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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Staycation at El Masfino: The Finest or So-so?

Garden view from our room at El Masfino

For those times when you want to feel indulged in an upscale environment and just sip a glass of wine by the pool, mesmerized by a lush green landscape, El Masfino Hotel & Resort fits the bill.

Or, if you wish to maintain a theme of intimate getaway, enjoy the water and the sunshine without intrusion, or if you want a private moment to swing your golf club, El Masfino in San Rafael, Bulacan is unmistakably a place for you.

The Finest

El Mas Fino is a Spanish phrase that translates to "the finest".

At El Masfino Hotel & Resort, the emphasis is on creating and giving "the finest" experience among guests whether they are on a romantic getaway, a family bonding or team-building activity. In this estate, the facilities are built in luxury. The staff are expected to be sharp and genuinely attentive. The outdoor adventure runs the gamut from golfing to driving a dune buggy and is sure to complete an enriching experience.


Early this month, I and eight fellow bloggers stayed in this place of comfort for a weekend break. Did we have the finest staycation at El Masfino Hotel & Resort? Read through to know about our experience and recommendations plus some pro tips to make the most of your stay! 




Driving up north


Allow me to blabber a bit about my commute from Shaw Boulevard to Eton Centris. Don't you think the stairs at MRT Shaw are too high? I tried to count the number of steps but I lost count. I seriously think it could be a good training ground for beginner climbers or for those who want to strengthen their leg muscles. Anyways, I'm happy about two things here:

1. The long, steep stairs (that allow passengers to unconsciously workout)
2. The new baggage scanner in the station

Passengers at MRT Shaw Blvd station having their bags scanned 

I arrived at MRT Quezon Avenue Station 30 minutes before the call time. So I leisurely walked to Eton Centris. A private van from El Masfino was already there waiting for the bloggers. Rowena of Travel Eat Pinas and Jaey of Heyjaey were early birds as well. I won't mention the late comers, Stacy and JL... (LOL JL was on time) because I din't mind the wait. I got to eat breakfast and take pictures before we took off...

Photo opp with the giant koal bear at eton centris, a selfie in the van (love the pillow), at the toll gate

We left Eton Centris past 9 and arrived at A Square, a new community buzz hub in Baliuag, Bulacan at around 10:30. We hung there for a bit. I recommend you check out A Square of you live within the area or if you happen to need a stopping place on your way to the north. 


Into the 'woods


The drive from NLEX to A Square was fast and smooth. It was a sunny, hot morning in the rainy month of July. I'm not sure if the travel time would have taken longer if it rained...

El Masfino Hotel & Resort is 20 minutes away from A Square. It is located in the 'woods – in the Royal Northwoods at Brgy. Coral na Bato! *wink*wink* 

There weren't any public transportation along F. Viola Hiway to Brgy. Coral na Bato. There's also not much to see on the way but rice fields, residential houses, and a few commercial establishments. But I like the sight. It highly contrasts the busy, crowded city life inside Manila... 

Upon arrival at the Royal Northwoods Country Club, I couldn't help but think of Mountain Lake Resort in Cavinti, Laguna. Both resorts are nicely tucked away and let guests reconnect to nature.

Shades of nature at El Masfino 
metal wall sculpture at the pavilion of El Masfino Hotel & Resort
front desk at the pavilion


Arrival & Check-in

As soon as we got off the van, the friendly concierge helped us unload our bags and walked us to the front desk in the pavilion. The hotel pav has a clean and inviting space with high ceiling adorned with hanging capiz chandeliers. The walls have framed leaf metal sculptures that coordinate with the design at the reception desk. 

The receptionist stood there, greeted us with a smile and asked us to fill the check-in form. The check-in didn't take long even if we were three groups. We got our room keys and were immediately guided to our rooms.  

The way to the accommodation is on the west side of the pavilion. A narrow pavement leads to the earth-colored building inspired by Mediterranean architecture with tiled roofs, bricked pillars, courtyard, and balconies. Step out of the pavilion and you will be welcomed by an open space lushly manicured with palm trees, Bermuda grass, and tropical plants.       

