Safari Hotel brings the savannah to Vigan.
Thinking of going on a safari this year? You don’t have to go far. The heritage city of Vigan in Ilocos Sur is now home to this themed luxury hotel and resort called Safari Hotel managed by AURA Hotels and Resorts.
This is the first of its kind with close encounters with safari animals alongside the hotel’s five-star accommodation in the North.
Safari Hotel is the brainchild of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, who also owns the famous Baluarte Mini Zoo and Safari Gallery.
“It was more or less five years ago that he envisioned to build this property. He started building it two years ago,” shared Victor Marc N. Montesa, the former resort manager.
The resort’s design came from the suggestion of its Korean architect-partner Shaun Kim and his group. It presently has 21 rooms, while another 49 villas and room clusters are being constructed at the back of the 10-hectare property.
The entire estate covers 300 hectares, which also serves as an animal sanctuary. It is now home to a number of animals, including giraffes, ponies, zebras, lions, kangaroos, and tigers. Definitely, hotel guests will have an enjoyable encounter with these lovely creatures.
“We just let the animals roam freely around the grasslands right beside the hotel. And yes they would make a great backdrop for your selfie photos,” said Montesa.
What makes the resort different from other properties in Vigan? Montesa cites three distinct offerings of Safari Hotel.
Foremost is the serenity of the place: “Once you’re here, you will feel relaxed communing with nature. It will be worth the long drive. Children will be happy here as well for they will have the opportunity to have a close encounter with animals.”
The second is the service, which comes from the heart. “Passion comes in when you do things from the heart. It’s like enjoying and loving what you do,” said Montesa.
The third is the delicious food. Safari Hotel has an in-house Italian restaurant called Dario Ristorante Italiano, named after Dario Gardini, the restaurant’s owner, and the hotel’s food and beverage.
“It’s traditional Italian home cooking,” said Montesa. “We also have an open kitchen to showcase the cleanliness and the quality standard of food preparation.”
Of the dishes we tried, our favorites were the carpaccio, assorted Italian cold cuts, toasted fresh bread with mushroom sauce, Calabrese pizza, homemade tagliolini with fresh salmon and caviar, homemade garganeli with shrimp in tomato sauce, homemade tagliatelle with truffle cream and parma ham, and lamb chop grill with herbs. They were truly appetizing and satisfying.
(Note: The writer went on a trip with the Experience Travel and Living magazine team)
Featured photo courtesy of Donald Tapan / ETL