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Laguna Travel Guide - Makiling Onsen Hotel: Home of the natural hot spring bath

Makiling Onsen Hotel: Home of the natural hot spring bath

Makiling Onsen Hotel entrance

Makiling Onsen Hotel Entrance

If you want to have a natural hot spring bath experience, known as “Onsen” in Japan, then you should visit the Makiling Onsen Hotel in Los Baños, Laguna.  This hotel offers indoor hot spring baths that are popular for relieving common ailments such as rheumatism, body aches and pains, arthritis, skin problems like acne, joint problems and many others.  Soaking in the onsen is also a great way to relieve stress and tension.  The Makiling Onsen Hotel’s source of the therapeutic hot spring water is of course Mount Makiling.

We went to Makiling Onsen Hotel to have a relaxing day, away from the noise and madness of daily living. They were offering a day tour or overnight stay in the hotel at a discounted rate of PhP 1500, inclusive of standard room and swimming pool use, and 3 hours of onsen use.  We thought that was a great deal!  We arrived at about 9 AM, and were allowed to stay until 6 PM.  So what were the highlights of our day tour?        

Makiling Onsen Hotel standard room

Makiling Onsen Hotel Standard Room

The Standard Room
Our room had a double bed, a TV set, and interestingly, a small area covered with tatami floor and furnished with a low table where traditional Japanese tea is served.  This completes the “Japanese” atmosphere that the resort is trying to convey to their guests.  However, we were not able to enjoy having a cup of tea inside the room because we were not sure if the teapot and teacups were actually clean.


Family Hot Bath (Ume and Sakura) at Makiling Onsen Hotel

The Onsen
No doubt, the best part of our stay was soaking in the natural hot spring bath.  The Standard Room doesn’t have its own onsen bath inside it (but other rooms have it for a higher rate) so we had to go to the Family Hot Bath (Ume) located in another part of the resort.  But since it was a weekday, we were the only guests so we had the luxury of enjoying the hot bath exclusively.  We were allowed to use the onsen for a maximum of 2 hours spaced throughout the day because it’s not good for the body to be exposed to the hot water bath for a very long time.  What we did was to stay in the hot bath for about 30 minutes, go back to our room and rest for a while, and then go back to the onsen for another 30 minutes.

Natural hot spring bath

The Onsen or natural hot sping bath

Reminder: you don’t just plunge into the hot spring bath right away.  There is a process that you should follow before soaking in the onsen so you will not suffer from hypertension, headache or nausea.  Your body needs to adjust to the change in temperature so you won’t feel any ill effects.  Here are the steps that you should follow to enjoy the onsen:

1. Inside the family hot bath, there is a receiving area where you’re supposed to wait for your chance to use the onsen.  When it’s your turn, enter the private room where the hot bath is located (don’t forget to lock the door).  Remove all of your clothes (yes, this is a must; as they say, the onsen is best enjoyed when you’re naked) and put them in a designated basket.

2.  Take a shower and use the soap and shampoo provided.  This is to clean your body and remove any impurities that may pollute the natural hot spring bath.  Also, this is done to acclimatize your body to the onsen’s very high temperature that may reach 40-44 degrees Celsius.

3. Slowly enter the hot bath. Slide your feet carefully and soak only half of your body.  When you feel that you have adjusted to the hot temperature, soak your body up to our shoulders.

4. Relax and enjoy!  You may take a shower again after your hot bath.  Remember to limit your stay to 30 minutes but you may come back again after resting for a while.  If at any point you feel uncomfortably hot, get out of the onsen and cool yourself down with a shower.

Swimming pool at Makiling Onsen Hotel

Swimming pool at Makiling Onsen Hotel

The Swimming Pools
Sad to say, we were not able to enjoy the use of the swimming pools.  The water in the pool was very cold!  I expected to be able to swim some laps but with the pools’ very very cold temperature, we were not able to use them.  Pretty disappointing.  In fairness to the hotel, the staff turned on the pool’s sprinklers when we tried to swim, but that was not enough to warm up the water.  So we gave up and dedicated our remaining time to just relaxing inside the air conditioned room and maximizing the use of the hot spring bath.  But maybe, during weekends when the place is full of people, the pools are warmed for everybody’s enjoyment.

Adult swimming pool at Makiling Onsen Hotel

Adult pool at Makiling Onsen Hotel

The Azabu Restaurant
Makiling Onsen Hotel has a restaurant that serves mainly Japanese and some Korean dishes.  We were served with free Korean appetizers, kimchi and another spicy dish, which we didn’t try because wer’re not very fond of spicy foods.  What we ordered were ramen, beef teriyaki, and mixed sushi.

Azabu Japanese Restaurant

Inside Azabu Restaurant

Inside Azabu Japanese Restaurant

Private table where you can grill your own food

There was nothing really special about the ramen’s taste, just your typical noodle soup with a few pieces of pork and half an egg.  Well, it was not too expensive at PhP 160 and it filled my hungry tummy so no complaints there.

Ramen at Azabu Restaurant

Ramen dish at Azabu Restaurant

The grilled yakiniku beef with teriyaki sauce (PhP 210) was delicious.  It was served with egg on top of the very soft and aromatic rice.  This dish is highly recommended.

Beef Teriyaki at Azabu Restaurant

Beef Teriyaki and Miso Soup at Azabu Restaurant

The mixed sushi was served last. I wonder why because it’s supposed to be the appetizer.  Anyway, the sticky rice was very yummy but I was disappointed with the sushi fillings because some of them were just egg and cucumber.  We should have just ordered California Maki; at least we were sure what to expect.

Mixed Sushi

Mixed sushi

Makiling Onsen Hotel is a bit rundown.  You will notice that the facilities are ageing, although most areas are well-maintained.  Don’t expect superb and high-class facilities when you visit here.  After all, they offer their rooms and facilities at very affordable prices.  The natural hot spring baths are the main attractions here. That said, if you want to swim some laps in a hot spring resort the whole day or to enjoy water activities, go to another place like the Splash Mountain Resort or Southwinds Resort.  But if you want rest and relaxation, Makiling Onsen Hotel can provide that for you.   

Some more photos of Makiling Onsen Hotel:

Makiling Onsen Hotel

Makiling onsen Hotel top view
For your inquiries or reservations, you may contact the hotel at:
Makiling Onsen Hotel
Makiling Heights Subdivision
Bgy. Lalakay, Los Baños, Laguna
Telephone number: (049) 536-6979
 Mobile number:  0935-5441180

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