Shock--the absolutely stunning view of sea with blue-green mountains on the horizon as we step on to our deck.
Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa was not entirely terra incognita for us—it had been highly recommended by family. Inside, a complimentary fruit platter awaited us with a handwritten note by the general manager. Much appreciated !
What made our seaview bungalow special was the deck—spacious despite the jacuzzi and the two lounge chairs, plus a corner for the sunset apéritif. Dense shrubbery gave full privacy to meditate on the deck, roll out my yoga mat.
Could have done without the TV, and didn’t use the air conditioning, as it was quite breezy this early January. The bed was heavenly: wide and comfortable, fine linens. The room was okay, but the airy garden shower was out of this world. One had the illusion of being outside in a tropical garden but without the frogs, the creepy crawlies, the lizards.
The resort’s breakfast buffet is staggeringly lavish. You can do healthy--homemade granola, fresh fruit (sweetest pineapple ever), yogurt, ham, cheese, fresh green salad, brown bread, but also less healthy, like different muffins each day, croissants, Danish made by the hotel kitchen. But wait…there were hot foods too that varied daily, fish filets with pesto, sautéed okra with tomatoes, Swedish meatballs, potato croquettes. My husband ate only vegetarian, no problem here. At the chef’s corner, you could order eggs any way you wanted, and there were other foods for Asian tastes like congee with complete condiments, noodles in soup, typical Filipino breakfast.
Food is taken seriously at Panglao Island Nature Resort and Spa—a native dish, kare-kare, looked good (not always the case) and was delicious, served unusually with real mashed potatoes. Try the Vietnamese fresh spring roll for crisp clean taste (this is not the fried version) and appeal in presentation. For dessert, the Coconut Panna Cotta, yum! The secret to the inventiveness with local ingredients, to the visual attractiveness of the dishes here, I discovered, was the Manager Renel Dimacali’s training with Alain Ducasse in Paris, no less. Le terroir, c’est tout!
Activity-wise: I left the cluster of glam pools with the swim-up bar overlooking the beach to the bikini-ed girls taking selfies and did laps in the infinity pool between the gym room and the spa--a huge pool, where I had the luxury of swimming laps alone! The resort’s clay court and the availability of ballboys made me regret I left my tennis racket at home. The spa must be visited, if only to admire the splendid hardwood floor, kamagong now being terribly rare. I had a Hawaiian lomi-lomi massage, good if you like deep muscle massage. The spa is a beautiful peaceful place, where romantic events like engagements are held in their airy upper-level spaces.
If in doubt about what tour to go on, consult Exur, friendly bartender, a fountain of knowledge about what to see in Bohol. For kids, he’ll do the signature cocktails like Chocolate Hills without the booze. The dining room can feel a bit empty at lunchtime, when clients are out touring or sunning by the pools, the staff under-occupied, so the open-walled bar is a pleasant place to hang out.
What I loved…the views of the sea, the lush garden, the space (various gazebos, the veranda, the game room, the park-like grounds, our deck), the stunning hardwood floor of the spa, the natural cave on the hotel’s land. The spacious grounds are planted with orchids, shrubs of contrasting colors and textures, native trees, many kinds of palms, coconut trees. In the shallow ponds at the front desk and the spa, water lilies bloom, koi swim lazily, and huge dragonflies of many colors whir above them.
The last two mornings of our stay were slightly marred by the noise of a machine on the beach at 6 am—the sand was being plowed over at low tide to uproot sea grass. Even paradise has to be maintained!
The pluses: I appreciated the management’s decision to add 10% to all food and beverage, requesting clients to not tip. Excellent, as the 10% benefits all staff. Appreciated also that the shuttle from the AP/back, and breakfast, were included in room price. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, yet they leave you well alone.
Suggestions to the hotel: Maybe Panglao Island Nature Resort could lean with more conviction towards the environmentally friendly. Implement the no client=no energy. The rooms have the thingie to shut down electricity with the removal of the card key, but management decided not to implement this. Label the native trees on the grounds, there is a wealth of interesting trees I could not identify and I know most native trees. Plowing up sea grass in front of the beach to heighten visual appeal and enable clients to wade in more transparent waters? It’s enough that the beach is swept clean of debris several times a day. If you want clients to visit the cave, make sure that the trash to the right of the path--electrical equipment, construction debris--is cleared up. Live up to the luxury you want to provide.
On se réjouit de revenir! We can’t wait to come back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If your idea of fun and relaxation is a mix of exploration and a little adventure, or simply, just to connect yourself to nature, we are inviting you to MITHI RESORT AND SPA, which is only 20 minutes away from the airport and the seaport and a 15-minute leisurely drive from Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol, Philippines. Nestled in a 14-hectare natural terrain, this uniquely secluded resort is endowed with half a kilometer white sand beach which is exclusively for the use of resort guests. The room accommodations are three meters elevated from the beach, which in effect, not only offers a panoramic view of Tagbilaran Bay with a mountain range as backdrop, but provides better security as well. The resort has facilities for honeymooners, wedding events, as well as conferences, company, school, family and group outings, extended vacations, weekend escapades and other types of celebrations. Apart from the excitement that the island has to offer, the resort proudly presents the Mithi Spa, a perfect haven for quiet relaxation and pampering. Spa offerings include a full menu of massage, signature therapies and beauty treatments. The Dream Islet right in front of the beach, and the resort's natural underground cave where you can take a plunge in its natural clear waters, add even more uniqueness to this piece of paradise. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Panglao Island Nature Hotel Panglao Island
- Panglao Island Nature Resort
- Panglao Beach Resort
- Panglao Nature Resort
- Bohol Resort