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“Wonderful, peaceful and fantastic views” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Golden Monkey Cottages

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Golden Monkey Cottages
Ca-alan Beach, El Nido, Palawan Island EN234, Philippines   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 54 Specialty Lodging in El Nido
Bolton, UK
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“Wonderful, peaceful and fantastic views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2010

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.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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129 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
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Lyon
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

We stayed in the center of El Nido for 2 nights and then moved to the Golden Monkey Cottages, which has been a wonderful experience for us. We booked the nicest bungalow, very large, clean, nicely arranged and with a wonderful view over the see, especially at sunset.
The owner was a very kind Filipina who brought our breakfast every morning on our private "terrasse" and cooked one dinner for us, very tasty and good value for money.

The location can be a problem, it is not really far from the center of El Nido (around 15 minutes walk) but you have to walk through a dark path with very little light, which can be a little bit gloomy. However we never felt insecure and appreciated to have our own little place oustide the town itself. It is a very quiet location.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
michigan
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2010

Rose and Kevin are very corrupt business persons based on our experience with them and that of others who have also had problems with them. The accomodations and location also are very undesirable based on a comparison with other places in El Nido. I highly recommend seeking other accomodations in El Nido which is a fantastic place to have a vacation. The beauty of El Nido rates very high and the snorkeling is some of the best in the world. Rose lied about providing an air conditioned room for us. We insisted that we would only stay at Golden Monkey Cottages if we could have an air conditioned room. They do not provide air conditioning and only informed us of their deception after we arrived and had paid a deposit of 50%. We argued with them to return our deposit which they refused and even tried to make us pay for days we would not stay. Basically this is a substandard accomodation that would be suitable for backpackers at a rate of less than $5 per night for the room. I have been to the Philippines and several developing countries around the world and this is the first time that I have had a bad experience. The resort uses salt water for showers. Unbelieveable that they could even get approval from the tourism board or health department to do this. Construction is ongoing and noisy. Lack of ambience is also the result of burning garbage smoke penetrating your room all night.. The food is tasty but they charged us triple the rate of meals in better restaurants in El Nido. The location is just too remote and inacessible by any transportation. Why walk several kilometers through a jungle path to get anywhere in sweltering heat during the day and dodging free roaming dogs at night in an unlit path. A good point is that dive boats are readily available there but the same service is offered by all the resorts. I intend to inform the proper authorities about their corruption and deception.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kennewick WA
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2010

We had a completely different experience than the other reviews reported and other places we've stayed in the Philippines. We did not find the hosts friendly or accomodating. Despite trying to contact the hosts through e-mail and phone several days before our arrival, we weren't given instructions on how to find the walking path to the cottages or how to transport our luggage. We had to ask around once we got into town and a waitress got in touch with hosts to come pick us up. From that point forward everything about our stay was uncomfortable.

They are adding on to the complex so there was construction from 8am to 6pm right next to the cottage making it very hard to relax while listening to chain saws and cement mixers. The temperature in May was very hot and while we knew there was no air-con, it would have been nice to have a fan that actually circulated the air. I had a rig it with a shoelace to point at the bed so we could sleep. We never did find an area that we could cool off and swim nearby.

The positive aspects about the cottages were that the food was tastey (but poor service)and we were able to arrange tours leaving right from our front door.

We would have left after the first night but we were meeting another couple there on day 3. That couple subsequently cut their stay short by 9 days, extrememely souring their honeymoon. I found them another cottage in town that was less expensive with air-con and friendly hosts. My advice would be to look elsewhere as well.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maroubra Beach
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2010

I stayed in the seafront cottage (number 1, I think). I believe it's the nicer of the 4 cottages, a very nice place to stay and relax.

Golden Monkeys is located 15min walking from town. A quiet and isolated place but still close enough to the village when it's time to go out and party.
Service is very professional and if you wish to have dinner 'at home', just ask Rose and she'll cook you a beautiful meal.
They also rent fins and snorkel, which is very practical if you don't have your own gear.
They probably organise island hopping too but I didn't go with them. For island hopping, I've only one choice: Emil from Hadefes (the resort next door). From what I've seen in 2 trips to El nido and a total of 4 weeks there doing mainly island hopping, Emil, is THE MAN and best call for your daily trip.
But that isn't part of Golden Monkey... So, yes, I recommand Golden Monkey: A beautiful location in a very nice place.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2010

A lovely homely place to stay. Rose and her lovely husband are just delightful and their little family of soon to be rehabilitated monkeys are a delight to spend time with.

It is a short walk from El Nido, but I believe this to be a good thing when you hear reports from other travellers who were kept awake by dance music all night.

The food is delicious and all in all this is one of the best run guest houses i have stayed in not only in the Philippines, but in the world.

You can bbook all trips around the local islands through rose and so are picked up outside your front door. Not only this our tour groups never reached more than 6, which is vastly different than booking in elnido where you will find your self in a group of up to 20!!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 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.
Courtice, Ontario
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2010

Stayed in January at the 2 waterfront cottages (2 nights each) and both are very memorable experience. The cottages are well built and excellently finished and very, very clean. The staff, Chona and the other girls were all very helpful and friendly, but most of all, the owners, Kevin and Rose are the best hosts you can ever have. Kevin (we only met Rose very briefly as she had to fly to Manila on business), entertained us and cooked for us and we were served very delicious food. Since my husband were not feeling well during our stay, we were not able to do too much of the island hopping tours, but nevertheless, this was THE place to relax and enjoy one of the most beautiful sceneries you could ever see.

We found this place on the internet and read all the excellent reviews and we never regretted choosing The Golden Monkey to be our destination in El Nido. We would come back to this place if we ever are in this part of Paradise.

  • Stayed January 2010, 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.
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Additional Information about Golden Monkey Cottages

Address: Ca-alan Beach, El Nido, Palawan Island EN234, Philippines
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > El Nido
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 54 Specialty Lodging in El Nido
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
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

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