I’ve been living in Tagaytay for quite a few years now, and as much as I wanna say it’s a city that continues to evolve in a fast pace, it’s not. The restaurants come and go, newer hotels are built, and malls have finally occupied the city, making traffic and crowded weekends dreadful to locals. But the city is the same. The weather is just as lovely, the streets just as clean (as compared to other places in the Philippines), and the view of Taal Volcano remains just as breathtaking.
Even foreigners flying to Manila knows very well that the best way to experience it, is by getting out of it. While others who are left with no choice but to be stuck in the city and opt for a nice hotel that will transport them away from the noise, many choose to hack the system by still getting out of the city and heading somewhere far enough from the chaos, but close enough not to miss their flight. That’s where Tagaytay comes in.
Also famous as the easy go to weekend spot of busy city-zens, you can’t blame the rise in tourists every single weekend. We all need a break, but looking forward to a place to distress only to be greeted by hundreds of other tourists, it can get overwhelming. But I know a place. A paradise. An oasis so close to heaven you’d forget you belong on Earth.
Escala Tagaytay was already a star before it was even born. We were there for my husband’s 35th birthday and although we live in Tagaytay already, it felt as if we were worlds away. It’s somewhere between a hidden gem and a popular bucket list— some people may know about it, but not all of them can really go (let’s not even get started on how booked they always are). It’s quite elusive, really. But once you’re there, you’ll have everything you could ask for, you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else, and all you gotta do is enjoy the moment. I’ll let you in on 10 reasons why Escala Tagaytay is the only place you need to know about in this famous destination. (READ: Top 15 Instagrammable Places In And Around Tagaytay)
1.) The View.
The initial thing that makes Tagaytay so appealing is because of the view of Taal Lake. It just doesn’t get old, does it? I’ve been here three years and I continue to be on the lookout for the best spots to savor in the view.
Escala promises a panoramic view to the lake, including the volcano itself. The days prior to our staycation here, it was unbelievably rainy and foggy. I was expecting the worst upon reaching Escala, but what do you know. The skies cleared up, and by afternoon, I can swear to you that I’ve had the most high definition view of Taal Lake in all years of living and visiting here. Taal Volcano seemed so close. The view was crisp, and I’m sure the weather plays a huge factor on how great the view will turn out, but Escala allows enough space for its guest to get a fabulous glimpse of Tagaytay’s treasured vista. It’s best if you stay in one of the suites as it gives you access to the front show, but the restaurant lobby is just as promising. And of course, let’s not forget about the view from the infinity pool. But let’s get to that later.
2.) The Vibes.
The architecture of Escala Tagaytay took a lot of time and effort and it was all worth the investment because the execution was nothing short of flawless. The contemporary style of this boutique hotel is maintained with modern interiors contrasted with just the right amount of traditional touches of wood. Rumor has it, all wood used were imported from Papau New Guinea.
Although it’s a very modern hotel, the minor contrast added gives it a bit of mixed, well- balanced comfort. It’s like a perfect mix of LA, Bali, and Mykonos, producing a unique world of its own, right in the middle of Tagaytay. I wasn’t kidding when I said it felt like we were worlds away– it wasn’t like any other hotel I’ve experienced, and there was really nowhere to compare it to.
3.) The Comfort.
The rooms are made for comfort. To be honest, I don’t think Escala was designed just to serve as a place to sleep while you explore the rest of the tiny city of Tagaytay. I believe it was designed to lure you in bed every single day you’re checked in.
The bed was perfect for lazy mornings, and if it wasn’t for their scrumptious breakfast meals, I would have stayed and slept in with no care in the world. Every inch of it is covered in high quality material, built just to guarantee each guest to feel like a VIP. Their flat screen tv is huge (40 inch), beating most five star accommodations. The wifi service is very reliable, which I actually preferred more than my own LTE, which was pretty much useless to me during my stay there.
The bathroom was spotless and it was complete with beautifully scented toiletries. Lately, I’ve been basing my judgments on hotel toiletries and the presence of full-sized mirrors. Both were definitely up to my standards here at Escala. The only thing missing to feel at our fanciest was the robes. We did call for it, however, due to the amount of guests they had, they ran out.
Our room also came with a balcony facing the pool. Pool side rooms can usually go in two different ways. It can go fabulously, or it can turn into a dreadful morning where noises of children jumping in and out of the pool will ruin your weekend of serenity. Ours was beyond fabulous. The rooms were soundproofed enough, we got to sleep in, and we still didn’t miss breakfast. Talk about an epic win.
4.) The Food.
When I planned on this birthday treat for my husband, I wasn’t necessarily depending on Escala’s food to fulfill him. But of course.
As if the rest of the hotel features weren’t enough to spoil the birthday boy and I, the food was another way to satisfy us on another level. You know how Tagaytay is a foodie haven, always visited by hungry people looking forward to its hearty delights? You know how the streets are filled with those restaurants willing to satiate any kind of tourists? The options are endless.
