Lipit, Dipaculao, Aurora
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If I was asked to describe Côte in one word, my choice would be E X P E R I E N C E !
We felt like royalty from the get go. Just 3 hours into the drive, the staff of Côte started sending text messages asking how and where we were. They willingly offered directions and instructions and advised us that they would hold serving lunch until we arrived. As we approached the resort, we were escorted by a Côte trike into the coconut plantation and guided into the gates.
Check-in was a breeze. I would describe our accomodations as the most luxurious 20-foot container vans around. Two containers were welded together and the interiors were appointed with the same amenities as a standard hotel room. No TVs though but I really did not mind.
Far from the maddening crowd and the commercial noise of nearby Baler town, the resort sits in the middle of a coconut plantation in Dipaculao and offers so much peace, quiet and loads of privacy. The tall coconut trees provide heat protecting shade and gave me the feeling of a king being watched over by tall palace guards. The beach is a mere hundred meters from our room and the dining area is even closer. A game lounge is open for all to use and and adds to the charm of the place. The fact that there only 6 container rooms gives guests an air of exclusivity but at the same time homey-ness.
All our meals were personally prepared by Chefs David Cruz and Paul Samson. Each meal was made from scratch and from locally sourced ingredients. Chef David himself described each dish without fail over the course of our 3 night stay. The most memorable for me were the Pako-Mango Salad, the Squash Flowers-Salted Egg-Tinapa Flakes-Mozzarella Cheese Pizza (too bad I don't have a pic of that one). MrSweetTooth also had his dessert favorites; the Apple Crumble, Chocnut Mousse and Taho Custard.
Owner Enrique Sola greeted us the following day and would personally attend to every need. It is a rare sight to see owners carrying bean bags and moving tables together with staff. He even lit the bonfire and invited guests to the beach cocktail. It's this hands-on approach that lends Côte its own charm. In my book he was such a gracious and generous host.
The personalized attention did not end with meals and accomodations. We had very attentive and friendly surfing instructors for 2 days. Use of the ATVs were unlimited although we did run into a couple of hiccups but nothing that was not easily remedied by the equally attentive grounds crew and staff.
All told, our 3 night stay flew by so quickly because it felt like we were always at home. More than the facilities and activities, the warmth, charm and friendliness of Chefs David and Paul, owner Enrique and all their staff and crew is what makes Côte stand out and differentiates them from other resorts. Thanks Côte, you certainly had us at "Hello"!
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