Wild Orchid Subic Bay

Not quite the polish……

I expected a lot from this hotel, as I regularly pass through Angeles and stay at the Wild Orchid hotel there; this one is great, one of the few hotels I always return to rather than break new ground.

I remember about 13 years ago looking at this huge Subic land-site and empty building… it was an abandoned concrete shell then.  It would have been a massive and expensive re-build into what is now a beautiful resort.  I remember hearing from friends who live in Subic about the most amazing huge swimming pool they were building.   I looked at the photos of the finished pool and the new resort on line…. I have wanted for years to try out that pool and this resort.

Finally my chance came up for a weekend away from working in Manila and I eagerly booked on-line.  I tossed up between a Poolside room and a Beachfront room that I found were a similar price of around 5,500 Peso.  If it is anything like the resort in Angeles it is well worth paying an extra 1,000 or 1,500 Peso for what turns out to be a much better room.   I chose Beachfront because I thought we could use the beautiful huge pool anyway.

On arrival I found the pool had no water, being under renovation.  I was totally deflated, and a bit angry that I wasn’t warned.  Good thing I didn’t choose the Poolside room!  I asked at reception when the pool would be filled.  One who appeared to be the manager was unapologetic and loudly exclaimed it would be 7 to 10 days to fill…. (and it seemed – ‘No, I am not sorry’).

The beachfront room was lovely…we were in room 03 right at the far end, just two rooms from the boundary.    But things were not perfect.   As we started to try to relax and soak up the beautiful Subic Bay…. oh oh, some Karaoke beside the hotel kicked into action with awful singing that droaned into the afternoon.  I also noticed there was a considerable amount of cleaning and maintenance staff walking past our room, making it far from private.  I investigated and found there is a maintenance store beside room 01 on the boundary to the Karaoke.  OK, not great.   Now we got no privacy with a staff person walking past every two minutes, and terrible karaoke singing… and no big pool to go retreat too.  (To be fair, there are smaller much less impressive pools at the other side (front entrance) of the resort, and quite a walk away).

So we left for the afternoon and went to the Blue Rock Resort (see an earlier review) and enjoyed our time on the floating bar all afternoon and in to the evening.

The next beautiful sunny day the karaoke was quiet, so that was a relief.  I asked for a couple of towels as we planned to use the beach to swim.  We were bought two dirty old towels that were clearly used for cleaning the floor…see the photo I uploaded, ghastly!   Ok so I went myself and found better towels from the staff beside the empty pool.   We proceeded to the beach.
The vendors on Subic beach are intense!   They can’t take no for an answer and unlike Blue Rock (who rope off a no-go area off, and allow vendors in one at a time, and only at the guests request) this resort management makes no effort to control them.
The beach was great, other than the litter… I ignored this as much as I could.  However on my way back up to the resort I collected 4 plastic bags, two plastic containers, 2 chip packets, 1 playing card and some plastic cutlery.  I handed the pile of rubbish to a resort staff and said ‘You Filipino’s should care more for your beautiful country’.  Another smartly dressed resort staff person watched and listened on…then later he threw a half finished cigarette on to the beach right there where I handed the rubbish over.  Slow learners I guess, and clearly no control from management.

The beach looked 100% better after just that 1 minute removing rubbish (me, the guest)…..SO WHY ISNT THE RESORT DOING IT??  What about the council? …..yeah right.  The revenue from one just ONE guest for just ONE night could clean the whole beach for a week and provide a local person a job, yet the rubbish will surely deter many guests from ever returning.

We hired a Jet Ski and had fun in the bay until it too sucked up a plastic bag and left us stranded.

Blue Rock (a well run 3.5 star) rakes their beachfront clean early EVERY morning before the guests wake up.  So what’s the Orchid management doing?

So to my point  – why spend millions creating an amazing resort only to stop a few hundred Peso short, and serve up dirty ripped towels and have rubbish on the beach?  This venue is great, but clearly not managed with the polish of the Angeles venue. See other Asian Hotels

I travel as a part of my job…. one thing I never find is a hotel that are willing to offer any compensation to a guest they have let down. Why not offer a certificate or voucher, so if the guest comes back they are promised a room upgrade, or a meal, just a couple of drinks or anything!  This could serve as a way to attract that guest to return, offering the hotel another chance at impressing them.  Hospitality managers only seem to care about the bottom line revenue for the current month alone…. and as a business owner I cant understand that.

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