“When He closes a door, He opens a window,” goes a Christian teaching. And to paraphrase what someone said — that we often meet our destiny in the road we take to avoid it — we often discover something spectacular when don’t get what we want. To be concrete about it, we preferred Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, La Union. It was fully-booked and we were able to catch the last few remaining slots at Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa found at the town of San Juan, La Union.
It was a happy coincidence that we are immensely thankful for.
Thunderbird is around 30 minutes from the venue of the event we were attending in San Juan (La Union), the Kahuna just 5 minutes. Kahuna is surrounded by more greenery and the shade absorbs the unforgiving hot summer sun. [How to get there? It’s between San Fernando City and San Juan. See map and directions.]
The Kahuna Beach Resort (website) incorporates old world charm of Filipino and Balinese architecture. It feels like home, compared to the hotel atmosphere of the Mediterranean-inspired Thunderbird Resort (looks similar to Bellaroca).
To top it off, and this is the icing on the cake, er, the foam on the wave, the Kahuna is situated in the epicenter of surfing this side of the Philippines. The Kahuna Beach Resort is found in Brgy. Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union, generally acknowledged as the Surfing Capital of the North.
There are two surfing seasons — from July to October and November to March. This could be good or bad, depending on one’s purpose of taking a trip or vacation here.
Good for those who look forward to mingle with a huge crowd of surfers. It could also be unpleasant because hotels and resorts in prime locations would mostly likely be booked in advance, especially during weekends.
The Kahuna is a boutique hotel, its 30 rooms easily gobbled up during weekends and more so during the peak surfing season. Choose rooms in the middle of the manicured garden (duplex Garden Rooms), rooms facing the sea (Ocean View Rooms), and stand-alone private villa (Kahuna Rest House).
Not that it matters which room is nice because the lowest rates (Garden Rooms, at P4,500, good for 2 persons with breakfast) is just as comfortable and cozy. Fenced privacy within the premises is perhaps the extra cost for the 6-person Rest House at P22,500.
And if I want peace and quiet, I’d stay away from the rooms surrounding the swimming pool. The pool area, with kids shrieking while taking a bath and adults lounging beside the pool while enjoying their cold beer or other beverages, is naturally far from quiet. The duplex garden view rooms appear perfect.
The infinity pool merges beautifully with the restless see a few meters away. The swimming pool is obviously for both kids and adults, but it is almost an offense for adults to enjoy the pool when the sand and surf beckon outside.
During the time we were there, the models of StokedInc, the pioneer action sports brand and store in the Philippines, were having their photo shoot.
Adjoining the pool area is the Big Kahuna Bar and Restaurant, where meals are served and events staged.
And because there’s a “spa” in the resort’s name, central to the Kahuna experience is the Spa Luana. The word Luana, the official explanation goes, means “relax” in Hawaiian and Ho’oluana means “to relax”. The Kahuna claims to offer “a guaranteed relaxing experience” at Spa Luana, something we tried to find out if true.
With the commitment to service and the facilities offered, it’s thus no wonder that the Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa is rated “A” by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT).
“Kahuna” is a Hawaiian word which basically means “caretaker” or an expert in some craft. The Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa seems to take service quite seriously, providing guests with the comfort and atmosphere of home, while at the same time offering what the Surfing Capital of the North has to offer.