Palm trees and other tropical plants in the grounds of El Masfino


Our Room


El Masfino's deluxe room with two double bed


Deluxe Room


I stayed at a deluxe room with two fellow bloggers - Ehms of Aemelia Mundi and Atty. Stacy of Tsinoy Foodies. Our room is spacious and accommodates up to two adults plus two kids. I like that the room's very neat with ambient lighting and fresh smell. I was able to sleep soundly.

The deluxe rooms in El Masfino feature spacious rooms with super-comfy double or kingsize bed, cable TV, mini bar, small fridge, a sitting area, closet, lamps, balconies, telephone, water heater, complimentary coffee and water, slippers, toiletries, separate toilet and shower rooms, vanity mirrors, and safety deposit boxes. 

There is no bath tub or hair dryer in the room. But I believe you can request like I did. I was able to request for an iron for no additional cost. 

Pro tip: Let your hotel know about your requests such as an extra towel or umbrella or if you need a hair dryer. Your hotel will certainly do their best to accommodate all requests but this is subject to availability and the hotel's discretion. 

A night at El Masfino's deluxe room is at P 5,124.00. The rate is inclusive of breakfast and swimming at the water park for two (2) people only. Two children below 12 years old are free of room charges but not for breakfast and swimming. Breakfast and swimming rates are listed in the bottom part of this article. 

An extra adult is charged P800.00. The fee is inclusive of breakfast and swimming.

Suite Room


bedroom
bathroom
dining area
Guests can cook here

El Masfino has 4 Suite Rooms with perfect garden-view. Each Suite has a separate bedroom with kingsize bed, two bathrooms, mini kitchen, dining area, living area with long comfy-couch and cable tv. The room is accentuated by fancy wall paintings and elegant capiz chandeliers. The floor is tiled. The living area has an accent mat that looks like a sisal carpet and a large brown velvet sofa.

The Suite Room accommodates up to 6 people and costs P 8,540.00. Just like in the Deluxe Rooms, the rate is inclusive of breakfast and swimming at the water park for two (2) people only. Two children below 12 years old are free of room charges but not for breakfast and swimming. Breakfast and swimming rates are listed in the bottom part of this article. 

An extra adult is charged P800.00. The fee is inclusive of breakfast and swimming.


Hotel Amenities


After taking our lunch, we had a tour of the entire property to see the hotel amenities. 

At the pavilion, there is a small, air-conditioned business center equipped with more than 4 desktop computers, printer, large sofa, and power outlets. A souvenir shop is next to the business center. Guests who forget swim wear can buy here. A bikini top is around 10-15 USD (~500-800 pesos). Other souvenirs can be bought such as shirts, bags, accessories, and so on. Elegant comfort rooms are adjacent to the business center and souvenir shop.

On the either side of the pavilion, you can find the coffee bar to the left, and the KTV room to the right. A few more walks and you can see the playground. Kids and the kids -at-heart can enjoy in this happy place.  

El Masfino's playground
Picnic area at El Masfino

Next to the playground is the picnic area that looks like a mini-forest. It is my favorite place. It could be a venue for quiet reflection or for feast with family or friends. It has tall, slender trees, wooden tables, and BBQ grills for unique outdoor dining. 

The clubhouse is within easy walking distance from the pavilion. But a golf cart is on the wait for guests who want a quick transfer.

One of El Masfino's Cabanas

Cabanas or Nipa Huts are poised near the pool side. 

Special Nipa Huts serve as spa for guests who wish to be pampered. There is no fitness gym but guests are free to use their yoga mat and stretch by the poolside or swim through the 6 feet lap pool.

enjoying at El Masfino's wave pool with Blaine is Lost!

A definite plus for El Masfino Hotel is its wave pool. With huge rafts and life vest, swimmers can enjoy the water ride through the lazy river. The wave pool's depth ranges from 3 ft to 6 ft. Guests can also enjoy water basketball.

Protip: Don't forget to bring your swimwear, sunscreen, and your swimming goggles.

El Masfino's water park


Avid golfers can benefit from the hotel's well-groomed golf course. Read more about our tour around the Royal Northwoods Golf and Country Club here.

Just hanging here by the pond because I can't golf LOL 

Another hotel amenity is the thrilling obstacle course intended for company getaways or team-building activities. Let me share a separate article for these activities.


