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“Excellent corals, but let down by smoking being allowed in the dining area” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort

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Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort
Island Hide Away | Coron Busuanga, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 15 hotels in Coron
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
1,118 reviews 1,118 reviews
293 hotel reviews
Reviews in 303 cities Reviews in 303 cities
2,609 helpful votes 2,609 helpful votes
“Excellent corals, but let down by smoking being allowed in the dining area”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2014

We arrived at Coron Airport bang on time thanks to Cebu Pacific and proceeded to Coron town (the transfer costs P150 each for 22 kilometres) and waited for our free shuttle to Concepcion wharf that we shared with a French couple.

The road to Concepcion has some concreted sections but a fair bit of gravel. There are at least two bridges being reconstructed while further concreting is proceeding at the typical snail's pace, and is done one way at a time but not in a continuous manner. Befuddling!

Upon arrival at Concepion, the bangka (boat) tok 15 minutes to appear. There were 51 steps to negotiate to sea level and some were step, being completely unsuitable for anyone who is slightly or more disabled. This is not disclosed on the Coral Bay website.

The bangka took 51 minutes to reach Coral Bay in the resort. The long pier was well lit and as I later discovered when snorkeling, there are large fish plus needlefish who reside under the pier closest to the shoreline (the pier has wel built steps).

We were given private cottage 18 which was nicer and in better condition than the cheaper rooms. The room had a comfortable foam bed, good quality bottom and a cheaper half top sheet, reasonable pillows, an effective mosquito net, a good table and two comfortable chairs, a wide ottoman and a mirrored dressing table with a stool.

There were no windows, but the screens were well maintained. Since the cottage was less than five metres from the shoreline, it was possible to listen to the gentle lapping of the waters along the attractive close to white sand beachfront.

The bathroom had two steps down - again unsuitable for the disabled and was quite roomy with a cold water only shower and a handbasin. Towels were not the biggest but OK.

An effective fan and the seaside location together with air flowing from the front to the baxck (Philippine matted jungle) ensured a good night's sleep. Power is only available from 1800 to 0600 and is generator supplied. The sandy path to the cottage was adequately lit.

The owner Wolf, a fairly gruff Danish man of 60, said that the resort had sustained P3.5 million in Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) damage but most has been repaired. I did not see evidence of poor maintenance, except that the communal male toilet's cistern was defective but soon repaired.

The restaurant served delicious but expensive banana shakes (P190) while San Miguel Pale Pilsen and SM Light were both priced at an outrageous P92 per stubbie (P27 in Metro Manila supermarkets).

Snorkelling off the pier to the pontoon and then back to shore was very good, although even better on the highly priced P4500 four hour half day tour to the lovely North Cay (we were meant to go to Black Island but currents precluded this). We shared this trip with a French couple so split the cost in half. The bangka takes up to six so one could reduce the cost even further if three couples partook.

Restaurant food was variable. One night, the fried chicken was excellent; two nights later, it was horrible. The crab and corn soup was consistently good but creamier on the first night.

The divemaster Thomas is a tall Dane with an extremely pleasant personality. He would also be patient with students and wouldn't laugh at incompetence.

The waitress Marichu was clearly overworked and mixed up orders on one night. She may have been working for 14 hours (albeit with a mid afternoon siesta).

Wolf (owner) has an attitude problem (not to staff, who like him, but to guests).

He kicked two pleasant Danish girls off the 'ownetr's table' when they innocently sat there. If the patrons are 'King', why did he not move two other tables together elsewhere given that the seaside restaurant has two sections?

Wolf also smokes, even at breakfast, and turns a blind eye to European guests who similarly smoke. The resultant smoke is unpleasant to say the least.

We were charged a reasonable P1667 for our 23 minute speedboat private transfer to Concepcion wharf and then van to Busuanga airport but they do advertise free transfers to Coron town, but strangely not to the airport.

Both sea transfers had only one boatman: the first time I have seen this, and not good practice as if he had a heart attack, what would occur?

I bought a good map for a reasonable P800 but postcards were an outrageous P100 each. The excuse was that they were produced in Denmark. Tooth fairy stuff.

Upon checkout, employees Maricel and Bianca insisted that we pay an extra peso even though we had just given them an extra two pesos before an omitted bill was included. This smacks of penny pinching.

The setting of Coral Bay is great including the snorkelling but until the owner changes his attitude and realises how disgusting smoking is where food is present, I cannot give the resort a 5/5.

Room Tip: Pay the extra for the more expensive cottages. Worth it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (18)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Shanghai, China
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

We went to coral bay a week before Christmas. While it might have been a good choice in 2011, it's obvious that nobody is interested in investing in the place. Instead the owner/manager? used the cash flow to start building a nice concrete mansion just nearby.

While most offer resorts in the area have already cleaned up most of the typhoon damage, in coral bay you still have trees and wood lying around everywhere. The western staff is not interested in cleaning up, but spends most of their time sitting in the bar. So the work is left to some semi-efficient local helpers who make an half-hearted effort to repair stuff. About half the cottages still has holes in their roof.

The location of the resort is quite unique. It has a flat beach and a mangrove forest behind it. While they use their eco-friendliness as an excuse for service limitations, it seems that they cut down part of the forest to make space for more cottages.

