Finding that slice of heaven in heaven

18 08 2013

The Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa

[Boracay Island Escapade]

Sitting seemingly at the edge of where Earth and Heaven seem to merge, Boracay also plays host to some amazing resorts which will certainly remove any doubts that you are indeed in paradise.

Breathtaking oracay is seemingly on the edge between heaven and earth.

Breathtaking oracay is seemingly on the edge between heaven and earth.

One resort which would surely take anyone over that edge, if it does exist in Boracay, has to be the Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa. Opened in 2009, the resort is set in a vast 12 hectare very exclusive site rising on the hill slopes of the quiet but breathtaking northwest corner of the island, just around the corner from Puka Beach. With two stretches of exclusive beaches measuring a total of 350 metres in length at Punta Bunga and Banyugan, it offers wonderfully spectacular views of the sea – that does take a lot more than one’s breath away, from some of its hill top villas set in lush tropical gardens.

The lobby.

The lobby.

The resort is one which I did get the opportunity to drool over with my new found blogger friends and does have me dreaming of what is a dream places to stay at in a dream destination. Offering some 219 rooms and villas – it is the villas that I did see that did leave a huge impression on me – and from the reactions of the others, on my companions too.

The poolside.

The poolside.

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While we did not get to see the resorts much sought after Treehouse Villas which at right at the summit of the resort’s heights, a very private and perhaps ideal spot to have that romantic getaway, we did get to see the Loft Villas which are perched on what the brochure describes as “the forested hillside and thriving foliage in the aptly named Tanawin (vista) area of the Resort”. The brochure also describes the Loft Villas as “providing a homey atmosphere that measure 216 square meters, with the master’s bedroom on one level and a living room with a pantry on the other. A lap pool beckons guests for a relaxing dip, and those who opt to stay-in can dine al fresco at their very own gazebo”.

The view from the Loft Villa.

The view from the Loft Villa.

What the Loft Villa does have to offer, has to be its stand-out view to wake up to, its bedroom on the upper floor opening up to a view to-die-for. If that isn’t enough – the pool with an infinity edge on the lower level overlooks that same heavenly view – certainly one I won’t ever be able to get enough of.

The infinity edge of the pool and the view beyond it.

The infinity edge of the pool and the view beyond it.

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Besides the Loft Villa, we did also get to see a one bedroom Pool Villa and a two bedroom Villa Balani, both of which are set in a private garden and equipped with private lap pool, a pergola for outdoor dining, an outdoor shower, and a daybed for relaxation – said to be ideal for a family vacation.

The one bedroom Pool Villa

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The two bedroom Villa Balani

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The villas would probably have the effect on anyone of not wanting to leave the resort – not that there is ever a need to with the resort offering a host of activities to interest all age groups, plus the fantastic dining options available with its eight bars and restaurants, one of which we had the pleasure of having a late lunch on a eventful last full day on the island at – the Cielo poolside restaurant. Its offerings – especially of its pizzas and pastas, are ones which were very well appreciated, especially the steak pizza and lobster pizza ! Certainly fare which does complete any experience in a slice of Heaven in Heaven.

Offerings at Cielo

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About the Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa

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Location

Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa is a lush natural sanctuary located on a hillside overlooking the ocean at the northern tip of Boracay Island. The secluded resort features 350 metres of immaculate beachfront and 12 hectares of abundant gardens. From Manila, it is just a short 45-minute flight to the island’s Caticlan Airport and a further 15-minute combined sea and land transfer.

Accommodation

Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa comprises 219 elegant and spacious guestrooms and villas, each characterised by a fusion of contemporary and indigenous designs. All rooms feature private balconies with impressive views that can be enjoyed from cosy daybeds. The resort’s unique tree houses have outdoor Jacuzzis and every villa provides a private pool, butler service and a luxurious 108 square metres of space.

For more information, do visit Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s website.


The trip to Boracay was made possible by Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Department of Tourism. Tigerair now flies direct to Kalibo Airport – for more information on flights to Kalibo, do visit http://www.Tigerair.com/ph/en/.

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Getting there:

Location information:


This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade.


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Life’s a Boracay Beach

8 08 2013

What to get beachy about on Boracay

It’s been almost three weeks since I got back from a truly enjoyable escapade with nine other bloggers to the resort island of Boracay in the Philippines. The island, set in a picture perfect world surrounded by gorgeously beautiful emerald blue waters, is one which has left a huge impression on me. It is also one which I certainly count as one in my list of magical places I have been fortunate enough to visit, and one which should really be in anyone’s bucket list of must-visit places in one’s lifetime.

