It started with a flight from Manila to Palawan. Then a jitney ride from the plane to the airport, followed by another jitney ride to the water’s edge. From there it was a quick boat ride to load onto another boat, for a 30 minute boatride. Then offloading onto another boat for a quick jaunt to shore. Finally – I had arrived at El Nido, an eco-luxury resort in Palawan, Philippines.
If you’ve ever felt the interest (need?) to get away to a deserted island, El Nido Pangulasian is about as close as you’re going to come while still maintaining some modicum of civilization and luxury. One of several El Nido resorts in Palawan, El Nido Pangulasian stands at the top of the resort food chain for luxury.
Upon arrival on the island, you walk though the sand where you’re welcomed with a bamboo garland (unfortunately agriculture restriction prevented me from taking it home) and some local music. A short wait in the lobby area as you’re checked in and then you’re sent off with an employee to your accommodations.
El Nido Pangulasian is a family friendly resort set in Bacuit Bay, offering both white sand beach and a tropical forest for a setting. There are 42 deluxe accommodations ranging from canopy villas built on stilts above the tropical forest, beach villas, and pool villas. I stayed in a beach villa, number 16, and it was a little slice of heaven.
The king-sized bed dominated the main part of the villa, looking out to the deck and the water. The drape was for decorative purposes, not required for bugs, and the room had good lighting, whether for romantic ambiance or bedside reading. An iPod was queued up with various playlist, I opted for light jazz, further setting the mood.
Although there was a desk and sitting area in the main room, I never used them, instead opting to take advantage of the comfortable outside deck. The deck had chairs and loungers, and a great view of the water.
Immediately behind the bed in a mini-bar, coffee maker, and work station area. Some items are free, others are not, you’re briefed when your guide gives you a tour and explanation of the room. I thought this area was the best for some laptop time (if you have to work while you’re there) as it provide space to spread out along with good lighting. And oh yes, there’s speedy wifi.
The bathroom and dressing area could be reached by doors on either side of the bed and main room. It’s huge, with double sinks, a window seat area, and a large shower area. I was impressed with the continued to commitment to eco-standards with the woven bamboo containers and wrappers, and refillable full-sized containers of not only bath products, but also insect repellent.
The resort offers full and half board. Since there aren’t a lot of restaurant options around, the obvious choice is to turn it into an all-inclusive experience and not worry about it. The food was good, not great, but solidly enjoyable.
Breakfast is buffet style, and offers plentiful options to start the day. A few items (e.g., smoothies) are an extra add-on, but the staff advised us when ordering. No surprise add ons later. The highlight of breakfast were the mangos. Brightly colored, deliciously sweet, you’ll never be satisfied eating mangos back home again. I’m not kidding when I say that I could have lived on mangos during my stay at El Nido
What’s there to do at El Nido? As much or as little as you’d like. We spent a lot of time on a boat, cruising among the various islands and formations. I’d recommend this as it gives you a little lay of the land (or the water), but don’t spend all your time moving about. Grab some time on a kayak, snorkeling, or simply enjoying the water. It’s warm, refreshing, and so clear that aquatic life jumps out at you with its vivid colors. And be sure to allow some time to soak up some relaxation on your deck or the resort beach.
While my days were fairly busy on the water, for a return visit I’d recommend a more leisurely pace to enjoy the grounds and beach. Keep your eyes and ears out as you’re walking around, you’ll see – or hear – monkeys, a variety of lizards, and more. I missed out on that relaxation time, and I imagine that is the reason that so many guest choose El Nido
El Nido Pangulasian has a spa on premises, and you can also opt for an in-room spa experience. I did a full body scrub and massage which provided a much needed treatment after a long day of travel. This two hour treatment was about $100-ish. While tips are not expected, I did include a little extra on top of that.
Visiting El Nido Pangulasian is not cheap. There’s the flight to get their (thrice daily from Manila), and then room rates start about $400/night. This is not the everyday getaway, but what price can you put on paradise?! Book directly with the hotel online or you can use Travelocity or Hotelopia.
El Nido Pangulasian is located in Palawan, Philippines. Don’t worry about trying to find it; all you have to do is get on the plane to Palawan. They’ll take care of getting you there after that.
Note: I received a complimentary stay at El Nido Pangulasian