This resort is a stunner that is the finest on the island. It delivers the hospitality for which the Philippines is known as well as excellent views of the beautifully blue water. Here are five reasons to stay in the value-packed and elegantly tropical Shangri-La Boracay, Philippines.
The arrival experience
The lobby introduces guests to the most beautiful turquoise water views with a breeze wafting through the al fresco space. Fountains and ponds surround the sitting areas, and guests complete reception formalities with chilled juice in hand. The reception area’s elevated position gives arrivals premium views before heading to either of the main accommodation wings adjacent to the main building. Those in suites and accommodations farther away are whisked off in golf carts.
Vintana Asian Cafe is the main dining room serving a lavish buffet breakfast with different made-to-order stations for things like sushi, noodle bowls and omelets. Fresh fruit is cut on the spot, and the array of different Filipino and regional dishes truly impresses. Younger visitors, however, will make a beeline for the ice cream stations. Speaking of bees, there is also an impressive range of locally made honeys with different scents and flavors. The “arroz caldo,” a typical Filipino snack similar to porridge with savory toppings, comes highly recommended.
Later in the day, Vintana serves a la carte dishes from an international menu including more Filipino favorites. By the pool, guests can order from a casual menu of salads, sandwiches, pizzas and healthier dishes like quinoa bowls.
The rooms face the bay, two beaches and ocean with those on higher floors enjoying the most panoramic views. Tiled floors and bright colors make a cool first impression, and jet lagged guests are surely thankful for the soft beds with thick duvets. Wide work desks provide more power outlets and the chance to catch up on emails while facing the sea. Rooms with mostly garden views in buildings closer to the pool are labeled as Deluxe with those on higher floors labeled as sea view. Premier and Premier Sea View rooms offer even more stunning scenery. Sliding doors open to bathrooms with separate soaking tubs behind glass walls with privacy shades. Powerful pressure in the separate shower is another welcome perk with aromatic Thai toiletries dispensed from ceramic jars in eco-friendly fashion. Closets stock robes, slippers, umbrellas and flip flops for the beach.
The resort has plenty of suite and villa categories with those secluded at the top of the hill known as Tree House Villas. Loft Villas also have this lofty perch along with duplex layouts separating the living and sleeping areas providing more space along with private terraces and plunge pools. There are two-bedroom villas with pools as well as some directly leading out to the beach or ocean. It’s the Presidential Villa though that is most impressive with multiple bedrooms, sitting areas, a huge outdoor space with romantic dining perch, large swimming pool and al fresco terrace. All of the accommodations feature beautiful pan-Asian art pieces and statues, which add the perfect local touch. Many rooms come with sofa beds, and all provide a pillow menu to customize your sleep.
The spa here is incredible. After entering the main gates, guests cross over koi fish ponds and past a private swimming pool to reach treatment villas. Traditional Asian practices ranging from Filipino and Thai massage to Chinese healing are on the menu. The main resort swimming pool looks as if it is spilling into the ocean. It has numerous fountains and bubbling chairs under the water. A separate lap pool is a haven for adults. They can soak in the sunset while wading in the warm water.
Staffers serve food and drinks on the beach where day beds and umbrellas await. In addition to a full-service fitness center, watersport activities are available. A list of daily activities gives guests an idea of how to keep busy. There are yoga sessions and even nature lessons with onsite experts. There’s a dive center plus an eco center to teach guests about the surrounding nature and animal life. Guests will also find an entertainment center with billiard table and video games. Tennis buffs can hit balls on the resort’s courts to name just a few of the recreational amenities.
The resort has plentiful ballroom and conference space. It is popular with Filipino groups as well as meetings and incentives from around the region. Wedding parties love the many lawns and beach areas for celebrations underneath swaying palm trees.
The closest airport is Cataclan, which is about a 45-minute flight from Manila. The hotel’s shuttle bus takes guests to a departure jetty where they board a speedboat to go directly to the resort. It’s an exhilarating ride with beautiful views before reaching the dock where talented performers and friendly staff welcome guests in a golf cart to head for the open-air reception.
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.