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“An Amazing Island Paradise”

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El Nido Resorts Apulit Island
Ranked #6 of 86 Hotels in Palawan Island
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“An Amazing Island Paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2011

We decided to take a vacation to Apulit Island Resort in May 2011 simply because it looked like a great place and we definitely were not disappointed! We had an amazing and relaxing time at this breathtaking island paradise. After our trip, I did an in-depth five-part review of our stay at the resort with lots of photographs on our blog:

http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com/2011/05/apulit-island-resort-arrival.html
http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com/2011/05/apulit-island-resort-amenities.html
http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com/2011/05/apulit-island-resort-activities.html
http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com/2011/05/apulit-island-resort-fooddrinks.html
http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com/2011/05/apulit-island-resort-departure.html

Pros:
- The staff was incredible. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and always smiling.
- The water cottages were modern and comfortable.
- The resort was very clean and had a lot of environmentally friendly practices in place.
- The activities were easy to schedule, fun to do and almost all of them are included with the price of your stay.
- This was an amazing place for taking photographs. I had a camera with me at all times!
- The food was fresh and delicious and the drinks were heavenly.
- Although the resort is child friendly, it is more suited for a romantic getaway than a family vacation. There was only one older child there during our stay.
- There is nothing on the island besides the resort so it is secluded. There was no loud nightlife, no vehicles, and no one there except other guests and staff.
- The resort is small and therefore very personalized. We were always greeted by name.

Cons:
- There is a generator on the island to provide power and it hums constantly. I would equate it to the hum of the engines on a cruise ship. It did take away from some of the tranquility of the resort. Perhaps a sound barrier wall in front of the generator would help.
- Those darn tiny jellyfish that kept us out of the water for a day or two. However, the resort is not to blame for this as there was nothing they could do.
- Pancakes should be light and fluffy. The resort needs a new recipe.

We highly recommend this resort to individuals or couples looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway!

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank AngelaMGreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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567 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 June 2011

We LOVED our holiday at Apulit. We stayed for six nights in a water cottage with full board (three meals per day plus all water activities including kayaking, snorkelling, guided tours, island hopping). This resort is for those who want to truly get away from it all in one of the most stunningly beautiful natural environments. If you want shops, entertainment, pools, kids clubs, fancy restaurants and the like, this is not the place for you. This is a resort for relaxation, pure and simple.

The resort has 50 bungalows, all on stilts over water with panoramic views. There is a main restaurant area and a clubhouse and beach loungers with umbrellas. Each bungalow has a front balcony (shaded) with two comfy seats (perfect for reading) and a double bed with adequate wardrobe space for two people.

You won't find luxury bathrooms or fancy fittings here, but you will find comfortable beds with aircon and a fan, a desk and an extra chair. There are no TVs or wi-fi in the room. But that's a good thing! If you need wi-fi, you can take your iPod, iPad or laptop to the clubhouse. It will keep you honest!

From the second we arrived at Taytay airport, we experienced excellent service by each and every staff member. Transfers were easy, the welcome party sets the scene and an activity co-ordinator will assist you with whatever you need. From then on, just do whatever you fancy: kayak, swim, snorkel, island hop or just relax in your bungalow or on the beach with a good book.

The food might be my only quibble for such a pricey resort; the buffet selection can be a little hit and miss and the food could be tastier, but you can't fault the service or willingness of the chefs to want to please. And the fresh seafood was excellent. In fact, we came to enjoy the lighter fare as we often over-indulge on holidays. The spa services could also be improved. The massages are similar to what you get from a beachside vendor; good but not great. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Overall, I would recommend Apulit to those couples in search of a relaxing break in a truly stunning location. Whether you come for two nights or six nights, you will be blown away by the sheer beauty of the location and the warm service from the staff. It's not a cheap break (although you can shop around for the best deal), but we found it be good value, particularly as all meals and water activities are included. We left feeling incredibly relaxed; a great result!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mary W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 June 2011

My husband and I came here at the end of May through the beginning of June, seeking 5 days of R&R. That's exactly what we got. Absolutely stunning location, everything we needed (all meals, plus kayaking, guided cave exploration, island-hopping trips, snorkeling, and use of hobie cat) included in the price (exclusions are drinks, massages, and possibly diving, although we didn't ask about the diving). Food selection is small but varied, with a grill station for freshly-grilled meats and seafood. Staff was unfailingly friendly and accommodating. We came mid-week so it was nice and empty, with only about 25% occupancy. One family with 2 small kids notwithstanding, there was always space to find peace and quiet! The room is small but perfectly adequate. The bathroom is spartan and tiny (anyone over 5'7" would struggle with the knee space in front of the loo!) but clean enough. We had a look inside one of the double-room cottages on the West side of the island though and those have much bigger bathrooms, as well as direct balcony access to the reef.

The only issue I think they should address is the constant and numerous flies at the buffet area. The staff provide citronella candles, and although that works on the mozzies, it doesn't stop the flies. It's an open space so I understand that it's a bit difficult to control, but discussing with other guests, we thought that they really ought to have something to cover the food. The hot entrees were covered up, but the cold stuff - such as salad greens, appetisers, cut fruit, and condiments for the various other options - was all open and exposed. At one breakfast they had a congee station which I was interested in, but as I approached a swarm of flies flew off all the open condiment bowls! Needless to say, I didn't have congee that morning. Simple clear glass or netted-dome lids which guests can lift and replace would suffice to solve the problem.

