I found NadineJZ’s review on El Jardin de Zaida very helpful. We took in all the information we could read up on and prepared accordingly. Then for whatever information we couldn’t find online, we asked the property directly. They were happy to reply and assist as best as they could. Andrea and James handled our reservations and stay requests excellently!
We informed reception in advance that we might arrive before their 3PM standard check-in time, and that we would be okay to take our lunch at their restaurant while waiting. We arrived on a Friday, a little before 12 noon. The drive was seamless, it took about 3 hours without any stopovers. While there are still patches of roadwork along the way, they weren’t operating during our trip. There’s a checkpoint upon entering the municipality and a fee of 20php to be paid per person in the car. Also, take note of the sharp turn into a small, uneven road to get into the property. Although there will be a signage directing you to El Jardin and a beautifully crafted wooden gate to mark the entry point.
Driving in, the property is gorgeous, with the greenery lush and well-maintained. We were greeted with cool towels and fresh Calamansi juice. Everyone had safety gear on even though the reception area was open air and spacious – social distancing is not a problem. You have to wear your mask though when out in the common areas.
The paperwork done onsite is minimal because prior reservation is required and to do so, you need to place a down payment to confirm your visit. You also need to send your covid test results and medical certificates in advance (this should have been taken within the last 72 hours). Alternatively, testing on-site is available but you have to inform the resort in advance.
In total, we spent about less than 10 minutes having to confirm the rooming arrangements and the names of the room occupants, provide valid identification cards for each person and submit the pre-accomplished health declaration cards. Julie at the Front Desk is efficient, she’s also very pleasant and knowledgeable – very easy to converse with. Julie and team also arranged for our rooms to be ready as we arrived – this was very much appreciated.
After the check-in at the reception area, you are escorted by Julius and/or his housekeeping team via golf cart to your assigned house/villa. They also direct you where you can park your vehicle, assist in unloading your items and ‘welcome’ you to your room – with your permission of course.
If it is your first visit to El Jardin, like it was ours, take advantage of this welcome and ask the assigned housekeeping team member on how to work the items in the room – the a/c, the cable, the phone, the safe, the shower and the water heater. If you also don’t need the chargeable food/drink items from the minibar ref, best to ask them to pull out the items from the start of your stay or even prior to your arrival.
We were a group of 6 adults and 2 children (8y/o & 1y/o). We also travelled with a caregiver for my mother and a driver. We stayed in 2 Deluxe rooms, right beside each other. We found our rooms well ventilated, exquisitely decorated and comfortable enough with 2 queen beds. The basic amenities are provided, but best to bring your own preferred toiletries. If you are travelling with kids though, be quick to safely store/hide all the breakables (handcrafted pottery by Ugu Bigyan!) in the storage area or better yet, request to have them pulled out for safekeeping. If you have a thing about baby-proofing rooms like I do, bring a couple of outlet covers, corner guards and a non-slip bath mat, just in case.
We got an extra bed for our caregiver to stay in-room with my senior mother and a room in their ‘bahay kubo’ for our driver – both come with free breakfast. If you can drive into the resort on your own, do so, the pricing for the assigned driver’s quarters can be quite steep.
Meals are taken at Rodolfo’s, currently the only restaurant in El Jardin. Jam and Mhai are amazing! They are attentive, genuine, and they do their best to personalize your dining experience. They’re also very proud of their kitchen team. Meals are prepared and cooked as you order, this can take some time, we experienced this during lunch time on our arrival. We learned it best to ask for the menu in advance, pre-order our meals and arrive at an agreed time. When we did this, they were better prepared, and the service timing was seamless. Don’t skip breakfast if you love to experience the local fare, this was the meal we looked forward to the most.
We kept busy by walking the expansive grounds, exploring the property, went Calamansi picking, then the kids tired themselves out swimming in the big pool. The weather was chilly at night during our stay, an unexpected but welcome surprise, it made us wish they had a fire pit or a bonfire area for smores or something of the sort. For those that want to pamper themselves, they have an excellent spa.
We also brought our own card games and board games to keep ourselves entertained. There’s a TV in room with limited cable channels, and though we brought our own Chromecast, the Wi-Fi signal can be intermittent, so it might be better to bring a hard drive with downloaded content.
Overall, our family had an amazing time and felt like it was the well-deserved breather we needed after months of quarantine. We also felt safe and cared for. There’s a distinctive intimate feel to El Jardin de Zaida, as it was a family rest house turned events place and is currently expanding into a specialty garden resort. It has so much character and you can tell that it is lovingly and thoughtfully designed and made. While it continues to be a work in progress, it is beautifully detailed and well-constructed. We also love how genuine and passionate the resort team is and my family and I really look forward to how it’ll turn out in the next few visits.
Exceeded expectations. Stayed two nights. Very peaceful, set in 11 acres of gardens, with their own organic farms for ingredients for their cuisine. I hear hundreds of birds chirping in the morning, and crickets at night.
Large lap pool, 25 meters, perfect for doing my laps, plus a smaller one by my room, Firm but comfortable bed--I wish I could stay in bed all day, large simply appointed rooms with Philippine materials, semi outdoor bathroom.
The food was excellent, over easy eggs were perfect without asking for anything, the fried fish light and crisp, adobo perfect. The papaya was the best I've had in years, without the chemical taste I found with all papayas in the country.
I wish I could've stayed longer and spent more time just relaxing in the resort. And try their other dishes. Hope I can experience it again!
I had high expectations of this place because of the reviews I read here.