A great to be for a beach bum - lying flat on a paraw..

A great to be for a beach bum – lying flat on a paraw..

Life's a beach on Boracay - any time of the day.

Life’s a beach on Boracay – any time of the day.

Sunrise at Bulabog Beach.

Sunrise at Bulabog Beach.

Of the many experiences the island does offer, it is probably the beach that is first and foremost on the mind of anyone who has made a visit. The beaches on Boracay come to live in many different ways throughout the day – and night and visiting them has awakened that long dormant beach bum in me.

Sunset at White Beach.

Sunset at White Beach.

The beach which should probably be mention first has to be White Beach. Four kilometres of the finest white sand, it is has been described as the “Mother of All Beaches”. The beach which is divided into three boat stations, is perhaps an obvious choice to base oneself, being where the “action” on Boracay is centred around, including the nightlife Boracay is also well known for. White Beach is also where much shopping and beachside entertainment and dining is to be found and is certainly the place to be as well as a place to be seen at. Facing west, the beach is also an obvious place to catch the sunsets Boracay is famous for from.

Lots of beach side entertainment can be found at White Beach.

Lots of beach side entertainment can be found at White Beach.

White Beach Boracay - where mcuh of the action takes place.

White Beach – the mother of all Boracay beaches, seen at Boat Station 2..

Dancing to the sea breeze at Seabreeze, the beach side cafe of the Boracay Regency.

Dancing to the sea breeze at Seabreeze, the beach side cafe of the Boracay Regency.

Lots of dining options at Boat Station 2.

Lots of dining options at White Beach.

Catch of the day.

Catch of the day.

The numerical order of boat stations the beach is sub-divided into does also provide an indication of the regard with which each section is held. The top end of the beach is where Boat Station 1 can be found. It is the most exclusive and also widest part of the beach where some of the more upscale resorts which spill directly out to the beach are – including the very exclusive Discovery Shores, which we were to visit on our last evening there.

White Beach at Boat Station 1 by night.

White Beach at Boat Station 1 by night.

The very exclusive Discovery Shores at Boat Station 1.

The very exclusive Discovery Shores at Boat Station 1.

A fire dancer performing at Discovery Shores.

A fire dancer performing at Discovery Shores.

The nighttime view from Discovery Shores.

The nighttime view from Discovery Shores.

The top section is also where the much celebrated Jonah’s Fruitshake and Snack Bar can be found – a must visit for any one in Boracay with a craving for milkshakes packed with real fruit – and if you like, a shot of additional flavouring taking the form of rum!

Jonah's - an institution of sorts in Boracay.

Jonah’s – an institution of sorts in Boracay.

Fruit-full milkshakes - served in a bottle.

Fruit-full milkshakes – served in a bottle.

The section where we did find ourselves at was at Boat Station 2. This is where there is a mix of accommodation types including the Boracay Regency where we stayed at, and the Boracay Mandarin we were dined at and visited on the third evening. Station 2 is also where most of the beach side action is to be found, and where D’Mall – a favourite tourist shopping spot can be found. D’Mall is also where the Hobbit House, with its rather interesting crew of “hobbits” – pint sized staff, can be found.

The stairway to heaven - from the beachside Boracay Regency to the beach at Boat Station 2.

The stairway to heaven – from the beachside Boracay Regency to the beach at Boat Station 2.

A ferris wheel at D'Mall.

A ferris wheel at D’Mall.

A sandwich shop at D'Mall.

A sandwich shop at D’Mall.

Christina doing her souvenir shopping at D'Mall.

Christina did her souvenir shopping at D’Mall.

As did Atsuko.

As did Atsuko.

The nightlife scene at Boat Station 2.

The nightlife scene at Boat Station 2.

Some of the gang shopping by the beachside at Boat Station 2.

Some of the gang shopping by the beachside at Boat Station 2.

Having fun in the rain at Boat Station 2.

Having fun in the rain at Boat Station 2.

Hobbit House at D'Mall.

Hobbit House at D’Mall.

By the beach side at Boat Station 2.

By the beach side at Boat Station 2.

The southernmost section of White Beach, or Boat Station 3, is said to have the most relaxed of atmospheres – and again where a mix of both budget as well as luxury accommodation can be found. It is also where the beach is gaily decorated by the blue and white sails of the paraws – the double outrigger boats of the Visayas – the group of islands surrounding the Visayan Sea of which Boracay and Panay belongs to. It is from station 3 that the paraw cruises depart – an excellent way to spend a late afternoon.

