Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A weekend stay at Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

On one long weekend in Tagaytay, a popular weekend destination in the Philippines, we discovered the Discovery Country Suites, a charming boutique hotel created from a luxurious family weekend home. 

Facade of Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

I’d been working too hard so I really wanted to get out of traffic-congested Manila and simply bask in nature and sunshine. So when my husband suggested we head to Tagaytay, I quickly said yes.

Inside Discovery Country Suites, we were greeted by more of this homey atmosphere within a stately residence. Resident Manager Marla Fresnido and her staff were all smiles as we walked into the cavernous lobby that doubled as a reception area and as part of its Verbena restaurant. A covered terrace at the end offered the kind of scenery I’d been hankering for: a panoramic view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake, along with a picturesque ridge lined with lovely houses.

Nantucket Suite of Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

My husband had booked the Nantucket Suite, which is the family room immediately to the right of the lobby. It had two large beds, making it perfect for parents and children, a spacious sitting area, and a large bathroom. My favorite place, however, was the wraparound terrace with comfortable chairs that encouraged pure relaxation amidst nature.




Each of the seven suites at Discovery Country Suites is decorated according to a specific theme, and the interiors of the 61 square meter Nantucket Suite conjured up images of summers spent by the water in Cape Cod in the East Coast, sailing along the bay or walking on the beach to pick sea shells. Indeed, we had tin replicas of sailboats and lighthouses for accent amidst classic furniture and draperies in browns and blues.





DIVING INTO COMFORT


We arrived mid-afternoon so we just had enough time to borrow a DVD from the in-house library and watch part of it when the butler knocked on the door, bringing with him a tray of cheeses and a bottle of wine.

“Did you have anything to do with this?” I asked my husband, but he only smiled. Nevertheless, the result was a most relaxing afternoon spent in our suite with the French doors open to let the fresh air in, as we sat on the bed and enjoyed a favorite movie with our wine and cheese.

Verbena Restaurant, Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

There are many good restaurants in Tagaytay and the Verbena restaurant of Discovery Country Suites is one of them, known for its creative dishes using fresh local ingredient; so of course we did not think of heading anywhere else for dinner with gourmet dining just a few steps away.




Sitting by the windows and with an entire evening ahead of us, we decided to leave our meal in the hands of the chef. He certainly did not disappoint. Each dish at the Verbena restaurant of Discovery Country Suites was delicious and beautiful, elegantly plated and garnished with flowers.


A DELICIOUS START


The next day, we awoke to the smells of freshly-baked bread in the restaurant just next to us. We had a feast the night before, but suddenly we were hungry for a proper country breakfast.


Outdoor Jacuzzi, Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

Fortunately, the Discovery Country Suites staff was well prepared. Their version of a Tagaytay breakfast included an assortment of breads and preserves, fruit juices and a plate of fried rice, scrambled eggs and Vigan longganisa. Afterwards, we jumped into the outdoor Jacuzzi, relaxing in the sunshine while listening to our favorite songs on the iPod.

Breakfast at Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay

THE VERBENA GASTRONOMIC DINNER
AT DISCOVERY COUNTRY SUITES

OYSTERS RUBEN
Creamy oysters fricassee with spaghettini and lemongrass with caviar sauce

ARUGULA SALAD
Crimson grapes, raisins, candied pistachios and spiced raspberry vinaigrette

SURF & TURF
Prime grade US angus beef rib-eye with grilled prawns, Tagaytay vegetables, Spanish paprika and herb butter

ARROZ LOCO
Heirloom Tinawon fried rice with tiger prawns, Manila clams, herb–baked oysters,Vigan sausages, chicken thighs, crispy pork belly, quail eggs, green olives, queso de bola and chicken fat croutons 

CHOCOLATE MARQUISE
Crème Anglaise with candied pistachios and chocolate nibs


Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay


OUR VACATION HOME
IN TAGAYTAY


After checking out, we enjoyed a last lunch with a view at Verbena. The menu offered tantalizing comfort food and we settled for one of the most delicious club sandwiches I’ve ever had – packed with all the traditional goodies and then fried in butter – along with a seafood stew in spicy coconut milk.


Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay


“Do we have to leave?” I asked my husband. A mist was drawing close, making the weather cooler and more pleasant than the heat that awaited us in Manila.

“Well, this place is so close to Manila,” he replied. “Anytime we feel like it, we can always return. The Discovery Country Suites can be like our second home with all the comforts and none of the inconveniences.”


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