Asia, Hotels and resorts

Travellers are often quite polarised in their views about the Philippines. Either it’s an over-rated minefield of uninspiring food and danger spots; or it’s a haven of stunning landscapes and big-hearted locals. Whichever side of the fence you are leaning towards, ‘luxury Philippines’ has a lot to offer.

Arguably the most expensive hotel we have ever stayed in, the El Nido Miniloc resort in Palawan had a LOT to live up to. It had already firmly established its exclusivity with the charter-flight-only access to the resort. The 40 minute boat tripfrom El Nido town proved it further.  Hundreds of massive rocky outcrops soared into view as we forged deep into the archipelago. We glimpsed palm fringed coves and islands teeming with wildlife.  It was breathtaking. You can’t help but take hundreds of photos, despite knowing how unlikely it was any would capture the vastness or uniqueness of the view!

Day trips galore

The resort itself is dwarfed by the sheer vertical rock which makes it look like a tiny model village. But as stunning as the region is, the resort itself is only reasonable. The food is ok, the accommodation nothing spectacular. But the resort knows where its real value lies. As soon as the welcome song had been chorused the staff corral guests into planning their activities and making the most of the stay. This is where the ‘all inclusive’ aspect of the resort really steps up. Whether it’s a snorkelling trip around the archipelago, a water sports and barbecue excursion, island hopping, a private picnic on a deserted island or kayaking to secluded beaches there were more options than you are likely to have time for. It’s a recipe for a fun-packed schedule!

Contemporary rooms

Back at Miniloc, the lights in the trees and sense of isolation creates a wonderfully romantic atmosphere. A lot of couples are honeymooners (look out for those matching outfits from the Korean newlyweds), but whatever the reason for your visit an upgrade to an ocean view villa is worth it for the lazy day bed and contemporary decor, rather than the ‘hut’ style rooms.

Most people stay for 3 days – it’s probably enough. You can visit the ‘sister’ El Nido resort, a short boat trip away for a swim in a pool and better sunset views. But the Miniloc is pretty special both for that unique taste of true seclusion, and on your doorstep access to the real island gems.

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