Whether you hanker for the turquoise-trimmed Tambisaan Beach, the scuba diving of Puerto Galera or the frenetic pace of Manila, you can find your private paradise in the Philippines when you rent a holiday apartment.
Found within Glorietta mall in the upscale Ayala Triangle, Ascott Makati is at the heart of one of the coolest regions in Metro Manila. Serene apartments range from studios to three-bedroom suites and come with kitchenettes and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city. There’s a pool, spa and tennis courts to keep you busy, but if you want a little culture, take a taxi to Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, a 17th-century Unesco site on the grittier side of town.
You’ll wish you’d brought an entourage to Under the Stars, because these three-bedroom luxury apartments are humongous – from the vast bathrooms to the high-spec kitchens (hello, De’Longhi coffee machine). Balconies – again, gigantic – overlook the shared pool and the secluded sands of Tambisaan Beach. The castaway location contrasts starkly with that of crowded White Beach, but if you want to go sightseeing, a driver is on call to take you.
The compact high-rise apartments at Blowing in the Wind may not be the fanciest places to stay in Tagaytay, but they’re good value and offer unparalleled views of Taal Lake and the active Volcano Island that rises from the waters. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, plenty of restaurants nearby (try Josephine for Filipino dishes overlooking the lake), and the Sky Ranch theme park is just 1km (0.6mi) away.
The studios and apartments at Jalyn’s Resort are basic but good-value and feature kitchenettes and balconies. There’s a small, two-tiered pool, but chances are you’re here for the diving – Puerto Galera is one of the best scuba sites in the Philippines, after all. Talk to the friendly staff to suss out your options – they can also help you arrange kayaking trips, island-hopping tours and spa treatments.
Citadines Bay City aparthotel has a pool and sundeck, and is surrounded by super malls and shiny theme parks – but it’s easy enough to access the heritage of Manila, too. Take a 15-minute taxi to explore Rizal Park (otherwise known as Luneta) to find historic monuments, manicured gardens and the National Museum. The colonial cathedral and fort of Intramuros are just a little further north.
Whatever you want to do, chances are the Alpha Suites in Manila have the facilities for you. Here to party? Try the karaoke rooms and rooftop jazz bar. Fitness fanatic? Hit the gym, basketball courts or boxing ring. Foodie? Take your tastebuds to the USA, Greece, Thailand and more at the on-site restaurants. Don’t forget to drag yourself away to discover the highlights of Makati: it’s a five-minute drive to the likes of the Ayala Museum and the urban oasis of Greenbelt Park.
There’s just one well-equipped apartment at Casa Cataleya, meaning you’ll have exclusive use of the garden and pool, hammock and four-poster daybed. Your lovely hosts Marc and Rose live in the apartment below and can be as available or invisible as you like. Tiny Panglao Island and the pristine beaches found there are a breeze to explore, thanks to the complimentary scooter, while the tarsier sanctuaries and Bohol’s Chocolate Hills are under two hours away.
Sapphire Bloc is perfectly situated for a Manila city break. Guests can make use of the gym, rooftop pool and mini-cinema before stepping out to explore the countless shops and restaurants below. Feeling creative? Take a taxi north to see contemporary Filipino art at Gateway Gallery, or immerse yourself in the mind-bending 3D murals at Art in Island.
The expansive apartments at Vida Homes in Dauin, in the Negros Oriental province, come with full kitchens, ocean-view balconies and bamboo and rattan furniture. Dip your toes into the infinity pool, which overlooks a slim, mangrove-lined beach; venture inland to find monkey-filled forests, mountain trails and roaring waterfalls at Twin Lakes National Park; or go diving on nearby Apo Island, one of the most biodiverse diving spots in the Philippines.
Want a self-catered apartment with a five-star spa? Check into I’M Hotel in Makati, Manila. You can soak in healing mineral waters and work up a sweat in the steam room at the vast onsen-style spa before a traditional Filipino hilot massage. While the hotel rooftop bar and nine dining options are worth a try, don’t miss the chance to feast on everything the trendy Poblacion neighbourhood has to offer – the Thai street food at Crying Tiger is a good place to start.
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