I am going to open this review with an important statement.
If you are planning to stay at Fairways and Bluewaters, you need to be aware that about 90% of the resort is completely closed down and that none of this is mentioned on their website. Almost all of the attractions and amenities that are front and center promoted on the site are completely off-limits.
I personally find this to be incredibly dishonest by not noting on the site or in an email just how much of the resort is closed. I booked the resort back in August, and before I booked, I actually emailed them to ask about the situation with COVID. I was told that the resort was closed until December 16th (this wasn’t noted anywhere on the site), but the resort should be fully operational when it opened.
I proceeded to book a room, which is confusing enough. There is no resort map on the website, and they have a lot of different areas spread across the 18 hole golf course. I settled on what I thought was the most premier room (outside of a suite) they had available and booked.
Between the time of booking and arriving, there was an email sent from the resort asking me to fill in a pre-arrival form. There was no information at all about nearly all the resort being closed.
We arrived at the resort on 24th December from Hennan Crystal Sands. The resort golf course is very nice, but you can clearly see that there is a lot of work being done on many of the holes that you pass by. I would later find out they are renovating the back 9 holes. Again, nothing on the website or emails noting this.
We checked in and were upgraded to a pool room in the Montary Section of the hotel. This is a very kind gesture and of course, very welcome. I did, however, comment on how it seemed impossible to book these rooms on the website back in August.
The Montary pool rooms themselves are very nice. They are spacious and modern, and the bathroom matches the rest of the room in that regard. The pool has a beautiful view of the forested hills and across the 8th hole that golfers tee-off from and play upwards towards the pool area.
After we checked-in, we asked about the resort and asked for a map. We were told no map was available and that only two swimming pools (Kusina De Augusta and Laguna Cafe) of six are open.
We were then told that of the twelve or so bars and restaurants that only two were open and both of those have last food orders at 8:30 pm. These are little more than pool cafes with extremely limited menus with a large amount of cross-over.
In fact, partway through our stay, the management decided that people can no longer order food from one restaurant and eat it at the other. This would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that certain lunch staples, such as burgers, are only available in one restaurant and not the other. It is such an inconvenience for people as the two menus have a lot of overlap with Filipino food, but any western food is split unevenly between the menus despite the restaurants being right next to each other in the only open section of the resort. Even the Montary Café itself is only open for breakfast.
Finally, the dining areas are littered with stray cats, none of which have been spayed or neutered by the resort. I don’t mind cats, but these guys are constantly meowing and fighting for food. I like the fact that cats are around as it adds some charm, but they are not being looked after properly by the resort and can become a loud nuisance.
We had made our booking based on the promotional photos of the Kudetah district, which showed multiple bars and restaurants alongside beautiful infinity pools that overlooked the private beach. I have absolutely no qualms with resorts operating at limited capacity due to the pandemic, but in the case of Fairways, they have no information about such a high percentage of their resort being closed that it is simply dishonest, and they are obviously painfully aware that people will not book if they know how limited the resort is in its current state.
All of this is made even worse by the fact that almost every other resort on Boracay island is doing a much better job than Fairways. Both the Movenpick and the Hennan Crystal Sands that we stayed in during the same trip had nowhere near close to the issues that Fairways did.
We ended up getting a shuttle to the Movenpick for our 24th Christmas Dinner, since there was no entertainment put on at the Fairways, apparently due to the band not being able to make it, which I suspect is another excuse.
I decided to try out the golf course, which is obviously one of the main selling points of the resort. I was told that only the front 9 was playable (although you can play it twice) due to renovation on the back 9. Again, none of this is communicated at all. I played my round. As I left, I said to the caddy I’d see them tomorrow, she replied “oh sorry sir, we are shut for the next three days”. These aren’t national holidays, these are normal working days over a weekend that you would expect a golf course to be open. You may be shocked to read this, but none of this is communicated anywhere. There isn’t a single sign in the resort pointing this out.
So, let’s recap. We are staying at this resort from the 24th to the 28th over Christmas.
- 90% of the resort is closed.
- There is no notice nor communication that such a large portion of the resort is closed.
- There are 2 pool bars open serving food with limited menus and both shut at 9 pm.
- They have suddenly decided that you can no longer order food from one restaurant and eat it in the other despite them both being next to each other.
- There is no Christmas entertainment because the band couldn’t make it despite no other resort on the island having this issue.
- The golf course has the back 9 under repair and this is not communicated anywhere.
- The golf course is closed for three days over the weekend, despite it not being any sort of public holiday and this is not communicated.
- We were told we could play billiards in the basement sports bar (which is actually closed, surprise!) but we’d need to book a specific time slot.
I also bumped into another guest who was desperately trying to book another hotel last minute because he was annoyed at being deceived by what is shown on the website vs. what is available at the resort.
I will comment on two positives despite my complete and utter disappointment in this resort.
- Judy (I think that was her name, it is difficult to hear names with PPE on), the duty manager, was very graceful in hearing me complain about all the above to her. She tried to make amends by offering us a free shuttle service to the main Boracay beach, but I explained the very reason we booked this resort away from the beach was due to the amenities it promoted on its website. I will also note to Judy’s credit that during one of the golf-course-is-closed-days she allowed me to play, as apparently, the course wasn’t “technically” closed because there was a 4-ball VIP group playing. I do appreciate her allowing me that courtesy, but it seems a little off that the course is closed to guests yet open for VIPs.
- The second positive goes to Rey, who is one of the staff in the pool bar. Rey always greeted us with a smile (to be fair the entire staff did but Ray was notable). And despite our complaints about the resort, he did try in vain to paint it in a much brighter light. He was attentive and accommodating and made the disappointment of the above much more palatable.
- The staff in general are extremely polite and very helpful. Whilst expected in the service industry in the Philippines, I do appreciate it due to everything they must have been through and how difficult it must be to get back to normality
In closing (if you bothered to get this far). Everything about Fairways should be awesome. But with them being dishonest at best and outright deceitful at worst about the state of the resort, then it leaves a very bitter taste in one’s mouth.
There are absolutely zero reasons to choose this resort over the hundreds of others on the island when 90% of it is closed and nothing is communicated. I would possibly give the resort another try in a year or two if they can get things back to normal. But it seems to me, the owners have no intention of being forthright with their guests and are not currently in a position to fund redevelopment and staff costs.
In fact, if you look back through the lower rating reviews here on Tripadvisor, you can see people already pointing out these issues earlier this year and late last year before Covid hit.
It pains me to say the above because the resort is so beautiful and the 10% that is open is great, the staff is great, but the negatives so far outweigh the positives, it is laughable.
It wouldn’t be beyond reason to ask for a refund due to this. They have had nine months to weather the storm of Covid but ignored that time to get things up to speed, opened literally a week before Christmas, have not communicated anything about the resort closures, and have not changed the prices of their rooms enough to reflect such a drastic reduction in available facilities. It is not difficult to communicate everything above clearly on the website. But as far as I can tell, the site and the terrible booking engine that accompanies it hasn’t been updated for a number of years.