Luxuries big and small at Hotel Monticello Tagaytay
Ida Anita Q. Del Mundo (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – At Hotel Monticello, the newest boutique hotel in Tagaytay, luxury abounds in grand ways and in the small details as well. The hotel broke ground in 2010 and started construction in full gear in 2011, general manager Eduardo “Dondi” Valdez says, but construction was set back by damage sustained from Typhoon Glenda in 2014, leaving them with “a healthy respect for Mother Nature.”

The GM adds, “We’ve taken it in stride and have become stronger in the process, with an improved and safer facility.”

 

 

 

 

With its grand launch finally pushing through in November 2015, Hotel Monticello opens its doors to guests who want something a little special during their trip to Tagaytay.

The luxury of space

If you have the luxury of time, Hotel Monticello has the space. Despite being a boutique hotel, the spaciousness and openness of the hotel’s lobby and expansive hallways exude a luxurious feel – guests know that the hotel is not cutting corners, literally.

When he was just conceptualizing the property, Valdez only wanted to do a simple bed and breakfast, maybe a seven-door facility, he says. But his mother Felisa, who is also the hotel’s chief designer, took the hotel in a much different direction – daring to envision something more. With that, Hotel Monticello grew to 41 rooms, a boutique hotel helmed by the Valdez, Dumlao and Gatmaytan families (who are also partners in another venture, the Patts College of Aeronautics), with the assistance of the Paramount Hotel Management Group.

The rooms set Monticello apart from the other lodging options, offering spacious, well-appointed accommodations, even a room with four standard beds, good for a group of four to seven (maximum of five adults and two children), perfect for families.

The penthouses offer a true luxury of space with two separate bedrooms, dining area and living area. Balconies at the penthouse suites wrap around the building, perfect for taking in Tagaytay’s fresh air.

The hotel’s lap pool is temperature-controlled, keeping swimmers comfortable despite the cool weather. “This was for me,” says the GM. “All of the Valdez children were competitive swimmers and some are triathletes.”

Despite the hotel’s close proximity to popular destinations such as the Sky Ranch and Mushroom Burger, staying at Hotel Monticello is so comfortable that guests may not even feel the need to venture out during their staycation.

A mother’s touch

Luxury is also in the details – Monticello means “little mountain” after all. Staying at a boutique hotel has its advantages. With only 41 rooms, guests can be assured of very personal and attentive service from the staff.

One gets a feeling of exclusivity, perfect for intimate occasions, with function rooms and a grand ballroom, as well as a lovely garden that can be used for receptions of 70-150 guests.

The thoughtful details handpicked by the Valdez matriarch make the hotel extra special. From the light fixtures to the hotel colors, even the hotel’s signature scent (for which she sniffed some 200 different vials of scents), each detail has been carefully chosen. “She’s a real trooper, a driving force behind all of this. Everything you see here, she’s envisioned,” says GM Valdez, adding that his mother personally supervised the hotel’s design, tirelessly walking up and down five flights of stairs as the hotel was constructed.

The 200-capacity grand ballroom is named VIA, which stands for Victoria, Isabella and Alessandra, Felisa’s granddaughters. The other function rooms are also named after granddaughters – Annika, Bianca, Vivienne and the Soleil Garden.

The chief designer says though they had the option to do something more similar to the hotel chains that are numerous in the area, she wanted to do something special.

A feast for the senses

A luxury experience would not be complete without a culinary feast. Hotel Monticello’s hidden ace is Chef JR Royol. While he complied with the owner’s request to prepare standard hotel fare, the 33-year-old winner of the first MasterChef Pinoy Edition is looking forward to introducing some exciting options for diners. “I want to introduce the real flavors of the Filipinos,” he says.

He calls his signature style “bigorot” – cuisine inspired by his mother, an Igorot from the Mountain Province, and his father, a Bicolano. Royol likewise supports the farm-to-table movement and plans to involve the local community of Tagaytay as suppliers providing the freshest ingredients for his dishes.

“I’m showcasing the simplicity of the food I grew up with and dishes that every Filipino can be proud of,” he says. “I’m looking forward to more freedom in the kitchen,” something that guests can also look forward to in the coming months at Hotel Monticello.

Hotel Monticello is located along Gen. Aguinaldo Highway, Km 60, Tagaytay City. For inquiries, visit www.hotelmonticello.com.ph.

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