"Casa Santa Barbara could be Beautiful ! If it Was Cleaned ! and Maintained ! But unfortunately it was not ! when we stayed there !
My wife was born in Bohol & we have travelled the Philippines extensively ! so I know what to expect .At around $200 dollars a night that's about 8,000 peso ! its reasonably expensive for Bohol and Panglao but you get the whole villa ,and that would be great ! if it was clean ! We have just built a brand new lovely house in the mountains of Bohol ,close to where my wife's family live so we could have stayed there ! "But we wanted to stay some where special by the sea for a change ! for my Birthday" and to entertain friends, for there first visit to Philippines and travel around beautiful Bohol & Panglao Island. We booked Casa Santa Barbara & its mini van for our stay ! after seeing it on Trip Advisor. The owner Brian, who by the way ,was very polite and helpful obviously does not know how his property is being neglected ! by his staff ! . Allan his driver picked us up exactly on time ! as agreed and took us to the Markets to buy food ,some wine and supplies for our stay on the way. Allan our driver , was Excellent & we tipped him 500+ peso every day ! even bought his lunch at restaurants as we toured Bohol, each day and on our last day gave him 800 peso tip & he deserved it ! but the Villa's Mini Van was quite old and the Air/con did not work very well ! so that was a disappointment ! Most of the time we drove with the windows down ! as it was cooler ! but he was an excellent guide !
However ! when we arrived @ Casa Santa Barbara ! This is where the Excellence ! Stopped ! The housekeeper was supposed to welcome us and give us the keys ! but just opened the door and left without even showing us around the Villa or a Welcome ! . The House was Hot ! and had "ALL THE DOORS WINDOWS OPEN " to try & air it ! out ! but still Smelt Musty and Mouldy from being closed up for a long time ! The lovely terra cotta floors were dirty and dusty , and the Towels on each bed , although clean ! smelt mouldy ! from being in a damp cupboard for a long time .The kitchen sink was very dirty ! & was leaking about a litre a minute of water ! & was covered in thick lime scale ! build up So it must have been leaking for months ! yet there was "conserve water" signs everywhere ?
I said to the house keeper ? what about the water leaking ? she said "don't worry about it " No problem ! .... I live in Australia and it is the driest inhabited continent on earth ! Water is an important resource and expensive ! so you don't waste it ! so I messaged the owner in the USA ! out of concern ! after seeing the conserve water signs every where ! I got no answer ,but a plumber arrived the next day & fitted a new kitchen tap ! . The kitchen although lovely ! was very ! very ! dirty ,even to the extent of rat droppings on the kitchen benches ! & the large water cooler was switched off ,dirty & empty . The first night we tried to cook a roast leg of goat & vegetables to have with some nice bottles of wine that we were going to have to celebrate my Birthday ! We called the house keeper who lives out the back in the House keepers residence ,as the gas bottle was empty ! The oven was dirty & the oven control was broken ,& did not work properly even after a new gas bottle was fitted ! Even the house keeper could not get the oven to work ! , and just shrugged her shoulders and walked out ! We ended up cutting the meat off the bone & cooking it in a fry pan ! It was like eating leather shoes ! lol instead of slow oven cooked succulent roasted leg of goat :( but there was a bonus ! the dogs got a bone to chew on .
Don't get me wrong , its a Beautiful Villa ! the rooms are big , nicely furnished overall ! with a beautiful dinning room table ,But the whole house was very ! very ! dirty , and sadly ! badly maintained . The upstairs bedrooms were nice , but you could feel the dirt on your feet ! as you walked around on the lovely terracotta tiles , even leaves etc. had blown in under the balcony doors & there were dead insects everywhere . The master bedroom had an amazing view :) from its bathroom but the whole faucet turned when you tried to turn the water on ! so it was difficult to wash ! get water to clean your teeth and the large mirror , shower & toilet were all dirty and badly needed cleaning ! .In the downstairs toilet the light did not work & the " cistern was stuck on ! " and constantly flowing water until I took the lid off the cistern ! and freed it up from all the calcium built up. The Balcony off the upstairs hallway was also covered in leaves and dirty with bird droppings and dead insects ! . There is a small TV upstairs but no load ! to watch anything ! & NO WIFI ! 2 days later ! we got WIFI after we complained ! on the first night ." It says FREE WIFI & TV " included ! but that's only if the house keeper gets you load from the local shop to use Wi-Fi or Watch it .
