I’m sure we Cebuanos have all been shaken by the earthquake and wish to retreat immediately to somewhere we can feel safer and calmer, especially when our own homes don’t feel safe enough. I’ve been having palpitations since the incident and still sleep in my parents’ bedroom until the aftershocks will finally stop – and it still hasn’t. But of course, I shouldn’t be one to complain since the Boholanos have it worse. :(
Luckily, Moevenpick Hotel came to my rescue. A few days after the earthquake, they offered me an overnight stay for two with breakfast along with a few of my blogger friends – Kristine Roa and Joven Morales of thestylecebu.com, Doyzkie and Edd Buenaviaje of iluvcebu.com, Marco Paulo Diala of philippinestreetfashion.com and lamikaayo.com and Mustachio! This was such a timely blessing since it’s only been two months since my first hotel staycation invitation at Bluewater Panglao. And I’ve been so stressed from the semester that just ended. So, I took the opportunity to tag along my old friend as my roomie, Jamaica of Through Jamaica’s Eyes, who also happens to be a budding travel blogger. She writes about her travels in Europe, Asia and the Philippines and gives genuinely helpful tips. I strongly encourage you to visit her blog. You’ll enjoy it! :)
Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu is a branch of the international upscale hotel management and company Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts. It is actually the new management and international hotel chain that took over another international hotel chain we formerly knew as the Hilton Hotel. Of Swiss heritage and headquartered in Zurich, Moevenpick Hotels and Resorts is represented in 23 countries with 78 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers currently in operation. Committed to sustainable environments, Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts has become the most Green Globe certified hotel company in the world.
Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu is a five-star Mediterranean-inspired beachfront hotel conveniently situated only 10 minutes from the Mactan Airport and 30 minutes from the metropolitan Cebu City. Since its grand reopening on December 15, 2012, the hotel has been known for its extensive multi-million-dollar transformation, incorporating newly designed rooms, out-of-the-box dining concepts, and the unparalleled beach club facility, unique to the Philippines, the Ibiza Beach Club.
This wasn’t my first time to visit the hotel. I was there on one very special occasion with a very special someone just last month where I had the Churrasco dinner at the Ibiza Beach Club. But enough of the little showbiz talk. Hehe. I was so excited for everyone to try the Churrasco dinner during our stay because I’m sure they’d find it unique and I remember so fondly how good each piece of meat and seafood was. I’ve actually been dreaming of the day I’d return for that dinner and it came sooner than I thought! :))
The first thing that impressed me about the hotel was the clean, modern lobby design. It was robed in a lovely color scheme – aqua blue and white – which happened to be my favorite colors! So, I felt like this hotel was made for me. Haha. But really, the overall design created a cool and calming atmosphere.
Jamaica and I checked in and proceeded to our room at the ninth floor. We were accommodated in a Deluxe King Room where we had a king-size bed, mirrors on almost every corner of the room (alert: selfies everywhere) and Chopard toiletries. The room also had a vibrant aquatic theme like the lobby.
|our room's balcony overlooking the Hilutungan Channel|
We then had lunch at Sails, their all-day dining outlet, together with everyone else. For lunch, they had a buffet that featured a special menu for the main course, which is still part of the buffet that included a bread section, pasta station, grill station, dimsum station, salad station, tea station, make-your-own-pizza station and dessert station. The special main course menu has themes that change everyday. For that day, the theme was seafood.
|(from left clockwise) Raphael Mollard (Jamaica's boyfriend), Jamaica of Through Jamaica's Eyes, Ms. Monica of Moevenpick, Doyzkie Buenaviaje of iluvcebu.com and his nephew and niece, Joven Morales and Kristine Roa of thestylecebu.com and yours truly|
I chose the Prawn Risotto. The risotto was a bit too al dente for me but the prawns were good.
Kristine and I couldn’t help but gorge over the pizza. We made our own pizza with toppings of zucchini, ham, bacon, garlic, roasted sweet corn and arugula. It was gooood! I liked their tomato sauce. :D
After lunch, we explored the facilities and enjoyed the beach. The landscaping was very beautiful and the beachfront was just enough for an island escape – the sand was fine and smooth, the water was clear and the seabed was pleasant enough to walk barefoot on. I got my wish of escaping to the beach for sembreak! I dug my feet in the sand for as long as I could to savor the moment. :D
I was too excited for Ibiza to have a dip in the infinity pool so we proceeded to Ibiza Beach Club for happy hour – two drinks for the price of one! Jamaica and I had champagne, lazed on the net pods and lounged in the jacuzzi. It’s definitely one place to run to for a chillout session and break from the city life.
You see, the Ibiza Beach Club is the main attraction of the hotel that transports you from Cebu to a Mediterranean atmosphere. This is where you can have the ultimate beach club experience and find the most authentic Churrasco eat-all-you-can on Mactan Island. I found it really breathtaking as you walk along the long deck towards the place at night. Great food, great atmosphere, great service and great music and entertainment - what more could you ask for?
|the net pods|
|The Babe and Jamaica enjoying happy hour on the net pod|
And finally, the main event – the Churrasco dinner! Oh, boy! Prepare to be tortured by the photos. :D
We were privileged to have the General Manager, Mr. Knuth Kiefer, and the Executive Chef Aaron Foster join us for dinner.
The Churrasco dinner begins with guests having to choose from a set of steak knives of different colors and designs. They even had a pink one! Of course, I turned into Babe for Food and picked that.
But before I tell you what happens next, let me just tell you what a Churrasco is, with the help of my dear friend Wikipedia. Churrasco is “a Portuguese and Spanish term referring to beef or grilled meat more generally, differing across Latin America and Europe, but a prominent feature in the cuisine of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and other Latin American countries. In Brazil, churrasco is the term for a barbecue which originated in Southern Brazil. It uses a variety of meats, pork, sausage, and chicken which may be cooked on a purpose-built “churrasqueira”, a barbecue grill, often with supports for spits or skewers.”
Ibiza Beach Club does the Brazilian churrasco. They have a churrasqueira (legit!) where 9 courses of meat and 4 courses of seafood are grilled to perfection – that’s 13 courses of carnivorous bliss! Their churrasco eat-all-you-can dinner includes a salad bar at P2,000/person and an option to have bottomless Manny O wines for just P500 more which makes it P2,500.
During my first time last month, as much as I wished I could finish the entire course, I could only go as far as the 8th. So, this time, I was determined to pace myself and finally finish it. :D
I skipped the salads with the hope of finishing the entire meal this time. Before the meats start coming, guests are given a plate with garlic rice, bacon & beans and roasted vegetables. Another plate presents the accompanying sauces and condiments – chimichurri sauce, clarified butter, red wine butter and herbed butter.
|from bottom to top: chimichurri sauce, clarified butter, red wine butter, herbed butter|
Oh, and here's the catch. Even if this is an all-you-can-eat dinner, you get to set your own pace with the power of your two-toned disc - red for stop and green for go - which will be given to you before the meal starts.
The first course was Ancho beef ribeye, followed by course after course after course of perfectly grilled meats and seafood in random order - lamb chops, filet mignon, rock lobsters, beef ribs, parrot fish, pork belly, chicken thigh, pork ribs, calamari, ostrich and king prawns. My favorites are the beef ribs, lamb chops and all the seafood. Everything was absolutely impeccable and the wine was a great companion. Most of us had the Rose as a safe match for all courses.
Lamb chops and Rock Lobsters
|Ancho Beef Rib Eye|
Beef Ribs and Calamari
|Dessert: churrasco pineapple with yogurt, honey and pistachio|
What makes the churrasco dinner even more special is the personal service of the chefs assigned to each table. The chef comes to our table with the different courses and slices them off the skewer himself to serve it on our plates. How's that? The buffet comes to you. :))
If you don’t think you can take on the buffet, all the churrasco courses are available for a la carte, as presented in the photos above.
Over dinner, Mr. Knuth explained how strong the structure of Moevenpick is. He mentioned how they actually had to convince their structural engineer from Manila to examine the structures because the engineer was that convinced with the stability of the structures. The building was said to be built beyond the specs thus the immovable (pardon the pun) confidence of the engineer. The engineer flew in anyway and even complained that he really didn’t have to be there. I guess we could take Mr. Knuth’s word for it since he lives in the hotel.
The Ibiza also has a range of live entertainment everyday. That night, international resident DJ Toni M spun out relaxing grooves for the chillout session during happy hour and at dinner, there was a latin-themed show by the Moevenpick Show Team. The performance was flawless and the singers were amazing. You wouldn’t believe it’s live! There were also fire dancers.
I got a little surprise as I had my photo taken with the dancers; one of them knew who I was! The girl on my left in the photo said, “Hey, I know you; you’re a food blogger! I read your blog, Babe for Food!” That really caught me by surprise and it was very humbling at the same time. Hello to you, if you’re reading this! :D
After that manly feast, my porky nature started creeping in. I was so stuffed and felt so sluggish but I still managed to tinker a bit with my laptop when I got back to the room. I slept around 2 a.m.
I had a very deep sleep, probably the best sleep I’ve had in a hotel for some time. It definitely had to do with the pillows and bed; they were just perfectly comfy! Apparently, there had been a strong aftershock just a few minutes after I dozed off. And Jamaica and I didn’t feel a thing! I guess that proved Mr. Knuth’s story right.
We were in for another treat when we went down for breakfast at Sails. It was lavish! The congee station had what I couldn’t do without – century eggs. Aside from this was a Korean station, bread, cheeses, waffle, assorted cereals and milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits that you could also request for your own blend of fresh juice. And of course, the breakfast staple – bacon! Their bacon was crunchy just the way I like it!
The breakfast was so good I wished it lasted ‘til 12 noon. They actually have brunch on Sundays. I bet that would be good.
Well, we woke up pretty late so we practically had just enough time to explore more facilities before we had to check out.
There’s the Game Room which has a pool table, foosball or “baby foot” (according to Raf the Frenchie) and Kinect to keep the kids company.
Mr. Knuth was up early and was very nice to tour us at The Forum. The Forum is an elegant lounge that features hard-to-find malt whiskey and cognac while serving as a poolside refreshment and snack outlet.
|Joven Morales and Kristine Roa of thestylecebu.com, Moevenpick's General Manager Mr. Knuth Kiefer, Babe for Food and Jamaica of Through Jamaica's Eyes at an ocean view balcony at The Forum|
I have to admit, I rolled around in bed and cuddled the pillows for the last time before we checked out. It truly was a rejuvenating and relaxing stay, thanks to the Moevenpick team for the great service. Aside from the luxurious amenities, Mr. Knuth was very accommodating which made my experience memorable.
Moevenpick Hotel is a great place to unwind and have a unique and fully satisfying dining experience. It's definitely one place to visit and stay when in Cebu.
Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu
Punta Engano, Mactan Island, Cebu
+63 32 492 7777
Facebook: Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu
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