Dining experience at the Clubhouse


Lunch with Mr. Myke Celis and fellow bloggers at El Masfino Clubhouse

For lunch, we ate Teriyaki chicken, rice, and iced tea. The chicken was tasty and the dish was well-presented with colorful stir-fried vegetables on the side. The appetizer was a lettuce soup with cream of mushroom. Unlike breakfast, lunch menu is not set. The dish depends on what the chef cooks for the day. 

Our afternoon snack was pancit canton, banana shake, and that mouthwatering turon! I loved it! 

Lunch!

Another thing I loved in the restaurant is their vinegar. I wish I could buy a bottle of it actually... Our dinner was grilled porkchop and milkfish. It was simple but tasty... So far, the dishes that we tried were all flavorsome and stuffing.

Delectable food, excellent staff service and restaurant ambiance all contributed to my impressive dining experience at El Masfino Clubhouse. 


Activities to Try


El Masfino has a diverse number of activities: there is golfing on an adjacent championship eighteen-hole course; outdoor barbecues; ball games; water sports; karaoke; obstacle course; and some motorized sports like dune buggy for an additional cost.

Click here to read about El Masfino's must try activities.



Rates 


Day tour is possible at El Masfino. Guests on this day pass can enjoy the water park and other activities at an additional cost. Please refer to the price list below. 



Guests on day tour have the option to either rent the Cabana or the Suite Room for the day's accommodation. 

The Cabana is good for 10 people and is priced at P700. 

The Suite is good for 6 people at P3,360.00. Guests opting to rent this room can get a complimentary swimming for 2 people. Room use is from 6 AM to 6 PM. Guests can use the room's kitchen and cook their own food.  

Living and dining area of El Masfino's Suite Room


How to get to El Masfino Hotel & Resort


The most convenient way to get to El Masfino is through a private vehicle. Commuting via bus and tricycle could be an option but NOT recommended. The tricycle ride from Baliuag town proper may be pricier. Also, there might not be any trics available when you go out of the property so it's either you hire the driver to wait for you or get his number to fetch you afterward. Either way, it's a hassle. It is also worth noting that there is no UBER or Grab in the vicinity. Taxis are scarce. 

Protip: Rent a car from Manila to go to this place.

El Masfino is located inside the Royal Northwoods Gold and Country Club. Check out this map:


Private Transportation


If you have private transportation, you can get to El Masfino in about an hour and thirty minutes. It's a 56 km distance from Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. The fastest route is via Pan-Philippine Hi-way with NLEX tolls and private roads.

Directions (you can easily get this from from google maps):

Route 1, via NLEX, take Sta. Rita Exit and traverse through Doña Remedios Trinidad Highway. Take a right turn at Capihan Junction (Capihan Chapel) and travel along Viola Road which is 4km towards the Royal Northwoods Country Club.

Route 2, via NLEX, exit at Balagtas and travel straight along Plaridel By-Pass Road towards Gen. Alejo Santos Highway. Make a left turn towards Bustos Municipal Hall and right turn at C.L. Hilario St. From there, you will pass the Bustos Bridge, then make a right turn towards Calle Rizal of Brgy. Sabang. Go straight towards Sampaloc Junction and Dona Remedios Trinidad Highway. Make a right turn at Capihan Junction(Capihan Chapel) and travel 4km through Viola Road towards the Royal Northwoods Country Club

Commute


If you are coming from EDSA, take a bus bound for Baliuag. Get off at Baliuag town proper. From there, take a tricycle to the Royal Northwoods Golf and Country Club. 


PARTING WORDS


Our stay at El Masfino Hotel & Resort was absolutely indulging. 


With its lush, well-maintained environment, countless thrilling activities to try, exceptionally congenial staff, quite pleasing accommodation and foodat reasonable rates, this hotel lives up to its name! 

Do we recommend this hotel?


Absolutely! I recommend this place to you - couples, families with kids or groups of travelers. There's a reason many visitors return here often. I will come back here! 


Book a room at El Masfino Hotel & Resort now!



What do you think about El Masfino Hotel & Resort? Have you stayed here before? Have you stayed at a similar luxury hotel? If you haven't, would you like to stay here? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below! Thanks for your time!

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