite a number of amusements within the resort. Those who want to listen to music while relaxing can do so at the Sunset Sports Bar and Grill, where guests can also play billiards and watch games on TV. Then there’s the Sky Garden where one can take a leisurely walk or even meditate. This is also where Benjarong, the hotel chain’s famous Thai restaurant, will soon be serving its all-time favorites from an open-kitchen setting with contemporary design.
The other amenities and water activities have yet to be fully operational, but Baldwin says they will be offering scuba diving and motorsports in the near future. Soon, they will also be installing their dock, which will allow water transfers from the airport. With this feature, guests can go sailing in a beautiful catamaran.
There is no shortage of activities one can engage in, even for kids. There’s a 500-square-meter fun zone especially for them, with ceilings that go as high as seven meters. Inside, children can go rock climbing, play basketball, soccer, ball pits, and other interactive games. Parents can also avail of the babysitting services offered by the hotel.
Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu has only been around for half a year but Baldwin says they’ve already made an impact in the market: “In out third month, we climbed all the way up to number two on the TripAdvisor traveler ranking.” He reveals there is room in the master plan for another building, but the details of which cannot as yet be disclosed.
Getting the hotel up and running wasn’t much of an ordeal for Baldwin who had already worked in six different countries before. (The first time he worked in the Philippines was in 2001 for the now-closed Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.) With people looking for vacation spots other than the popular islands of Boracay and Palawan, he couldn’t have asked for a better market. “Cebu is already well-developed,” he says. “The infrastructure is there, the long-standing tradition of international hospitality and local hospitality is here and alive in Mactan. So it made an easy transition for me. The bar was very high. I’m proud that we could add to that.”
Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort is located at Punta Engaño Road, Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015, Cebu, Philippines. For more details, visit their site: www.dusit.com/
Photographs by Chris Clemente