The Best Boutique Hotels in the Philippines

Ditch the typical chain hotel in the Philippines and trade up for a charming boutique
Ditch the typical chain hotel in the Philippines and trade up for a charming boutique | Courtesy of the District Boracay / Expedia
Katrina Escalona

Whether it’s the thrum of Manila or the blissed-out beauty of Boracay, the Philippines is a country that leans towards the spectacular. It’s unsurprising, then, that the boutique hotels on offer embrace that more-is-more vibe, meaning you can stay in a retreat that resembles a modern art gallery or a stylish hotel with an Ibiza-esque beach club.

1. The Henry Hotel Cebu

Hotel

An industrial-style common space at The Henry Hotel in Cebu has eclectic seating, a bookshelf, and a quote on the wall
Courtesy of the Henry Hotel Cebu / Expedia

Vintage furniture, random knick-knacks and modern art at every turn: the Henry is one for travellers who get a kick out of the eccentric. The 62 spacious rooms come in a mish-mash of styles – the design ping pongs from Pop art to Moroccan riad via a Brooklyn loft – while a cosy reading room and café provide an intimate spot to unwind.

2. Zuzuni Boutique Hotel, Boracay Island

Boutique Hotel

A cosy-looking sea-view room at Zuzuni Boutique Hotel with wooden furniture, all-white double bed and a terrace
Courtesy of Zuzuni Boutique Hotel / Expedia

For visitors to Boracay Island who aren’t there for the crazy nightlife, this 14-room boutique hotel is located in one of the quieter areas. In a prime beachfront location, Zuzuni has spectacular views of the sea from the rooms and balconies. And though not particularly large, these bright and airy rooms are perfect if you enjoy waking to the early morning sunlight. The hotel’s restaurant and bar, La Cozina, serves Latin flavours you can enjoy on a terraza by the beach.

3. Hotel Luna, Vigan City

Hotel

A courtyard at Hotel Luna in Vigan City has a pool, seating and interesting plants
Courtesy of Hotel Luna / Expedia

Staying true to the historical vibe of Vigan City, Hotel Luna describes itself as a museum hotel (the first and only in the Philippines), although hotel gallery may be closer to the mark. While one area is devoted to everything you might expect in a hotel (rooms, a courtyard and pool), the other houses pieces from some of the most celebrated master painters and contemporary artists in the country.

4. Canvas Boutique Hotel, Palawan

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

A trendy bar at Canvas Boutique Hotel in Palawan has a communal table on which a mural is painted, plus stylish booth-style seating
Courtesy of Canvas Boutique Hotel / Expedia

Aptly named, this aesthetically pleasing hotel in Puerto Princesa looks like an artist’s workshop. Designed by a team of visual artists, the hotel is a Palawan-inspired story piece from the lobby to the top floor. Each level has a theme, and each room is adorned with a hand-painted mural. This aesthetic continues in the pool area and restaurant, the latter of which has a colourfully painted table stretching 5m (16ft) down the centre of the room.

5. Urban Sands Iloilo, Iloilo City

Hotel

Outdoor pool at Urban Sands Hotel in Iloilo, surrounded by lush green palm trees.
Courtesy of Urban Sands Iloilo / Expedia

Escape the bustle in this relaxing, seemingly remote, hideout in Iloilo City. It has seven rooms, all of which are poolside – the design sitting somewhere between sleek outfit and beachside retreat. A kids’ pool serves families well, while parents in need of a de-stress can book an in-room or poolside massage.

6. The Henry Hotel Manila, Pasay

Hotel

A modern wood cabin at the Henry Hotel in Manila with seating on an outside deck
Courtesy of the Henry Hotel Manila / Expedia

A more modern-industrial version of its Cebu counterpart, the Henry Hotel is an oasis tucked away in the otherwise hectic metropolis. One of the top boutique hotels in Manila, it has 34 tastefully designed rooms that are vintage, modern and industrial with large beds, plush sheets, warm lighting and coffee-tinted floor-to-ceiling curtains. Suites have their own private garden areas, while the more upscale owner suites have private balconies. The compound also houses an art gallery and Apartment 1B, a well-loved restaurant.

7. Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel, Malay

Boutique Hotel

A terrace at Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel in Malay has two seats, a table and beautiful coastline views
Courtesy of Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel / Expedia

For Boracay party-goers who want a tranquil sanctuary, Villa Caemilla is the place to be – it’s peaceful, but not too far from the nightlife. It’s right on the beach, with splendid views of the sea and sunset, and the hotel has a private beachfront area with several sun loungers and (much needed) parasols. There’s live music in the evenings, best enjoyed with a tropical cocktail.

8. The District Boracay

Boutique Hotel, Resort

A common space at The District Boracay with comfy-looking chairs and a doorway that leads to the white-sand coastline
Courtesy of the District Boracay / Expedia

With a prime location on Boracay Beach, the District is a fine choice if you want to be in the centre of the action. The outdoor pool is in a courtyard, so it might feel a little too hemmed in for sunbathing – but with talcum-powder sands on your doorstep, you’ve got somewhere spectacular to lay your towel. Afterward, watch the world go by over dinner and drinks on the roof deck.

9. Wuthering Heights Bed and Breakfast

Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast

A birds-eye view of Wuthering Heights Bed and Breakfast shows a traditional property, beautiful coastline and a wooden bridge over the sea
Courtesy of Wuthering Heights Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

The simple rooms at Wuthering Heights B&B in San Jose have sea views reaching Cebu Island across the Tañon Strait. For a culture hit, take a taxi to frenetic Dumaguete to see the grand cathedral and ancient coral-stone bell tower. And if you’ve packed your boots, venture inland to hike around Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park, hiring kayaks or paddle boats to see the crater lakes and waterfalls up close.

10. Winds Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel

Guest rooms at Winds Boutique Hotel open right into a rectangular pool
Courtesy of Winds Boutique Hotel / Expedia

With an increasingly popular international airport on the edge of town (ideal for hopping around the Philippines), travellers are catching on to the charms of Angeles. And in has stepped Winds Boutique Hotel – now one of the top boutique hotels in the Philippines – with pristine suites and a refreshing courtyard pool. Be sure to visit the heritage district, where you’ll find museums dedicated to Filipino history and culture – try Museu ning Ángeles – and the Holy Rosary Parish Church, built during Spanish colonial rule.

11. Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan

Resort, Spa Hotel, Luxury

Many sunloungers covered by white parasols face the sea from the sandy beach at Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan
Courtesy of Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan / Expedia

Spread over 2.5ha (6 acres), Crimson Resort and Spa features an infinity pool that will stop you in your tracks and a private stretch of sand with an Ibiza-style beach club. Start your day with yoga in the teak-floored studio before hitting the spa for a jet lag-busting massage. Wildlife lover? Join a snorkel trip or take a boat across the channel to spot migrating Chinese egrets and black-tailed godwits at the Olango Wildlife Island Sanctuary.

Emma Sparks contributed additional reporting to this article.

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