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“Beautiful locale but not a good value”

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Pandan Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pandan Island
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
329 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Beautiful locale but not a good value”
Reviewed January 8, 2012

Stunningly beautiful location and great proximity to amazing Apo reef but expensive for what you get. Diving is as expensive as you'll find in the Philippines - all kinds of add ons and gimicks that beef up the price real fast (boat fee, equiptment rental on a per dive basis, incredibly high conservation fee). As it is a private island, they monopolize your choices and they take full advantage of this. Rooms are very pretty and make most of natural settings. If you're sensitive about bugs (roaches and spiders) this might not be the best choice. The showers are salt water with a bucket of fresh water to rinse off and I couldn't tell the difference. The P450 mandatory buffet per person per day adds a lot of cost too - having said that, the food is very good. Day trippers come and go but stay off in their own section of the beach.

Room Tip: Budget rooms share the beach in front of their place with the day trippers from the mainland
See more room tips
Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Stephen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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136 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2012

Very simply but cleaned cottages, shower with cold salt water, doors without lock ;-) family atmosphere. But I have to write : I love asian food. And here... nothing interesting and expensive. Value (=taste) for money is low.

Jednoduché ubytování v resortu s otevřenou rodinnou atmosférou, protože i chatky jsou po celou dobu pobytu otevřené ;-). Ale jídlo slabý a drahý, to mi dost vadilo, protože asijská jídla miluju! Hele, na pár dní proč ne.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank BabickaLala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2011

Pandan Island beach resort is one of a kind. it's Unique cottages and very secluded private beach is fantastic because of their very limited guest, you can enjoy privacy and peace on our own. Most of the guest at this resort are french. Pandan Island is a way to go diving to APO Reef. If you are not into diving, snorkeling and kayak is one of the fun activities you can do here. Coral reefs and fishes are easily seen near the beach front so you don't have to go far from the beach. You can also explore the island by trekking the island for 1 day. An overnight stay is not enough, you should stay here for 3 day or more. I had a great time at this resort and will surely go back. The staff are friendly and are very helpful.

Room Tip: Rooms at the standard bungalows
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chat S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
makati
Level Contributor
134 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2011

We had wanted to dive Apo Reef for two years since our arrival in Manila, unfortunately, the only great thing about this resort is Apo Reef and you don’t have to stay here to visit it. I would not recommend staying here as this is not at all what true Pilipino hospitality is like in the rest of the country. This resort and it’s owners have gotten lazy by the fact that they are in Lonely Planet and have totally given up on any kind of customer service. If you just want an island get away, there are better places to go and if you want to dive Apo Reef, do a live aboard.

The Good: Closest resort to Apo Reef, and is “away from it all”

The Bad & The Ugly:
1.Hard to get to:
a.Owners don’t really help you make travel arrangements. It’s all on your own.
b.DO NOT take the roro from Manila. Apparently they are prone to cancelling ferries due to low tide. Apparently, they have never heard of a tide chart. Would have been nice if Pandan mentioned this. It took us 13 hrs to get there and 18 hrs to get back. I could have travelled to North American and back.
c.The road is HORRENDOUS and took us 3 hrs to drive. Again, would have been nice if Pandan mentioned the road was washed out due to the recent typhoons.
d.The boat to the island is a ripoff, a 15 min banka ride should not cost you P350 and you have to chase down the boatman.
2.The owner is horrible
a.Terrible customer service – we booked our dive trip to Apo a week ahead and when we arrived he said there was no boat. Diving was the whole reason we had travelled so long to get there. He could care less about customer service and didn’t even apologize. The rest of our stay he avoided us.
3.The staff is not professional and very lazy.
a.Everything is “serve yourself” You have to pick up your own food you order and do your own dishes. This is the ONLY place in the Philippines where you have to do this.
b.You can’t tell who actually works there, no uniforms, don’t say hello, ect.
4.The food is terrible and expensive
a.The food is not good, edible but not good and way too expensive for what you get.
5.It’s dirty
a.Our rooms were dirty, the sheets were stained and there were lots of bugs, but you have to expect that when you are in SE Asia.
6.No electricity
a.Although some like this fact, at times it was a hindrance. There were no fans so it was so hot you couldn’t sleep. Tip: Sleep in the hammocks.
b.You have to pay to charge your phones/laptops
c.The solar lights heading back to your room are so faint you can’t see anything. Bring a flashlight.
7.It’s expensive
a.The state of the rooms were not worth the P1,500 price. I have stayed in a lot nicer places for that price.
b.$200USD for a boat to go to Apo Island – that is INSANE by Philippines standards
c.Dive prices are higher than any other place we have dove in the Philippines.
d.The environmental fee is P1,400 which again is insane, but didn’t bother me as it seems they are really truly taking care of the reef.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank mntbikebabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
China
Level Contributor
78 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2011

