Things You Need to Know Before Going to Vivere Azure: A Guide and Review for Travelers
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I've been wanting to go to Vivere Azure for years now but being a luxury hotel, their prices were always out of my budget. Last October 2021, they ran a promo with a few bucks off their regular rates and I just had to grab it. It's been a while since my husband and I traveled so we had sufficient savings in our travel fund, and December was also our anniversary month so we finally decided to take this trip.
I know Vivere Azure can be quite expensive (our 2-night trip totaled almost P50,000 for 2 persons) and compared to nearby resorts, their rates are significantly higher than their neighbors. But here are the reasons why I think spending what most might consider a crazy amount of money for a few nights is still a bang for your buck:
It's just a few hours away from Manila so you save a lot on transportation costs
Their room rates include full-board meals (yes, breakfast, lunch and dinner) so you don't have to spend any additional amount for food (and by the way, they serve delicious and generous food!)
If you're celebrating something, it has to be extra special and different from your usual travels
Browse the photos on their Instagram account and you'll be instantly sold
And yes, just because you deserve luxury service after all your hard work!
I guess most of you have a lot more questions in your head before you finally make that decision, or maybe you have decided but just need a bit more information. I've answered some of the most common questions I get about our trip so I hope these help.
The resort is located somewhere in the southern tip of Mabini, Batangas, specifically in Barangay Aguada in San Teodoro, Anilao. Unlike most Anilao resorts, this one is located in a less crowded part of this famous diving destination. I also noticed that on this side of Mabini where Vivere Azure is located, the water is a lot cleaner and clearer probably because there are less boats that sprawl in this area. It is also right across Marikaban Island where Tingloy, Sombrero Island, Portales Beach and Masasa Beach are located. And most importantly, it's just a 2-3 hour drive from Metro Manila depending on which part of the metro you're coming from.
How do we get to Anilao from Manila?
The best way to get to Anilao from Metro Manila is via private transport. If you don't want to be stuck in traffic, it's recommended to take the Skyway all the way to SLEX. We're from Quezon City so our usual entry point is either Balintawak or Quezon Avenue. From SLEX, you will need to drive all the way to STAR Tollway/Calabarzon Expressway and exit at the very end towards Bauan-Batangas Provincial Road. Traverse the Mabini National Road until you start seeing resorts to your right. It's also a good idea to drive using Waze or Google Maps so you also know when you're already nearing the resort. The signage is not very conspicuous so you'll have to slow down when you get to the area.
If you need to take public transportation, here are the instructions: 1. Ride a bus going to Batangas City.
You should be able to find Batangas-bound buses in terminals in EDSA Kamias, Cubao, Buendia and Taft.
The travel time can take up to 3 hours but if you ride a bus with a CALABARZON signage, the travel time can be shorter because it will bypass several towns.
Fare is about P120-180 depending on the route you take and your point of origin.
2. Get off at the Grand Terminal.
2. Take a jeepney to Anilao.
Alight at the Anilao Port, which is the last stop of this jeepney.
Travel time is around 30-40 minutes.
Fare is somewhere between P35-40.
3. Hop on a tricycle to get to your resort.
Travel time and the fare will depend on how far your resort is from the Anilao port.
I found the staff to be very organized. When we got there, the security guard Kuya Ed already had a list of guests who will be checking in on that day and he knew which room we were checking in. There was also 2-3 other staff who readily made themselves available to help us with our bags.
Is there a parking space available at the resort?
Yes, there is but the parking space is limited. They have a small parking space right by the gate of the resort which can accommodate 5, maybe 6 cars. If there are already 2 cars parked before you, you will have to park right behind them. If they'll be leaving before you, you'll have to move out and give way so they can exit. It's just like how cars are parked most of the time in banks. The resort recognizes this inconvenience so they provide valet service to their guests. You can just leave your keys with the staff and they'll take care of the rest.
Also, just as a matter of preference, we didn't like that the parking area is steep. I have a photo of the parking space below which doesn't look steep but it IS steep. For those who are not comfortable with your car in a "hanging" position, then you probably won't be comfortable parking here. We did inform their super nice security guard Kuya Ed about our concern and he guided us to another parking space which is right outside the newly built building in the resort. It was a bit of a walk from the gate but we felt more comfortable parking there as the ground is flat :) and well, you'll be walking a lot in this resort so this shouldn't be a big deal.
Also, if you want to ensure getting a good parking spot, I would highly recommend that you visit during weekdays. If you plan to stay over the weekend for 2 nights, better if you get there early on a Friday so you get that perfect parking spot that you want.
