For the 2nd part of my Boracay post, I would like to focus on the free dinner buffet that I got from Astoria Boracay. If you remember on my 1st Boracay post, I mentioned that when we landed at Kalibo airport, a woman offered us a free buffet (lunch or dinner) at Astoria Boracay.
We didn’t get to sleep the night before our flight because we were busy packing so when we got to Boracay, we decided to take a nap first and then we just headed to Astoria Boracay around 6PM for their dinner buffet.
Astoria Boracay is one of those resorts that I wanted to stay in because their rooms look so gorgeous and modern. It’s a boutique resort that uses a lot of very cool and unique furniture that gives off a very relaxing vibe. Obviously, since we were on a tight budget, we couldn’t stay there – their rooms cost about Php7,000 – Php9,000 per night.
I loved how their dining area looked like. It wasn’t that big but it was pretty! There were other people who were invited to eat for free as well so the place eventually became packed around 7PM. There were several dishes prepared for all of us and it also came with bottomless iced tea.
As you may know, for more than 2 months, I have been very conscious with the types of food that I eat. I had avoided eating rice and avoided drinking soda and iced tea so I was a bit hesitant to eat much that night. I did drink a glass of iced tea but decided to switch to water because I felt guilty. Haha! I like that they were able to provide a decent amount of food choices considering it was just a free buffet. I especially enjoyed eating the Spicy Gumbo because well… I love spicy food and I love seafood. Their chocolate cake and Pandan cake tasted good too. Apart from that, I was really happy to be able to eat a lot of mangoes for free. If it wasn’t our first day in Boracay, I would have probably eaten more chicken, more shrimps, more cakes and definitely more mangoes. 🙂
While we were eating, a woman approached us and told us that in exchange for the free food, we would have to listen to a 90-minute presentation about the resort. When I heard that, I thought that it was fine with me because I wanted to know more about the facilities of Astoria Boracay. When we were done eating, we were brought to a function room where I got to see other staffs talking to other tourists as well. That moment, I already knew that it was going to be another “ambush” presentation.
The woman who attended to us was very nice and really good. She knew exactly what to ask us and knew exactly what to say. She made us feel really comfortable so I think that made us open up to her more. Unfortunately for her, I have already experienced the same type of “presentation” in the past so whatever she was doing that time, I knew that it was all part of an act.
First, she asked us if we love to go on vacation. Of course, we do! Good question, right? Next thing she asked was how many times do we travel each year and how much money we spend on vacations. Everything she said to us was right on the money. She made us realize how expensive it is to go on vacation especially when the goal is to stay in a luxurious resort. And then she said… “What if you can go on vacation for 1 week every single year for the next 30 years?” I said “I would totally love that!” She then said “What if you can stay in a luxurious resort such as Astoria Palawan for 1 week every single year and you wouldn’t have to pay a lot of money for it? She said that the holiday ownership (“membership”) that they are offering would allow us to stay in one of their spectacular rooms in Astoria Palawan for a cheaper price. It would seem that if we become members, instead of paying Php15,000 – Php20,000 per night for the room, all we have to do is pay Php10,000 once a year for a 1-Bedroom suite that is already good for 4 adults and 2 kids. This means that if you get to stay for 1 week every year in that same hotel, it would appear as though you’ll only be paying Php1,428per night (Php10,000/7 nights) instead of the resort’s published rate.
Tell me this, if you hear words like that, wouldn’t you be interested as well? I bet you would be too! I knew how a holiday ownership works but hearing those words from her made me so interested to learn more about the membership that Astoria has to offer. I thought that if it turns out to be a good investment, I might consider it because I really want to go on a beach vacation at least once a year.
Aside from the 1 week vacation a year, she also mentioned the other benefits that we can get if we become members. She said that although the assigned 1 week vacation is for a room in Astoria Palawan, we can opt to enjoy our 1 week vacation in their other hotels/resorts like the Astoria hotel in Pasig, Astoria Boracay, etc. but we will have to pay an extra Php3000 since it is not the assigned resort for us. She also said that the 1 week vacation may be given as a gift, may be rented, may be sold and may also be saved for the following year. This means that if you don’t get to use your 1-week vacation this year, you can have 2 weeks vacation next year. Not bad, huh? And if that is not enough, members also get to avail out-of-the-country vacations for a much cheaper rate. An example she gave was a Europe vacation where you would only spend about Php3,000 per room per night.
Amazing, isn’t it? Now, here’s the catch! You’d think having to pay Php10,000 per year to enjoy a week vacation in Astoria Palawan is very affordable BUT the problem is… this is not the only amount that you will have to shell out. To become a member, we were told that we would have to pay Php476,000. I’m not kidding! That’s what she said. I don’t even know why she thought we have this much money to spend when we already told her in the beginning that we were on a tight budget for this particular Boracay trip. She also said that if we can’t pay Php476,000 upfront, we can just give a down-payment of Php50,000 and the remaining Php426,000 may be paid in 3 years installment with 0% interest, which means we will just have to pay Php11,833 per month for the next 36 months. Does that sound reasonable enough for you? If so, here’s another catch! If you choose to pay in installment, you will only start enjoying a 1-week vacation (per year) ONCE you have paid 100% of the membership fee. But wait! She said not to worry because if we give them a down-payment, they will give us a free 5 days 4 nights stay in a hotel in Florida OR a 3 days 2 nights stay in a hotel in Bali, Bangkok or Las Vegas OR a 3 days 2 nights stay in a hotel in Palawan – not Astoria Palawan but another hotel in Palawan. But wait again! She said that if we can’t take advantage of that freebie, they can also give us a FREE 3 days 2 nights stay in Astoria Palawan ONCE we have paid at least 40% of the membership fee.
Here’s what you should know. Before the start of their presentation, they will always tell you that they will not force you if you don’t want to. In fact, when she mentioned the amount of the membership fee, she reminded us that there is no pressure and that we will not be forced to become members if we don’t want to but we all know that is not really true. When she told us the amount of the membership fee, we told her we don’t have money. She asked if we have credit cards and we said we don’t. She then asked if we can withdraw money from our ATM or borrow money from a friend but we said we can’t. I initially asked her if it’s okay for us to give them an answer the following day because it was already late and we just didn’t have the money for it. She said that their promo is only good for that day and they cannot offer the membership promo on a different day because it will be UNFAIR to the other people who have joined on the same day of the presentation. Plus, she said that if we purchase the membership at a later time, the promo will no longer be applicable therefore, the membership fee will be at Php1.6 Million already. When we told her we really have no money at the moment, she said she’ll try to talk to her supervisor about it and then after a few minutes, she came back and gave us another membership promo.
2nd offer was for a membership fee of Php196,000 where we will only have to pay Php20,000 down-payment and the balance can be paid in 36 months (0% interest) for the amount of only Php4,888 per month. This membership is only good for 10 years instead of 30 years since it’s cheaper. We told her we can’t afford it because we don’t have Php20,000. We reiterated that we were really on a tight budget that time but instead of giving up on us, she offered yet another membership promo.
3rd offer was for a membership fee worth Php144,000 good for 10 years as well. The down-payment will just be Php15,000 and the remaining amount may be paid in 36 months for Php3,583 per month. Again, we told her we don’t have Php15,000 but she still didn’t give up. Instead, she offered to let us pay on a date that we prefer – sometime November or even December – which was weird since she said in the beginning that the offer is only good on the same day.
Eventually, she agreed for us to inform her of our decision the following day so we were finally able to go back to our hotel. When we got to our hotel, I tried to analyze the information and the numbers that she presented to us because I needed to know if it would really be a good investment or not and here’s what I found out. If you avail any of the 3 membership promos that they offer, it is NOT TRUE that a week vacation would mean just spending Php1,428 per night. Why?
Here’s a sample computation using the 30-year Membership Fee and applying the 36-month installment:
Membership Fee: Php476,000
Yearly Fee starting from the 4th year up to the 30th year: Php10,000 x 27 years = Php270,000
Php476,000 + Php270,000 = Php746,000
Php746,000 / 27 years of vacation = Php27,629.63 per year (*remember that you can only start enjoying your vacation once the membership fee is fully paid)
*They said you can get 8 days 7 nights vacation per year after paying the membership fee in full: Php27,629.63 / 7 nights per year = Php3,947.09
Are you still with me? I hope you are. I know this may sound confusing but if you like Math as much as I do, you’ll get why the numbers I mentioned above just don’t add up.
This is why they make people decide on the day of the presentation so that people won’t have a chance to analyze if they will actually benefit from the membership or not. Don’t get me wrong. If you become a member, technically, you will still be able to save a lot of money because the rate per room per night will still appear to be a lot cheaper but if you don’t have the money to pay the membership fee in full, you will just end up paying for 3 years first before you can go on vacation. I think that this membership will only work great if you can pay the fee in full because if you do that, you can already enjoy taking a week vacation on the 1st year instead of on the 4th year. But even with this, bear in mind that if you compute the total spending, it would still appear that a 1-night stay in a room in Astoria Palawan would still be about Php3,900+ and NOT Php1,428, as they claim it to be. If this is the case, wouldn’t you rather just check for hotels/resorts promos yearly? It’s safer and you wouldn’t be tied into paying a yearly “maintenance” fee for the next 30 years of your life.
The following day, she sent me a message asking about our decision. I told her about my computation and analysis and I asked her “tama ba ako?” but she no longer responded. To me, that is as good as her confirming that what I just told her is, in fact, true.
I know this post is long but I hope that you were able to read everything so that when you end up in a situation where someone is offering you a holiday ownership, you’ll know what to do already. If you want more information about Club Astoria Holiday Ownership, you might want to check Tripadvisor.com.ph because I saw a lot of comments in there, mostly negative though.
On a lighter note, I have to say that I would still like to stay in Astoria Boracay or even Astoria Palawan because their rooms look so chic BUT I prefer to go there as a non-member. I’m sure that I’d still be able to get some good discounts on these resorts if I go there during off-peak season. 🙂
Check out my other Boracay posts:
Astoria Hotels and Resorts
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