Monday, February 9, 2015

TRAVEL | Domicillo Tagaytay: The newest B&B in town with style, taste, and a really great view

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A magnificent view of the Taal Volcano and Lake from Domicillo's view deck.

What a great vantage point to just soak in that tirelessly gorgeous view of the Taal Volcano and Lake, don't you think? It's but a sampling of what you're getting from Tagaytay's newest bed and breakfast called Domicillo Tagaytay. It's still in its soft opening phase, however, having opened its doors to guests only last December 23. The other weekend Kwittiegirl and I gave it a try (while rocking an outfit with my new Albertus Swanepoel for Bench hat).

Reservation and checkin
With no online booking facility, reservations are made via phone (though I'm not sure if they intend to have one once they've fully opened). And as customary with many B&Bs in Tagaytay, your reservation is confirmed after a 50% deposit to their bank account. The balance is settled upon checkin.

Upon arrival a security guard assisted us with parking, after which someone appeared to help us with our bags. Because it's a small place, checking in was a breeze. The staff were nice and polite. Soon enough we were ushered in to our room.

Architecture and interiors
Domicillo was designed by Budji Layug, who also designed Qiwellness Living, an upscale spa just a few steps away. At street level, the structure looks understated and unassuming, marked by gray concrete walls and floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

Since it's located on a cliff, the building follows a descending design with four levels all in all. From the street-level parking, guests descend through a concrete ramp to get to the reception area at the third level. Right above it is the view deck and what would be a Japanese restaurant.

Guest rooms occupy the second level and where a nice little garden lined with bamboo and humongous ferns is located. There's also a lounge area here for guests. On the lowest level are more guest rooms.

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Understated and unassuming from the outside.

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A peek down below at twilight. I love the bamboo that line the garden.

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Even landscaping is minimalist, zen-inspired even. On the left are the steps leading up to the street-level parking.

Layug's design aesthetic for Domicillo is quite masculine, marked by unpainted, textured concrete walls and polished wood, and characterized by an unmistakable 70s influence. With no lifts or ramps going to the rooms, it's not very friendly to the elderly, though.

Much to my delight, the place is littered with some really handsome furniture and tasteful decor. That hardwood table alone at the front desk is already quite the stunner. The flattened bamboo on the table's support is also echoed throughout the place as lounge chairs, a console, and a bench. The abundance of mirrors is also hard to not notice. A great majority of them are huge rectangular pieces whose frames are adorned with tiled polished shells.

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The reception area.

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Already a beauty, the mirror even reflects more beauty.

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Love that quirky table!

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Mirror, mirror on the wall...

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Tasteful furniture like these adorn the reception.

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The metal sculpture and that mirror--nice!

By the way, some of these pieces that you see, particularly at the reception, are for sale.

Our room
There are only eight rooms in Domicillo, and quite expensive if you ask me. On the 2nd level are 3 deluxe garden view rooms and 2 superior upper lake view rooms (these 2 I later learned were furnished by Milo Naval of Siama Hotel), and just right below them, 3 premiere lower lake view rooms. We got a premiere lake view room, and this was what greeted us when we went in:

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A commanding view of the volcano and lake, no doubt.

The room was fairly spacious, with white walls and a lot of wood accents and furniture. A king-size bed sits right smack in the middle facing the lake. Behind it is a console, with a wood-framed glass (or was it acrylic?) headboard between them.

I like the headboard, but without bedside tables, you can't keep things like your phone and wallet within reach. Somehow I managed to rest my phone on the bed frame, though. Still there's another problem: there's only one power outlet that's near the bed--and it's under the bed. No, you can't even rest your phone on the console while charging; the farthest it could go is atop one of two stools under the console. I hope they can have this fixed by the time they're fully open.

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Lovely bed, but there's nowhere to rest your stuff but the console behind it. Or next to the mattress, on the part of the bed frame that's showing.

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Okay, I love the wood.

Anyway, there's a lot more to love about the room. There's cable TV, a personal fridge that's concealed in a wooden cabinet, a coffee-making facility, and a nice chair made of flattened bamboo. I also like the closet and bathroom doors's slated designed that don't fully conceal nor reveal what's behind them. I want something similar for our closets and for a shoe cabinet at home because they allow clothes and shoes to breathe.

Though the plants have yet to grow and thicken, you also get a pocket garden outside the room. A pair of chairs and a small table are also on hand for you to savor the cool Tagaytay breeze.

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Your own little porch for relaxing alfresco.

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The closet doors. Love the design!

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These pieces, I approve of very much.

