The Philippine islands are only recently being discovered as one of the perfect holiday getaways the world has to offer – Providing high standards at a relatively low price. This archipelago of more than 7000 islands has managed to stay under the world’s radar as a travel destination – until recently. It offers what only few other places in the world can offer: pristine, untouched beauty, and an escape from the chaos of the over-visited classic vacation destinations.
A large portion of the Philippine islands remain untouched by human development, and herein lies the powerful appeal in them. Even those places offer fantastic accommodation options and your choice of private tours. That said, the transfers between islands and sorting out a reasonable itinerary can prove challenging. That is why a visit to the Philippines is the perfect opportunity to consider an all inclusive vacation package, especially when you see what a value it is in the Philippines compared to other countries. If you are coming from Singapore, it would be good to find a travel agency in Singapore that can help you with your booking.
That said, most people do not necessarily want to spend their entire vacation in lavish 5-star resorts. The country is a good value, but luxury is still expensive and costs can quickly add up. Moreover, mixing it up a bit will help you experience more sides of the country and its people. So, below you can find our top picks for luxury and boutique hotels all around the Philippines. Mixing between the two will ensure you have a fantastic and memorable holiday!
Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Palawan (pictured above)
“No request is too great and no detail too small” – Who wouldn’t want to escape into such luxury on a private island that can be booked out for a quiet getaway in the middle of the crystal-clear Sulu Sea?
While the island resort offers the usual white-sand beaches, and the opulence of world-class accommodation and a spoil-yourself-silly spa, it also brings together unforgettable water-sport adventure activities, family-oriented facilities, and great special-event hosting facilities.
They even customise their complementary offerings to accommodate families, couples, or large groups, but to be honest this place is best suited for honeymooners. Amanpulo Resort is the closest it gets in the Philippines to the extravagant private islands resorts of the Maldives, and is also the most expensive resort in the country.
Ai World Park and Resort
If you’re looking for a bit of country-side charm, the Ai World Park and Resort may just be the perfect pick for you. Quaint little cottage-style accommodation on a quiet hillside, offering you the peaceful ambiance that takes you away from everything else around you.
Located in Palawan’s capital of Puerto Princesa, this boutique resort is one of the highest rated 3 stars in the Philippines. Puerto princesa isn’t such a popular choice for tourists in general, but it is the home of the famous Underground River – one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
While the resort is quite basic compared to others on this list, it does offer picnic areas, swimming pools, on-site restaurant and café, free Wi-Fi facilities and so much more! It is a perfect choice if you want to save some money for later on in your trip, and enjoy an authentic Filipino experience while doing that.
Shangri-la at the Fort, Manila
At the hub of the Bonifacio Global City in central Metro Manila, the luxuriously designed Shangri-la Hotel welcomes you into the lap of luxury and fine living. The tallest tower in the Philippines, this complex also feature the Horizon Homes collection, retail shops, and the Kerry Sports Manila lifestyle and luxury club.
The Shangri-La chain of hotels bears no introduction and is synonymous worldwide with the ‘luxury’. It doesn’t matter if you have a few days to spend in Manila, or just a single night before heading to the islands, this is the perfect place to start your vacation.
Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa
Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa, Bohol
The Eskaya are a tribe in the Philippines, originating in Bohol and known for their unique language and script. A lot of mystery surrounds the origin of this tribe and they have fascinating tales to tell, for those who care to listen.
The Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa in Bohol bears the name of this tribe. This resort is a 16-acre sprawl hidden far away from the world. It is sought-out for the unique experience of the utmost privacy in an island setting, boasting white-sand beaches, luxurious accommodation, unique spa facilities, and great food. It is not just the only real luxury resort in Bohol, but also one of very few in the Philippines who offer villas with private pools.
Amarela, Panglao Island
If you want to visit Bohol and not splurge by spending 400$ a night in Eskaya, then Amarela offers a great alternative. This boutique resort has only 30 rooms and is quite spacious, offering the perfect feeling of privacy and seclusion.
Amarela is perfect for both couples and small families, who seek an escape from the tourist crowds of Bohol. The resort is located about 10 minutes’ drive from the main beach area, and has its own beach which is actually nicer and much quieter.
El Nido Resorts, Lagen Island
El Nido is one of the most popular locations in the Philippines and has gained worldwide recognition for its spectacular scenery. If you are looking for breath-taking lagoons and small islands, El Nido should be high on your list.
It is also home to no less than 6 different private island resorts, 4 of which are owned by the same company. Out of these, Lagen island offers the best balance of luxury and value for money. The island is strategically located between El Nido town and the famous lagoons, and is also a stunning location in its own right.
Unlike Miniloc or Matinloc, Lagen is more prestigious (and expensive) and so it attracts a slightly better crowd. You will see less families and large groups here, and mostly honeymooners and people who are used to staying at high-end hotels. If your idea of dream accommodation is a stilted cottage above the water with an all-inclusive, full board stay, then Lagen is the place to go!
Apulit island is sort of the boutique version of private island resorts in El Nido. It also has a much younger vibe and offers a lot more opportunities for unique activities and adventures out in the wild. If that’s not enough, it also costs half the price of the other private island resorts, while still offering high end conditions.
The reason for all that is the fact Apulit island is located in the lesser-frequented Taytay Bay, which is roughly 2 hours’ drive from El Nido town. It is not possible to stay there and go see the lagoons on the same day, which is the main reason most people skip this resort altogether. Still, if you are planning a longer holiday, it might be worth it to stop there for a few nights before continuing to El Nido itself.
As mentioned, Apulit offers some very unique experiences which you will not be able to find elsewhere. The diving there is much better and more diverse, with the highlight being the Japanese shipwreck just off the coast. Cliff-jumping, rock climbing, rappelling, and spelunking are also included as part of the resort’s all-inclusive package.
Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort and Spa
We already mentioned the Shangri-La in Manila, which is a fantastic city hotel. The one in Boracay however, is undoubtedly the crown jewel among their branches across the Philippines. Boracay is a small island and home to what is considered one of the best beaches in the world – the famous ‘White Beach’.
The Shangri-La resort isn’t located in White Beach itself, but rather 15 minutes away from it. This offers much more privacy and exclusivity, and of course the resort has 2 private beaches of its own. A shuttle service to White Beach is also available all day long.
The only downside to this resort is the fact that in order to fully enjoy it, you will have to spend quite a lot. The basic rooms are nice, but quite underwhelming, and they are located at the top of the resort, which is quite far from the beach and pool areas. If you really want to enjoy it to the fullest, you will have no choice but to book one of their villas.
Tugawe Cove Resort
If you’re prepared to bear the hassle of the journey, the Tugawe Cove Resort is well worth the effort! Nestled in the center of Caramoan Island in south-central Philippines, the resort brings together a breath-taking blend of dense forests, limestone cliffs, waterfalls and lakes.
The resort offers its guests the option to stay by a pristine lake, on the hillside, or at the very top of the hill. The open-air restaurant, hill-top infinity pool and the water-sport activities on hand ensure that everyone gets a share of the fun.
Atmosphere Resorts and Spa
The Atmosphere is a unique resort that combines the ultimate Marine sanctuary experience with the best of health and wellness. Conveniently situated opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, the resort offers the unique diving and snorkeling experiences because of the minerals in the sand from the nearby volcano, which encourages the growth of a very exclusive marine life that attracts underwater divers and photographers from around the world.
The resort also offers a gluten-free, vegan-friendly bakery, daily yoga classes by the beach and the exhilarating experience of a secret-garden spa where treatment pavilions are surrounded by waterfalls.