Are you contemplating to stay at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa? Well, Edmund and I stayed for 4 nights and I am thrilled to give a review about this extraordinary resort. We spent 98% of our time in Boracay by wandering and cocooning at the resort. Don’t blame us! It was our first vacation during the pandemic after all, we just enjoyed doing nothing during our entire stay.
Hello, 2021! Being expatriates based in Manila, we personally experienced one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world for the past year. Our lives turned upside down for being cooped-up in Manila during our first year of living in the Philippines. We were so excited the moment we read on the news that Boracay started to open its door to domestic leisure travellers. Craving for the sea and for the sun, we searched for the best resort Boracay had to offer.
Reopened in October 2020, Boracay was one of the first major tourist destinations in the Philippines that allowed leisure travellers to visit. But knowing that this month was approaching the year end, which we were trying to avoid, given the Christmas crowds and the unpredictable weather brought by the typhoon season, we decided to wait for a few more months until January 2021! Attracted by the pictures of the Tree House Villa at Shangri-La’s Boracay and in addition to the seclusion it can offer from the rest of the tourists at White Beach, without hesitation, we decided to book 4 nights at the resort!
We were really impressed with the coordination in transfers. The luxurious treatment began upon our arrival at Caticlan Airport, where we were fetched by the resort staff. After a 5-minute scenic drive along the coastline from the airport, we then arrived at the Caticlan Jetty Port, where we were escorted by the staff to skip the queue for registration. After that, we entered a private lounge provided by the resort for its guests and waited for the speedboat to come and pick us up.
The boat has not docked when we arrived but waiting for it did not take long. Prior to boarding, the staff assisted us with our luggage. We were the only guests checked-in at that time of the day so we had the boat to ourselves, talking about the benefits of travelling during the pandemic!
We had a comfortable 15-minute ride, passing by the White Beach with its few noticeable resorts such as Discovery Shores Boracay and Henann Regency Resort and other several tiny beaches.
Quietly tucked on the north-western tip of Boracay and sandwiched between two private beaches, the view of the resort was slowly emerging. Speaking of exclusivity, the resort has its own private jetty, as opposed to other resorts and hotels in the island. When we disembarked, we found that our personal butler and the resort’s receptionist were waiting to bring us directly to our villa at the top of the hill via a private buggy.
We did not expect the check-in formalities to be done in our own villa’s living area and it just took ten minutes. How seamless and convenient!
Ah, the Tree House Villa is a honeymoon dream home. In fact, it was the main reason why we chose Shangri-La Boracay as our accommodation. And rightly so, it was the main highlight of our 4-night stay.
With an approximate size of 216 square metres, this two-storey villa showcases a lower floor housing the master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom with a view of the sea. On the other hand, the upper floor was where the spacious living area and the huge balcony with a jacuzzi located. Staying in this villa is a phenomenal experience, but it is not one that I would recommend if you have a fear of heights!
Being on top of the hill, the Tree House Villa provides seclusion without compromising on luxury. The villa also comes with butler service; we had two butlers during our stay, Joyce in the morning and Julius in the evening.
Due to the low occupancy during the period of our stay brought by the pandemic; Julius, our butler in the evening had offered to bring us around the resort by showing us the other types of villas. I must admit that our Tree House Villa is, by far, the most impressive. If I had to choose my second favourite type, then it would be the Loft Villa, which features an infinity pool and an outdoor deck offering a panoramic view of the resort.
This 12-hectare resort encompasses 219 rooms including 36 villas and suites. As mentioned, the resort comes with two private beaches, Banyugan Beach and Punta Bunga Beach. The latter is longer and is shared with Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay. For those who want to be away from the hustle and bustle of White Beach and at the same time confidently bask in privacy, then no doubt, this resort is for you!
The resort has everything that gives the vibes of how an ideal tropical vacation should be. The infinity swimming pool with the panoramic view of Banyugan Beach invites one to hang out, read a book, or enjoy a cocktail at the Cielo Poolside Restaurant and Bar. One has access to a private beach with lounge beds, a big garden lined with many coconut trees and hammocks, and plenty of space to relax and enjoy. This was our favourite spot at the resort, hands down!
