The most terrible resort and "dive center" during 5 years
I was made to know that there were two types of hotels (resort) in Anilao:
The first type is for locals (just for chill-out or water sports) and suitable short holidays like weekends, it’s about 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Manila.
The second type is for divers who only need basic facilities for sleep; however they also have facilities for diving making it not strange to find friendly divers around.
Nevertheless it appears the King Solomon Resort and Dive Center is neither qualified for both categories.
As part of our plans for our 5days short diving trip we booked this hotel since almost all the diving centers in Mabini were fully booked. From the references we found about it on Agoda where it scored a 7.2, it still looked okay despite some cases of water shortage and slow food. However, our experience there was overly “surprising.” We only stayed for two nights and escaped to another much more expensive dive resort instead. And we really hope our feedback will save your money and time.
Very Greedy Hotel
The hotel asked us to pay a whooping 6000php for one way when we asked them to arrange transport for us from the airport to hotel. When we asked for a discount or any other cheaper alternative we were simply told replied "That's the price for round trip airport transfer, you have an option to look for another service." We accepted this due to the short notice time.
A friendly couple picked us on our arrival to Manila which was by 1pm. We waited outside the airport for 1 hour 30 minutes for the guy to drive the car from the parking place. On the way, we noticed they weren’t hotels staffs neither had they been to Mabini before, they only planned to spend an holiday their sometime later. Hence, picking us was just a testing drive and an avenue for them to check the hotel for their vacation. Despite following Google map, they missed the way a couple of times and we ended up reaching the hotel by almost 6:30 pm.
The lady at the reception asked the couple to leave first before informing us that we needed to pay the transfer before we check-in.
We later found out the actual price of the transfer was just 3500php for one way when we asked the ASDC (Anilao Scuba Dive Center) to help us arrange the transfer from Mabini to the airport. We don’t know how much the couple where paid, but one thing was glaring the greediness of this hotel, and we felt cheated.
Bad Facilities and Food Resource
We have been travelling around Southeast Asia at least three times yearly, which were mostly only for diving. We can’t be referred to as true backpackers but we understand the quality standard of hotels in those countries. However, King Solomon was short of every standard. The only thing King Solomon has is the Resort it claims to be and good architecture nothing more. The internal facilities were poorly maintained with no difference from those in cheap hotels. I say it is bad because a look at reviews shows that various guests have been complaining about similar issues since 2012 till date.
About Food and Drink
After being on the road for more than 5 hours, dinner was the next thing on our minds. We were informed that there was no seafood (we don't eat red meat), no tomatoes and cucumbers for the salad all we could order were butter vegetable, five eggs, boiled eggplant, and rice. We were shocked by what they cooked. The butter vegetable came in coaster size plates, with frozen vegetable and corn. The boiled eggplants were just cut with a little slice of onions and plenty of rice-this was a supposed 660php dinner. How the staff felt this was adequate for two adults after more than half day road trip still bothers me. We thought we would be in a resort rather; we ended up in a cheap low class hotel.
After our complaints to the reception, we were given tuna steak, butter vegetable (a bigger plate) and salad (it looked like something bought from outside) for dinner on the second day after a one hour wait. The cost of this dinner was about 1000php.
How they charge for food is difficult to know since it isn’t based on the menu. There were no juice; all they had were Cola, water and beer. From any possible fruits only banana were available.
About the Facilities
After dinner on the first night we encountered issues with the water pressure, it wasn’t hot or warm just cold yet dripping slowly. When we called Lavinia, she told us everything would be okay in 30 minutes as the staff will fix it. Despite our tiredness my bf still tried to be nice by requesting for a rearrangement to another room, we were told there only six rooms available and none for us. The problem persisted even after the tank was refilled; we were only able to get just enough water to shower after the cleaning of the shower head by needle...
The bathroom had no soap or gel and we were asked to pay 10php if we needed one. There diving facilities looked like something that has been abandoned for a very long time.
The second night had a black out (not new in Philippine). A staff came to knock on our door 10 minutes later offering us a candle, promising to fix the light in 20 to 30 minutes, the light later came back on after about 15minutes. There was karaoke next to the hotel until later night.
Unprofessional and dishonest staff
The staffs in King Solomon were nothing to write about.
On one hand, all the staffs were friendly to us, even when we complained to them about food and facilities. When we made enquires for diving, Lavinia helped us to arrange diving with ASDC (seems this is the only dive center she could always find after I read feedback from other guests from the internet). We had very good diving with ASDC. We noticed Lavinia was the only person at the hotel who was fully willing to speak with us; other staffs were friendly too but were a little bit afraid while speaking to us. They did the best they could to serve guests but it was obvious they lacked the standard training needed for resort staffs.
However, despite the friendly nature of the staff we observed they weren’t honest to Agoda about our complaints when we tried to ask for the partial refund. They told Agoda that the "power blackout only lasted for 2 to 3 minutes, that we couldn’t operate the water volume properly, that we failed to report the noise to them to enable them change our rooms for us, and that there were hotel menu available. We were disappointed when the hotel gave us this reply. They lied about our request to change room (which we obviously asked) and the blackout time. As a guest it isn’t my duty to check if your facilities are well maintained or not. This is the reason why they were employed and paid as staffs in the hotel. How can I make an order when they don’t have virtually everything on the menu? How can I know if the quantity of food they will bring will be a plate or coaster size?
When we check-out from King Solomon, Lavinia refused to see us about the payment rather she instructed another staff to handle our check-out.
P.S: It's common for hotels to have some pets in Southeast Asia, usually those pets are very friendly-King Solomon has a young cat as well. It reacted weirdly and attacked us when we tried to play and feed it. It was scared when we tried to approach it and only stepped up to take food then stepped backward immediately after finishing the food. We were shocked as we have never seen any pet with this kind of behavior; seems it appeared to have suffered from heavy abuse before.
Couples - May 8, 2017