Flying into the Philippines to go scuba diving anywhere in the Visayas region will mean flying to Cebu International airport. If you are then heading on to another island or joining a liveaboard, chances are that you will need a stopover in one direction or another or you might fancy a few days just relaxing.
Alegre Beach Resort and Spa is a great choice if you have a couple of days to spare. The resort will collect you from the airport terminal and take you on a scenic drive along the north coast passing some busy city areas, through tiny villages and past farming regions until you reach the hotel.
Spread across two small hills above the eastern coast, the resort is split in half by a valley that leads down to a beautiful sandy beach. The cottages sit on one hill and the restaurant, pool and other facilities sit on the other.
It's a only a few minutes between the two sides if you stay on level ground at the rear and walk through the landscaped gardens, or you can take the steps then go down and up the valley or even wander along the beach front. There are three coves to explore that way.
Rooms All cottages are divided into two rooms that have interconnecting doors. It's possible that you might hear noisy neighbours, but we found the rooms were well insulated and quiet. The rooms are big too, with either a king size bed or two smaller doubles.
Decorations are pleasant and facilities are what you would expect of any 4-5 star hotel with a fan, air-con, TV, Wi-fi, fridge and coffee facilities. The unique features of the Alegre rooms were the enormous, luxurious bathrooms with hand-made toiletries and the supply of excellent freshly ground Filippino coffee.
Outside, a terrace is divided by a folding door to keep your neighbours at bay. From here you get a partial view of the sea. Rooms in the front have better views but mostly they are obscured by the forest of trees and bright, tropical plants.
Facilities On the reception side of the resort, there is a large freshawater pool and the main restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a small beach bar where you can order food. Meals were really very good, with a Filippino specialties menu if you preorder. The dishes from this were delicious. Drink prices were acceptable, and for those on a budget the gift shop sold beer and soft drinks at supermarket prices.
There is also a spa and a games room plus tennis, basketball, badminton and volleyball courts. On the beach there is a general waterposrts centre, which included diving. We only had the opportunity to do a single dive. The centre is targetted at try-dives and snorkelling for holiday makers rather than serious divers. The coastal reef is regarded as a sanctuary but it was not a very prolific reef and visibilty was low, as it seems to be everywhere close to Cebu. Having said that, we saw some good macro life.
Value Room costs vary but a 3-day package including buffet breakfast and transfers were incredible value.
Opinion Although there was a lot of activities at Alegre, we didn't do any as we found we were too busy simply enjoying the ambience and doing absolutely nothing after a 10 day liveaboard. And for that, it was just perfect.