During our stay in December 2021, a negative nasal antigen swab test was still required but starting February 3, 2022, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to submit this. Your vaccination card should be sufficient. However, non-vaccinated guests 13 years old and above will need to submit this prior to check-in and should be taken no longer than 48 hours prior. Senior citizens and pregnant women are accepted for check-in, too, following the same requirements as stated above. Kids of all ages are also welcome but parents of kids 7 years and below will be required to sign a waiver.
I see they have lots of rooms to choose from but which one is the best?
This highly depends on your preference. They also have a very informational room guide on their Instagram but let me lay them out for you in more detail. In 2022, there are 7 suites and 3 casas available for guests.
If you prefer to be by the beachfront, have direct access to it, and be a stone's throw away from the ocean, you can book their Escape and Elixir Suites. Both rooms are located on the first floor and right beside the water sports center. You have your own small veranda with a hammock and table/chairs but it's not going to be as private as the others since you're right in front of where people are walking past. It's also only a few steps away from the restaurant. These are also the cheapest rooms in the resort.
If you prefer a more private and secluded room, farther away from the busy dining and beach areas, you can opt to get Rejuvena, Enchant and Anima Suites.
Rejuvena and Enchant are of the same price range as Escape and Elixir and they're so much bigger, so if you don't mind partial view of the ocean and being farther away from the beach and restaurant, then this should be perfect for you. Both are located in the middle of the resort so they're of the same distance going down to the restaurant and going up to the reception, pool and bar area. It will take you about a minute walk to the restaurant and about 1-2 minutes walk to the reception/pool area. The distance is actually about the same but because the reception/pool is a walk up, you'll be much slower, especially for people like me who hasn't gotten enough exercise during this pandemic. I know, it's not an excuse lol! Anyway, they have seats provided in the walkways in case you need to stop and catch your breath.
Anima is a bit more expensive (by about PhP 4,000 I think) but you have a better view of the ocean and you'll be nearer the beach, too.
If you want an unobstructed ocean view, your best bets are Zephyr, Ultima and Azure Suites. These are the more expensive rooms in the resort and you have significantly bigger room space, too. All have their own private balconies but I would say Azure gives you a bit more privacy because it's located on the topmost floor of the main house. Personally, if you have kids who love to run around and explore, I think Zephyr would be the best choice. It's the room nearest the restaurant and it's still not very far from the beach.
If you prefer to be near the swimming pool, the bar and the reception area, then the casas would be perfect for you. Casa Isabelle, Casa Antonina and Casa Beatrice are all located near street level so it's actually perfect for families with senior citizens who have difficulty walking too far. If they just want to enjoy the view and have no plans of going down to the beach, then these casas should be perfect. Just make sure that they provide room service in these rooms otherwise, you'd be too far away from the restaurant. Last time we checked, they did not offer room service yet but that might have changed. These casas are some of the more premium rooms in the resort as they provide you with more room space and an obstructed view of the ocean. Being newly built, you have newer room amenities as well. They were building these rooms during the pandemic and launched them some time in November/December of 2021.
Which room did you book and how was your experience?
We booked two rooms during our stay because we couldn't decide which room was the best for us. I loved the layout of the Rejuvena but my husband loved to be by the beachfront so we booked Rejuvena for one night and transferred to Zephyr the following night. It was actually a good plan because we got to experience both rooms and the next time we visit, maybe we can check-in in two other rooms again.
Room Space The room space in both rooms are very generous. Rejuvena has a big balcony partially overlooking the ocean, and then there's a secondary terrace which was recently renovated and enclosed so the room feels bigger. This area has a daybed and a mini sala where you can have your coffee within the comfort of the air conditioning while still enjoying the view outside. Then you have your king sized bed and still have ample space left for the refrigerator and mini bar. The toilet and bath are separate which, of course, has its advantages.
The room space of Zephyr is even more generous - your balcony overlooking a full view of the ocean is extensive with a comfortable lounge bed where you can have your food served. The room is even bigger, puede kang mag cartwheel sa loob sa laki. It has a huge mirror at the back where the entrance to the bathroom and shower is. The bathroom and shower are also separate.
The Balcony and the View The Rejuvena balcony has a partial view of the ocean. A sufficiently-sized table is available with seats so you can have your breakfast served here while you enjoy the sound of the ocean and the birds singing nearby. It was really relaxing. You will sometimes be visited by some cute cats scavenging left-over food but they wouldn't bother you too much. Don't try and feed them as they are not domesticated and might scratch you.
