Arriving from our Cebu Pacific Flight from Caticlan, we took the tricycle to the jetty port which is a mere five minutes away. The fare is P 50 per ride. At the port, we paid the Terminal Fee, Environmental Fee and Boat fare before taking the ten-minute boat ride to Boracay's White Beach. Then, we rode another tricycle going to Astoria Boracay. The fare is P 100 for the entire trip. Astoria offers airport transfers but the cost was about five times more than if we just commute by ourselves. And having been to Boracay a couple of times, we decided to forego the hotel transfers.
The reception area is not as grand as one would expect especially from the pictures of the hotel. It is small and very utilitarian save for two overstuffed chairs. The view from the reception however, is a teaser to the lovely sight that will welcome you as you get to the main area of the hotel. The small garden is adorned with lounge swings that are shaded by trees.
Upon arrival, we were served Pandan Juice with Lemongrass and Honey and a damp towel. Both gave us a refreshing feeling inside and out.
Construction was on-going in the remaining clusters of the property so we encountered not only noise but on certain instances some annoying stares from undisciplined workers who ogle at the guests swimming in the pool. They expect to finish the expansion works by the end of 2012 so hopefully you won't have to endure the above if you visit it now.
Anyway, we arrived way before the 2pm prescribed check-in time and the resort seemed to be fully booked so we did not get to check-in immediately. We opted to have lunch at Gerry's Grill first with the promise of the Front Desk personnel to call us as soon as the room becomes available. We got the call about 30minutes into lunch.
Our room was located at the second floor of the building near the garden. The keycard operated door opens to the spacious bedroom with two queen sized beds. We specifically requested this arrangement since we were vacationing with my parents. The color palette of turquoise and white found on the walls and valance lends a cool and relaxing feel. To the claustrophobic, the room might be a bit stifling as there are no windows in it.
The room was equipped with a 32" LCD TV, microwave oven, coffee and tea making facility, mini-ref, kitchen utensils and a safety deposit box. Our complimentary water bottles, coffee and tea were replenished daily. A mini-dining table seemed to be missing and would have been handy for when we felt like eating in.
The bathroom was equally spacious. In it is a bathtub, a toilet with a bidet, and a sink which had a huge mirror extending to the vanity contributing to the illusion of space. However, the absence of a shower curtain in the bath area caused a bit of a problem as the water when taking a shower tend to cascade over the glass partition soaking the bath mats and eventually, creating water puddles on the floor. We also had a slight issue with the shower which was not working properly and it took them an hour to have it fixed. I hope that they do regular maintenance checks and even ensure that everything in the room is in mint condition before turning it over for guests' use.
Archive branded bath sets were generously provided and replenished on a daily basis.
I particularly loved the complimentary white rubber slippers which was really a versatile piece considering we can use it not only inside the room but also outside while walking along the beach - flip flops being the footwear of choice in Boracay.
Astoria Boracay's centerpiece is undoubtedly the pool which despite the small scale is made grand and indulgent through the carefully chosen and beautifully positioned sun loungers and modern hammocks.
The shower stands inconspicuously in between the garden and the pool area, I actually had difficulty finding it. That was how well it blended with the the resort's over-all design aesthetic which emanates a modern, tropical feel.
The swimming pool is seamlessly divided into a toddler's/kids splash pool where the slide is located and the lap pool with its deepest level at only six feet. At night, it is transformed into alternate shades of red, green and blue through its underwater lighting. The pool is not heated but somehow felt warm enough for a night swim. The scorching hot weather during the day may be to blame for the ideal swimming temperature and our son couldn't be any happier. A lifeguard, who doubles up as a pool attendant is usually on duty and is responsible for dispensing the pool towels.
The hotel also has an in-house restaurant, which we did not try at all throughout our five-day stay for two reasons. One, part of our treat for my parents is paying for all meals throughout our stay. Hence, a P 400/head price tag is out of our budget. Second, the buffet selection was not enticing and seemed very limited. Nevertheless, the restaurant had the same great design albeit a bit too crowded in terms of table configuration.
With the aggressive campaign of Astoria's Sales Staff in place, they usually make use of the second floor dining space as a place for the sales presentation for potential club members. At night, they set-up a buffet table outside the beach area and offer a barbecue or grill spread and some live entertainment such as live bands and fire dancers, an attraction peculiar to Boracay.
The property is indeed Station Two beachfront. They have about twelve sun loungers set-up outside for exclusive use of Astoria guests. There are some instances however, when we found the place to be too crowded. The problem lies in the fact that it is where boats dock and is the designated jump off point for most beach activities in the island like banana boat rides, paraw sailing, etc. They did cordon off the beach. Most likely to address guests complaining about the lack of easily accessible space for swimming in the big blue. After all, it is not a Boracay vacation if you cannot enjoy swimming in its crystal clear, shallow waters.
Access to D'Mall, where most of the affordable dining options and even some of the island's necessities (from ATMs, convenience stores and drugstores) are located, is a ten minute walk and is not exactly a thrill for aging companions like we had. Although, looking at the bright side, the walking can serve as a good source of daily exercise.
Service is very good, with staff having plastered smiles all over their faces every time we pass by. Most requests are addressed immediately including drying of clothes. Astoria Boracay does not allow hanging of clothes/swim wear/beach stuff/towels outside the rooms, so they offer free clothes drying where they commit to return the items at least three hours after you had it serviced. It is solely for drying and not for washing or cleaning, which incidentally comes with a fee.
Complimentary wi-fi access is not as fast and reliable. I reckon, the room location plays a part in the limitation. As mentioned earlier, our room did not have any windows and it was located at the far end corner of the resort. The signal goes on and off. Sometimes, we had to go outside to get connected.
This trip was a really memorable one. It was a celebration of firsts - my son's and parent's first time to visit this major tourist destination and the first time I celebrated my birthday in Boracay. It was made even better by our choice of hotel.
Astoria Boracay, while not perfect, became a true beach sanctuary in the Philippine's paradise island of Boracay. (onelifetolivelearnlove.blogpost.com)
Poolside rooms may seem ideal but it can cost you a bit of your privacy and even a restful and relax...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.