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El Nido Resorts Apulit Island 4.0

Palawan, Mimaropa, Philippines

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Remote location on a gorgeous beach in northeastern Palawan
  • Rooms housed in stand-alone cottages built on stilts above the water
  • Beautiful infinity pool overlooking the beach
  • Buffet restaurant serving a varied, sustainable menu
  • Intimate massage hut for couples; in-room treatments available
  • Lots of on-site activities including water sports, volleyball, and rappeling
  • On-site PADI dive center offering courses and trips
  • Rates include all three meals, and roundtrip boat transfers
  • Numerous eco-friendly practices 
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • No in-room TVs (a pro for some)
  • Rooms are basic, and Water Cottages are smallish
  • Difficult to access (air, land and sea transfers required to get to the hotel)
  • Alcohol not covered by the all-inclusive rate

Bottom Line

Located on a remote beach in northeastern Palawan, the four-pearl El Nido Resorts Apulit Island is a stunning, intimate retreat for those looking to get in touch with nature. Its 50 rooms are housed in stand-alone thatched cottages built on stilts directly over the clear waters. Interiors are simple and in-room amenities are limited, but that only adds to the unplugged feel and tranquil vibe. The property offers a wide array of on-site activities, including water sports, a PADI diving center, and a beautiful infinity pool with beach and sea views. In line with the hotel’s many eco-friendly practices, the buffet restaurant serves a menu made with sustainable ingredients, and meals are included in the rate. Getting to the hotel can be quite an ordeal -- it requires a combination of air, land and sea transfers -- but the gorgeous setting and peaceful atmosphere are well worth it. 

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Scene

Intimate hotel in a stunning tropical setting

One of four El Nido Resorts in the region, this property is located on a stunning remote tropical island. The last stretch of the long trip to the resort is done by boat, which allows guests to take in the breathtaking scenery even before arriving. The hotel’s rooms, all housed in small stand-alone thatched cottages built directly on the water, flank the pristine beach on both sides. Behind them, the towering limestone cliffs make for an imposing backdrop. Sea kayaks and leaning palm trees dot the beach, and guests -- most of whom are vacationing couples and, to a lesser extent, families -- can be seen relaxing by the lovely infinity pool or dozing off on one of the hammocks on the sand. The restaurant is housed in an open thatched pavilion overlooking the beach. 

Although the hotel feels intimate, secluded, and exclusive due to its remote location, lush tropical vegetation, and gorgeous setting, the vibe is friendly and laid-back throughout. Interiors are simple but charming, with local materials such as wood, stone, plants decorating the spaces. The hotel’s location on a largely untouched island is special, and the hotel goes to great lengths to minimize the carbon footprint, with an exhaustive recycling and waste management program. Additionally, the hotel is committed to using only sustainable ingredients at the restaurant, and limits water pollution by not offering motorized water sports on-site.

Location

On a remote, largely uninhabited island, a 50-minute boat ride from Taytay

The resort is located on a gorgeous beach on the southern side of tiny Apulit Island. The island is largely uninhabited, and there are no bars, shops or restaurants here -- just dramatic limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters teeming with fish. Aside from the hotel’s gorgeous beach, there is another wild stretch of powdery sand a short distance away where guests can swim and sunbathe virtually on their own. Rappelling, climbing, snorkeling and sea kayaking can be arranged at the hotel, and the on-site PADI center offers scuba diving day trips to coral reefs and a shipwreck. Getting to the resort from Manila requires a flight to Lio Airport, a 90-minute land transfer to Taytay, and a 50-minute boat ride. The hotel provides free roundtrip boat transfers to Taytay.

Rooms

Stand-alone cottages with simple interiors and balconies overlooking the sea

The hotel has 50 rooms, each housed in a stand-alone thatched cottage built on stilts over the turquoise waters. Decor is simple but charming throughout, with local touches such as polished wooden floors, dark-wood furniture, and bamboo accents. The balconies are a real highlight, each furnished with a couple of chairs and a small table with the hotel’s bay and the open sea. Of the 50 rooms, 30 are Water Cottages built around the main cove and featuring king-size beds or two twins. Although they're small, clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and large windows offering stunning sea views make them feel larger. The hotel’s other 20 units are bigger Loft Water Cottages, each of which has two daybeds in the living area for additional guests and direct access to the sea from the balconies. Rooms are light on amenities; expect mini-fridges stocked with water and beer, ceiling fans, and air-conditioning units. While rooms do have free Wi-Fi, there are no TVs here. Bathrooms are tiny and basic, with small showers and generic toiletries in large eco-friendly dispensers. Most units are in good shape, but some are starting to show their age.

Features

Buffet restaurant, infinity pool, massage hut, and non-motorized water sports

The Clubhouse Restaurant is housed in a charming open pavilion with a striking thatched roof and beach views. It offers a wonderful buffet spread made with locally sourced ingredients, and fish and seafood from sustainable fishing suppliers. All meals are included in the standard rate, but drinks come at an extra charge. A tiny hut on the beach offers bar service throughout the day. 

The infinity pool is one of the resort’s most stunning features, with expansive sea views, cushioned lounge chairs, and palm trees for shade. A small thatched cottage offers private or couples’ massages in a secluded spot amid tropical plants, or in-room. In an effort to minimize water pollution, the hotel does not offer motorized water sports, but sea kayaks, snorkeling gear, and trips to several gorgeous caves are available at the beach. A PADI diving center offers courses and day trips, including one to an old shipwreck. Additionally, guests can rappel down a 200-foot limestone cliff located nearby, or join the many free activities offered daily at the resort, including volleyball, soccer and badminton. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. 

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Address

Apulit Island, Taytay, Palawan Province 5322, Philippines

Also Known As

  • Apulit Island Resort

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