The Best Resorts in Palawan, the Philippines

Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort has a villa to suit your holiday needs
Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort has a villa to suit your holiday needs | Courtesy of Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort / Expedia
Siobhan Grogan

Voted the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2020, Palawan’s blinding white beaches, secret lagoons and bath-clear water were the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s celebrated novel The Beach (1996). Once a well-kept secret loved by Southeast Asian travellers in the know, it now attracts more than a million visitors each year to its hidden coves, remarkable reefs, jaw-dropping shoreline and these gloriously relaxing resorts.

1. Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa

Resort, Business Hotel, Chain Hotel

Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa Managed by HII
Courtesy of Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa / Expedia

City slickers don’t need to leave it all behind in Palawan. This design-led hotel, in the heart of the city, offers 122 rooms with sleek white decor, colourful fabrics and cable TV, all within strolling distance of the Robinsons Place Palawan shopping centre. The property also has a rooftop pool and sundeck, a spa and the only Filipino-Mexican restaurant in Palawan, serving dishes such as quesadillas, tacos, grilled mahi-mahi and shrimp summer rolls.

2. Atremaru Boutique Resort and Spa

Resort

Atremaru Jungle Retreat
Courtesy of Atremaru Boutique Resort and Spa / Expedia

Surrounded by rainforest, this eco-minded boutique resort overlooks the Ulugan Bay. There are just 12 villas and suites scattered across a 30ha (74-acre) nature reserve, home to the last remaining virgin forest. The hotel also has a swimming pool and fitness centre. However, you’ll likely want to get out and explore the wilderness, with excursions to the Ugong Rock zip line, the Sabang Waterfall and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which has the longest navigable underground river in the world.

3. Focus Rooms

Hotel

Focus Rooms
Courtesy of Focus Rooms / Expedia

Backpackers and those watching their budget will find everything they need at the Focus Rooms in El Nido, about 2km (1mi) from Ipil Beach. This two-star hotel offers private parking, free wifi and air conditioning in every room, each of which also comes with a seating area and private bathroom. A continental breakfast is available each morning, and there’s a charming garden for unwinding after days exploring the island.

4. Vela Terraces Hotel

Hotel

Vela Terraces Hotel
Courtesy of Vela Terraces Hotel / Expedia

Be prepared for a workout at this mountainside resort in the foothills of Mount Tapyas in northern Palawan. While all 26 rooms are built on different levels of the property, there are no lifts or elevators, so you’ll need to tackle the 170-step staircase to reach your bed each evening. Rooms on the lower level, with minimal steps, are reserved for older guests. Vela Terraces also has an outdoor swimming pool, currency exchange and an on-site restaurant, Manggis, offering Filipino dishes, pizza and pasta.

5. Sanse Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

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

Beach babies can make the most of Palawan’s crystal-clear waters at this boutique property, just 2km (1mi) from Ipil Beach. Other must-sees, including the Big Lagoon El Nido, are only 8km (5mi) away, while there are many restaurants and bars within walking distance. The small hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, shuttle service, free wifi and room service, while there is a terrace for mingling with other guests.

6. Casa Kalaw

Boutique Hotel

Casa Kalaw, El Nido
Courtesy of Casa Kalaw / Expedia

In the Lio Tourism Estate, this boutique property is a dream for those who want to spend their days making the most of the sunshine. The estate offers a range of activities, including paddleboarding, kayaking, beach volleyball and windsurfing, while the hotel itself houses an outdoor pool and a game room with table tennis and billiards when it’s time to duck out of the heat. There’s an all-day cafe serving flavour-packed Filipino dishes when you get peckish, too.

7. Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort

Resort, Eco Hotel, Hotel

Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort
Courtesy of Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort / Expedia

There’s no shortage of things to do at this resort near Coron, a 30-minute boat ride from Coron town and spread across 18ha (44 acres) of beaches, gardens and hills. It features a range of accommodation options, from single-detached villas to palatial two-bedroom abodes with living rooms. Transfers, breakfast, welcome drinks and use of snorkelling gear, bicycles and kayaks are all included. You can also take a banana boat ride, glass-bottom boat trip or HydroBob tour, or soothe jet lag away with a treatment at the spa.

8. Hotel Covo

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

Hotel Covo is a brightly decorated boutique property popular with young travellers looking to meet like-minded souls. There are just 20 rooms on the second floor, all of which have a safe deposit box and air conditioning and include complimentary breakfast. Guests tend to gather downstairs instead, though, swapping travel stories and advice with others in the restaurant, garden and lounge.

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