The surftown of San Juan, La Union has evolved so much in recent years — from an undiscovered gem only known to few, it’s since grown into a top weekend destination for those from the city looking to escape the busy life. Several homegrown businesses have since sprung up, breathing life and energy into the once sleepy town.
When it comes to accommodations, tourists in San Juan are spoiled for choice the moment they drive into the familiar coastal highway, with all the colorful signs sticking out, trying to catch one’s attention. Yet for those who have fallen in love with San Juan since the very beginning, Monaliza Surf Resort still comes to mind as a peaceful respite from the city and into the simple life on the beach.
A few meters away from the bustle of tourist activity, Monaliza Surf Resort is the pioneer surf resort in San Juan. The resort feels as intimate as its history: Monaliza Luebben-Binlot now runs the resort, after parents Gerald and Nonna Luebben opened its doors in 1980. That’s way before San Juan even became a hip tourist spot.The resort’s surfing roots run deep: it started as a simple board and lodging place when Gerald met American surfers looking for a place to crash. Fast forward three decades later, and Monaliza Surf Resort has since expanded from a simple nipa cottage, to fourteen rooms. Award-winning surfer, Anthony Luebben, Mona’s brother, now runs the surf school.
There’s a cozy, laid-back vibe to the resort when you first enter. There are outdoor hammocks where you can lounge in and enjoy the sea breeze. The place is adorned with adorable dream catchers, streamers and wooden accents, giving it that warm, homey vibe.
What’s great about Monaliza Surf Resort is that it’s one of the very few beachfront resorts that offer great value for money, with rooms starting at P1300 during the lean season, from single bedrooms to family or barkada rooms that can comfortably fit six.
Still, the resort’s best feature is that it’s located right in front of Point Break, which is more than enough reason for surfing fans to book a room. Point Break, or the reef break is where all the action happens — it’s located towards the end of the main beach, providing the best waves for advanced surfers, especially during the north swell. Catch surfers here doing their best tricks at the annual Surf Break, and the best part is you’ve got front row seats at the Monaliza Surf Resort.
The resort is also now home to Le Point Bar, run by partners Julia and Roland. Julia was former manager of Makati’s Café Curieux, while Roland is a local French surfer and motion designer. Le Point serves Filipino-French fare and refreshing cocktails in a relaxed setting by the beach, decked out in refurbished wood and nipa. You can also catch morning beach yoga classes, or good live music at night from time to time.
If you’re looking for a quiet spot in San Juan, with a laid back setting and access to the best waves, we highly recommend checking out Monaliza Surf Resort.
Monaliza Surf Resort
MacArthur Highway, San Juan, La Union