Amarela is an ok hotel. The common areas are pretty nice. The restaurant has a nice view of the sea. The infinity pool is large and clean. Amarela does have a nice little beach on a stretch that does not have a lot of coral to cut your feet (but there are a lot of sea urchins in the water!).
Since it's a bit secluded, the hotel restaurant is the only real option, at least for dinner. The food was hit or miss. Oddly enough, Amarela makes some of the best pizzas I've had in the Philippines. On the other hand, ordering one of the shrimp specials produced a plate the size of my fist with maybe two shrimp total that lacked flavor and cost 650 pesos (~US$15). Service could be good -- the waitstaff was attentive and on the ball until more than two tables were occupied, at which point they were completely overwhelmed. Breakfast wasn't bad -- unlike an earlier review, ours was always hot. Oh, if any of the menu items say they're "spicy," it's because they bring out a bottle of Tabasco with your plate.
The "peak season" rate for the cheapest room in the hotel was, at the time of our stay, about US$150 for a small room with two twin beds. The bathroom, which we will give credit for being impeccably clean, was almost the same size as the bedroom. The room had a musty smell to it, and the a/c struggled to keep it cool. All the rooms do have satellite TV and DVD players.
Amarela contracts out its tours, and from talking to friends (who stayed elsewhere) they offered what were competitive rates for Bohol. That said, the tours are ridiculously expensive for the actual quality.
I dropped Amarela a point for the reservation process alone. They made it so difficult to get a reservation you had to wonder if they actually want any business -- it's not like they were full. The first time my wife called, nobody could say if they had any rooms or not (based on the restaurant, they probably had five rooms occupied during our stay), and the other time everyone was at lunch and didn't want to take the call (they promised to call back but didn't). It took about another week of effort to get an actual, confirmed reservation.
The other point off is for the poor value. If you look at it in absolute value terms, or in comparison to, say, anywhere in Thailand, it's ridiculously overpriced. Yes, it is competitively priced for Bohol, but all of Bohol is frankly overpriced. For what you actually get, the room rate should be cut by about 50%, the restaurant prices should be cut by about 10%, and the tour prices should be cut by between 25% (boat trips) and 75% (anything else).
If you really want to see the tarsiers and are set on Bohol, Amarela is competitive, but the best I can muster is an "eh, it's ok."
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Amarela is a cozy yet elegant boutique resort atop a gentle slope with a stunning panoramic view of Bohol Sea and neighboring islands. Natural sandstone pathways run through native landscape, leading to the long stretch of white beach. The resort showcases local art and culture in meticulous detail - highlighting antique & traditional furniture, artifacts & handicrafts, old hardwood doors & floors, as well as an outstanding collection of sculpture & paintings. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, Agoda, Orbitz and HotelQuickly so you can book your Amarela Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Amarela Hotel Panglao Island
- Amarela Resort Bohol Province/Panglao Island
- Amarela Hotel Bohol