The Best Hotels to Book in Palawan, the Philippines

Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort in the Philippines is the largest private-island resort in the region
Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort in the Philippines is the largest private-island resort in the region | Courtesy of Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort / Expedia
Sarah Gillespie

Palawan in the Philippines is where you’ll find the country’s blockbuster sights: the 12 Japanese warships sunk in Coron Bay; the limestone karsts of El Nido and Bacuit Bay; and the Unesco-recognised Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a staggering 8km (5mi) of limestone caves. See them all with a stay in one of these hotels in Palawan, bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Atremaru Jungle Retreat, Ulugan Bay


Three single beds and a double bed in a lodge with tiled floor and treetop views at Atremaru Jungle Retreat
Courtesy of Atremaru Jungle Retreat / Expedia

This rustic boutique hotel occupies 30ha (74 acres) of virgin rainforest on the east side of Ulugan Bay. Suites come with Filipino-style bamboo beds, a rattan lounge set and a forest-view balcony; upgrade to a villa for a huge semicircular balcony with hammocks and loads of indoor space. Wake up to the sound of birdsong, and get in an early morning workout in the fitness centre; refresh in the pool before tucking into a platter of coconut, mango and papaya at the restaurant.

2. Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa

Resort, Business Hotel, Chain Hotel

Distinctive exterior of Hue Hotel and Resort, with twisted roofs and facades, plus a rooftop infinity pool
© Hue Hotel and Resort /

One of the most distinctive hotels in Palawan, the Hue is an architectural oddity: a white-and-brown cube from which a crystal seems to grow, not to mention the glass cutout pool on the roof. Rooms are less disorienting but just as design-forward – woven rattan mats, all-white bathrooms and textile-inspired wall graphics. Indulge in a hot-stone massage at Amihan Spa, and follow it up with crispy beef tapa at the Filipino-Mexican La-ud restaurant. Staff can arrange firefly-watching dinners and excursions to Honda Bay and the Underground River.

3. Focus Rooms, El Nido


Double bed on wooden frame in room with white-painted walls and glass doors to cushioned outdoor bench at Focus Rooms
Courtesy of Focus Rooms / Expedia

Despite its location on a busy highway, 10 minutes south of El Nido town, the Focus lives up to its name with quiet rooms simply decorated with geometric lamps and hardwood beds. Limestone-cliff views and a lush garden filled with banana trees and bird-of-paradise flowers further insulate you from the world. Manager Mitch and her team serve a continental breakfast each morning and can help with booking island-hopping tours.

4. Vela Terraces Hotel, Coron Town


Double bed and large bed on tiled floor in gold-toned room with air conditioning and mini-fridge at Vela Terraces Hotel
Courtesy of Vela Terraces Hotel / Expedia

Far enough from the busy centre of Coron to be quiet, yet only a 12-minute walk away from it, Vela Terraces is the ideal base for island-hopping or diving the shipwrecks. Unfussy rooms come with air conditioning, complimentary bottled water and basic bathroom amenities. Climb nearby Mount Tapyas at sunset for the best view on the island, and return to platters of fish and seafood on banana leaves at the on-site Manggis restaurant.

5. Casa Kalaw, El Nido

Boutique Hotel

Outdoor pool area with several shaded loungers amid many tall palms at Casa Kalaw
Courtesy of Casa Kalaw / Expedia

Simultaneously right next to El Nido airport yet a world away, this eco-boutique is part of the Lio Beach estate. Visitors have access to resort activities including paddleboarding, beach volleyball, surfing and kayaking. Of course, you can also use the outdoor pool and the game lounge with billiards in the hotel. Enjoy bangus fish in a banana leaf at Kalaw Cafe, and wash it down with a cold San Miguel beer at Kalaw Bar.

6. Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort, Naglayan Island

Resort, Eco Hotel, Hotel

Double bed and armchair in lodge at Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort; doors open to waterfront terrace with two chairs
Courtesy of Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort / Expedia

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live on your own island, this comes pretty close. A 30-minute boat ride from Coron Town, it’s the largest private-island resort in the region, with 54 stilted villas seemingly floating on the sea. You could fill several weeks with scuba diving, kayaking, jet-skiing, glass-bottomed boat rides, island hopping – the list goes on. At night, choose from Filipino or international food from three different restaurants before participating in the time-honoured Philippine tradition of karaoke.

7. Hotel Covo, El Nido

Boutique Hotel

Double bed and single bed face wall-mounted TV in room with air conditioning and white-painted walls at Hotel Covo
Courtesy of Hotel Covo / Expedia

This cheery boutique is part of the Lio Estate, right next to El Nido airport. The 20 air-conditioned rooms sport colourful, contemporary furnishings and have hot showers and free wifi. Take breakfast in the restaurant before heading out to the Lio Beach resort, which offers a roster of watersports including windsurfing, kayaking and skimboarding. There’s also a free shuttle service to El Nido town – not something all hotels in Palawan can offer.

8. Hotel SANSE Boutique Hotel, El Nido

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

Double bed on stone frame in lamp-lit monochrome room at Hotel SANSE Boutique Hotel
Courtesy of Hotel SANSE Boutique Hotel /

Mere steps from El Nido ferry terminal, this leafy, art-filled boutique is perfect for couples who want a classy bolthole in which to relax between island-hopping excursions. Each room is different: some come with free-standing tubs, others with rainfall showers, rattan egg chairs and capiz-shell pendant lamps. Tuck into fresh, healthful breakfasts of banana pancakes, crepes, smoothie bowls and mangoes.

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