The Best Hotels 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
Photo of Sarah Gillespie
6 January 2021

Palawan in the Philippines is where you’ll find the country’s blockbuster sights: 12 Japanese warships sunk in Coron Bay, which reach up to 150m (492ft) in length; 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.

Atremaru Jungle Retreat, Ulugan Bay

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge

Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa

The Hue is a true 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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Focus Rooms, El Nido

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.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace

Vela Terraces Hotel, Coron Town

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 onsite Manggis restaurant.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Terrace
Bar/lounge

Casa Kalaw, El Nido

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 – milkfish – in a banana leaf at Kalaw Cafe, and wash it down with a cold San Miguel beer at Kalaw Bar.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Terrace
Bar/lounge

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  • Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort, Naglayan Island

    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.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Beach towels
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Hotel Covo, El Nido

    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.

    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Restaurant
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge

    Hotel SANSE Boutique Hotel, El Nido

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Hotel SANSE Boutique Hotel, El Nido
    Courtesy of Sanse Boutique Hotel / Booking.com

    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.

    These recommendations were updated on January 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.