Oh Boracay... (and this is a photo right off the iPhone 4S!)
When you have sun, sea and sand like this, you'll want to stay forever.
Boracay makes for a gorgeous beach holiday and the tourism industry is very developed here, so you'll find all the familiar facilities, warm service and all the creature comforts you need.
But take note: it's so popular, there is no low season - only peak, super peak and super high peak seasons! So yes, it makes sense to plan and book everything early!
There are plenty of choices for accommodation, ranging from budget hostels to luxury high-end resorts and hotels. The Philippines Department of Tourism helped to get an inside peeks at six of the best places to stay, in alphabetical order. And I'm saving the best honeymoon resort for a separate post.
Located on Bulabog Beach, 7 Stones is a five-star boutique resort which is a TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice® 2013 Winner for Small Hotels.
There are only 28 rooms and suites here, so it's really cosy.
It's a beachfront property, so you can run straight up to the beach! Or play in the pool like these kids are doing. The resort is also within walking distance to D'Mall for shopping and also White Beach, the other long stretch of beach on the opposite side of the island.
The one-bedroom Junior Suites alone are 60-70 sq m, but offer a lot more privacy for couples and honeymooners. There is a living and dining area, a fully functional kitchen, and 40-inch LCD TV.
The en-suite bathrooms include a nice hot tub!
The designer decor is contemporary and furnishings chic and comfortable. Family Suites are huge, up to 155 sq m, and offer beautiful balconies.
Superior Room: PHP10,000
Junior Suite: PHP14,000
Deluxe Suite: PHP16,000
Grand Deluxe: PHP24,000
Family Suite: PHP26,000
Premium Family Suite: PHP31,000
Super Family: PHP39,000.
7Stones Boracay Suites
Bulabog Beach, Balabag, Boracay Island Road 1-A,
Malay 5608, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 2881601
At White Beach Station no.2 just a stone's throw away from the busy beach bars is the Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel. No relation to the Mandarin Hotel Group in Singapore, in case you're wondering.
This is the penthouse suite, which looks absolutely made for honeymoons (iPhone photo). It is also much quieter up here, compared to the ground level rooms which get the nightlife atmosphere.
The bathroom looks very new and modern, with separate shower and bath.
Some of the rooms are spacious enough for families. There is also free broadband Internet access.
Check out the website for room promotions, such as:
Mandarin Island Escape - 3D2N Room and Breakfast Package
June 16, 2013 - October 15, 2013
Room Categories: Deluxe Room, Premier Seaview Room
Package rate starts at Php 4,870.00 per person
Additional night - Php 1,835.00 per person
Inclusive of taxes and surcharges
Roundtrip Airport Transfers via Caticlan
Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel
Beach Front Station 2,
Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 2884999/2885999
This is where we stayed (also at Station no.2) not far away from the Mandarin Island. With 265 rooms, the Boracay Regency is one of the largest beach resorts in Boracay, and is rated triple-A for luxury. It has everything - six F&B outlets, a spa and wellness centre, a gym, mini shop, meeting and convention facilities. It's so big that we almost got lost each time we tried to find our rooms or go out!
Rooms are very decent, roomy and clean. The resort was built in 1999, but most recently renovated in 2008.
Bathroom, vanity, an open wardrobe and sitting area. There is also a balcony where you can chill and enjoy the tropical breeze.
The best part of the resort is probably that it is beachfront property -- this is the beach you can just walk right up to! White Beach is a glorious 4km stretch of powdery white sand and crystal clear waters.
Guests also have a special lounge where you can enjoy drinks and nibbles.
If you ever get tired of the beach, there are three swimming pools nested within the sprawling complex.
Check out their various room promotions on the website. I see rates as low as PHP6,902 per person (triple sharing) for 3D2N.
Boracay Regency Beach Resort & Spa
Balabag, Boracay, Malay,
Aklan Location at Station 2
Tel: +63 (36) 288-6111-117
It features 88 all-suite rooms in five categories.
The Junior Suite is about 40-45 sq m with either two queen-sized beds or one king-sized bed.
You get a footbath upon arrival, and even a beach tote with sunscreen.
The One Bedroom Suite Premier (78 sq m) is a very pretty loft suite.
I like the contemporary decor with wood and glass elements.
Over at the very spacious 120 sq m Two-Bedroom Suites, you can easily fit six people with L-shaped sofas serving as additional bed space. The high ceiling in the living area is just breath-taking as you enter the room. Large glass windows allow lots of natural light during daytime.
The separate bedrooms upstairs come with their own en-suite bathrooms.
There's also a jacuzzi and daybeds on the balcony overlooking the sea. Within the rest of the resort is a swimming pool, sauna/steamroom, spa, lounge, restaurant, business center, and gym.
Junior Suite: Fr. PHP13,500++
1 Bedroom Suite: Fr. PHP16,500++
1 Bedroom Suite Premier: Fr. PHP18,500++
2-bedroom suite: PHP25,600++
2-bedroom suite premier: Fr. PHP28,100++
All prices subject to 10% service fee and 12% VAT
Discovery Shores Boracay
Boracay Highway Central
Tel: +63 (036) 2884500
This is the only fairway on Boracay Island and features an 18 hole, par-72 championship course. The resort has 300 rooms and villas in a quiet and secure enclosed environment.
The rooms all look fairly new and freshly renovated. The resort is really huge, so you have 24-hour buggies at your service.
The suites are particularly spacious. The 268-sqm Chairman’s Suite is probably the largest I have ever seen, with a huge balcony you can host parties on.
At the golf clubhouse, there's a huge freshwater pool and cafe. But nobody's really dipping in the pool because just look at the view of the beach!
Yes, like this!
And this! That little red canopied boat is a glass-bottomed boat you can go out in.
Oh the girls had us in stitches posing at the men's urinals. (iPhone photo)
This resort is truly self-contained. It's got all the activities (spa, wellness, horse-riding, water adventures, Segway, Zipline) and even some really pretty private beaches. You won't need to leave the place except for nightlife and shopping. Shuttles leave for D'Mall every hour.
Check out all the promos online, with up to 50% off room rates.
Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay
Malay 5608, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 288 5588
I've saved one of the best resorts - the Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa - for a separate post. Also because I think all your eyes will be fatigued at this juncture and not really paying attention anymore. So, hang on. One more to go!
Photos taken with the Canon 6D (except where indicated) kindly loaned to me by Canon Singapore.