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“Eh, it's ok, but a mediocre value”
Review of Amarela Resort

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Amarela Resort
Ranked #6 of 50 Hotels in Panglao Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 28, 2011

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."

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank sindssyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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372 - 378 of 529 reviews

Reviewed February 22, 2011

This resort with nice garden and nice beach and service. The only inconvenient is it a little be far away from the main beach of the island.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Aleckliang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2011

Summary: A fabulous holiday! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this beautiful, well-maintained and quiet resort.

Best features: Cleanliness, amazing (and empty!) beach, charming design.

Worst features: Slow service at the (one and only) restaurant, isolated location, small swimming pool.

Hotel: Small property with lush landscaping and lots of ethnic character. Up a small slope from the beach which makes for great views.

Rooms: Immaculately clean, like everywhere else in the resort. I loved the bathroom which was beautifully decorated and had a big shower area and a separate bathtub. Plus 3 towel rails - how rare is that?! We stayed in 301 which was very handy to get to the restaurant. The hotel catered for our family of 4 by joining 2 double beds together to form one huge bed. Beds were comfortable. TV had all the channels you'd want, including Cartoon Network for the boys after being out at sea the whole day...

Beach: Absolutely beautiful. Long with soft white sand and clear, clean water. And hardly a soul around. Our 2 boys (8 and 6) played on the beach and in the sea the whole day. Bancas (kayaks) are free to rent and my husband went out with the kids for a few hours at a time observing the marine life. We saw at least 5 different types of starfish (including a blue star), a baby octopus which my younger son found floating in a coconut shell, a few different varieties of colorful sea urchins, a sea horse, sea cucumbers, and various fish including clownfish, puffer fish etc. The beach chairs are very comfy and given that it's a small resort with very few guests, there will always be enough to go around.

Food: The food was quite good. The herbed chicken (which some TA reviewers mentioned) was outstanding. Having said that, after a few days, it does get boring. It's also not cheap. The service at the restaurant is extremely slow. So after we cottoned on, we would come back from the beach, order our food, then go back to the room to shower etc. while they prepared the food. Yes, it takes that long. Certain things were made from scratch though, like the amazing horseradish bread rolls and the English muffins for breakfast, so I can see why preparation may have taken longer. Better slow with quality than instant and crappy.

Location: The resort is isolated. And about 15 mins drive from the main Alona beach. Taxis to Alona are expensive, or you can walk out to the main road and catch a local jeepney, which is very cheap. We went to Alona one night purely for a change of menu. Alona beach is crowded and tacky. I was happy to get back to Amarela.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Beach-chicken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2011

I spent the weekend at this beautiful small resort the second weekend in February, 2011. The pictures from the reviews completely depict the beauty of this resort. I loved the understated classy elegance of the property. The service was great and quality of food in the restaurant surprisingly good since they serve a limited amount of guests.
The entire property is immaculately clean. The landscaping is expectional beautiful and well manicured. I loved the attention to detail to make this resort one of a kind with the stone paths, flowering vines covering walkways, etc. The pool is beautiful as is the beach. The only thing I could have wished for was a traveling companion to share this with!
Although this resort is on Alona Beach it is far from the strip of restaurants, bars, shops, etc. You cannot walk there. It is very quiet so if you're looking for night life or a variety of restaurants you have to take a car. The resort will arrange this however I thought is was very expensive at 800 pesos round trip; it's only a 10 min drive each way.
The beach is beautiful and kept very nicely in front of Amarela however the neighbors of the resort are not good stewards of the beach and don't clean the beach front. This is absolutely not the responsibility of Amarela but I do enjoy walking a beautiful white sand beach!
I would definitely recommend this hotel for couples seeking a romantic getaway.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KTNashTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2011

We have spend 5 very good days in this hotel. I can recommend this hotel the people who are looking for quite, elegant and well organized boutigue hotel. The staff is always very friendly and we will very comfortable during our visit. Hotel has its own very nice beach which is so suitable for the kids. Also we liked the pool and found it so clean. Receptionists handled all our needs such as taxi, massage arrangements etc. immediately and they were very kind all the time. The hotel also has its own reach library and DVD movie collection you can enjoy. We would love to stay there again…
oguz - gulcin - selin

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank oguzk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2011

This is a great hotel. It is very clean and intimate. I really had a nice time. The staff is lovely and very helpful. There is snorkeling off the beach, which is very nice. The beach is very clean and private. The library was great. My kids got a movie every night. They had a great collection.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Travelqueen31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2011

Regardless of all the good reviews I previously read on Tripadvisor, our view is that this a 3 star "resort" masquerading as something else.
Right across the board you can see that whilst there was intent to create something special everything fell well short...from the lack of ocean view rooms even though their website claims the opposite...to the noisy air conditioner in the bedroom (302).....to the limited selection of breakfast (your choice of continental; English or Philippine) - one plate of food...usually served cool to cold, not especially tasty, not especially well cooked...and on our last morning..."Sorry, we don't have any bacon left"...to the pool which if it had more than 6 people in it would feel overcrowded.
Very limited meals menu and what there was was quite pricey.......very small bar.......room service is +15%.....a large book & DVD library, however, there is no index so the only way to make a selection is trawling through the shelves.....
Who would I recommend this place too? Only someone who really wanted to be on their own and did not mind paying a high price for it (Note:- we stayed in the Marco Polo in Cebu at the end of this trip, and it was cheaper & better that Amarela).
Final note - read your quote carefully...even though when you make the inquiry you might ask for a price for 2 adults + 1 child in one room...the price quoted is only for the 2 adults...there is an add-on of PHP600 for the child's bed....

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank scottking48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amarela Resort

Address: Barangay Libaong, 6340, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Bohol Province > Panglao Island
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Panglao Island
#5 Luxury Hotel in Panglao Island
Price Range: $111 - $377 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Amarela Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 25
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 
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Also Known As:
Amarela Hotel Panglao Island
Amarela Resort Bohol Province/Panglao Island
Amarela Hotel Bohol

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