The prominence of wood is retained even in the bathroom, with a half-open shower area with a rain shower head. Water pressure's good, and everything from the hot water to the drain were functioning well. I just find the sink a tad too shallow, as water spills over every time I turn the tap on.

The toiletries smell really good, by the way, especially the lavender bar soap.

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There's still wood, even in the bathroom.

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The half-open shower area.

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The same shell and glass tiles that cover the base of the two lamps in the bedroom also provide accents to the bathroom.

Just one more thing, there's supposed to be in-room WiFi but I can't even get a signal in the room. This is something they should also fix before they fully open.

Domicillo is a place of quiet that's ideal for couples wanting a romantic time off. Or maybe even for singles doing some soul-searching. That said, there's nothing here but spaces for guests to walk around or to simply sit back and lounge.

Just outside the premiere lake view is a generous space occupied only by a round table set in one corner, some jars by the staircase, and a nice little pocket garden. You'll find a couch outside the upper lake view rooms, while the garden view rooms are furnished with chairs for guests wishing to contemplate by the garden. On the same floor is a common lounge area that also opens up to a small space overlooking the lake.

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This is the space outside our room. Hidden from view is the pocket garden.

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At the second level outside the upper lake view rooms.

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Inside the lounge area.

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The furniture's really good, don't you agree?

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Where to sit, on the couch with company or alone in this stylish chair?

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Outside the garden view rooms.

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Pick your seat. The show that is Taal Lake is about to start.

Ah, the view deck...such a nice spot to behold the Taal Volcano and Lake. Even better, they've set up a couple of chairs with cushions where guests can relax. Think sunset by the beach, only this ain't no beach. Plus it's cold.

Two dining spots are set to open here. The first is La Finca, a farm to market-inspired restaurant that will be on the same floor as the reception. Though they have yet to open--by March, I was told--they're already serving guests breakfast, either at the lounge area or in the comfort of their own rooms. But of course there can't be a bed and breakfast without breakfast, right? [Just to update, La Finca is now open.]

As for the food, guests are given a choice of daing na bangus (dried milkfish), bacon, ham, etc. to go with rice, eggs, and coffee or juice. I chose bangus, expecting little, but somehow the chef has managed to take such a common Filipino breakfast staple beyond simple frying. It's breaded and I liked how it was seasoned. Even the vinegar for dipping was infused with a light cucumber flavor.

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Both of Domicillo's restaurants may have yet to open but seriously, I don't mind having breakfast with this view.

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My choice of breakfast: typical but hearty Pinoy fare.

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This would be La Finca. Can't wait for it to open.

The other restaurant, by the way, would be Japanese. [Update: It's also now open.]

Staff service
Domicillo's staff are nice, polite, and never intrusive. I like how they sort of keep their distance and just let you be. The place is clean and the gardens well-kept, which means good marks for housekeeping.

It also felt good that they still recognized me when I went there for dinner with colleagues last April. One of them introduced me to the owner, Rene Alcala, whom I hadn't had the chance to talk to when we stayed there. A furniture designer, his creations are of course all over Domicillo, and apparently he's friends with Kat Naval who owns Siama Hotel in Sorsogon. Small world!

As with checking in, it also didn't take long for them to process our checkout.


In hindsight
The tasteful architecture and interiors, the nice and clean rooms, the abundance of spaces to just sit back and relax, the service, not to mention the commanding view of the Taal Lake, all make a stay at Domicillo a great and satisfying experience, which easily justifies the price tag.

While still on soft opening, they should, however, be able to address issues like the power outlet and WiFi strength in the room, and maybe provide a hook in the ladies's common restroom where they can hang their bags as the glass panel, I was told, is too precarious and just not enough. I'm also looking forward to how they'll fare in the dining department.

That said, I'm looking forward to staying here again. And yes, it's worth a try.


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Domicillo is located along the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay near the Petron gas station and sits just next to Joaquin's B&B.

Room rates start at Php 9,000 (plus taxes and service charge) for a deluxe garden view, with increments of Php 2,000 for their superior upper and premiere lower lake view options.

And because they're still on soft opening, they're offering 40% off their room rates. The discount, however, does not apply to the service charge. A premiere lake view room, for instance, will cost you Php 9,609, computed as (Php 13,000 + 12% VAT) - (40% discount) + (10% service charge).

Contact numbers: +63 46 413 3552, +922 884 1532


  1. I want to move there lol, the decoration, furniture and everything is quite flawless..and the view is breathtaking.


  2. Great post! Would love to try this...

  3. Sorry I forgot to tell, It is evident that Tagaytay Hotel really sums up the place. Thank you.


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