Camp Netanya is very instagrammable. The facade and the pool area are picture worthy even when the skies are gloomy. Nothing that a few filters can’t fix. That’s about where the good stuff ends.
From the piano versions of pop songs playing on a repeat all day, every day we stayed there to the unacceptable poop of unknown origin in our rooms up to the frustrating interactions with housekeeping and the front desk – Camp Netanya is a tangible and perfect example of what your mom used to tell you : Don’t be fooled by looks, or in this case, Instagram photos.
Seryoso, please change the music. It felt like I was in Waco. Despacito, in any version but most especially in soft piano is not relaxing. It’s grating.
I booked the two nights early in February for our stay in March. The transaction online was easy enough except that I did not get a booking confirmation, just a payment confirmation. No biggie, it happens. I called them anyway just to get confirmation and to ask if they had a pick up service. I did not mind paying extra for it, I just wanted to see if I can get away with not driving at all. The lady I spoke to confirmed my booking but has no idea about my inquiry so she said she will just call me back. They never got back to me so I assumed that they don’t have that service. Dedma. Keri lang.
In retrospect, the weather seemed to be a precursor to the next sequence of events. Gray skies and torrents were on the menu. Bits of sunshine tried to peek out but the clouds won just by sheer number. We got there pretty early so we decided to have breakfast. The server gave the menu and we checked it out and called her back when we were ready. “We will have 2 continental breakfasts please.” No surprise that it was not available. We resigned ourselves to coffee and sad pieces of toast.
Trying to stay on the positive track, I suggested that we have a massage while waiting for check in. The lady at the front desk said that there was a promo. I tried to get us both booked but, again, no surprise, only 1 therapist was available I told travel buddy to go on and get the massage as I had to finish some work stuff anyway. Off he went with a hint of trepidation. I smiled to assure him. I shouldn’t have. I should have said, let’s call it a loss and find some other place. But I wanted to give the place a chance, after all, we just got there.
I finished work early and took the opportunity to roam the halls and scope the place out aka planning where to take my IG photos. Yes, I am shallow that way. I found my way to the spa and it was a sad place. It didn’t look like a spa. It was a construction site with spa stuff around it. It was unfinished and smelled like concrete. Maybe because it IS unfinished and there was concrete in the air. There was a leak too, which was exactly where your clothes were supposed to go. Suffice to say, Travel Buddy’s shorts got wet.
We had the nice room, we were told by Topher, a waiter and a bell hop. There’s a balcony, he said. The room size is okay, the balcony does provide a bit of a premium and has a nice view. To be fair and objective, let’s see what they said this room would have vs the actual stuff in the room:
I tried to connect to any wifi from the resort but all I got was nothing
There was poop from mice or from roaches or both in the cupboards. The balcony was dirty. The bathroom was horrifyingly filthy. The ill placed massive chandelier is missing parts and is wonky. My side of the bed sinks too, which makes for a really uncomfortable sleeping situation.
Here’s the video of the room after housekeeping did it up in the morning and after I have complained to the front desk, which prompted me to raise the issue to management.
What’s more frustrating is the price point and the presentation of this place being luxurious. I spoke with the manager on duty, Ral and he looked sincerely apologetic and horrified. He took a look at the place personally and assured us that it was going to be rectified. They cleaned the poop but still no bath mat. And they threw away the soap but didn’t replace it. It’s like doing the cha cha. Parang sitcom.
To be fair, the food, though exorbitantly priced, is good. The pancit Batangas was delicious, the sinigang could have been more sour but that’s my preference. Even the inasal and chopsuey was delicious. Just don’t ask Topher to make your rum and coke as he tends to embellish to impress. May calamansi juice yung rum coke namin. He’s sweet though and he tried. The staff are polite and I figure that they’re just trying the best they can. But they lack basic training and understanding on what luxury means. I could have stayed in Shangri-la for 2 nights with their prices. I could have stayed 3 nights at Fairmont. This is not a luxury place, let’s make that painfully clear. But they charge you luxury rates and present themselves as such. That, for me is not acceptable.
They tried to make it up by give ng us a 20% discount on our last meal. It was laughable already at this point. We thanked Ral and just rolled with whatever was going to happen. Wouldn’t you know it, there was a blackout. The generators kicked in, which was good, but tended to shut down every 20 – 25 minutes. The entire place was dunked in darkness for about 4 times, once while the weekend entertainment (Shiela the belly dancer) was performing.
Should you still go to Camp Netanya? Sure. For a day maybe. Or stay when they’re finally done fixing up the place and training the staff. If you are staying there soon, ask for room 619. Check the fridge. If you find crispy pata bones, then you know that room hasn’t been cleaned. Maybe ask for a refund.