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“great place to stay, but avoid the tourist traps!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Amarela Resort

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Amarela Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Barangay Libaong, 6340, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 42 Hotels in Panglao Island
Quezon City, Philippines
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“great place to stay, but avoid the tourist traps!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

PROS:
The resort itself was lovely, the ambiance is very warm and welcoming. Rooms are clean and well appointed. I was charmed by the decor and atmosphere of Amarela.

Food was just okay. The sisig is very salty. Breakfast was pretty much the same the whole time we were there. I hope they add some leafy vegetables in their menu. I loved the watermelon shake. Must try!

The infinity pool was also great, and unlike the other reviewer, I do appreciate the staffs efforts to enforce a proper swim attire. I dislike the tshirt wearing thing in the pool. The lifeguard was very helpful in adjusting the pool chairs so I could better face the sun. We were also able to order some drinks while in the pool area. I saw a lady getting a massage so that's possible too.

We had a wonderful evening BBQ in the beach. The kebabs are good and it was nice to have a couple of drinks while a local band sang for us. It was a very lovely evening indeed.

CONS: I found the bathrooms quite stuffy. We would leave the bathroom exhaust on the whole night and it was still stuffy in the morning.

We arranged for an Island Hopping Tour with the resort. The tour was supposed to go from 9am-3pm. It took us an hour and a half to go to this Balicasag island. When we got there, we were told to get a snorkling guide to go snorkling with us. We didnt want to snorkle. We wanted to island hop. Maybe I should have clarified, but I thought lunch was included in the package, it wasnt. The boatman pretty much left us alone to have lunch. We ordered some seafood to grill at the restaurant. IT WAS NOT CHEAP. People kept coming up to us selling us stuff, it was annoying. AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS, it is a GIANT TOURIST TRAP. We got frustrated, we asked to be taken back to the hotel. I've already wasted money, didn't want to waste any more time.

We got back to the hotel, the resorts on both sides of Amarela had guests too and they were blasting the karaoke. So we decided to walk to a more secluded part of the beach. Away from the crowds, maybe a 5 minute walk. It was great, clear water, powdery white sands. Then we noticed our boat from this mornings failed island hoping was docked right where we were swimming. Some local kids climbed up the boat and stayed there for a while. Once they spotted us, they made their way towards us, first pretending to play in the sand some 6 feet away from us, then slowly approached us, saying "give money?". We said no. They wouldnt leave us alone, even threw sand at us when we said no. We got up, and left. They followed us for quite a bit before finally leaving us alone.

We ended up spending the rest of the day poolside, with Gangnam style blaring from the resort beside us, and a guy singing on karaoke from the other adjacent resort. Maybe we shouldn't have gone during the peak season... I do realize there are factors that the resort couldnt control, I'm just saying.

I did also notice that the staff is more attentive towards Caucasian guests. My sister ordered an omelette one morning. The Chef served everyone else, even those who arrived after we did. She followed up her omelette after 15minutes of waiting. It arrived, but her mushroom cheese omelette magically transformed to a ham and cheese omelette.

Its a lovely hotel to relax and unwind. Just go during off-peak season when there are less people in the vicinity.

Room Tip: rooms in the second floor are smaller but have a direct access to the pool. rooms in the third floor...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AmarelaManagement, Owner at Amarela Resort, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
Thank you very much for your review. We are able to use your constructive comments which we use in striving to provide our guests a great Boholano experience. We are currently working on new menu selection and continuing a refreshment of our room facilities to ensure guest comfort and relaxation. We do aim to offer the same level of service to all our guests and hope that, in a future visit to Bohol, we may be able to welcome you back to Amarela.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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364 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (66)
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English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

A very beautiful experience! The rooms were very relaxing and the staffs very accommodating. The resort is in a secluded area and safe to walk day and night. Food tasted okay but so expensive for hotel rating. never-the-less it was worth it since the service was fantastic! i highly recommend this resort!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Never have i stayed in a place where you just walk onto a pristine beach, teeming with marine life and powdery white sand. The kids played for hours, catching star fish, puffer fish, small shrimp, crabs, hermit crabs, created their own aquariums and then released the sea creatures to start again the next day. The staff were super friendly, anything you asked for the rushed to get - e.g. towels, soap etc. The place is quite secluded so its very safe, and the hotel restaurant is quite decent so no need to go outside to eat unless you want to try other dishes. Prices also reasonable, main courses from S$10 - 20/dish. We arrived at 9.40am vs normal check in time of 2pm, but they got us a room and we had a nice nap after a tiring journey. We will be back. Bear in mind, this hotel is not luxurious, its more like staying at your favourite uncle's beach house, but it feels homely, safe and is a wonderful place to unwind. The staff will happily order you a tricycle to get to Alona Beach, about 5km away, cost approx 150 peso each way per tricycle.

