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
Photo of Katrina Escalona
17 March 2021

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.

The Henry Hotel Cebu

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.

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Zuzuni Boutique Hotel, Boracay Island

Boutique Hotel
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.

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Hotel Luna, Vigan City

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.

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Canvas Boutique Hotel, Palawan

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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.

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Urban Sands Iloilo, Iloilo City

Urban Sands Iloilo
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.

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The Henry Hotel Manila, Pasay

Courtesy of the Henry Hotel Manila / Expedia

A more modern-industrial version of its Cebu counterpart, the Henry Hotel Manila is an oasis tucked away in the otherwise hectic metropolis. 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.

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Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel, Malay

Boutique Hotel
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.

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  • The District Boracay

    Boutique Hotel, Resort
    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.
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    Wuthering Heights Bed and Breakfast

    Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
    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.
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    Winds Boutique Hotel

    Boutique Hotel
    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, 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.
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    Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Luxury
    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.
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    Emma Sparks contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on March 17, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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