We reluctantly feel we should share with you this almost secret resort on the edge of El Nido, at Calaan Beach. We are reluctant, as when the word gets out, this place will be difficult to find a room, and booking in advance will be recommended. It is like a hidden oasis away from the noise and bustle of the main town. In fact we loved the place so much we extended our stay here for 6 nights. Whilst we were there, more and more people were discovering it and moving from town to come and stay.
Kevin and Rose have now finished all their construction work and the resort is extremely peaceful and private. All the beach front bungalows are detached and have en-suite facilities. We had one of the new bungalows right on the sea front wall, with extensive views across Bacuit Bay. Cadlao Island is straight in front and you get beautiful views across Helicopter Island and the remaining distant islands. The bungalow (number 6) was very spacious indeed with a large double bed, windows on 3 sides and a large pair of double doors which could be opened right out, so you could lay in bed and gaze across the sea. There were shelves and coat hooks for storage and the bathroom was almost as big as some of the 200 pesos a night huts we have stayed in. The bungalow room was spotless and was cleaned on a daily basis. Sheets and towels were replaced every 2 days. Somebody in a previous post complained about the fans. Ours was so good we had to leave it on setting 1 otherwise it would have blown the sheets off the bed! The bungalows also have their own verandah on which there are 2 chairs and a table (on which our complementary continental breakfast was brought each morning) plus a long bench seat and of course the compulsory hammock. Kevin also has plans to add some deck chairs. Also, within our room we were provided with a large, complimentary, sealed container of clean drinking water, which lasted our stay. So we never had to purchase bottled water.
There are only 4 beach front bungalows, but there are also 2 cheaper detached bungalows and 2 semi detached rooms available but they don’t have the sea views. However, you only have to walk 30 seconds to the front where there are tables to sit at and you can admire the stunning scenery. Also there is a large gazebo in the grounds for those who wish to use it.
Apart from the complimentary breakfast, you can upgrade to a full European or simply select what you want from the all day extensive menu. You can also have dinner on your porch (by candlelight if you wish) instead of heading into town. All tours, private or group can be arranged, as can the rental of snorkelling equipment.
Apart from the above, they also have a large pen for their monkeys (macaques), which they are given if the mothers have been shot, or if the locals (who think they are pets) get fed up looking after them. Kevin tries to rehabilitate them and finally releases them into the wild.
Finally, let us try and address some of the negative points made by others below.
To say that Kevin and Rose are deceptive, dishonest and corrupt is almost bordering on being libellous. “Michigantraveller” obviously had a problem so bad that they had to join Tripadvisor, just to make that 1 post. It seems they didn’t receive what they had been promised and we would also have been most upset if that were the case. However we can only say that we found Kevin to be more than helpful. He arranged collection of our two very large bags and brought them right into the bungalow. They were also transported down the track, when we left very early to catch the 7.00am minivan. Also, they were so helpful, that they even arranged breakfast for 6.00am for us on the day we left.
The bungalows do not have Air Con. Kevin explained that they had intended to install it upon the promise from the local electric supply company, that El Nido would be receiving a 24 hour supply. However, that never happened and the supply only runs from 2.00pm until 06.00am. Also the supply currently received at Golden Monkey isn’t powerful enough to run A/C. The bungalow we had also had an AEG electric shower for hot water. But again the electric supply wasn’t sufficient enough to power it up. They will switch on their generator for you if hot water is necessary. But at the temperatures in Palawan, we always found cool water showers were more than adequate and refreshing.
Having their own generator was also useful, for those evenings when the power supply was cut and El Nido received a brown out.
The location really depends on what you want. If you want lots of nightlife and shops on your doorstep, then this may not suit you. We on the other hand loved its location and it was just what we wanted, peace and quiet, so we could chill out and admire one of the best views in El Nido . After all, it’s only 15 minutes walk from town. When the tide is out you can take a pleasant stroll along the flat coral fragments in front of the bungalows and then continue along the beach. There is also a path at the back of the cottages which runs through a local village. We enjoyed strolling along having the children shouting hello and waving to us, and seeing a bit of local life away from the tourist part of town. At night you just take a flashlight – simple. We never felt worried, as everyone is so friendly.
The bungalows have fresh water not salt water, in the bathrooms. There are 2 sunken wells, but as with most of the beach front properties, there is no mains water supply. Last year was very dry and the island suffered water shortages. Due to this the wells started to dry up and the water supply became a little brackish. This affected other accommodations also. You have to remember that water is a valuable commodity on the island in the dry season and is not to be wasted.
There isn’t really any swimming directly in front of the bungalows, due to the very shallow flat corals. However, if you walk 2 minutes to the left, where the banca boats are moored, there is a sandy channel where you can swim or snorkel out. Or you can always go to the town beach and swim there. Most people however simply come for the island tours and the snorkeling from them is just fantastic.
To find “Golden Monkey”, simply walk all the way along the beachfront road (to the right, facing the sea) until you arrive at “Lally and Abet” cottages. Here you turn left down a narrow sandy track to the beach. Turn right along the beach, past the Corner House restaurant and simply follow the path around the coast and then inland. Go past a small local village with colourful cottages and in about another 3 minutes you will see the sign to Golden Monkey, pointing left.
Hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Golden Monkey Cottages are situated on Ca-alan beach, just 10 minutes walk from El Nido town. We offer quality accommodation with comfortable fan rooms and clean modern bathrooms. Each cottage has a large veranda and a spectacular view of the islands. Since we are located just outside of El Nido, away from the noise and bustle of town, we benefit from the peace of the surrounding forests and you will be free simply to relax and absorb the atmosphere. You could hire a boat and be taken to a secluded beach to soak up the sun, have a picnic, swim, snorkel and enjoy the magnificent scenery. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Golden Monkey Cottages Hotel El Nido
- Golden Monkey Cottages El Nido, Palawan Island