Room Tip: all rooms are sea facing, but ground floor rooms great for kids.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012 via mobile

We stayed here for a few nights in
December.
Among other resorts we stayed in or visited in Alona beach, this one is by far the best.
Even more expensive ones are not as good as this one.
Rooms are clean and have a good athomsphere, restaurant and the hotel itself are really nice with attention paid for every detail. You can hire many books, DVD, kayaks and snorkeling equipment.
The beach is the best one you will find here.
Always cleaned up by the staff and with a very few people only. Snorkeling is ok and there are no bankas!
Staff is professional and friendly and will always look after you.
I would only suggest the management to improve their menu and have a wider selection of food for people who stay here a few days (and the hotel is 10 min away from
Alona).

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suisun City, California
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Stayed at this resort a few weeks ago and it was a very pleasant experience. This place I would highly recommend for people who want the quietness and exclusivity of a resort. But if you like the nightlife scene, then this is definitely not the place for you. This is very far from the popular alona beach. Rooms are clean but wifi wasn't available in ours. So that was a minus... Food serving is a lot and a bit pricey. Although I'm not complaining about the food price due to the amount of serving, it's just not as good for what the asking price was. Regardless of this, customer service was very good and top notch which made up for the food so it's okay. Overall, I would recommend this place and I would consider going back.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Manila, Philippines
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

We had a very relaxing stay at Amarela. The hotel feels like you've stepped into someone's luxury, tropical beachfront property and all his staff are there to welcome you. The rooms are very comfortable and very clean. The staff are also very friendly and helpful, whenever we needed information and assistance about our tours, getting around Panglao and getting picked up by the hotel cars, etc.. this was a big plus for us since we opted for a DIY route.

The hotel is beautiful--very picturesque. We've seen fellow guests take pictures of the hotel's gardens, dining areas--and so did we. We love the views of ocean from the dining area. Time just seems to pass so slowly. The food maybe pricey by Manila standards but I think we have to understand that the food are slow cooked meals, and Tagbilaran is quite a small town. I would think there are extra transportation costs in procuring the ingredients, vegetables, meats that would go into the pricing of the food. Actually, after going to Bohol Beach Club and Amorita for dinners, in comparison, we found Amarela's prices to be lower--and you get so much more with the ambiance, the view, and the service.

The same goes for getting around the island. I take a cab frequently in Manila and the cost of getting to say, Alona beach, would take the same rate as a metered cab-but you just have to double the price (which is fair) since you have to consider that the hotel car will be returning or coming back empty after you've been dropped off.

And also, even if Amarela does not have a wide beach, its easy to substitute that with say a day trip to Bohol Beach Club, which is what we did. You can only spend so much time in the sun and in the water. And you can only spend so much time drinking cocktails at night at another hotel's restaurant or bar. But at the end of the day, you want to come home to a hotel that's clean, quiet, and relaxing, where you feel that you own your own time.

Amarela is a good choice for couples who want privacy, for families who want to relax and bond in a clean, and family friendly environment (free DVD's and game boards to rent for the kids), and friends who just want to kick-back and forget the worries of the day.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

Beautiful hotel, nice grounds and everything very well maintained. I loved the book and DVD library - great idea and well applied!
The room (deluxe queen, room 103) was very nice as well - with the single exception of the balcony and the view, noise and smell there. Really, really bad - but the only thing that did not match the high standards of the remaining hotel. From the room itself, if not on the balcony, the smell and noise did not apply and the view was even ok.
The beach in front of the hotel was as well maintained as the other grounds and really nice. Complaints about the shallow beach (hard to get into) are valid at low tide (lots of sea urchin), BUT you can even snorkel in less than knee-deep water there, to see tiny fish and seahorse. Because we never got there at high tide, we never attempted to get to the small sanctuary. For snorkeling, the Balicasag tour is recommended anyway (touristy and lots of dead corals, but still good snorkeling).
I had booked one of their packages - if it fits your wishes, I'd recommend it. I don't think that it saves a lot of money, but it was nice to have everything arranged from the beginning and the quality of each component (massage, Balicasag tour and a beach dinner) was high.

Note, that you need to pay for what you get - Amarela is not a cheap bargain. But is very beautiful, totally relaxing and overall highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amarela Resort

Address: Barangay Libaong, 6340, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Bohol Province > Panglao Island
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Panglao Island
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Panglao Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Amarela Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amarela is a cozy yet elegant boutique resort atop a gentle slope with a stunning panoramic view of Bohol Sea and neighboring islands. Natural sandstone pathways run through native landscape, leading to the long stretch of white beach. The resort showcases local art and culture in meticulous detail - highlighting antique & traditional furniture, artifacts & handicrafts, old hardwood doors & floors, as well as an outstanding collection of sculpture & paintings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amarela Hotel Panglao Island
Amarela Resort Bohol Province/Panglao Island
Amarela Hotel Bohol

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