We drove down at a bad time though. There were patches of roadworks encountered in San Juan itself (the estimated 3-hour trip became almost 6), it definitely tested our patience, but this is a factor beyond the resort’s control.
1) El Jardin de Zaida is different because it’s a garden resort. It is about a twenty-minute drive away from the beaches of Laiya and Hugom, so the place is actually quiet and perfect for those who just want to retreat from the daily grind.
2) We were greeted by friendly staff (with cool towels and a welcome drink to boot!), who immediately escorted us to our accommodation. The staff remained pleasant throughout our stay, something I appreciated very much.
3) Our room was ready when we arrived — an extra mattress was already prepared for our help. We got the deluxe, and I felt the space was adequate for our party of three adults and two young kids. The beds were soft and comfortable, and the cabinets were big enough to store all our stuff.
4) The resort’s pool areas are clean, with lounge chairs that just seemed to beckon at us to relax (we couldn’t — we were there for a wedding, and busy chasing after our kids 😅). The food was also good — try the blue marlin, sisig, and barako panna cotta!
1) There is no doubt that the gardens of the resort are well-maintained. However, there were still a lot of flies and mosquitoes when we were there.
2) Our water heater kept malfunctioning throughout our stay. We couldn’t figure out how to maintain the temperature of the water in the shower, it was so uncomfortable to bathe in cold water. Apparently this was a problem for all the other rooms at our side of the resort. So the staff tried their best to fix the heaters, but really, if the pressure isn’t good, they simply will not work properly.
(The aircon in our room was also difficult to control, but this is something we weren’t able to bring up with the staff.)
3) The villa pool was cold! I didn’t even last 30 minutes. It was unbearable. So I just ended up ordering our dinner in advance to be sure the food will be ready by the time the kids were done freshening up. We arrived at the restaurant an hour later, and we still ended up waiting for our food. Perhaps the kitchen was understaffed? Because by the time the other guests arrived for dinner, waiting time was even longer.
4) Apart from swimming and walking around to explore the grounds, there wasn’t much else to do. Maybe adding a small playground will make the place a bit more child-friendly.. or spa services for those who came to wind down and relax.
El Jardin de Zaida is beautiful, but for the price, there definitely is still room for improvement.
This sprawling and enticely charming resort never fails to amused me.I feel in love in this place simply because it offers great serenity which means relaxation can be achieved at its best.I boastfully told my children about this amazing resort and brought them here for the ist time.Upon entering,I kept on hearing ohs and ahs from my family.They too were mesmerized by the beauty of it.
They were impressed by the villas and deluxe rooms which are gorgeously designed and furnished not to mention spotlessly clean.They love the beds and I personally find it super comfy.As expected,their fluffy and beautifully embossed embroidered bathroom towels harmonized perfectly with their avant garde water closet and shower.The invitingly iconic jacuzzi hot tub is such a scene stealer in their Bali inspired open
bathroom.However,it’s only the villa guest could enjoy d luxury of it.Deluxe rooms are just simple bathrooms yet modern and nicely designed.
I am greatly overwhelmed when I saw my children excitedly exploring every corner of the resort most specially the inviting pools.Big happy smile painted all over their faces expressing their high appreciation of the place.The only downside which my kids were fussy about is the presence of mosquitoes.Well,it’s undeniably part of nature and off lotion is truly handy.Nevertheless,everything else is perfect.
Breakfast was superb and caters to Filipino palates.However,I requested pancakes for my kids since they are not really into local foods.
Very fortunate to have been upgraded to a villa suite from a deluxe one.Thanks to the resort manager(sorry I forgot his name) and d front desk staff named Monique who remembered me as a loyal repeater guest.I truly appreciate d kind hospitality indeed.Kudos to all the friendly and polite staffs specially to Jam and Jonathan.Both were so efficiently helpful.Resort owner’s are surely blessed with genuinely courteous employees.
Will definitely comeback to this place!!!❤️❤️❤️
If you are looking for a quick yet pleasurable weekend getaway,well,El Jardin de Zaida is perfect for you.Just 3 hrs drive fr Manila,this 11 hectares property is truly stunning.Their sprawling well kept garden is a sight to behold not to mention their elegantly designed rustic yet modern deluxe rooms and villa structures.
They have two inviting infinity pools located near the villas and coffee shop.It is the tranquility that dominates the essence of the resort and the warmest welcome fr the owner themselves.It was really a pleasure meeting d genuinely humble couple,as well as their courteous,helpful and attentive staffs.Special commendation to F and B staffs, Jonathan and Jameel who provided a jolly and wonderful service.The manager too,who cheerfully upgraded us to two adjacent premiere rooms since the room we booked were totally afar.We actually booked a premiere deluxe and deluxe rooms through hotels.com.However,when he showed us the Scarlett villa located just above our rooms we changed our mind in a jiffy.We asked to be upgraded to their best accomodation and definitely the unequaled one in the entire resort.It has a lovely veranda which has d best scenic view.A contemporary designed dining,kitchen,living and bedroom which has a gorgeous king size bed.Highlight of this villa is the luxurious open air bathroom which has a relaxing jacuzzi,his and her sink,clean and beautifully designed towels,robes and the intriguing electronic bidet which quite chuckle our curiousity hahaha.
The breakfast was very satisfying and we really loved their dilis and tapa and of course the freshly brewed kapeng barako.Manager was generous enough to provide us some delicious local delicacy called suman while we were taking a dip in their huge infinity pool.
I will definitely comeback with my children and hubby and highly recommend this fantastic resort to friends and family alike.