Speaking of restaurants, the resort has 4 dining options: Vintana, Cielo, Rima and Sirena. Unfortunately, we were only limited to dine in the first two restaurants as the latter two were temporarily closed due to the low occupancy brought by the pandemic.
Should you wish to pamper yourself, there is a spa hidden on a rocky peninsula called Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La. We did not try the services offered by the spa, but there are many positive reviews from Tripadvisor. Even more so, there is a spa pool reserved for the private use of spa guests.
If it happens to be raining during your stay, worry not for there is an entertainment centre with a bar, some pool tables, table tennis, table football, arcade games, a cinema room and several karaoke rooms.
Oh boy, it is hard to summarise the wonderful service provided to us in detail. The welcome gestures of the resort made all our anxieties, worries and whatever fiasco we endured in 2020 magically disappear. The staff are well-trained and accommodating, whereas, the waiters and waitresses of the restaurants took note of the preferences in our diets.
As a common courtesy for the staff to offer assistance to guests who want to have their photos taken against a scenic backdrop, the resort provides a basic photography training for the frontline staff. As a picture-postcard resort, snapshots of unforgettable getaways and moments have become an absolute must!
Since we stayed at the Tree House Villa, we were assigned two butlers - Joyce and Julius. Both anticipated and catered our every need to ensure that our holiday was spent efficiently in utmost comfort. We were also given a dedicated mobile phone for our convenience in contacting our butlers, this includes helping us to arrange our day tour and even our need of taking a buggy as we please, especially as it was quite a distance to go down to the beaches or other areas from our villa.
Food & Beverages
Due to the low occupancy brought by the pandemic, both Sirena and Rima were temporarily closed. Hence, we only had the chance to try out Vintana and Cielo but I can definitely say both were really wonderful restaurants.
We enjoyed our breakfast at Vintana, where we had a partial view of the sea while enjoying dining alfresco. Edmund loved their overnight muesli that we never failed to order it each breakfast. The staff even accommodated our request for a soymilk replacement as opposed to cow’s milk. Due to the new normal caused by the pandemic, serviced buffet was being observed at the kitchen. This means that the staff will be the ones to serve dishes on your plate. Guests, on the other hand, will be given a menu from where you can order food unlimitedly. Vintana offers a variety of world cuisines, particularly that of Asian. We had one of our dinners at Vintana; based on the 4 dishes we had, I must say, the food was rather average.
Our favourite dining experience during our stay was at Cielo – where we had 3 dinners. Strategically situated facing Banyugan Beach, we could see and hear the crashing waves around us while enjoying our meal. We were also blown away by the quality and flavours of the food served to us.
Activities and Excursions
Only villa guests can enjoy unlimited complimentary use of the non-motorised water sports activities such as kayaking, sailing a Hobie Cat, windsurfing, and snorkelling. We were supposed to join the snorkelling session, but due to the rough seawater during our selected slot, it was cancelled and rescheduled to a later time. By then, Edmund and I were lazy since we prefer to simply chill by the beach instead.
The resort has free shuttle rides to and from D'Mall at White Beach’s Station 2, which we went to once for a couple of hours during one of the days but frankly, we saw absolutely no reason to leave the resort. Being able to relax due to the isolation brought by the resort’s location was just too satisfying to want more. We were just positively overwhelmed!
This vacation gave us our many “firsts”. Apart from being our first vacation during the pandemic, it was also our first vacation in 2021, our first domestic trip within the Philippines, our first visit to Boracay and our first time flying out of Manila after moving here in the Philippines - all thanks to COVID-19! Also, it was our memorable vacation to celebrate our early 5th anniversary!
We loved our stay at the resort and we look forward to coming back again. From the unique transfers, the romantic Tree House Villa perched on a hillside, the impeccable service, the resort’s isolated location, we only ended up staying-in despite many attractions to visit in Boracay. Money well-spent!
Edmund and I, in unison, agreed that we will be staying at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa once more if we happen to find ourselves in Boracay again. It holds a special place in our hearts for accommodating us on our first vacation during this pandemic.
For bookings and inquiries, you may check their official website here.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. IT IS BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE LAST JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021. ALL PHOTOS, THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
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