The following is a guest post by my sister, she and her husband recently visited and stayed at the Amanpulo in Palawan, Philippines. Amanpulo is their second Aman resort experience, after Amankora in Bhutan. The #1 hotel chain on my list of places to stay and check out is any of the Aman hotels and resorts. They say it is the ultimate in refined luxury hotel chains with hard to beat personalized service. Their properties are always exceptionally designed and located and truly evoke a sense of seclusion and relaxation.
For Lunar New Year, we decided to visit a remote island in the Philippines – Pamalican Island, home to the amazing Amanpulo resort. As a 20 year old resort, Amanpulo does not disappoint. There are no traces of its age except for their impeccable, streamlined service. From the minute we arrived at the private hangar in Manila, we knew that we were in for a treat! After we passed through immigration, we were greeted by Amanpulo staff and driven in a private car – with herbal scented cold towels and water refreshments prepared – to the lounge connected to the Amanpulo airport hangar. At the reception, we were served baked goods from the kitchen and a beverage of our choice. In conjunction, staff checked passports and marked individual suitcases with our room numbers. Essentially, we were checking in before arriving at the hotel!
Once we boarded the chartered Amanpulo plane, we continued to notice the immaculate service, ATTENTION to detail, the thoughtful AMENITIES, and the relaxing AMBIANCE created throughout.
As soon as we landed on the tarmac of the Pamalican Island, we were welcomed by our Guest Assistant (GA) who gave us a tour of the entire resort in our villa club car (a solar-powered golf cart). You can walk around the island, borrow bicycles or zoom around in your club car. If you decide to drive, not only is it easy to find parking spots, an Amanpulo staff will readjust your vehicle so that you can commute to your next destination hassle free! Furthermore, the cars are fitted with a clean towel each day in case you have wet bottoms from a swim in the ocean or pool.
While most hotels around the world cater to universal holidays like Valentines and Christmas, we did not expect the Lunar New Year to be celebrated in a country that primarily follows a Western calendar. The hotel informed us that there would be a number of special events during our stay. One notable festivity was dinner at the Picnic Grove, which is normally opened at lunch and closed off to guests in the evening. The meal was accompanied by acoustic live music, beautiful lighting and fireworks by the beach with a bonfire. All of this was included in our stay, which made it quite special. While there are activities offered at the property that might cost you extra such as spa services, private tutorials at the gym and so on, there are also a number of complimentary services prepared for curious and restless guests.
Some of the memorable ones included unlimited use of the tennis courts, snorkeling, kayaking and catamaraning. Most of which were organized by the Sea Sports Hut, located close to casita (small house) 15 where we stayed. Three times a week, the resort offers stargazing and astronomy lessons by a trained staff. They have a telescope and a laser pointer that reaches for the star so that you know exactly which stars are being introduced.
The attention to detail and thoughtfulness is also permeated throughout the property by the amenities provided. In the chartered Amanpulo plane, each seat pocket had a bottle of water, earplugs in case you think the plane is too loud, and a guide with geographical details of where we would be flying over before arriving at the island. In our room, we were welcomed with a handwritten note on the first day and another on our last day, bidding us farewell and a nice flight home. All casitas come with locally handcrafted his/hers bags and hats during the entire stay along with flip flops in case you forgot to pack your own. Amanpulo makes sure that everyone stays hydrated and happy by replenishing bottles of water, snacks (cookies, dried mangoes, and nuts), and daily fruits in the room. Additional amenities like sunscreen and organic insect repellants are at your disposal, another considerate gesture for light packers. Turndown services are accompanied with local handmade sweets and a nice note to wish you a good nights rest. Lastly, it was nice to stay connected once in a while with complimentary WiFi in the rooms and common areas like the Clubhouse. Oh! One more thing, the Clubhouse offers daily afternoon snacks from 3-4pm – perfect for people who get hungry easily!
While the attention to detail and the amenities made our stay worthwhile, the ambiance was the icing on the cake that topped everything off. The views were simply stunning, completely unobstructed by high rises and pollution. We only saw blue skies, crystal clear waters, and lush greenery surrounding the Pamalican Island.
Some remarkable views include ones from Gary’s Nest and Shigerino’s Place where private dinners can be arranged. To dine at these locations (including on the beach outside your casita), Amanpulo complements the natural surroundings by adding proper diningware and decorations such as candlelights, bonfires, or Christmas lights to enhance your overall experience.
We were spoiled rotten on this trip.
We would love to return but are looking forward to checking out the other Aman Resorts in Asia. Next on the list – Amanjiwo!
Once again I see why so many people rave about Aman resorts and yet again I yearn to one day do the Aman experience. Indeed quite a contrast to my family’s trip this past winter to Phulay Bay, A Rtiz Carlton Reserve.
Until next time,