There are lots of interesting landscapes in the Philippines and plenty of islands to check out, but small Boracay Island is the main beach destination in the country. It attracts plenty of domestic tourists and expats escaping the capital, but also lots of Asian tourists making the hop for a honeymoon or group trip.
Most of the resorts are clustered close together on the main beach, a powdery white stretch of sand where outrigger sailboats take visitors for a ride at sunset. This is where most of the action is, with dozens of restaurants and bars to choose from with great prices. Oddly though there’s not much of a beach bar scene where you can wiggle your toes in the sand and lazily watch the surf hit the sand. Because of the tendency for the constant breeze to blow the fine sand away from the water, there are high screens strung up in front of nearly every establishment.
Three of the Boracay resorts below have claimed spots in different parts of the island, so go to one of those if you’re looking for quiet space and privacy.
The newest luxury resort on the island, Lind Hotel opened with a splash in 2016 and set a new benchmark for aesthetic modern design in the Philippines. The property is a visual delight throughout, with both the fine details and the overall big picture impression delighting guests. An infinity pool overlooking the ocean and another in a courtyard area are inviting, plus the two restaurants and gorgeous lobby bar take their food and cocktails very seriously. With well-equipped rooms and an always-smiling staff, this is the best place to stay if you have a healthy budget and want to stay on the main beach.
See our detailed review of the Lind Hotel. or check out the video tour above.
Removed from all the activity and with its own two beaches, the sprawling Shangri-La has long been the favorite escape for wealthy travelers and privacy-seeking celebrities. It has a renowned spa that has won piles of awards and a gorgeous swimming pool complex shaded with palm trees that looks out on the blue water and beach. Multiple restaurants get raves from guests, though calling the bar scene “subdued” would be an understatement. Staffers are ready to set up whatever is on your wish list and there are self-contained villas for couples or families ready to splurge. This Shangri-La often gets named as the best resort in the Philippines.
Check out our Shangri-La review here, then at the end see links to check rates. Those go from “not so bad” to “better take out a second mortgage.”
Asya Premier Suites Boracay
Like the Shangri-La, this resort has plenty of acreage of its own in a location that’s across the island from the congested main drag. It’s at the southeast tip of the island, situated on a hillside overlooking the water. With a dramatic main pool and some of the largest rooms in the area, some suites have bathrooms that are bigger than the sleeping quarters of some competitors. The highly rated Palay restaurant serves Filipino and international dishes with flair, indoors and out. Rates here tend to be a better value than some of the other higher-end hotels, especially with their package deals.
Check the hotel site or Hotels.com.
In the Station 1 area of the main stretch of beach, this compact, lively resort is a short walk to all the action and has two great restaurants: Sands just steps from the beach and the fancier Indigo for a romantic evening. A bar one level up has a panoramic ocean view. Guest rooms are modern and appealing, with under-bed lights casting a warm glow in the evenings. This resort is part of the Preferred Hotel Group.
Rooms generally run $220 to $400 including breakfast and it can be worth upgrading to a suite to get twice as much space. The one- and two-bedroom full suites are like a penthouse apartment, with kitchens and sprawling living rooms. See more info and rates here.
Spider House Boracay
If you’re looking for a place with more character that’s also easier on the wallet, check out Spider House, which is suspended over rocks in an area around the bend from the main beach. “Built mostly of bamboo and wood on the side of a craggy cliff near Boat Station,” it’s a funky place that looks right out on the water from the main restaurant and most of the rooms. Rates run $48 to $90 during low season and top out at $160 for the best room in high season. See more photos, info, and current rates here.
Microtel Inn by Wyndham Boracay
Also off the main drag, with reasonable rates, is the Microtel Inn. Part of the huge Wyndham hotel family,this is one of the few options in the area where you could cash in some loyalty points for a room. Located on Diniwad beach, the resort is nothing like roadside Microtels in the USA. When our reviewer checked in with her family, the staff practically threw a part and showered them with cool towels, puka necklaces, and welcome drinks. There’s a swimming pool with floating toys for the kids and the main restaurant and bar are in eyesight of the playground, pool, and beach. Hammocks are strewn around the property and there’s a shuttle to D’Mall. (Yes, that’s really its name.)
Review and photos by lodging expert Tim Leffel, who was hosted by several properties mentioned here on a post-trip after speaking at TBEX Asia. See the feature story that came out of that trip here: On a Blowout Budget in Boracay.