A Serene Getaway in the North

(The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Thunderbird Resorts & Casinos-Poro Point offersa Santorini-styled sanctuary for the whole family.

A truly enjoyable vacation is one that lingers in memory long after bags have been unpacked and the traveler has returned to his daily grind. This is the kind of experience found in the northern town of San Fernando, La Union, where Thunderbird Resorts and Casinos-Poro Point offers soothing serenity and stunning vistas nestled within a Santorini-styled sanctuary.

Its location is its main attraction. The property offers breathtaking views of the West Philippine Sea, the San Fernando Bay and, in contrast, a view of the mountains of the North. Its blue and white architecture, reminiscent of the popular tourist destination in Greece, adds a distinctive Mediterranean feel to this idyllic spot.

“Because of our beautiful views, there are guests who are content to relax in their hotel rooms and admire the scenery from their balcony,” Thunderbird general manager Marvin Lanuza shared. But the resort also offers activities for the enjoyment of those who seek a more active path. Much of the property is devoted to a nine-hole golf course, with future plans for its expansion to a full 18-hole range.

There is a casino in the property with daily live bands and dining outlets such as the Vegas Cafe, where guests coming from as far away as Baguio and Ilocos come to try their luck in games of chance. “While we were first known as a casino resort, our focus is really to offer activities that families, especially children, will also enjoy,” he says.   

There is a sparkling infinity pool in the hotel’s vicinity, and for guests who seek fun in the sea, they can enjoy different water sports with jet skis, banana boats and kayaks. Those who want to show their water warrior skills can try out the fun obstacle course where, instead of the usual paintball, they are armed with water guns and water balloons.

To cool down from a vigorous day of activities, guests can unwind at the Zaphira Spa, which offers its signature massage in a relaxing ambience.  The magnificent sunset and cold concoctions at the Patio Santorini Bar and Lounge make for the perfect cap to a day at this splendid vacation getaway.

The amenities complement the luxe resort experience of this premiere hideaway in the North. There are spacious hotel rooms with choices of deluxe rooms and suites along with two- and three-bedroom villas.

The newly-inaugurated 29-unit Ocean View condotel is a full-service concept that also houses a fitness center, indoor children’s playroom and an exclusive executive lounge.

“All our hotel and condotel rooms feature top-of-the-line amenities such as HD TVs, beds that are fitted with top-grade mattresses and world-class bath fixtures, designed to offer utmost comfort for our guests,” Lanuza explains.

The hotel’s in-house restaurant, Olives, features a wide array of menu items ranging from signature pizzas and pastas to Asian favorites and local fare. Lanuza adds, “We are the only restaurant in the area with an authentic brick oven for our pizzas. Guests as far away as Baguio come over to enjoy our specialties, such as the Ilocano pizza with Vigan longganisa toppings.”  

What makes a stay at Thunderbird Resorts truly memorable is the personalized service. The general manager states, “We want to meet our guests’ high expectations when it comes to service. One of the ways is to make sure that we address our guests by their first names. That and the attention that we give them convey that we want to create an extraordinary experience for them during their stay.”  

Those who want to simply enjoy the ambience and amenities without having an overnight stay can also avail of the day tour package that is available in the resort. “Olives is also open to the dining public,” he says, to dispel the misconception that the entire property is exclusive only to members and guests. 

The opening of the 350-capacity Agora Event Center has allowed Thunderbird to host large indoor functions, from weddings and birthday celebrations to corporate events set against a backdrop of nature’s beauty. It is equipped with a high-end sound system with a high ceiling that is perfect for any occasion.

“We are a popular destination for weddings and prenup pictorials. We cater to beach and garden weddings, and we have also held some of these on our veranda. We are quite flexible with our wedding packages, and we also offer a prenup package for those who want to shoot their couple photos in the property,” Lanuza says.

The Agora Event Center is a perfect place to host company events, and these can be further complemented with team-building activities that the resort has ready.

Celebrations are also made more festive at Thunderbird, with their packages for holidays such as Christmas and the New Year. “Our New Year’s celebration is very popular, because we offer a lot of activities, culminating with a countdown that comes complete with a fireworks show,” Lanuza says.

Summer is a peak season, with beach parties, live entertainment and other outdoor activities for the whole family. Off-season, room rates are discounted while still offering a value-for-money proposition.    

There are other plans towards the development of the property, including the addition of a mini golf course and a community park, to offer more open spaces where families can frolic in and enjoy nature.

“Aside from expanding our offerings in order to enhance our guests’ experience, we are also working with the local government and the DOT to help boost tourism in the province of La Union,” he says.

The resort is an active participant in the annual Sillag Festival of Lights, where there are street parades, food sampling and other activities at the Poro Point baywalk that is set to be expanded with commercial booths offering local food and other products. 

Thunderbird Resorts & Casinos is located at the Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando City, La Union. Visit www.thunderbird-asia.com or call (072) 888 7777. Their new corporate office is located at 17/F Taipan Place, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig.

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