I’ve always imagined myself living in a coast close to nature. A beautiful beach cove just a stretch away, mountains surrounding my home and cool fresh air naturally in abundance. I got to experience what is like to live in a community as such when we visited Pico Sands Hotel in Pico de Loro, Hamilo Coast, Batangas. An exclusive private residential development, the Pico Sands Hotel caters to guest and club members within the area.
Pico de Loro at Hamilo Coast
It’s not the first time I’ve been to the Pico de Loro. I remember the mountain the development was named from was the first mountain I climbed in my whole life. And just a few months back I joined a Salomon XTrail Run and was able to glimpse a few of its 18 coves in Hamilo coast while climbing ridges near the residential area. It just shows how rich the natural wonder this area has to offer.
I got back here as part of the media to cover the 9th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines (ACGTDT). More than 200 delegates visited Pico de Loro to discover what the place and province has to offer especially to investors and looking for a place to retire. Nasugbu is an ideal location outside Manila since it’s only a couple of hours away via Cavitex and the recently opened Kaybiang Tunnel.
Pico Sands Hotel
The Pico Sands Hotel is in the same mold as the rest of the residential buildings in the area but of a different lighter tone on the paint. The architecture is modern and minimalist with a tropical design letting the natural air circulate inside the halls. Lots of bare space accentuated by touches of captivating artworks from the likes of Sanso or San Juan.
At the same level as the lobby, there’s the Pico Bar for signature beverages and also the Pico Restaurant that offers really sumptuous Filipino fares and Mediterranean cuisines. Breakfast buffet is also served here.
There are about 154 rooms at Pico Sands Hotel. There’s the Mountain View and also the Lagoon View. We got a Premier View Mountain View room with two queen-sized bed in a 37sqm room and a 7sqm balcony. I love having the trees in my balcony view. The room is very spacious, quite minimal as well, almost bare with only a slight character with the headboard paintings. I would have enliven it more with potted indoor plants. Still the room has most amenities needed, working aircon, comfy beds, cable TV, mini-ref, steady Wiifi and huge bathroom.
Pico Sands Hotel shares the facility with residential owners at the Country Club. There’s no shortage of things to do here. From the inviting pools facing the scenic man-made lagoons, impressive indoor courts for badminton, table tennis, basketball and tennis courts, the bowling and billiard room, Club Pico playground for kids, KTV rooms and board games hall. For conferences and events the Baia Ballroom and Foyer where the ACGTDT event was held can occupy up to 500 pax. There’s just so much to do here.
Outdoor enthusiast can enjoy the beach of course though the Beach Bar is restricted for members and residents only, though the beach is large enough for hotel guest to enjoy. The beach is light brown but nice still as the water is clean and clear. They actually have good snorkelling and island hopping activity here.
Since the weather wasn’t that good the afternoon we came, drizzling and huge waves, I decided to use their indoor facility. Their Gym looks new. The exercise machines and weights were of high standard. The free weights dumbbells were only up to 50lbs but that’s good already for conditioning for a short stay.
The next morning I decided to do a run around the area. Already familiar with my last run, I just decided to use the pathway around the man-made lagoon after my main street run. I did several rounds and enjoyed the cool weather, the serene environment and the morning view. This really is an ideal place to relax, especially for the elderlies as a place to retire, to enjoy nature with the comfort and convenience of home and facilities.
Do take note that for hotel guest, every activity here like courts, gym and sport equipment have corresponding rental rates. There’s a shuttle service that comes every 15 minutes to bring guest to key points of Pico de loro like the Country Club and the beach.
The Rain Spa
Another service we tried is the in-house Rain Spa. They have choices of massages from the free-flowing strokes of Tranquility, nerve-calming Harmony and stress-relieving and muscle-tension releasing Vitality. I chose the latter, Vitality since they said it’s good for those who prefer hard massages and good stretching. We were led to one of the double-spa rooms with their own steam and shower, toilet and bath tub. I do find the room also quite bare and could have used little decorations to add mood and lighten the atmosphere a bit. It’s a good thing though the masseuse I got was really good. I regularly have massage treatments and do know if I got a good massage therapist. She knows the vital points and proper pressure I liked and was very good at the stretches. Definitely ended up with a rejuvenating massage.
The Rain Spa also have other services like Body Treatment scrubs, scalp massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, foot reflexology and spa. They actually have a Barako Bliss foot massage making use of barako coffee scrubs on the foot. I wasn’t able to try it but my companions said it was really soothing.
Everyday’s a Holiday
My stay at Pico Sands Hotel was an enjoyable one albeit short. I think there’s something here for everyone to enjoy so it’s an ideal place for families and friends to spend vacations. There’s no shortage of activities, security is tight for peace of mind, staff are attentive and facility definitely above average. Of course there’s a premium on the price but you do get premium vacation experience to go with it.
Pico Sands Hotel
Pico de Loro Cove, Hamilo Coast,
Brgy. Papaya, Nasugbu, Batangas
Follow them at Facebook at /Picosandshotel
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.