The Zephyr balcony has a fuller view of the ocean. The wooden slat fence gives you enough privacy without totally blocking your view of the ocean and the restaurant. Just mind yourself if you want to sleep in the daybed because it's not totally private. Similar to Rejuvena, you also have a table in this balcony so you can have your meals served here.
Room Amenities Room amenities are sufficient - all rooms have a Nespresso coffee machine and an empty refrigerator where you can store your leftover food. They also provide free bottled water but if you ran out, there are water refilling stations around the resort that you can get water from for free. In an effort in minimizing plastic waste, the resort suggests bringing your own water bottles for refilling. All rooms also have a flat-screen TV, an electric fan and a working space if you would like to work from here. Rejuvena room amenities are shown in the photos below.
The same amenities can be found in the Zephyr room. The table where the mini bar and coffee maker are is just bigger so you have more space to prepare your drinks and stock your food. The television in Zephyr is nearer the door and the daybed and farther away from the bed, unlike the one in Rejuvena which is right by the foot of the bed. Zephyr room amenities are shown in the photos below.
What I love about the bathrooms of Vivere Azure are the mirrors and the open cabinets. They have double mirrors in the bathrooms so it's easier for you to see everything. People who need to wear makeup would love this and the bathrooms are also very well-lit. The open cabinets also make it convenient for you to stack up your clothes if you prefer to unpack them and it's easy for your to access your clothes from the shower. They also provide complete toiletries including shampoo, body wash, soap and toothbrush/toothpaste. They even provide shower caps, cotton buds and a cute comb. I don't have a photo of the toilet but if anyone is curious, they do have bidets :) I also don't have enough photos of the Zephyr bathroom but it's basically the same. The photos below were taken from the Rejuvena bathroom.
Room service in Vivere Azure was one of the best I've experienced. Since we booked 2 rooms, I was expecting to wait for 2 hours since technically, we had to check out at 12:00 pm in the first room and wait for the check-in time at 2:00 pm in the second room. But around 11:30 am, they called us up and told us that the second room is ready and we can already check-in, which was a very pleasant surprise! They sent a staff to our room to help us with our bags. Sir Niko was the staff member who was there to assist us with the transfer. He was also the one who helped us with our bags when we first got here. The staff of Cenare, their restaurant, were also very friendly and efficient. It only takes them a few minutes to prepare and serve the food in the room. All our requests were followed to the dot, with no mistakes whatsoever.
I love that their room charges include full board meals. Yun pa lang, sulit na! The convenience of having an all-in package is an absolute plus for me. You don't have to worry about spending too much money on food, you just order what you want from the menu, which is really one of the best experiences. I love to eat and it just makes the food tastes better if it's "free". It's not free per se but you know the feeling that you can just have whatever you want from the menu and not worry about how much it costs.
The food was unexpectedly delicious as well. The taste and the presentation very much felt like you're eating in a high-end restaurant, even the ones in bento boxes that were served in our room. We ordered as much variety as we can so we can try everything. The first meal I ate was the salmon during our first dinner - the meat was juicy and tender but the skin was crunchy and tasty. It was a great first impression! I never thought they could top that but the food just kept on getting better. Either that or I'm just too hungry after every activity we did. :) You should try their pasta and burgers, too. French fries were also spot on!
When we checked out, the staff reminded us that we still have one last meal to take. I almost forgot about it so we stayed a few more hours to enjoy our last meal before driving off back to the city and back to real life :(
Cenare is Vivere Azure's one and only restaurant which is located a few steps from the beach. When they first mentioned Cenare to us during the resort tour, I honestly thought it was a room. It turned out to be one of my sought for tambayans in the resort that you will see in almost every Instagram and Facebook post and story they have. The place is really picture perfect from every angle especially during sunsets as you can see in the photos below.
They are always cooking something up in Cenare every Saturday to make guests' stay extra awesome. The Saturday night during our stay was grill night. You still have the option to choose from their usual menu but you can also try out their freshly-grilled chows! You got lots to choose from - pork, chicken, fish, shrimp and even veggies for our vegetarian friends.
What are the activities that you can do during your stay?
Despite being a boutique resort relatively smaller than your usual 5-star resorts, there are still a lot of activities that you can do. Here are some of the things we did during our stay:
Lounge/walk around the beachfront. The beach of Vivere Azure is rocky so don't expect to be walking on sand. It's a long stretch where you can check out other resorts nearby and some private resorts towards the other side. The scenery is beautiful especially during sunset.
Lounge in other areas of the resort. If you're tired of the beach and looking for other places to stay, there are several other lounging areas where you can hang around in the resort. You have the beds by the pool, the pool bar, the reception area a few steps away and of course, my favorite tambayan in Cenare restaurant.
