Let me sing a familiar tune: at the Crimson Resort in Mactan, there is a beautiful cliffside that affords its patrons uninterrupted domain over several hundred yards of seawater. It’s not what one would call majestic, but it ought to be wholly refreshing in place of urban skyline and smog. It’s a postcard backdrop for the novel you’re reading. It’s what you’d like to see when you open your eyes after an unplanned siesta.
To someone who’s spent a good part of his youth in Cebu, this should be nothing new. There are a dozen or so great resorts that cover the shoreline of Cebu’s terminal isle of Mactan, and most of them tend to exude grandeur in its various forms. It makes me happy to know that no one is actually tired of it yet.
Upon closer inspection, there’s an interesting contradiction at work—a minute landmass supporting so many stories upon or alongside stories of neighboring tourist traps that one cannot expect to look down the waterside without visually intruding upon the boundaries of another sculpted beach paradise. Because of this, there is nothing to stop one from enjoying the sanctuary of his accommodation without being subversively seduced by the allure of the one next door. One will be inclined to think, Maybe I can try that on my next holiday.
Yet staying in Crimson is—I must stress—now unusual, for it manages to avoid this problem almost completely. A key feature that has always played in Crimson’s favor is its location, seemingly remote from its competitors yet in a position to offer just as much as them. For the first time in a long time, I truly felt like I could behold something unfamiliar.
Perhaps it’s apropos that I’ve never actually been to the Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan before. My first visit was occasioned by the resort’s fifth year anniversary celebration, meaning that it had opened around the same year I left Cebu to pursue further studies. In that time, Crimson’s managed to grab the attention of the World Luxury Hotel Awards in country and continent categories, of Conde Nast Johansens as a recommended property since 2013, and of the Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards as a 2016 nominee.
Again, having been acquainted with the grandeur of most Cebuano resorts, this surprised me a little given the resort’s relative size. Most of its amenities are focused around the heart of the resort, an infinity pool that sprawls up to Crimson’s waterfront. The cliffside I brought up earlier is along that same waterfront, specifically behind the year-old Azure Beach Club, one of Crimson’s star amenities and setting for the grand anniversary celebration on our first night. Circling around the infinity pool, one will find pathways for the casual stroll, a children’s play area, a fitness center, and a sports bar, all a stone’s throw away from each other. Once again, these ought to be staples of any Cebuano beach resort, but Crimson plays for accessibility by concentrating these features in a smaller area. Guests don’t need to worry about treading a long distance to make it to their next activity.
Crimson’s other star facility is undoubtedly the Aum Spa, housed in a building separate from the rest of the resort, where guests can bask in the comfort of its various treatments that blend Eastern and Western, traditional and modern therapy styles. The in-house therapists are extremely perceptive of the guest’s non-verbal responses to the treatment and, without being intrusive, take time to ask if the guest is comfortable so that they may adjust accordingly.
Equally impressive are the 250 guest rooms spread out across the resort’s villas, of which 40 include private plunge pools. The rooms’ lush decor, paired with bright mood lighting and a comfortable bed, are sometimes all one will need to say that they got away from it all, provided that one steps out to trek to the seaside and greet the sun in its arrival and catch it on its way out.