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“Fortune Favoring the Unprepared” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort

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Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort
| Maglalamba, Popototan Island 5317, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Shanghai, China
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Fortune Favoring the Unprepared”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

My girlfriend and I were in charming El Nido, hoping to finish off our vacation island-hopping, with all the fun that entails. Unfortunately, our failure to earlier book a flight to Manila meant that we had to endure a wasteful 8-hour boat ride and spend our last full day thereafter in the Bacuit Archipelago. The helpful staff at the god-sent Art Boutique in El Nido recommended Coral Bar Resort, after a few cheaper options had no vacancy.

Arriving in Coron Town after an 8-hour boat ride turned 10, we were met at the pier by representatives of Coral Bay and dismayed to learn that the resort was a 1-2 hour boat ride away... we considered walking away and finding a place in town, but our bags were already on board the boat....

...and the magic had begun. We arrived at high tide, and the ocean had risen to the foot of our cabin, bringing the beach literally to our door step. The husband of the couple who own the resort met us at the pier, told us that dinner would be ready whenever we finished showering, etc (despite the 11pm hour), and we felt like a family friend from our first moment off the boat; this is no small feat, considering our having spent 12 hours on the sea, with our memory of the ride protracted by terra "firma" now rocking up and down.

Our stay ended up being the highlight of our trip. It felt like we were staying at a friend's jaw-droppingly beautiful island home, rather than a resort. Words diminish the experience. A green bird nested in the magnolia near the dining pavilion, where the tables casually overlook the ocean, which itself looks like a lake. Snorkeling and diving at the house reef (we will save the wreck-diving, which entails a 2-hour boat ride to the dive spots, for our next stay). Satisfying meals including large portions of fish, pork, squid; salads at every meal; chocolate cake or other sweets for desert. Hiking the wildlife -saturated island, through the mangrove and bamboo forests, where I am told and have no doubt, live monkeys, monitor lizards, birds of various colors live, although we were sapped by the heat and opted for snorkeling instead. Taking photos of the starfish at sunrise, watched, left on the beach as the tide receded.

Our last night, we kayaked 45 minutes to twin islands on the edge of the sea's immensity and watched the sunset with a beer in our hands. On the kayak back to the resort, the sunset's splendor was outmatched by the rising of the full moon over the ocean and the blue glow or creatures beneath the sea (see the picture).

Thank you, everyone, for what I hope are the first of many memories at your enchanting resort.

  • Liked — The natural setting and owners
  • Disliked — The rooms were too warm at night when there was no breeze.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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144 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2008

We had a wonderful stay. Thanks to Maribel at the Coral Bay Coron office/dive shop for making the arrangements; to the owners Olf, Monica, & son; to Bernadette who cheerfully served us breakfast-lunch-&dinner, to the Chef for the meals we now miss, and to all the other staff there on our Nov.4-6 stay.

  • Liked — beachfront location and close to restaurant, size, comfort
  • Disliked — what the sheets had that got stuck to our clothes and hair :D
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Beijing
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2008

We just spent two perfect weeks with Monika, Ulf and Emil (sorry not sure of the correct spellings) and all the courteous staff of the island resort. Our trip to Coron started as a bit of a disaster (false advertising by Kokusnuss resulting in us not staying there for more than 2 hours); however, thanks to the very helpful Mari-Belle in the Coral Bay Beach and Dive resort office in Coron we were transferred to the island early the next morning.

The accommodation was exactly as we expected and wanted to find on an island resort getaway, don’t go expecting the Hilton or Club Med, but you can expect and will experience 5 star accommodations and service when compared with other resorts in the Philippines; we have traveled before to locations with far less facilities. Diving was complimented by experienced, knowledgeable, friendly dive master (Renaldo) with boat captain (Nelson) ensuring we arrived exactly on target for every dive. The wrecks and reefs that we experienced will certainly bring us back to Coral Beach again in the future.

A special mention for the quality, and quantity, of food we were presented with daily, the packed lunch on the dive trips was more than could ever be expected. Evening meals were definitely 5 star qualities, presentation, flavor, variety; a special thank you to Monika and her assistants in the Kitchen for their efforts there.

There is a comment already posted on the time it takes from the airport to the island, from our experience 2:45, 45 minutes by road from the airport to Coron, 2 hours by boat to the island. But if you book an island holiday you expect to have to get to the island, we have had many holidays where the transfer took a lot longer, both by road and water.

In general our experience of the island and the whole holiday was very good, we will return and would recommend as a place to stay.

  • Liked — Perfect views, no concrete jungle, no highways, no urban noise, no traffic
  • Disliked — Unfortunately, as with all of Asia, pack your mosquito repellent
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arendal
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2008

My boyfriend and I decided to celebrate our anniversary in Palawan, and after searching Tripadvisor for reasonable places to stay the Coron Bay Beach Resort caught our eye. After calling around, we chose this Danish owned resort.

First things first - the travel time IS long. If you arrive at Coron airport you have about 45 minutes in a car until you reach Coron City. From there you have to shift to a banka (boat) and the journey takes no less than 1 hour and 20 minutes. Some may regard this as a disadvantage, because you do get a bit tired after a while. But then again, if you are truly looking for a special getaway, would you want it to be too accessible? By being so distant the resort really is as peaceful and untouched as you could want it.

We were greeted upon arrival by one of the owners, Danish Monica, and she even prepared lunch for us. The room rates are quite high, especially for being in the Philippines, but you do get full board, complimentary water/tea/coffee and free lending of kajacks. The price is not per room, but per person - which can make it a costly affair despite all that is included.

