An Island Paradise’s Private Hideaway

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Breathtakingly beautiful Boracay, the No. 1 tourist destination for foreign and local travelers in the Philippines, is noted for its turquoise waters and gradually sloping, sparkling white-sand beach, voted as one of the best in the world by Beach Bum, BMW Tropical Beach Handbook (1990), London’s Harpers & Queen (August 1990) and the British publication TV Quick (December 21, 1996). Through the years, rapid development along its 3.5-km. long, palm-fringed White Beach has left no room for privacy-seekers like myself.

However, all is not lost, as on the northwest tip of the island, along secluded Punta Bunga Beach, stands The Panoly Resort Hotel, a four-star enclave which possesses its own private beachfront. A personal favorite of mine, having stayed there twice, this Singaporean-owned and -operated resort opened its doors in 1990 (as Club Panoly Resort) and is the first Triple A-rated and the only Gold Crown-awarded (in 2001) resort in Boracay. This getaway from the grind of urban life nests on a four-hectare property hidden from the hustle and bustle of White Beach, yet is just a five-minute boat ride away. Renamed The Panoly Resort Hotel in 2004, it brings the best elements of nature, privacy, comfort, service and fun, creating a totally redefined island experience. Its hospitable staff, more than 50% of which has had more than 10 years of service with the hotel, has always provided personalized, intimate and refined service to all its guests.

The Panoly consists of a mix of native and contemporary-styled accommodations to suit any guest’s preference. Sprawled throughout the luxurious resort are eight octagonal clusters with five cottages and a four-story hotel with 47 deluxe rooms and eight VIP suites. Each room has a private veranda where one can wake up to see the panoramic view of the resort’s landscape and the beach. The VIP suites have additional amenities such as living room, kitchen facilities, built-in jacuzzi, an in-room safety deposit box and Internet connection, providing total relaxation and security. The custom-designed furniture, made with indigenous creativity and materials, offers guests a truly native experience. Cottages and deluxe rooms are all fully air conditioned, with hot and cold shower, cable TV, minibar, complimentary coffee and tea, and 24-hour IDD telephone facilities, all standard features in all rooms. Internet access is available in the de luxe rooms and suites in the Garden Wing. For conferences, the resort has sheltered outdoor conference/meeting facilities.

For gastronomes, The Panoly has a number of food and beverage outlets. The Yum Yum Asian Seafood Restaurant offers fresh, delicious seafood including crabs, lobsters, oysters and fish. The al-fresco Café Havana, located beside the beach and inspired by the warm and passionate Cuban culture, offers an à la carte menu of Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Singaporean and Continental cuisine coupled with a relaxing ambiance and beautiful sunset views. Also along the beachfront is the Voodoo Bar. Here, guests share travel experiences, sip unique blends of cocktails and, later, dance the night away, shoeless, to the beat of engaging salsa and Caribbean music.

For fun under the sun and to keep the guests busy, The Panoly offers a number of sea sports activities. It has its own swimming pool and a dive shop, with trained professional dive instructors and divemasters on hand for beginners and advanced divers. The resort also offers parasailing, banana boat rides, paddleboats, plexi-paved tennis courts, a basketball court and beach volleyball. Indoors, there’s table tennis, billiards and darts. For the more adventurous and for those who want to soak up more of the sun’s rays, The Panoly also offers island-hopping tours, bat cave adventures, picnics at Mount Luho, all-terrain vehicles, horseback riding and jungle trekking, and arrangements can be made for golf at Fairways and Bluewater Golf Club.

After all these activities, you can rest your tired muscles or recharge one’s mind, body and soul at the Panoly Spa, an authentic Thai-style haven located on a cliff overlooking the beach. Here, or on the beach, you can enjoy first-class massages and spa treatments.

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