About 70km south of Manila lies Lake Taal, a spectacular lake with a volcanic island rising from its centre. Weekends see Manileños descend to the area for some gentle hiking, relaxation and respite from the hustle and bustle of the capital. The jumping off point for the lake is Tagaytay, a compact city that commands a wonderful position on a ridge overlooking the lake and its volcano. Tagaytay has developed quickly over the last few years, with a fair share of hotels springing up around the centre and beyond, although tucked away here and there you’ll find some lovely hotels hidden away amid greenery offering a quiet peaceful corner and panoramic lake views, all within striking distance of the area’s attractions. Focuses might be on wellness, natural attractions or child-friendly activities, but there’s undoubtedly something for all comers in this beautiful destination.
The 10 best hotels in Tagaytay
If you’re after an authentic place offering relaxation and pampering, look no further than Nurture Wellness Village, where a series of pretty stone walkways lead to Infugao-inspired heritage huts with private garden and spa area. This peaceful retreat immersed in lush greenery offers treatments that use indigenous healing traditions – try the authentic Filipino tribal foot massage – while overnight stays come with complimentary wellness activities including tai chi exercises, and feature organic farm tours and healthy juice demos.
With a lovely location on the Tagaytay Ridge, this intimate boutique hotel with only seven rooms offers gorgeous views of Taal crater and the surrounding area. Interiors are contemporary, with large, individually furnished rooms taking inspiration from cities and regions around the world (tatami mats and sliding shōji doors in the Nara Room; decorative elephants in the Ceylon Suite). Sit back in the open-air Jacuzzi and soak in the views of Taal Volcano, or unwind with a drink and an al fresco meal at award-winning Restaurant Verbena.
Set among blooms and greenery is this calm B&B with pretty cottages named after flowers and herbs. Don’t expect air-con TV sets in the rooms – you’re here to slow down and take in the natural surroundings. The spa offers a number of relaxing treatments, while the restaurant serves organic cuisine with ingredients freshly picked from the B&B’s own garden (breakfast features Filipino dishes and rustic country fare). Sit back and unwind or take part in gentle activities including cooking with herbs, yoga sessions, wreathmaking and flower arrangement lessons.
An opulent choice set in leafy tropical grounds, Anya Resort blends natural materials with modern design – think abaca and bamboo furnishings and large floor-to-ceiling windows. ‘Lifestyle assistants’ attend to guests’ every whim, and there are three stylish restaurants offering Filipino and international dishes, including a casual poolside option serving bubbling brick-oven pizzas. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the Spa with a milk and rose bath or grab a book from the well-stocked Borderless Library and catch a few rays by one of the two heated swimming pools.
On Taal Volcano’s southern ridge lies this elegant option with maritime-inspired interiors attracting well-heeled urbanites from Manila. The four sophisticated suites, named after American lighthouses, feature coastal decor and accessories inspired by marine elements – striped wallpaper, decorative shells and boats, navy blue table lamps embellished with fish scenes. Private terraces offer gorgeous panoramic views of Taal Volcano and the surrounding forest scenery, and there’s plenty to satisfy hungry bellies, with a handful of restaurants in the Cliffhouse Complex serving local and international cuisine, from pancakes to pizzas.
Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide panoramic vistas, but it’s the azure infinity pool and roof deck that are the real draw. Floating seamlessly in the middle of the building, the swimming pool stretches out towards the lake, offering spectacular views. The design is contemporary, with heavy use of wood and glass, and neutral tones of grey, brown and beige dominating the communal areas. The comfortable rooms have chocolate-brown furnishings and walls embellished with landscape paintings, and each has its own terrace.
Immersed in two hectares of tropical gardens, this friendly hotel offers plenty of family fun, from the outdoor swimming pools for adults and children and a games room with table tennis, darts, billiards and air hockey table. Though we suspect that what tiny guests will remember the most is the mini farm, where they can enjoy horse rides, and animal petting and feeding. Large potted plants, floor-to-ceiling windows and wicker furniture in the communal areas enhance the atmosphere of the natural world outside, while the neat and tidy rooms have neutral tones and dark wood fittings. Bonfires with marshmallows and outdoor movie nights are held nightly for guests.
Bare concrete and warm tones of wood combine to create minimalist stylish interiors at this small boutique hotel, which has just eight rooms. Bedframes are made from recycled newspapers, and mirror and shell-encrusted wardrobes add a sparkle to the rooms. Here and there, abstract works of art provide splashes of colour, while private balconies offer superb panoramas of the lake. Large leafy plants contrast and soften the industrial aesthetic, with concrete and glass creating a neutral backdrop to the area’s lush greenery.
Ideal for those seeking a peaceful location, this boutique hotel is tucked away off the main road, away from the hustle and bustle of Tagaytay. The comfortable rooms (with names like White Oreo Chocolate and Dark Mint Chocolate) are decorated in warm browns and shades of mocha, with balconies offering wonderful lake vistas. The decor is modern, with tiled floors, rigged glass bobble lamps and abstract paintings in the communal areas. If money allows, opt for the spacious Sweetest Suite and soak in the views from the freestanding bathtub.
This modern white building offers secluded accommodation set amid bamboo and fruit trees. In the rooms, vivid paintings hang on the walls, while bed runners and throw cushions add colour and texture to mimic the four elements – fire, water, earth and wind. In the bathrooms you’ll find Ilog Maria toiletries, all-natural products made with honey and beeswax. Head out to explore the surrounding gardens and then relax with a full body massage or sit back poolside with a good book in hand.