While visiting family in the Philippines, we had the opportunity to stay at the Peacock Garden in Upper Laya Bohol. Our stay was based on a recommendation from one of my dad's friends. And I must say, I am glad we listened to that recommendations. When I originally booked this on Agoda.com, I didn't read the reviews or did much research. I trusted my dad and went through with the booking.
When you first drive past the gates at the entrance, the first thing you will appreciate right away is the remoteness and quietness of the place. After one week of bouncing from place to place, city to city, island to island, our stay at the Peacock Garden was much needed. We stayed for 4 days, 3 nights.
I also found that it's a fairly sustainable resort with plenty of eco-friendly amenities.
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Filipino hospitality is renowned, but the service at this place was top notch. There didn't seem to be a lot of guests there so maybe that's why we felt special, but the staff was wonderful. From the welcome email after our booking through a third party website to the our final arrangement for transportation, everything was seamless.
Upon arrival and as we checked in, we were provided fresh watermelon-pineapple shake. My sister deemed this the start of a wonderful stay. This also received the approval of my dad who worked at Del Monte, the top grower of pineapples in the Philippines. The staff seemed like they knew us. Anticipated our needs and made us all feel so special. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves some days.
I called to get laundry done and housekeeping was immediately there. The laundry was ready by the afternoon at a very reasonnable price. We stayed by the pool for a good portion of our stay and the staff was constantly refreshing towels, bringing water and drinks and asking if we wanted to shift seats as the sun moved. We had our own family table for breakfast and service was very attentive at all of our meals.
As part of my quest to reduce plastic use, I asked for no straw in any of the drinks that I ordered. I felt like they remembered that request and also brought me a dessert spoon instead so that I could enjoy my favorite mango shake. Nice touch!
The Peacock Garden is located about 20 minutes from the nearest large beach resort and I think that's where the charm is. Because it is away from all of the noise and people, it feels like you are on a remote part of the island. It sits atop a hill and overlooks the ocean. To get to the resort, you drive up a nondescript, slightly rough road and arrive at what looks like a massive compound surrounded by high walls and a security guard.
This is a great location if you want peace and quiet for your vacation. They don't allow just anyone through the gates which keeps it even more private. It is in the middle of the island so you can still visit Bohol's famous attractions or the beaches without needing to drive so far.
The best part is that you don't hear any cars at all. As someone who lives close to New York City, this was a welcome change. You'll hear in the far distant, the crows of the rooster, some birds and the rustling of trees, but that is it.
So when you first see the building, you'll be automatically taken to old world Europe as if it's part of a wine villa. The only catch is the palm trees and tropical fruit trees in the front yard swaying in the breeze. The buildings are styled old European but the facilities are straight modern. Once you walk past reception, you'll immediately be taken to an outdoor/indoor area and then to the amazing view of the infinity pool. Sitting atop a hill has many advantages including being able to enjoy the breeze.
The grounds is also very well manicured with a great fountain at the front. My family and I walked around after breakfast and saw many tropical trees like mango trees, multiple kinds of palm trees and bamboo trees. On one part of the grounds, you will see tall mahogany trees swaying the breeze. A great place to meditate or read.
The weather in the Philippines is hot so I love that indoor and outdoor living is weaved throughout the entire place. The rooms are in large villas with open hallways. The game room which includes a pool table, foosball table, and darts is open air, but covered with a roof so you can enjoy a game without worrying about the sun or rain which my husband and brother-in-law did as they enjoyed some cigars. They also offer a spa and a gym if you need to get your sweat on after eating all of the Filipino food goodness.
The infinity pool must be the top photographed area at the Peacock Garden. It is just simply stunning. It overlooks undisturbed land and then the entire Bohol Sea along with some of the nearby islands. On a clear day, you can see forever. At night, you can see the lights of the fishing boats twinkling in the distance. Just beautiful! The pool has an adult sized pool with depth from 4ft to 6ft. There is also a kiddie pool next to it and a jacuzzi. There is a lifeguard on duty from 7am to 11pm that makes sure you are safe but also well taken care of. Food and drink service is available by the tables. They use non smelling chlorine and I must say the filter is very strong as the water is clean at all times. During our stay there, we had the pool to ourselves so imagine our family of 7 adults having a run at the place like we owned it. Quite spectacular I must say.
We had 3 rooms: my parents in the Deluxe Sea View Room, my brother-in-law and sister who shared the Peacock Suite with my youngest sister and my husband and myself in a the Deluxe Sea View Room King. Each room was well appointed and very roomy. The Deluxe Sea View Rooms have a personal balcony and overlooks the garden and pool. The balconies are also separated with large plants providing even more privacy. You can opt for the first floor or the second floor. The second floor gets you a nice view in my opinion by the first floor means straight access to the garden and the outside amenities.
Now I judge every place by how the bathrooms are. It's a thing because when I was growing up in the Philippines, wet bathrooms were very common and I didn't like them. The bathrooms at the Peacock Garden are well appointed and very roomy. The showers are large with great shower heads and have a little clothes line for your wet clothes which is unobtrusive and a nice touch. I'm not a fan of AC sometimes and we made it through some nights without turning on the AC which was great.
We didn't eat as much in the resort as we toured others parts of Panglao and we had family in Tagbiliran who kindly treated us to lunch. We did enjoy their breakfast everyday which consisted of a sit down meal with Filipino breakfast favorites as well a buffet of European favorites like croissants, jam, honey and various charcuterie and cheeses. The restaurant offers both Filipino classics as well European dishes creating a unique mix of eastern and western dishes.
I love that the Peacock Garden has an Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Philippine government which means that the project does not cause significant negative environmental impact. The grounds are protected and have lots of open areas with trees everywhere. There are no other developments nearby so it's a quiet area.
On the roofs, you will see solar panels that heat the hot water heaters. They use the key card electric system which is a great way to reduce energy consumption. This is a good idea as travelers sometimes forget that AC is a resource drain especially in the Philippines when it is constantly hot. The rooms do not face the east or west directly which ensures that the rooms stay as cool as possible.
I rarely saw disposables and plastic. Even water that was brought out to the pool area were in glasses so a big plus. Meals were always served with proper utensils and cloth napkins. I know some resorts use disposables to reduce on cleanup, but I'm glad that this resort did not skimp on that.
The staff was also very kind in refilling my Klean Kanteen water bottle which helped me reduce single-use plastic bottles as we toured the island.
I would consider this a great sustainable hotel option for those looking to travel in a more eco-friendly way.
Other Items of Note
Coffee is freshly ground which was music to my 5 espressos-a-day husband. Sorry no 3-in-1 here.
The chocolate milk in the morning was made out of rich dark chocolate, may even tableya which is pure cocoa that Bohol is famous for. This reminded me of my grandmother who made what is called "sikwate."
Bathroom toiletries are L'Occitane.
Peanut Kisses, made after the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol, are left on your bed after each cleanup. This brought a smile to my inner child.
WiFi is available through the entire resort and it is strong so you can work or check in to social media anywhere.
It's quiet so when you are at the pool, your voice echos and travels. Keep that in mind. It's also very quiet that you can fall asleep outside very easily like my mom did.
The Peacock Garden provides complimentary pick-up and drop-off service to the seaport or airport.
We've already started seeding to our youngest sister, who is 21 now, that when she gets married, she should consider a destination wedding at The Peacock Garden Resort. It has wonderful rooms, an excellent dining room for a rehearsal dinner, the infinity pool for the wedding ceremony and a large great canopied outdoor area for the reception with twinkling lights at night. We can dream!