Saturday, June 17, 2017

TRAVEL | Ted's Bed and Breakfast (Sta. Cruz, Laguna)

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Bonfire pit, cottages in the background.

When we called Sta. Cruz our base for a not-so-recent getaway to Laguna, we were met with questions like: "why Sta. Cruz?" "what's in Sta. Cruz?" or "what are you gonna do in Sta. Cruz?"

Admittedly the town has little to offer--at least that I know of--but we just needed a place to stay from where we could drive to other places of interest like the Hulugan Falls in Luisiana, Laguna. Suffice it to say that we found in Sta. Cruz a bed and breakfast that looks just like our kind of place: small, nice, and quiet.

Here's a rundown of our experience at Ted's Bed and Breakfast in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Booking and welcome
Ted's has two listings in Airbnb, so I wasn't sure if any of the two is updated and if I could expect a prompt response. To be sure I called them up and I was given bank details for a 50% downpayment to secure my booking. After emailing them a copy of the deposit slip, they immediately confirmed.

When we arrived the security guard on duty directed us to a parking area at the back of their restaurant, Ted's Kitchen (which I'll write about next), and where the B&B is. Although there's a cottage that I believe should have been the B&B's reception, it wasn't manned and we were told to go to the restaurant.

I filled out a registration form and on the back of it was a checklist of choices for our "Good Night Treat," breakfast, and whether we wanted to reserve the bonfire pit and get a s'mores kit. There are also spaces for our preferred times for each meal or activity. Nice, I thought, and it looked like our stay was off to a good start.

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Customizing your stay is always a nice touch for any B&B or hotel.

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The unmanned reception. Maybe management believes it's more cost-efficient to have their restaurant staff multi-task instead.

Ambiance
The B&B sits in a separately fenced area. Its seven cottages are arranged nicely in a circular manner facing each other, with the landscaping and surrounding trees further adding to the place's charm.

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The entrance to the B&B.

Our cottage
All cottages are identical although at least two appear smaller than the rest. Following a rustic-inspired design, each cottage has a cute little front porch where you can have coffee or read a book. Its huge glass windows and doors allow natural light in and afford guests a full view of what's outside. Just draw out the curtains if you need some privacy.

The interiors are characterized by bare concrete, but the monotony is quickly broken by the wood panel accent wall against the bed and the use of blocks of rough stone on its side walls. It's not a very kid-friendly space--unless you're fine with your toddler scaling the walls like a wall climber. With the stones jutting out, I think that's possible because he definitely has something to grip. But for adults, it's all good.

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Our cottage. Notice that it's PWD-friendly with a wheelchair ramp.

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Guests are afforded a full view of what's outside from the comfort of their beds.

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I tried scaling the wall but I reckon a toddler could do it. 😁

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The cottage was quite spacious actually.

I don't know about the bed configurations in the other cottages but ours was a double bed. I'm not particularly picky with beds, so I think it was okay although I would have wanted proper extra pillows instead of throw pillows. 

There's a bench and a cabinet with shelves for your things, and for entertainment, a small TV. Though we never really care much for TV, I thought that given its size, it's a little too far from the bed. There's purposely no WiFi as Ted's encourages guests to disconnect, but it's available at the restaurant.

The bathroom carries on with the bare concrete aesthetic, with gray tiles for flooring and matched perfectly by the white lighting. There was just this weird smell that I guess was from the drain. We also had to repeatedly deal with a faulty shower knob. Other than that, it was okay.

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Care to read a book here?

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The bathroom. The toilet was a tad too small for me, though.

The food and service
Meals are served at the restaurant, Ted's Kitchen, which I'll review separately in another post. Remember the registration form where they let us choose our breakfast and good night treat, including our preferred time? Apparently that's not strictly followed.

First night I was expecting my native hot choco at 9pm but it didn't come. I even made two separate trips to the restaurant just to follow it up. To be fair, they were kind enough to store my bibingka de macapuno in their fridge and allowed me to bring a bottle of service water back to our cottage.

Breakfast also isn't ready by your specified time. You still have to wait as if you just placed an order, so I don't know what the point is of filling out that form. As for the food, it was mostly good.

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Pancakes with sausage patties, bacon, and eggs.

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Angus beef silog.

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Longsilog.

What really ticked me off was our supposed takeaway of longsilog, which we intended to bring to Hulugan Falls in case there was no place to have lunch. I ordered two in advance during breakfast but they weren't ready when I came to pick them up about an hour later.

I waited at the restaurant but after much time had passed, I finally followed it up. Only then did they realize that they forgot my order and only then did they actually start preparing it. So I waited again. The final straw came when they handed me my order, and there was only one longganisa meal instead of two. I refused their offer to make me another one and stormed out.

When we came back from our trip later that evening, they said that the cakes and coffee we had were on the house. But I insisted on paying. The next day upon checkout, someone who I presumed to be either the manager or the owner formally offered an apology, which I accepted.

And just as we were about to leave in the car, a staff member came running with my bibingka de macapuno in tow, which I completely forgot about. She also gave me a salted egg cheesecake. I guess all's well that ends well.

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In hindsight
Despite the kitchen mishaps, Ted's Bed and Breakfast remains a fairly nice place to stay. And it's also inexpensive. It's cute but management has to routinely keep things in check, like the bathroom drain and that shower knob, to ensure that guests consistently have the best experience beyond mere aesthetics. They should also take a hard look at their registration form because that alone holds a lot of promise, which they only have to figure out how to fulfill.

Still worth a try.

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Still a lovely place to stay.

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GETTING THERE:

Via public transport
Take one of those buses bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna. There are terminals in Cubao and Taft Ave. in Makati City. It's about a 3-hour ride and the fare is >Php100 but shouldn't exceed Php150. I'm not exactly sure where the trip ends in Sta. Cruz but you can take a tricycle going to Ted's Kitchen.

Via private vehicle
Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit at Calamba. Continue driving through the National Highway (although there's a diversion road so you can skip the traffic at the Calamba town proper). You'll pass by Pansol, Los Baños, Bay, and Pila.

Ted's Kitchen (the B&B is at the back) is right along the highway on the opposite side. It comes way before Sunstar Mall, so if you see that one already that means you missed it and you have to go back. 

Or just use Google Maps. The location is pinned as Ted's Burger and Steakhouse

facebook.com/TedsBedandBreakfast

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