Swim in the pool. Needless to say, you can also swim in the resort pool. It's open until early evening but check with the resort regarding the hours guests are allowed to swim. It's not heated in case you're wondering but it can get warm when it has been sunny all day long.
Snorkel in front of the resort. If you are fond of seeing marine life in action, you can also snorkel. What's great about Vivere Azure is that you don't have to go island hopping or swim too far from the shore to be able to see these beauties. Even your kids are totally safe snorkeling a few feet away with your supervision, of course. The resort also has an aqua sports center where you can borrow booties and aqua shoes in case you don't have a pair. They also have life vests and actually don't allow guests to swim/snorkel without them. Credits from Vivere Azure for the underwater photos below.
Go island hopping. The resort can also arrange an island hopping tour for you to go to Sombrero and Portales Islands. During our stay, the cost is P4,800 per boat (good for a max of 6 persons) to go to both islands, P3,800 if you want to go to Sombrero Island only and P4,300 if you want to go to Portales Island only. Sombrero Island is supposed to be the highlight so I recommend going to Sombrero or both. There is also an entrance fee to Sombrero which is P200 per head and P100 per head for Portales, which are not included in the boat rate.
Go scuba diving. Scuba diving is also an option for guests but Vivere Azure does not have a diving facility. You will need to get this arranged by their diving concessionaire Crystal Blue Resort. You can check this out with the reception staff and they'll provide you with Crystal Blue's contact details.
Bamboo rafting and kayaking. Last but not the least, a few more activities that you can do in Vivere Azure is bamboo rafting and kayaking. I personally prefer snorkeling and swimming but these two can be fun, too. These are complimentary activities and you will need to arrange this in the aqua sports center and due to the limited equipment, this will be on a first come first serve basis.
What can you say about the beach?
The beach of Vivere Azure is filled with rocks and pebbles so don't expect to be walking on white powdery sand. This is Anilao where oceans are abundant in coral reefs and teeming with marine life so the shores are expected to be rocky. One of the reasons why I decided to book in Vivere Azure was the marine sanctuary that you can find right in front of the resort. You don't have to go island hopping to be able to snorkel and see fishes, clams and sea turtles. Vivere Azure is taking care of its own bed of clams, some were killed during a recent typhoon but most survived and were rehabilitated. Sea turtles are also abundant here but you have to snorkel early in the morning when they usually go out into shallow waters.
The beach where Vivere Azure is is a long stretch where you can walk and check out other resorts from the shore. You can have your morning walks here but again, the beach has a lot of rocks and pebbles to don't forget to bring your sturdy slippers or aqua shoes.
It can be difficult to roam around since there are a lot of steps and the walkways can be a bit steep for some people, but the resort has made it as comfortable as possible by putting wooden railways along the path and some benches a couple of steps away from each other so you can rest and catch your breath. This is really helpful, especially for titas like me who haven't gotten sufficient exercise during the pandemic lol!
Several places where you can enjoy the Batangas sunset from Vivere Azure - from Cenare restaurant, from the pool, from the pool bar which is a bit higher than the pool, by the beach, and from your balcony if your room is overlooking the ocean. I think the best and most romantic view of the sunset are from the Casas based on what I've been seeing on Instagram posts. Other rooms with an obstructed view of the sunset are Zephyr, Azure and Ultima.
I guess each of us will have different favorite spots in Vivere Azure. My husband has a totally different list from mine but here are my top 6 in no particular order:
Rejuvena terrace/mini-sala where I spend most of my time working and drinking coffee
Rejuvena balcony where I enjoyed hanging out in the mornings and listening to the birds
Cenare lounge area where I had my first glass of wine immediately upon arriving
Pool bar where I had another glass of wine while enjoying the sunset
Zephyr balcony where I spent our last afternoon napping while listening to the waves
And last but not the least, the beach where I enjoyed walking and dipping my feet in the cool waters
Rejuvena terrace/mini sala
Cenare lounge area
Of all the resorts we have gone to, Vivere Azure is easily one of my favorites so I would rate them a 10 out of 10. It's not the usual white sand beach resort but everything else makes up for what the resort lacks. They might not have white sand but a coral reef teeming with marine life is just right in front of the resort where you can snorkel without having to spend more money to go island hopping. The gorgeous view of the sunset is also a major come-on. Imagine this view with your glass of wine or cocktail. Also, the convenience of having full board meals is a plus for me because you don't have to worry about how much the food is, you just order anything you want from the menu. The service is also superb right from the booking all the way until you leave the resort. I still remember Kuya Ed giving us the heartwarming salute before we drove off. An irreplaceable experience.