Forget Dinner for Two. Go On A Destination Date!
Okay, we take that back—receiving flowers (or chocolates) is always good in our book. But the usual Valentine dinner by candlelight, although much appreciated, is probably something you've done more than once already.
But going away for an unexpected staycation? Nothing’s more romantic than being whisked away to a surprise getaway—away from the noise, pressure and prying eyes.
That makes up an exciting and unforgettable Valentine's weekend.
Although destination-dating has been around in other countries for awhile now, with matchmaking agencies bringing two complete strangers to travel together on their first date, or just singles daring enough to do it on their own, we recommend it for more seasoned couples. But if you’re up for it, why not?!
For a destination date to be successful and truly enjoyable, it has to be: simple, easy, unhurried. We’re talking about traveling out but not too far. The idea is to hop on a plane, get out of Manila, and be beachside.
Cebu is a great choice for a destination date. You get the best of both worlds—a thriving and bustling cosmopolitan with an endless selection for dining, and the serenity and seclusion of world-class beach resorts.
Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan is one of Cebu’s gems. A few minutes away from Mactan airport, this Conde Nast Johansens-recommended and World Luxury Hotel awardee is tucked away in an idyllic spot. And yet, if you need to experience what the city has to offer, you can find something within a few minutes’ drive.
One of the popular choices for weddings, Crimson is date-destination-ready. With everything you need in one place, it’s the perfect match for a V-day getaway—whether you want to venture out, or stay in.
Enye by Chef Chele Gonzalez
As you enter, you’re greeted by an energetic open kitchen with things sizzling and crackling away. If you’re lucky enough like yours truly, the sight of Chef de cuisine Ivan Saiz Sordo and the staff cooking paella, signals the start of a delightful dining experience.
Hailed as one of the best restaurants in 2018, Enye’s success comes from the founder and master himself, Chef Chele of famed Vask (now Gallery by Chele). Chele is known for his relentless passion for sustainability and creativity, and for involving Asian and local Filipino flavors into his dishes.
The classy-cozy interiors set the tone for a relaxed vibe. Through thoughtful planning, any place is the best seat in the house, as any table is as good as the one next to yours. Just like the ambience, the food, although meticulously prepared, isn’t intimidating.
Must-try signature tapas include gambas al ajillo, pulpo a la gallega (octopus with potatoes and paprika) and the ultimate, lechón Cebu tacos. To savor Cebu’s lechon this way is something you can expect from both chef Chele and the lechon capital. Wait until you and your date taste solomillo a la Española, melt-in-your-mouth tenderloin with grilled manchego, rioja wine and mushroom. There’s just nothing like it. Of course, you’ve come for paella and Enye’s arroz con bogavante or stewed lobster paella is as delectable as it can get.
End with tarta de chocolate y helado de vainilla, chocolate-orange tart with vanilla ice cream, and mango espaciado, a spiced mango sorbet with white chocolate mousse. Don’t forget to take advantage of their extensive wine selection to complete the experience.
The newly renovated veranda can be utilized for more intimate gatherings, so a private dinner for two, wine-and-dine, or casual lunch—are all viable options. Simply put, you’re set for your V-day feast. Opt for either a beautiful brunch (Enye’s Sunday brunch alone has its own following), or dinner date and customize to your liking.
Azure Beach Club
Azure Beach Club is a destination on its own. It has three reasons to get you out of your comfy villa: fun foam party by the infinity pool, staying horizontal on the biggest beach beds, and the best reason there is—laid-back sunset views while lounging at the Rock Bar.
There’s so much to do here: bask under the sun while listening to the DJ’s beats, enjoy a sumptuous meal by the theatre kitchen (the resto was recently lauded as the regional winner for Best Asian Fusion Restaurant by World Luxury Restaurant Awards), or head to the beach bar deck and enjoy happy hour on signature cocktails.
Azure Beach Club’s Rock Bar will surely impress. Taking in that sunset over pre-dinner cocktails instantly takes all the worries and pre-date jitters away. Just be forewarned: mind the time as you may not want to get out of the couch. But then again maybe you don’t have to since they’re offering a 5-course dinner with flowers and champagne for Valentine’s.
One of 2013’s Top Eight Hotel Spas in the World and winner of the World Luxury Spa Awards from 2014 to 2018, this multi-awarded luxury spa boasts of scenic spaces and unique treatments. Indoor therapy rooms and outdoor cabanas have soothing views, while the spa pavilion is a dreamy wellness escape. A grand spa pool and invigorating outdoor Jacuzzi, plus sauna and steam bath complete this oasis.
The philosophy of “pahuwayan” which in Cebuano means “retreat” or “to rest”, is carried out in the special oils and treatments. On the spa menu: Time Together, an outdoor bath followed by a body scrub and massage for two, and the indulgent The Aum Extravaganza, a 3-hour, 3-part treatment with a private bath, massage, body treatment and facial. Express treatments are also available and you can enjoy them in your own little cabana near the spa pool.
Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan
Seascapes Resort Town, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu
Visit www.crimsonhotel.com/mactan/offers/room-offers/pampered-pair for more information on Valentine and year-round packages
IG: @crimson_mactan, @azuremactan
Lead photos via Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan
Photos from Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan and Kim Reyes