Hotel Villas Buenavista: your tropical paradise
Ever since I watched the old Robinson Crusoe movie I wanted to live on a tropical island. Well, maybe not live there permanently, but at least during the dry season, but certainly not during the rainy wet season. I love the thought of the remoteness of a tropical island but especially the warm sand on the beach and the tall palms and the magnificent sunsets. And let’s not forget about the coconuts! But let’s be practical, even if we could live on a tropical island, how hard would it be to get shelter, food and drink?
So, let’s step back just a little to a place that can make your dreams come true. You will have all the remoteness of a tropical island, but you will also have first class service along with fine dining, clean sheets, heavenly pillows, comfortable beds, clean bathrooms and a warm shower. And by the way, you will be just minutes from San Fernando, one of the top cities in the northern Philippines. Where is this place you ask? It’s the Villas Buenavista, a Mediterranean-style hotel, restaurant and villa in San Juan, the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Once you arrive at the Hotel Villas Buenavista, your senses will be overwhelmed. As you look around the villa your first reaction is that you are in the Mediterranean with a warm sea breeze blowing gently from the nearby sea. But you are in San Juan, La Union, Philippines and that beautiful breeze is coming from the Philippine Sea.
As you look at the warm sea and the impressive swimming pool, you will have a difficult time deciding which you will enjoy first!
The fabulous swimming pool is well maintained and just steps from the expansive, well-maintained beach that joins the property. It’s not yours alone, but it sure feels that way since it is never crowded.
Perhaps you will just relax, with a cold San Miguel beer, and do nothing but just chill and take in the fresh ocean breeze and the everchanging scene in this blissful paradise.
The rooms in the Villas Buenavista Hotel and Restaurant are spacious, modern and clean. The top floor rooms have vaulted ceilings that create a feeling of expansiveness.
The hotel offers free rides in their large, airy vans to nearby attractions and shopping. Inexpensive trikes and jeepneys can be picked up not too far walking distance from the hotel.
You can visit the markets in San Juan or in the nearby city of San Fernando where you can purchase fresh seafood and the ingredients which the hotel will specially prepare for you at a very nominal cost.
Above, the world-renowned chef at the Villas Buenavista prepared this scrumptious dish from mouthwatering shrimp that we purchased at the nearby San Fernando fish market.
The menu at the Villas Buenavista restaurant is extensive and covers a wide variety of Filipino and international cuisines. Their beverage menu is wide-ranging and includes several fine wine selections at very reasonable prices.
Breakfast at the Villas Buenavista is typically included in the price of the room. And there is probably no better way to start the day than with a traditional Philippine-style breakfast while looking out at the vast Philippine Sea. The splendor of the Mediterranean-style deck that overlooks the ocean waves as they roll upon the wide beach below is mesmerizing.
When lunchtime rolls around, or if you just want to enjoy a snack which is called a merianda in the Philippines, the restaurant at the Villas Buenavista is the place to go. The chef will prepare your meal with only the freshest products and you will not find better nachos this side of California!
One thing that you will notice immediately is the warmth and genuine friendship of Mrs. Marci Buenavista Millan, the owner of Villas Buenavista. She loves this place and does everything in her power to make you feel comfortable and satisfied with your stay. While we stayed at this wonderful place, for nearly one month, she joined us often for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just to chat and enjoy a glass of wine with us. Mrs. Millan lives in the complex, her grandson Alex manages the operation and they both make you feel as if you are part of their family, as do all of the staff members.
The facilities and the grounds of the Villas Buenavista are well organized and beautifully landscaped. A stroll around the luxurious complex is a delightful, tranquil, and serene experience.
Twilight time at Villas Buenavista is magical. As the sun goes down each night, you are rewarded for spending a day in paradise with a spectacular sunset. Each twilight the sunsets are different and as equally spectacular as the one yesterday and the days before. You begin to time your daily activities to coincide with Mother Natures’ stunning display of the sun dipping into the horizon and the subsequent explosion of twilight colors.
An evening meal or just enjoying a beverage along the Mediterranean promenade overlooking the beach while listening to the rolling surf slicing along the shore is a wonderful and relaxing experience.
At nighttime the Villas Buenavista take on a new life. Except for the occasional crowing of a rooster, things settle into a more serene setting. Although located not too far from the nearest main road, you will hear no traffic noise or the honking of horns that you would otherwise in some nearby hotels. The rooms are quiet, and the gentle surf makes a pleasant sound.
So, what else is there to do at the Villas Buenavista?
Did I mention watching a spectacular sunset?
How about watching a spectacular moon set?
Maybe plan a trip to the famous Banaue Rice Terraces?
Perhaps photograph some spectacular flowers?
Maybe do some bird watching?
How about some beachcombing along a two-mile stretch of pristine shoreline?
Perhaps go visit the fruit and vegetable market?
Maybe the fish market?
Perhaps be a little adventurous and try some fresh uni sea urchin?
Since San Juan is the surfing capital of the Philippines, maybe try surfing?
Maybe have a company excursion to Villas Buenavista or have a team building experience?
Possibly have your wedding reception or photo session at Villas Buenavista?
Maybe you can enjoy a family reunion on the beach?
Maybe you can witness sea turtles hatching at the nearby CURMA facility?
What about just relaxing and watching the clouds make magical shapes?
How about exploring an ancient Spanish lighthouse on the Villa Buenavista property?
Perhaps enjoy some great artwork in the hotel lobby?
Maybe enjoy a rainbow?
Perhaps you can play Santa Claus and hand out some treats to the neighborhood kids?
How about a peaceful walk along a sandy beach next to the ocean?
What better place is there to ring in the New Year?
How about just frolicking along the seashore?
Perhaps just leave your footprints in the sand?
I may have already mentioned, but why not watch a spectacular sunset?
How about just spending some quality time with your significant other?
We hope that you enjoyed seeing what Villas Buenavista in San Juan, La Union, the Philippines has to offer. If you would like more information, or would like to contact the hotel, please click on the following:
If you are looking for a worthwhile cause to get involved in, please consider CURMA. This group of volunteers have dedicated themselves to the well-being and survival of the Olive Ridley sea turtle which nests along the beaches of San Juan. For more information, please see:
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All photographs are the copyright of Jim Jackson Photography. Please contact me for authorization to use or for signed, high-resolution copies.
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