Casa Santa has a beautiful garden ! but it is neglected ! the grass lawns had not been cut for a very long time ! were full of weeds with rubbish ,old cans ,plastic and old dirty baby disposable nappy's on the ground around the house ,with old cigarette butts on the ground and on the veranda and the outdoor furniture was dusty and dirty with bird droppings and had obviously not been cleaned or wiped for months !
The rest house on the way to the " Beach " was slowly being eaten by termites ! and rusted and the gate was broken off ! and with piles of leaves ! just pushed into heaps on every 2nd or 3rd step down to the sea ! and there is no beach ! ! just rocks ! but was nice if the tide was in .
The garden had lovely colour lights in it at night ! but they were switched on all night and so it was hard to sleep , with them shining in the windows ! lol but it looked good at night ! but seemed a waste of electricity leaving them on until late in the day ,when the house keeper turned them off ! This is a private fenced off , large garden ! so you do not expect rubbish to be lying around everywhere ! like you often see in some places in the Philippines so it was also disappointing to see it with rubbish everywhere .
There is supposed to be a small movie theatre ! off the kitchen ! but there was no light ! and as soon as you opened the door ! the air was thick ! with mould ! so much so ! you could not stay in the room ! let alone watch a movie , even if the system worked ! which it does not ! It was extremely dank , damp and mouldy ! musty, and unaired ,and very unhealthy to breathe in mould spores obviously from water leaking for a very long time with no ventilation or window !.
The house keeper lived in a small residence at the rear of the villa , but had two dogs that were full of fleas & mange ! that sat around on the front veranda furniture , or begged at the kitchen door for food , and were so skinny with bones sticking out ! so sad :(
We paid extra for the mini van , but agreed to pay for the diesel ! as we wanted to tour around beautiful Bohol not just Panglao . We filled it up the first day ! 1500 peso's , and 500 peso each day after that ,but the house keeper & her mother tried to scam us for 1,000 peso's on the day we left ! to take us back home,even though the fuel gauge was still ! on half full ! I said lets call Brian the owner ! then " ok ok ! no problem ! " We locked the house and our bedrooms up each day ! after we requested the keys ! as we are very security conscious when travelling in the Philippines ! but when we returned ! our bedroom doors were unlocked ! and our bags had been tampered with :(
Look Casa Santa Barbara is a Beautiful Spanish Villa on a bluff ! over looking the sea ! as it says ! Yes ! even with lovely views over the sea ! It has a beautiful spiral staircase and authentic terracotta tiles and mosaics throughout ,a lovely garden , and "everything it says in the video ! " & advertisements ! The USA owner is polite and a pleasure to deal with ! Alan the driver is Excellent ! BUT sadly ! Casa Santa Barbara " is Run Down from poor maintenance ! And Very Dirty ! from not being cleaned ! & the lovely garden ! is Overgrown , untidy ,with rubbish strewn about , with mange ridden dogs ,full of fleas ! sitting about on the garden furniture ! The house keeper has people coming and going All hours of the Night ! and obviously does not care ! about the guests or the cleanliness of this beautiful house ! "Casa Santa Barbara was a beautiful authentic Spanish Villa in years by gone ! " but unfortunately until there is a lot of maintenance and upkeep to be done ! the over grown garden looked after ! and the house needs to be Cleaned Properly and regularly ! I would not recommend it to anyone ! Its such a shame that such a beautiful house has been neglected by the staff responsible for cleaning and maintaining it ! for the owner who lives in the USA . *I have at least 100 photo's of Casa Santa Barbara showing the Good ! and the Bad ! and the Ugly ! but most importantly ! backing up ALL I have said ! and happy to forward them to the owner ! Trip advisor ! to confirm what I have written ! but on Trip Advisor ! there is only space for 10 photos ! I have only just posted my June 2014 review , after returning to Australia and hopefully the owners have returned by now ! to see the neglected and dirty state of there beautiful house for themselves !
We are by no means ! clean freaks ! but this house is just Very ! Very ! Dirty from not being cleaned ! its such a shame ! because Yes it is a beautiful Spanish Villa on a bluff , overlooking the sea ! and could be Amazing if it was cleaned and maintained by staff who cared :(