Food and diving is notoriously overpriced by about 1/3 to 1/2 compared to other Coron resorts.

The Danish staff was unfriendly and generally seems to ignore non-Danish guests.

All in all, I can recommend the resort if you are Danish and want to do some diving with other Danish folks, which might be good fun. Everyone else can get better deals in Coron. If they don't start investing soon the place will close down anyways.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

We stayed in the resort for 4 nights in December to dive the wrecks. The place is fully up and running with repairs completed after the typhoon. The location is on the most outlying island in the archipelago - in idilic bay. The resort provides transfer twice a day to Coron, though our flight was lending so that we could not use one of those - resort provided transfer for additional but reasonable fee.
Rooms: We got an ocean facing room - the cabanas are basic but nicely and tastefully decorated, very clean. As in most remote locations in the Philippines, fresh water supply is limited. There is no hot water and pressure is a little bit weak - but showers work fine. The electricity, as in most other remote locations, is available 6pm - to 6am. There is no aircon but sea breeze and fan do the job perfectly.
Restaurant: there is sufficient variety on the menu and we had superb fresh fish. The restaurant is open air - excellent for sun downers too.
Diving: dive shop is part of the resort, highly professional instructors, rental gear in excellent condition. House reef is nice, do try a night dive. The most exciting dives are to the wrecks - usually 2 or 3 dives off the boat. Most wrecks are about 30 - 40min very pleasant boat ride from the resort. Dive guides were fantastic pointing out various features of the sunk ships, taking through passages. High standard of safety and professionalism.
Staff in hotel and dive shop are super friendly and accommodating. This is a superb place to stay if you want quiet idilic location away from crowds but with professional dive operation. I shall be back!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Copenhagen, Denmark
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2013

We started by taking the FREE TRANSFER from the office in Coron town.

After a nice 90 min boat trip we arrived to the resort.

We were greeted by staff on the peer and our luggage was carried for us.

The bungalows was very nice due to the fact that they all newly renovated after the typhoon.

We were the only 4 persons in the whole resort, and the staff gave us an amasing service.

Food was good staff friendly and helpful and the surrounding nature is absolutely amasing.
We had a nice trip hiking the different tracks and one day we were kayaking in the mangrove and to nearby uninhabited island where we were all by our self.
My kids loved the snorkeling on the house reef, and had a great experience scuba diving with Ian the English instructor
We had a great holiday....

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Shenzhen, China
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

This place is so beautiful that I didn't want to leave,and the food is amazing!!!!! They are expensive because they charge for hot water to shower and various other things. If you want to take a hot shower, then you will need to use a bucket to mix the cold and hot water purchased from the bar. The place is not for everyone.... But the Scuba and snorkel diving is the best I have ever seen!!!!! The instructors are professional and very kind to everyone. They take credit card unlike other places. My girlfriend booked on Agoda. Com for a room. Same price for 1 or 2 but the website tried to charge us 600 pesos more per night because they are horrible, but the place was wonderful. There is no electricity from 6 a.m. To 6 p.m. So be aware of that also

Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2013

So after not really reading up on where I was going (my friend booked everything), we arrived at the Palawan airport. A private transfer to a small eastern island via speedboat was next in store. My point here is that this was an adventure to a very remote place and as a result I wasn't holding out much hope for the amenities to be in good shape. Having reached the stunning island that coral bay resides on we were kindly showed to our guest house. We had some issues with the room type but this was addressed straight away by the staff. Immediately you are presented with hammocks overlooking the turquoise sea, surrounded by jungle. The rooms were clean and the amenities I previously referred to were all in good shape. Arriving during the end of the off season was great as well as you will get the privacy you might want. The restaurant had a decent menu (that is being revamped) and what with a pool table and an in-exhaustible supply of san mig light (provided by the lovely Sherley and Wendy) you have your entertainment for the night after the main reason for this resort...diving! The diving tag team of Steve and Ian (ask Ian why he is sometimes referred to as Campbell) make a great team and are excellent if you are beginner or advanced. The local area has incredible reefs for all manner of fish and if you have some balls definitely try the wrecks, which are fantastic. A cracking start to an incredible trip, thanks all!

Room Tip: Jump of the jetty with a snorkel when you first get there!
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

We stayed here for 4 nights in October and selected Coral Bay especially for the location and the wreck diving. The accommodation is basic but clean and I love the hammocks and décor. The lack of electricity during the day is not an issue, but the cold shower was not great after the night dive! The food at the bar is quite pricey and the menu needs some work, but the surroundings and views are amazing. The diving was well organised and the instructors Dave and Ian are experienced, friendly and informative. I would recommend Coral Bay if you are looking for a relaxing resort with an excellent house reef and a well established and safe dive centre with friendly staff.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
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: Island Hide Away | Coron Busuanga, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Coron
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Coron
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort is Nature green resort, situated in the middle of a National preserved area. We offer diving at remote places,and the amazing ww2 wrecks of Coron, with possibility to meet reef sharks, dugongs and Whale sharks. We often have Dolphins cruising around right outside the resort. 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
Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort Coron, Palawan Island

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