The 2nd part of my title deals with the airline. To get to Apulit, you need to fly into Taytay. There are 2 choices of airline: ITI (run by the same company that runs the El Nido group of resorts), or SeaAir, a privately-owned company. We booked SeaAir because it didn't look like ITI flew to Taytay the day we wanted to go. It's only later on we realised that as ITI is essentially a charter airline exclusive to the El Nido resorts, they'll fly there if you book it. Anyway, while we were at Apulit, several of the guests there had had their flights either severely delayed or completely cancelled by SeaAir, sometimes resulting in the guests having to stay an extra night or (as was the case with a family met while there) two nights at the resort. No apology or compensation in any way, shape, or form from the airline. We had no idea how lucky were were that our flight going there went by without a hitch. Not so lucky on the way back though: our return flight to Manila was delayed by 5 hours as we waited in the little airport hut in Taytay, with nowhere to get food or water, and more importantly, conflicting and very obviously misleading information trickling in from the airline. Two ITI flights came and went as we sat there waiting for SeaAir to at least tell us what was going on.

We will definitely be coming back to Apulit. But next time, we are booking ITI.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank yanit99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cupertino, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2011

We are a 50-ish couple from California who travel occasionally and tend to stay and dine in mid-to high end establishments. My wife is from Manila and during a visit to her family we decided to take a few days break in a secluded beach resort. Her sister recommended Apulit Island Resort (AIR) as the new El Nido resort (Miniloc and Lagen being the others) and we were very happy with the choice.

While booking, the price seemed a bit high, maybe on a par with what you would find in Tahiti, but being the Philippines we thought it would be less expensive. By the time we left the resort we were convinced the $550 or so per day was a good deal because that includes the over-water bungalow, 3 meals per day and unlimited use of their "activities".

Arriving: We flew on a SeaAir 19-seat turbo-prop from Manila to Cesar Lim Rodriguez airport, about 20 mi north of Taytay in Palawan. We knew we were in for a total escape from the rat race when we landed on a dirt runway and went into the airport's one building, a grass roof, dirt floor affair. An El Nido staff member met us there and took us and another arriving couple for a 10 minute jeepney ride to a nearby river. We then boarded an outrigger that sped us down river and out into the Sulu sea for the 35 minute trip to Apulit. Even on the boat ride the staff was incredibly welcoming and helpful, offering tea and cookies and towels to protect from the salt spray. (You could go inside the cabin if you really wanted protection). About a dozen staff members we waiting at the dock and sang traditional welcome songs in the local Cuyonon dialect.

Lodging: The resort is in roughly a U-shape but with the sides of the U splayed open a bit. The bottom of the U is the beach and common buildings (restaurant, sports center, etc.) and the two sides are lined with over-water bungalows. There are about 25 lower numbered bungalows on the west side, where the arrival dock is and about 25 higher numbered units on the east side. There are also about 8 larger, duplex , two story family bungalows further out on the west side. We were assigned #41 on the east side for the first night be decided to move to #51 which became available for the last two nights. #51 is the last in line, farthest away from the beach. The bungalows might appear to be a bit close together, but once settled in, we never were aware of anyone else. They are kept very clean and everything was in fine working order. The rooms have a vaguely Japanese style and offer enough space to feel comfortable. The bed was very comfortable, and AC was precisely adjustable. The bathrooms are a bit small, but work well for one person at a time. The veranda was our favorite place, where we had coffee with the sunrise and drinks watching the sunset.

Staff: They are unfailingly friendly and helpful, without being fawning or obsequious. They always brought a smile to our faces with their, "Good morning, Ma'am, Sir!", along with their own thousand watt smile. In our opinion, it is largely the staff that made the resort so endearing to us.

Activities: Snorkeling, diving, kayaking, lunch on a remote beach, all well organized, well supported and with good equipment (no need to bring your own gear, as we thought we might). We don't dive, but the snorkeling is first rate, even right near the bungalows.

Food: The food varied from OK to very good. We were always able to find things that pleased us, especially playing to their strength which is, as you might guess, sea food. Beer and wine are extra.

The only negatives we can come up with, and they are small ones, are the Trance mix they always have going in the restaurant (Hawaiian, Polynesian would be better) and the low sound of the generator that is audible just about everywhere (not around the family bungalows).

Overall, this was a perfect tropical island getaway for us. Don't come expecting a lively night life - we didn't see any during our few days there - but if you want a very low key, relaxing place with postcard tropical views in all directions and a beyond friendly staff, this is it. We wish we had booked another couple of nights.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Bud_Christy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2011

as one of the first guests staying at this resort, we had some challenges getting there. SEAIR cancelled our flight last minute and were not available to assist us in rebooking, refunding money..... they are horrible. However, the sales staff at El Nido made it all work out and when we arrived at Apulit, all stops were pulled out for us by the entire staff. We were welcomed by about 12 staff members singing local songs to us, the GM was there personally to welcome us, we felt so special. Our stay continued on like this, the caring of the staff was non-stop. The beauty of the place is also so amazing, we hope to be able to return one day and we recommend this beautiful resort to anyone

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dutchie46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Nido Resorts Apulit Island

Property: El Nido Resorts Apulit Island
Address: Apulit Island | Taytay, Palawan Island 5322, Philippines (Formerly Apulit Island Resort)
Region: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Palawan Island
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Palawan Island
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Palawan Island
Price range (per night): RM1,731 - RM2,488
Hotel Class:4 star — El Nido Resorts Apulit Island 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Apulit Island Resort is nestled within a pristine cove with a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs. Apulit offers a wide expanse of white-sand beach lined with coconut trees. It has 50 cottages built over the water in traditional architecture mixed with contemporary design. Apulit Island Resort is part of the El Nido Resorts group of eco-island resorts. It is located in Taytay, northeastern part of Palawan. It takes an hour flight from Manila to El Nido, and an hour and a half van ride, or a 4-hour land trip from Puerto Princesa City (Palawan's Capital City). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apulit Island Hotel Palawan
Club Noah Isabelle
Hotel Noah Isabelle
Resort Noah Isabelle

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