Crimson Resort and Spa is one of Mactan Island’s luxe insider secrets. A favorite haunt among locals and tourist circuit, this sprawling property with its sandy beach cove, amenities and dining spots make it a family friendly and romantic destination
written by MAYBELLINE TE
photographed by JERICK SANCHEZ
additional photos courtesy of CRIMSON CEBU
HERITAGE AND CULTURE
Cebu City is the oldest and second biggest city of the Philippines. Its strategic location made it a prime trading center in the past and it continues to be an international trading and tourist hub today. Enriched by different cultures, its cosmopolitan vibe is paralleled by a small town charm. The proximity of the resorts and the mountains to the city make it an idyllic destination for easy and active exploration.
Cebu’s rich history and heritage dates back to the 13th century when it was known as the Rajahnate of Cebu. It was an Indianized monarchical territory founded by Rajamuda Lumaya, a half Malay and half Tamil minor prince of the Chola Dynasty. The Chola dynasty was one of the longest-ruling dynasties of Southern India. Three centuries later, the Spaniards arrived when the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, discovered our islands. He later died on the shores of Mactan Island which was ruled by Lapu- Lapu. The layers of cultural influences have made the island a melting pot. Fast forward to the present, Mactan Island is the gateway to Cebu and aside from the long established resorts that made it a popular tourist destination and it being an industrial zone for businesses, it continues to have new developments that make it thrive.
The winding drive to Crimson Resort Spa and Mactan, an insconspicuous six hectare property 20 minutes away from the brand new Mactan-Cebu international airport is a refreshing getaway for local residents and international guests. Upon arrival, one is greeted with warm friendly smiles, slight head bows and hands on hearts. The casual entry bridge is flanked by an Asian tropical garden with swaying bamboo stalks and opens up to a bluer than blue view of the infinity pool and the Hilutungan channel in the horizon. The cozy lobby and reception area is decorated with contemporary Asian furniture made from the different parts of the bamboo was designed by Debbie Palao, one of Cebu’s well known furniture designers.
The laidback charm of the property lies in its sprawling layout that comprise of generously cut 250 rooms and 40 villas equipped with its own plunge pools namely— Ocean Front Private Pool Villas, Beach Villas and Private Pool Villas. For the closest access to and unparalleled views of the beach, there are two Beach Casitas for the taking.
Cebu is known for its world class furniture and all the rooms and villas showcase the best of Cebu’s craft and design. The villas with its polished teak floors, woven mat ceiling and four poster beds are ideal for romantic getaways. One can enjoy the view of the sea from the living and dining areas or on the terrace by plunge pool. Tree lined walkways can be traversed by foot or golf carts on call. The abundance of greenery is what sets Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan from the other resorts making it more homey, private and luxurious compared to the other high rise resorts. The Crimzone for kids with its own pool was added on two years ago and its adult free outdoor and indoor facilities are perfect for little explorers to play, game and craft. The resort has become a top choice for family staycations.
With daily direct flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Dubai, Korea, Taipei, the resort gets its sizable share of tourist groups that frequent Cebu all year round. Many come to Cebu for destination weddings as well. From intimate to big multi production celebrations, Crimson and its wedding partners can produce a bespoke wedding production of one’s dreams in the ballroom. Its white sand beach cove is perfect for a rustic or tropical themed wedding. The pre-wedding stages are planned just as thoroughly too and they can help you set the stage for a magical proposal, celebrate the engagement, make the dream wedding happen, and even have a relaxing mini moon when the celebrations are over.
DINING AND DESIGN
As a local familiar with the resort dining scene in Mactan Island, Crimson resort has the most interesting dining concepts. I like to start happy hour at the Rock Bar with a crafted cocktail and enjoy the surreal colors of the sea and sky at golden hour with chill out tunes. The modern Asian cuisine at Azure Beach Club always hits the spot with its fresh seafood selection, vegetarian options, excellent meats, and Indian fare. Its seaside vantage point adds to the atmosphere points especially when ensconced on its outdoor lounge chairs.
The Spanish restaurant, Enye by Chele Gonzalez, added excitement to Cebu’s food scene when they opened in 2017. Chef Chele Gonzalez is known for his restaurant in Manila, Gallery Vask, which was ranked first on Asia’s 50 Best restaurant in 2017. Gallery Vask is more experimental and contemporary while Enye offers a neo traditional fare here in the South which is more appropriate for the resort and the local scene. It immediately ranked number one in Cebu after its first year and continues to please palates. The sexy interiors in dark wood with ambient lighting makes it one of the exciting dining destinations to date.
RELAX AND REJUVENATE
The Aum Spa was awarded by the World Luxury Spa Awards as the Philippines’ Best Resort Spa in 2018. One can opt to have an outdoor treatment in a cabana with a view of the spa pool or an indoor treatment in one of the therapy rooms. There are separate steam rooms, saunas and Jacuzzis for males and females. For an authentic Cebu spa experience, I always recommend the Aum Hilot Massage. It is an ancient technique passed down from traditional healers. Using warmed coconut oil and banana leaves, the therapist intuitively scans the body to detect blocked or energetically imbalanced areas. The therapist then focuses their energy on releasing these troubled areas to restore balance and wellbeing.
Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan hosts an eight-hectare marine reserve at its foreshore, home to over 77 fish species, 98 juvenile giant clams and a growing coral and rich marine ecosystem for six years. The public is encouraged to take part in the protection and growth of giant clams and can adopt one of these clams. Snorkeling, fish feeding and free diving has been more visually exciting with the diverse and rich marine life that abound in its shores.
THE CRIMSON TOUCH
Always getting ahead and getting better as they grow, the Crimson Resorts have aggressively established their footprint in the local hospitality industry. It takes pride in its location, and promotes the local scene and adds the signature touch that they are known for and what their guests come back for.