White Beach at Boat Station 3.

White Beach at Boat Station 3.

Another view of the Boat Station 3.

Another view of the Boat Station 3.

Paraw Cruising from Boat Station 3.

Paraw Cruising from Boat Station 3.

While White Beach does perhaps have the finest of sands and is an excellent place to have a dip in the sea in or sip a cocktail by the beach under a parasol at, it can get rather crowded and if you do want to look for a nice quiet but publicly accessible beach which takes you away from it all and on which you can feel that you are indeed in paradise, than Puka Beach has to be it. Much about the beach can be found in my previous post – in which I thought it deserved mention as being one of two of my favourite spots on the island.

Puka Beach.

Puka Beach.

If it is privacy and exclusivity you are looking for, the island does also offer the visitor a choice several very exclusive resorts, all with private and exclusive beaches. Two which come to mind are the Fairways and Bluewater Resort and the Shangri-la Boracay. The former is where Paradise Cove (the other favourite spot I previously mentioned) as well as two exclusive coves are located and where it is possible to ride a segway or mount a horse to have a feel of one of its wonderful beaches. It is also possible to have a ride on a glass bottomed boat on Paradise Cove to have a top down view into its crystal clear waters. The natural platform beneath the rock arch found at Paradise Cove is also one which the Shangri-la has been permitted to land its guests on.

Paradise Cove.

Paradise Cove.

On the segway on the beach at Fairways and Bluewater Resort.

Catherine on the segway on the beach at Fairways and Bluewater Resort.

Atsuko horsing around at Fairways and Bluewater.

Atsuko horsing around at Fairways and Bluewater.

The Boracay Shangri-la on the northwest of the island around the corner from Puka Beach is has got to be the place to stay at – if you are looking in the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity with its many private villas, some arranged on the hill slope offering simply stunning views of the Tablas Strait. It has a very exclusive stretch of its own beach, Bayungan Beach, but if one is putting up in one of the three private villas we did get to see, who then needs a private beach?

The beach at Shangri-la Boracay.

The exclusive beach at Boracay Shangri-la.

Besides the beaches already mentioned, there were a few more I did see. Two we did see as part of an island hopping boat ride were the ones at Crystal Cove Island and Tambisaan Beach where we were to have lunch at. Another was east facing Bulabog Beach, less attractive as a beach goes compared to White Beach or Puka Beach, but off which much of the sea sports and activities Boracay is also famous for, does take place. The sports one can participate in include kite boarding and windsurfing – best done from November to April. With a reef fround offshore, it is in the protected waters off Bulabog Beach where some of the recommended activities associated with Boracay such as helmet diving, snorkelling and on-water sports can be done (I will devote another post to the on and in-water activities we did do).

Tambisaan Beach.

Tambisaan Beach.

The gang at Bulabog.

The gang at Bulabog.

What's on offer at Bulabog.

What’s on offer at Bulabog.

Water activities off Bulabog Beach include Helmet Diving ...

Water activities off Bulabog Beach include Helmet Diving …

And riding on a Banana Boat.

And riding on a Banana Boat.

Bulabog, across the island at its narrowest point from White Beach’s Station 2, is also where the 7Stones Boracay Suites – probably my choice of where to stay, is to be found at. It was where we did have lunch at on the second full day in Boracay (the third on our itinerary), at the 7th Note Café – best known for its barbecues – where we did have the best meal during our stay in Boracay at. Why it would be a choice of where to stay for me is its location – which is close enough to the action, but yet far away enough from the hustle and bustle of White Beach – and perhaps the small size of the resort. And if it is the fine sand beach I want to head to, White Beach is only a short tricycle taxi ride away – which does make it “more fun in the Philippines”.

Bulabog Beach near 7Stones Suites.

Bulabog Beach near 7Stones Suites.

A tricycle taxi.

A tricycle taxi.

7Stones Suites at Bulabog Beach.

7Stones Suites at Bulabog Beach.

Bulabog Beach.

Boats at Bulabog Beach.


The trip to Boracay was made possible by Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Department of Tourism. Tigerair now flies direct to Kalibo Airport – for more information on flights to Kalibo, do visit http://www.Tigerair.com/ph/en/.

277A8320

Getting there:

Location information:


This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade.