This low-key, ultra-private escape on the ridge offers treatments and meals
For daytrippers and those who simply want to get away from the city, Tagaytay is just a short drive away. Many like it because they already know what to expect: a view of the volcano, a cool breeze most days, and a bowl of piping-hot bulalo from their favorite restaurant.
“I didn’t want to compete with these establishments. I wanted to come up with something different for people willing to try something new,” businessman Ken Tuazon said.
A few years ago, he opened Qi Wellness Living Teahouse and Bathhouse. The property on the ridge is easy to miss with its low-key design and almost invisible signage.
“We really wanted it to look that way. When people enter and see our view of the volcano, they’re amazed,” Tuazon said.
“The tea house is on their right, and if they’ve booked a treatment or a room for the night, they are led to the lower floors where there are hot and cold plunge pools, still with that magnificent view.”
Air of mystery
Qi Wellness has been open for a couple of years now but continues to maintain that air of mystery, mainly because only confirmed guests are allowed to enter the red main door, and see the interiors done by the Budji + Royal Design firm of Budji Layug and Royal Pineda.
“If we allowed anyone who wanted to ‘check out the place’ to enter, the privacy of our guests would be compromised. That’s also why we seldom answer the phone; we prefer that reservations and deposits for the rooms or treatments to be made online,” Tuazon said.
Guests have several options to choose from: They can book a meal in the tea house, have a meal preceded or followed by a treatment, or book an overnight stay inclusive of meal and treatment.
“We accept only overnight stays—no three-day, two-night packages—because that’s the experience we offer at Qi Wellness,” Tuazon said. “If they want to stay again, that’s a separate booking on another date.”
There is a 10-course degustation menu in the tea house available from June to mid-September that includes interesting items such as home-made bacon with egg and truffle foam, Lapsang Suchong tea-smoked prawn with sea bass and laksa, and tuna tartare with avocado mousse and wasabi mayo.
The prawn had a delicate smokiness that went well with the laksa, while the tuna with avocado and spiked mayo reminded one of a tasty, deconstructed sushi.
Pace yourselves because although the portions are degustation size, there are 10 items to sample, including seafood mousse with cauliflower purée and lotus crisp, cured duck breast with honey-anise vinaigrette and goji berry, veal cheeks with truffle potato, smoked chicken with rice, and rack of lamb with almond crust and potato cream.
Those interested to sample the degustation menu should book two days in advance.