July 04, 2020 - Saturday
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Davao City, Philippines

Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort: AN ISLAND GETAWAY

February 22, 2020 - Saturday 6:02 PM by Jon Joaquin

Article Banner Image DESTRESSING. Overlooking Davao Gulf, the infinity pool is one of Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort’s many relaxing amenities. Photo by Jon Joaquin

DAVAO CITY — What better way for a small group of journalists to get away from it all — albeit for just two days and one night — than on a catamaran? Slicing through the waves of Davao Gulf, it took the double hulled Lubi-103 less than half an hour to take us from Dusit Thani in Lanang, Davao City to the Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort in Mabini, Davao de Oro. The trip would have taken almost two hours by land, and the time we saved allowed us to experience more of the amenities the resort has to offer.

And what an experience it turned out to be. Set within a former coconut plantation and surrounded by unspoiled reef, the resort’s 1920s colonial-Sri Lankan-plantation vibe makes for an excellent exotic getaway that lets your mind rest as you take in the picturesque surroundings. Every detail is meticulously planned, down to the winding roads that connect the buildings to each other easily and naturally.

OFF WE GO. Boarding the catamaran Lubi-103 to head out to Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort. Photo by Magsy Magbanua

We arrived mid-morning and after a refreshing island welcome, we were driven by golf cart to our respective villas. And when I say villa I mean it in the dictionary sense: a large and luxurious residence. Each of us had our own seafront villa with a living room, bedroom, private terrace, open-air garden bathroom, large soaker bathtub, and even a plunge pool facing the gulf. Standing at the door as I entered my villa, I couldn’t help feeling a little overwhelmed at the hospitality of our hosts.

INDOORS AND OUT. The 114-square meter seafront villas feature private terraces, beautiful open-air garden bathrooms, and plunge pools. Jon Joaquin

Formerly known as The Beach Club at Lubi Plantation Island, Managed by Dusit, the recently rebranded Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort now has 18 of these luxury villas that can accommodate up to six persons each. And because it now carries the upper-upscale Dusit Thani brand, the resort is designed to blend Dusit’s unique brand of Thai-inspired graciousness hospitality with the warm Filipino hospitality of the Mindanao region.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME. The huge bedroom was our home for the night. Jon Joaquin

Guests can do various activities like swimming in the infinity pool, exercising at the fitness center, snorkeling in the clear waters surrounding the property, jet skiing, kayaking, and playing tennis, ping-pong, or outdoor chess. Kids and kids-at-heart can also play video games at the game room and even sing at the karaoke rooms. Other attractions include a beautiful church with a capacity of 200 persons (ideal for weddings), a beachfront cocktail area, and a mangrove lagoon.

PICTURE PERFECT. There’s a beautiful church with a capacity of 200 persons -- perfect for destination weddings. Jon Joaquin

And then there’s the food. I’ve dined several times at dusitD2 Davao and I’ve never been disappointed, and Lubi is no different. Our first meal was lunch at the Burger Bar where we were served huge portions of hamburgers, sliders, pizza, pasta, and fries. Every single item was a treat to the taste buds, and only the sheer serving size and amount kept us from eating everything on the table. Coffee was also good, with the espresso pulled expertly by the barista.

EATING OUT. The resort has several dining options, including the Tarictic Grill (right) which serves a mix of Filipino and Thai dishes. Jon Joaquin

The other food outlet is Tarictic Grill where we had two meals consisting of Filipino and Thai dishes like tinola, bagnet, adobo, green chicken curry, and more. One of the highlights was the cassava bibingka, a Filipino twist on the cassava cake topped with sweetened macapuno. To say it was heavenly would be an understatement.

BURGER TIME. Food was definitely one of the highlights of our stay. Jon Joaquin

But beyond the world-class facilities and wonderful food, what I appreciated most about our short stay at Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort was the warm service of its staff. Each person we met — from the food servers to the drivers and even to the maintenance personnel — greeted us with a smile, and they all went out of their way to make us feel at home. No property, no matter how well-appointed and manicured, can succeed without people who actually connect with their guests. And the people of Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort certainly connected with us.

DUSIT HOSPITALITY. What I appreciated most about our short stay at Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort was the warm service of its staff. Jon Joaquin

We ended our stay with a toast using freshly harvested tuba or coconut wine. It was time to board the catamaran back to Davao City, but in the words of General Manager Christopher Wichlan, Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort gave us “truly memorable experiences.”