But remember when I said in the beginning of this article how you really wouldn’t need to leave the comfort of this hotel as soon as you check in? Indeed, another Tagaytay highlight is right inside the vicinity.
The food is to die for.
I repeat, the food is to die for. I am picky with my food, quite a snob actually, because I know what taste good, and I know what doesn’t. I’m no Gordon Ramsay and I barely have any Michelin star restaurant experience, but my palate– that’s all the food guide I need. Escala Restaurant’s variety is endless, focusing on Filipino favorites such as sisig and lechon kawali. It doesn’t keep the categories limited though, adding western favorites in their menu as well. We’ve tried a bunch of things for his birthday dinner– and although the photos doesn’t do it any justice , they serve as a great preview anyway!
The great news about Escala Restaurant is that they are open to serving outside guests too. That means because we live in Tagaytay, we can come eat here anytime we want. Their Laing was definitely one of the best I’ve ever had and it’s a huge competition for my grandma’s local special recipe.
5.) The Service.
The thing about what makes a hotel great is that it usually happens in a blink of an eye– as a first impression. You know how they say the first kiss will tell you everything you need to know about the relationship? In this case, checking in will let you know how great your staycation will turn out.
Imagine coming out of the car after hours of driving, and finally into the lobby. Picture being greeted by extravagant interiors as you make your way to the reception desk. But envision being treated like a commoner, ignoring you until you speak up to get their attention away from their phone. Doesn’t that kill the buzz instantly?
Now picture a friendly greeting as soon someone opens the car door for you. Imagine having a receptionist completely dedicated to checking you in, informing you about the hotel, and just pretty much making sure you’re tended to. Doesn’t that make all the difference?
First impressions do last, and at Escala, their service is more than just a first impression. Their staff is attentive, but friendly enough so it doesn’t feel like it’s too posh of a place for you. The treatment you will receive is just pure class. And I believe that their treatment is definitely essential to an unforgettable staycation.
6.) The Pool.
It was meant to serve as a decoration, but I think Escala’s infinity pool overlooking the panoramic view of Taal Lake has become one of the highlights of the hotel. It’s also making a name for itself as Tagaytay’s best pool, and possibly one of the best in the Philippines as well. Sure, infinity pool is everywhere these days, but how often do you come across with views as majestic as a volcano? The shape of a tawilis, or fresh water sardines– very locally found in Taal Lake, makes an appearance at night, lighting up the pool in an almost magical setting. Day or night, the pool is the star, that even on a cool, chilly afternoon, you’d be tempted to take a dip. I’ll let the photos speak for it.
7.) The Exclusivity.
The fact that Escala is pretty much booked all the time, you gotta feel pretty special once you earn a spot here. Its elusiveness isn’t about pretentiousness or elitism, but it’s just the reality of it, being chased after by millenials and non-millenials alike. Whether they want in for its Instagrammable potential or its luxurious features, there’s something very VIPish about being a guest at Escala. It’s ok to wanna feel exclusive once in a while. It’s an invitiation to spoil yourself– and that’s what you want when you get away, right?
8.) The Events Venue.
There are weddings happening in Tagaytay every single day. Pretty soon, the events venue of Escala will be open for use not just for weddings, but whatever celebration you have in mind. Can you imagine this as your setting for the most important day of your life?
9.) The breeze.
Tagaytay is know for its cooler climate as compared to the rest of the country. You’re probably thinking “really, the breeze as a part of its features?”. It’s not officially on their vision and mission, but yes, the breeze in Escala is worth mentioning. I should know because I live here! Despite what you think you know about the weather here, keep in mind that it still gets pretty heated in the summer. Now that more buildings are being built and more structures will be filling up the streets of Tagaytay, summer days are expected to be hotter in the area.
Not at Escala though. It’s strategic location keeps the fresh breeze coming, and because it’s surrounded mostly by rich people’s vacation homes, there are no buildings that will block that air from coming through. That breeze is essential to make a perfect Tagaytay getaway.
10.) The Experience.
At the end of the day, what truly makes a good hotel is the experience it provides to their guests. It’s not about how great or how posh the materials are in the room, but does the room provide quality sleep? It’s not about a great selection of breakfast food, but does it fulfill our appetite? It’s not about the amazing view, but what kind of memory will this place provide?
It’s the experience we want and the experience that Escala Tagaytay delivers will be one for the books. Ours was absolutely incredible, and already I have recommended to family and friends. You wanna spend your layover right? Make a beeline to Escala. You want a great weekend weekaway? Escala is the one. A honeymoon, an anniversary, or just a Tuesday? Escala.
Funny how we’ve been to so many places, but an incredible experience happened to close to home. It’s a wonderful reminder that we don’t have to go very far for magic.
For bookings and inquiries, you may check their official website here.
Disclaimer: Thank you, Escala Tagaytay for such wonderful hospitality! All photos, thoughts, and opinions are my own, and as always, I only recommend places that I know would be great for my readers.