Stayed here for 4 nights over a year ago. The island is nice and the environment good. The cottages are very basic with cold water showers, no windows etc and not the cleanest - only saw one or two cockroaches in the bathroom - not uncommon any place in SE Asia simple resorts. For enjoying the island it was okay but a bit over the price expectation.
From SanJose airport they can arrange transportation to Sablayan and then on to the island.
Sevice okay, quite hazzle free and friendly.
Food on the island was not that good, acceptable.
As a starting point for dives over by the Apo reef, it's good.. For a basic stay in a nice environment, good. If you want a high end place or a very clean resort, not where you want to go. A little overpriced for what it was in my opinion but not really any other place to stay at on Pandan island.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank zebbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2010

Just go for the day - we stayed in the supposedly best room and every time we went back into the rooms at least ten cockroaches scuttled out of our bags! and the bathroom was disgusting. the bedding was filfthy and had children's cartoons on them. the food was okay but you wouldn't choose it if you had a choice.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank milandmouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2010

My fiancee and I were looking forward to staying on Pandan for 4 nights to go diving offshore at the famous Apo Reef, but our trip turned sour as soon as we arrived. After staying just one night and day, we cut our trip completely and moved on to something much better. These were our areas of disappointment:

- The hotel sent us a van to pick us up from the airport for a whopping Php 4,000. That steep price would have only been justified by a really nice vehicle, not the ripped-up, raggedy, van they sent us with no air-conditioning when it was 95-degrees outside
- The drive from the airport to the resort in the above-described vehicle takes 2 1/2 hours drive over a very poor, rocky dirt road
- The staff at the resort was unprofessional. It was hard to locate them on the island whenever we needed something, i.e. food service, boat service, etc
- The water from the tap and the shower is salt water, and did not even work half of the time. The staff didn't seem to mind to fix it when we requested so.
- There is no electricity on the island except for a few solar-powered light bulbs.
- There are no fans in any of the rooms. This makes it impossible to sleep. It felt like 100+ degrees in our room all night, and we only fell asleep as the sun was coming up.
- The mosquitoes on the island are everywhere (I don't know what the other review is talking about). Expect a lot of bites, at least if you go in the summertime.
- The buffet dinner was actually pretty good. No complaints. Watch out for inconsistencies in listed prices vs. charged menu prices upon check-out.
- The Dive Shop requests an absurd amount of money to go diving to Apo Reef, compared to any other dive shop in the 15+ places we've been diving around the Philippines. They charge a shady "Environmental Fee" of Php 1,450 PER PERSON PER DAY, plus Php 1,500 per person per dive, plus Php 8,000 for the boat! We flat out refused to go after we learned of the crazy-expensive "environmental fee". That was pretty much the last straw, and we checked out soon after. We've never paid more than Php 100-200 for an environmental fee anywhere in the Philippines, and the fee is always good for the duration of your vacation at the island.

We give this resort two thumbs down. Don't waste your time or money. If you want to dive Apo Reef, consider going from a Live Aboard out of Coron, Busuanga instead. Be sure to ask about any "environmental fees". Happy trails!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank FunAndSun088
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pandan Island Resort

Property: Pandan Island Resort
Address: Pandan Island, Pandan Island, Mindoro 5104, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mindoro > Occidental Mindoro Province > Pandan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pandan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pandan Island is a private island with a small resort on the West coast of Occidental Mindoro, Central Philippines.Since the island was 'discovered' and the resort established in 1986 by a French adventurer, this tropical island retreat has been voted time and again as one of the top resorts in the Philippines, not in terms of luxury (we do not have air-conditioned rooms, room service or cable television networks on the island) but for it's life close to nature and it's personalized atmosphere. Pandan Island is for people who like to spend time in tropical surroundings where you are woken up by the singing of colorful birds, where there is only a palm tree between you and the sea, where you still know your neighbors.All bungalows are built in native materials, like coconut lumber, bamboo, sawali, cogon grass to let them blend easily into their tropical surroundings. Care has been taken to provide a simple yet comfortable atmosphere with a maximum of privacy for all who need to get away from hectic life. Since all the electricity on the island is provide by a solar system our bungalows do not have air-con or fans.T he bungalows are built directly by the sea separated from the beach only by palm trees and / or bougainvillea bushes with the breeze from the sea providing for ventilation.Each house has its private gecko (lat. gecko gecko) that is believed to bring good luck to the house it inhabits.Besides spending your day in a hammock or exploring the few secluded beaches, we offer a wide range of activities to choose from. Scuba Diving in the coral gardens around Pandan or around the nearby Apo Reef is the most popular and exciting activity to engage in but we also offer you the possibility to explore the jungle rivers of nearby Mindoro by kayak or visit the small coastal town of Sablayan and meet its friendly inhabitants.However you choose to spend your vacation, our staff will do their utmost to make your stay on Pandan Island a relaxing or adventurous experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pandan Island Hotel Pandan Island

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