Contributed by feature reporter Jens Hoffmann.
The limousine sent to collect us glides over the island. Yes it is a “Robinson Crusoe” island, only 8 kilometers long, the “White Beach” on the island was voted several times to be the world best beach.
A tropical paradise about an hour’s flight from Manila. Boracay is not very big, but it knows how to impress. We checked in at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa.
It is a quiet, luxurious home base for travellers in search of that special something. Besides easy access to the island’s major attraction like the “White Beach” you will find it here. One thing common to all Shangri-La residences is the desire to bring the guest closer to the country. Each of Shangri-La’s restaurants for example is thoughtfully placed to emphasize the hotel’s best sea views. That’s what we enjoyed and it was great. The resort provides everything required to pamper you back to life after spending the day exploring the island and ocean. Holistic relaxation is to be found in Shangri-La’s enormous spa features a wide array of slow, careful treatments based on Chinese and native Philippines healing concepts. The luxury of first-class facilities and conveniences goes beyond the resort and is extended to guests on their journey to the Island.
Upon landing at the Caticlan Airport, the guest is at once received by a representative and escorted to the van and directly to a private lounge where refreshments and other welcome amenities await before the private boat taxi starts to the resort. At Shangri-La room categories range from Deluxe, Deluxe Seaview and privat villa. All guestrooms and suites have a flat-screen television, a DVD player, an iPod dock, a writing desk and complimentary wi-fi. The bathrooms are marble-floored with two sinks, a separate rain shower and bath, and premium toiletries. The territory houses some of the most stylish accommodations eg. the Treehouse villas sit atop the resort’s highest grounds, a perfect venue to revel in the spectacular view of the sea in the horizon. Each tree house villa is a two-storey structure measuring, the master’s bedroom is located at the lower floor and it is surrounded by glass windows that provide a panoramic seascape. The living room is on the upper level with an outdoor deck that has an al fresco Jacuzzi tub and daybeds for lounging and sun bathing. From this private balcony, you have the best views of Boracay’s breathtaking sunset. They blend with the overall architectural form and allow views of the gardens and the ocean. Many stylistic flavors and trades were injected into the design, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of the Philippines, from Spanish to tribal traditions. The inspiration for the arrival experience was the sea. The ocean view beyond the lobby evokes grandeur as guests walk into the main entrance. Design elements such as the chandeliers inspired by Spanish ironworks flank the lobby, creating a eye-catching feature and reinforcing a strong sense of arrival. We liked the artwork from various regions of the Philippines, eg. a 3-meter- high tribal drums from the South, Gado jars, carved wooden sculptures ad more local trades. Decorative lamps add to the feel of the resort. The natural environment was a direct influence on the color scheme and textural qualities of the space. The Lobby Lounge can be found a few steps away from the front desk at the main lobby.
Its wide open interiors make it an amazing place to take in the view of the sea. Furthermore culinary experiences of the highest standard are revealed at the restaurants. At Vintana restaurant they serve all-day international cuisine in buffet and al a carte menus. Having enjoyed the appetizer dish of salads and sushi, and the pastry buffet we felt like in heaven.
Later on enjoyed a great dinner at the resto “Sirena”. It was a great happening, having tasted seafood in a wounderfully and very special ambience, the Sirena is located by the scenic cliff-side.
The seafood was great, freshest catch from the sea, cooked exquisitely by the seasoned chefs of the resort. The cuisine leaves no wishes unfilled we had lobster, octopus and mussels, everything was fine. Pairing a richer Cabernet Sauvignon wine with a richer fish, or seafood is the way to go, that’s what we did, we had a great evening. The experience was a particular delight when enjoyed with a view and the smell of the sea.
We slept perfectly and enjoyed a unbelievable good breakfast in the morning.
During the day the perfect location at which to relax and to do nothing is the stylish pool, which seems to bled in the horizon. Recuperative luxury for body and soul is delivered in the Spa.
The elegant Spa offers a first class service, guests can enjoy bathing landscape, nice steam room, sauna, whirlpool and a private garden. It is a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being, inspired by Asian healing philosophies. Furthermore you will get what you want and you can choose from numerous treatments.
Beyond the resort’s architectural and natural beauty, a commitment to the environment has been embedded not just in the culture, but also in the very design of the way the resort operates. The promise of sustainability situated in an island where potable water is a scarce resource, the resort employs its very own desalination plant. With this technology, the resort is able to treat salt water and convert it to clean, potable water safe for human consumption. Shangri-La’s Resort and Spa is surrounded by an eco-reserve, the resort recognizes its responsibility in creating a natural sanctuary for the marine life, flora and fauna that thrive on the island. Futhermore the 800 staff members start to clean up the beach by themselves, we enjoyed that. Shangri-La Boracay offers a luxurious experience that goes well beyond paradise, where environmental protection, community involvement, and sustainable living are intricately woven into every guest’s stay, sophisticated style at its best.