First published on 2 May 2012. Updated on 3 May 2012.
Take the kids to Cebu
If you’re after a family resort holiday, Plantation Bay (plantationbay.com; rooms from US$160++/$200) in Cebu, the Philippines, is a cross between a hotel and a funpark, with a whole host of kids’ activities – huge man-made lagoons with water slides (freshwater and saltwater, with some open 24 hours), arcade machines, fishing, boat racing, rock climbing, sandcastle-building and more. It’s not classy, and the food is pricey, but it will probably work out cheaper than an all-inclusive resort. If you want to save money, take a taxi there rather than the hotel accommodation, and buy your own groceries. SilkAir flies to Cebu from $353 return (www.silkair.com). The resort is a 30-minute drive from Cebu City.
Stay in the plushest room in the Philippines
Built in 1976 with input from the infamous presidential couple Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (she of the 2,700 pairs of shoes), the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila is already one of the largest Sofitels in the world – and has now raised itself to even more royal heights with the new Imperial Residence, previously envisioned by the first couple. At 6,200 sq ft, and costing more than US$1 million to build, the residence comprises five suites, which can be booked separately or as a whole (if you do happen to be royalty), and also features a formal dining room, a helicopter landing pad and a private chef. ‘If you’re going to pay $10,000 per night, you’re going to know what it’s like to be treated like royalty,’ says Goran Aleks, Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s general manager. ‘This space is like nothing else in the Philippines.’ But if that’s not quite what you’re looking for, the Sofitel has 600 other rooms, starting at US$155/$193. See www.sofitel.com. Jetstar flies to Manila from $203 return. See www.jetstar.com.