Our stay was in a low-peak season, and we were at one point the only guests there. At the same time the resort personell were busy helping build the new reception area and the soon to open spa. Even the chief and dive masters were engaged in this, meaning it was actually Monica who prepared the meals.

If would in a way be unreasonable for me to comment the food seeing how it was not under normal circumstances. During high-peak there is a buffee, and normally the chief would be in charge of the cooking. The food was okay - but we had no choice in dishes. It was also most often European food, with a lot of oil and fried potatoes, which may not be a first option to many. The seafood was excellent, however.

The staff is very friendly. My boyfriend is a Filipino so it was easy to communicate, and all whom we met were friendly and helpful. The divemaster even brought us to the fishvillage on the other island after one of our dives where we bought two fish. The fish we asked for the Filipina waitress to prepare, and she made several local dishes for us and the staff.

The resort itself has single bungalows and bungalows in pairs of 4 (they are attached to eachother). Some have complained about hearing everything in the other bungalows, but since we had a single bungalow it is hard to make a comment on this. Seeing how we could hear everything outside easily, however, I dont doubt that sound would travel easily between the bungalows.

The bungalow we had was very nice - it was spacious, clean and even had separate livingroom and bedroom. The bathroom has running water and a toilet, and the design is very native. There is no warm water, though, but its not something you would truly miss. There is no aircon, but two fans which is no problem. Having an aircon would certainly be out of the question in such a place.

The area of the resort is really remote and picture perfect. You can take a kajack and go on an adventurous journey. We got our lunch pre-packed in the morning and paddled our way to the Monkey Island, Twin Islands and the other side of our island. There is more to see, and you could go on some of the package tours available, but be warned that they are too very expensive.

All in all, our stay was very nice. Some have commented that the owners are racists, but we noticed nothing of this. Both the owners and their son were very friendly.

  • Liked — Location, nature, hospitality, spacious rooms, diving
  • Disliked — Food, but not the same all year round
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
seattle
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2008

We had a wonderful time during our 10 day stay at Coral Bay. If you are looking for tranquility, an idillic setting, and beautiful scernery and water life- this is the place for you. This is not a typical package vacation for those who are looking for nights on the town with fried food, german beers, or dance clubs. Coral bay is for those who truely enjoy nature,being on the water, snorkeling, diving, and beautiful beaches.
It is a unique place, which is refreshing to see still exhists. Coral bay is built around the nature of the area, and efforts are made to protect one of the most beautiful peices of coral reef in the world- which is right out front of the resort .
The service we received was excellent! We were greated by smiling faces by all the staff, and they were very helpful in arranging tours for us. We enjoyed many boat trips island hopping with our snorkle gear, and experiencing the fantastic coral reefs. We also enjoy paddling around in one of the resorts canoes to the many beautiful and seren beaches close by the resort area. We also loved gathering the most amazing shells which all over in this area.
We found that the food was excellent at Coral Bay. We loved the buffet style service and trying all the different foods. The standard for quality seemed very high, and the food was very fresh.
Yes, we would highly reccomend Coral Bay for a unique vacation experience which is close to nature and is not out to spoil such unique and beautiful places like this. One of the very poetic "Eagles" songs says... "call something paradise, kiss is goodbye"...

  • Liked — the idillic setting
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sweden
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2008

coral bay..... is not at place to judge.
is not at place to describe in small boxes varying from terrible to great.
is not a place to scale and meassure in a fancy food magazine.
is not a place you can understand og experience through a website or rating list with comments spanding from god to worse.


the concept is simple----------------------- LESS IS MORE !

anyone setting foot on this piece of heaven on earth will instantly form their own perspective and feelings towards the place.
such as any stunning and unike scenary would take your breath away.

this review is not made to judge life on the island or judge anything or anyone there.
this is made only to ask whom-ever that reads this, a simple guestion - is your mind open !?

to travel in the phillipines requires an open mind and a taste for simple life !
this is not thailand nor greece, this is unexplored, wonderfull, basic nature !
'
so with this in mind me and my wife went down there.... and yes, the trip is long, and yes, it is hard, and yes it is a wet boat trip that goes on forever until you about to turn back, then suddently this little ray of sun shines on the most simple gorgeous island, just waiting for you.

TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE ! so wouldn't it be boring if the journey wasn' t hard????
wouldn' t it be sad if everybody could go there in five minutes!?
wouldn't it be sad if the kitchen was so modern that you would actually be forced to sit together in silence and get to talk about something different than the food????

we loved it, and yes, it is different...... and yes it is slow i many ways.... but i you dont have the time to enjoy simple life and eachother.... just don' t go !

we will be comming back soon !

christian and malene :-)

  • Liked — the scenary - the silence
  • Disliked — some maintenance was under duration at that time.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denmark
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2008

Me and my husband stayed there for 9 days. We really liked it. People were very kind and they did so mush to please us. Very individual diving tours or just at boattrip- just as we wanted it.

We spent many hours at the reef, just a few meters from the beach. We also used the kajaks very much to get around. It´s really exciting sailing around and visit the island close by.

We will definitely come back A.S.A.P

  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort

Address: | Maglalamba, Popototan Island 5317, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Popototan Island
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Popototan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort is Nature green resort, situated in the middle of Busuanga. We offer diving ,and the amazing WWll wrecks of Coron. We have A big house reef is sited just a few swim strokes out, where you will meet a lot of exiting life, even just snorkeling. From the resort, we offer day trips to other Islands, where you can enjoy the silence and beauty of nature. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Coral Bay Beach & Dive Hotel Busuanga
Coral Bay Beach And Dive Resort

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