In the small but growing circle of hotels in Cebu with a reputation for consistent quality, Shangri-La Mactan stands out. A renovation and rebranding in 2016 refreshed the property’s look and feel after two decades. It’s ideally located close to Mactan Island’s airport, not to mention its fantastic beaches, restaurants and ruin sites. Throughout the whole resort, there are strong references to native culture and nature. There are plenty of little details that make this place stand out from other hotels in Cebu: thoughtful design, personal service and an eclectic mix of activities all make this one of the best hotels in Cebu.
Awards and Recognition
The hotel has been recognized with a few awards and recognitions since the rebranding in 2016. It was named the “World’s Best Business Hotel” for the Philippines and “Best for Romance” for Southeast Asia by TripAdvisor. It was also recognized as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and received the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Some of the other notable awards and recognitions are: - “Top 10 Beach Hotels in Asia” by Travel + Leisure Asia. - “World’s Best Business Hotel” by Forbes Travel Guide. - “Best for Romance” by Condé Nast Traveler. - “Leading Hotels of the World” member. - “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor.
Best season to visit
The ideal times to visit Cebu are from February to April and October to December. These are the best times to visit Cebu, as the weather is generally more stable and dry than the rest of the year. Although there can be a bit of rain still during these months, it’s generally nothing more than a passing shower. The rest of the year can see a bit of everything, including typhoons.
Rooms & Services Available
If there’s one word to describe Shangri-La Mactan, it would be “opulent.” This 11-story resort is full of luxurious touches that make it feel more like a city hotel than a tropical beach resort. The resort has a wide range of amenities and services, including a spa, valet parking, an outdoor infinity pool, a kids’ club, an outdoor games area, and a full-service golf course. Full room service is available, and the 24/7 lounge offers cocktails and light bites like tapas. The property is wired to handle the needs of both business and leisure travelers, with high-speed internet and a business center available.
The Good: Culture and nature, thoughtful design, and service
Cebu is often overlooked as a destination, but Shangri-La Mactan does a great job of showcasing why it’s worth visiting. The hotel is about as close to the water as you can get, making it easy to walk out to the reef. The proximity also means that the sound from airplanes flying into and out of the airport nearby is a little loud, but it’s a small price to pay. The close-up view of the beach is also fantastic.
The Bad: Food could be better, location is a bit remote
One of the few things that could use improvement at Shangri-La Mactan is the food. While there are plenty of good options, it’s not quite at the level of excellence that the rest of the hotel offers. The hotel is about a 45-minute drive from Cebu’s airport, which is a little inconvenient. It’s also set a bit off from the main city hubs, making it more of a destination hotel than one that is well-suited for short stays in the city.
Dining at Shangri-La Mactan
The food at Shangri-La Mactan is excellent for the most part, with one major exception. Do try to avoid the buffet, as it’s pretty uninspiring. The breakfast and lunch options are good and the service is quick. The dinner options would be much better if they weren’t in the lounge. While the food served in the lounge is good, it’s not worth sitting there for dinner when there are so many other dining options in Cebu.
Activities at Shangri-La Mactan
There are plenty of things to do at Shangri-La Mactan, and they are all focused on nature and culture. The resort’s two main attractions are the sea and the island where the hotel is located. To explore the sea, guests can sign up for a diving excursion or a snorkeling trip. The island can be explored on a tour that includes visiting the ruins of a 16th-century fort. Other activities are focused on the surrounding area. Guests can take a day trip to the city of Cebu or visit the nearby islands. If guests are looking for something less conventional, there is a yoga class every day.
Coming from Manila, the best way to get to Cebu is to fly to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which is located near Cebu City. Shangri-La Mactan is located on the island of Mactan, which is a short ferry ride across a small channel. The ferry ride takes just 10 minutes and leaves every 30 minutes. If guests are flying into Cebu and don’t want to deal with the ferry, they can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to the hotel. The journey is around two hours and costs around $30.
Cebu is one of the best beach destinations in the Philippines, and Shangri-La Mactan is one of the best hotels in Cebu. The property combines excellent service with a central location and culture-rich activities. It’s not a beach trip unless you’ve explored the nearby reef. Cebu’s unique mix of culture and nature make it a fantastic destination for a beach trip. If you’re planning to visit Cebu, make sure to add Shangri-La Mactan to your list of hotels.