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“Heaven on Earth!”

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El Nido Resorts Apulit Island
Ranked #6 of 87 Hotels in Palawan Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 15, 2013

For peace and quiet, It's a place to be. Excellent for meditation , swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, diving. The staff treats you like a queen, with special arrangements everyday for food on different island . What a wonderful world this is..so beautiful! C'est la vie!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Adelaida Gigi P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 12, 2013

This is the place..... We went to three different reefs and also spent a lot of time on the house reef. The corals, the fish, the colors, the shapes and sizes - all a few feet below the surface - another universe entirely and well worth the somewhat daunting trip to get here. There can't be many places on our planet that offer this equisite underwater world. Oh yes, forgot to mention that the cottages are wonderful, comfortable and hanging right over the water; the food is an endless buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, the staff are wonderful, the setting is spectacular, and there is a beautiful pool, kayaks, and various other diversions besides snorkeling. But you must snorkel if you come here.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank Elizabeth S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

We have travelled extensively over the world and objectively, Palawan is uniquely beautiful. Its a "last frontier" type of place that can be difficult to get to and back with some of the transport logistics not on par with the strived for (by the Hotel Group) experience.
The beauty is in Palawan's fine little beaches, high cliffs, islands that sprout out of nowhere, caves, diving, snorkeling and the fact that it is still not overcrowded.
Apulit itself has relatively recently been taken over and is work in process; it definitely needs quite a bit of maintenance still and upgrading. Once you get over this fact, sit back and relax with a drink and lap up the scenery, or don't relax and go on all the very good activities offered, sailing, diving, kayaking, island hopping, caving, hiking....
The service is extremely friendly but at time does need a bit more training, the will is there in any case and it seems management is quite aware of the "potential". The food does need more variety.
It is a great place for young families, lots of stuff for the young ones to do, but is a good holiday for any traveller.
Despite the logistics, an enjoyable holiday in a very memorable place.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Martin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We spent four days in Apulit in January 2013. Apulit is one of four El Nido Resorts. From our experience, and information we gleaned from the staff, it is probably the best El Nido Resort.
While expensive, we received great value. The island is small; we were lucky to have been there with only 36 other guests (capacity about 140).
The staff was among the friendliest and professional we experienced. The "adventure guides" were to a person knowledgeable with the requisite expertise for whatever activity you chose, from snorkeling to rappelling, etc. There is an endless number of activities to choose from, you just need to indicate your wish.
The food was excellent and varied. A minor quibble was that they did not serve decaf coffee.
The rooms are on the smallish side, but they are private from each other. The cottages are all situated over the water, and waking up to the dawn's first light or watching a lambent sunset, was the antidote to civilization.
Franck, the general manager, was most solicitous of our needs, as was Mary, the resident doctor, who even made a "house call" to our cottage to deliver needed ointment.
The island is situated on the other side of the Palawan peninsula from bustling El Nido, and requires a landing on a dirt airstrip, and then a 45 minute ride to the island. If quiet, relaxation
and being pampered is your goal, you could not choose a better place.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank RodMcLeod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

I have literally nothing bad to say about the island, the resort, the activities and especially the staff. This was the best vacation my wife and I have ever taken (and we've taken a lot) and I am already trying to figure out when I can go back. We spent two nights at the resort, but four nights would have been perfect. We only stayed two nights because the resort is rather expensive, but the experience is 100% worth it.

The Resort is absolutely beautiful, set right in the bay with the cliff in the background and a series of water cottages lining the water's edge. We stayed in a Deluxe cottage directly over the water, with direct stair access right into the ocean. The resort provides all meals, which are delicious, transportation to/from the island (for a fee), and a series of activities included in the price of the room. We received a welcome drink, song and dance when we arrived, and it only got better from there.

We spent our one full day at the island snorkeling directly off the back deck of our water cottage. This was the best snorkeling I've ever experienced: we saw sea turtles, rays, baby black-tip sharks and a school of literally thousands of fish stretching as far as I could see. The reef was beautiful and teeming with wildlife. After snorkeling, we spent some time relaxing on the beach with incredible views of the ocean lined with water cottages and palm trees. In the afternoon, we rock-climbed to the top of a cliff and repelled down to the walkway below - which was one of the best experiences of the trip.

The staff of the resort are incredibly friendly and helpful, much more than I expected even for the price. The owner introduced himself to everyone upon arrival and checked in with us periodically throughout our stay. The rooms were made up beautifully and we fell asleep to the sound of the ocean every night.

I hope everyone has a chance to stay here. We will definitely be back again.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lucas M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

BOTTOM LINE: Apulit Island is ideal for people who want Club-Med-type activities in an idyllic setting but are not super-fussy about the quality of their accommodation. The climate, at least when we were there, is also fantastic - low humidity and a comfortable 29-30oC during the day and around 23-24oC at night. What's more, there were absolutely no biting insects, which greatly improves the quality of one's stay.

GETTING THERE: The transfer from Manila typically involves a flight on a Dornier 228 19-seater to TayTay airport (really just a dirt track runway in the Palawan jungle), a 10 minute jeepney ride to a jetty and a ~75 minute banca boat transfer to the Island. You realise you are a little off the beaten track when you realise that the boat carries armed security staff in case of attacks by pirates! Before travelling, make sure you have car transport organised to transfer you from Naia airport in Manila to the the Island Transvoyage Terminal - it's only a ~25 minute walk but, with minimal pavements, the heat and hellish traffic, it's not for the faint-hearted. The queues for licenced taxis can be very long (we estimated our wait would take around 30 minutes) and the plentiful unlicenced cabs are mostly operated by rip-off merchants - if you take one, expect to pay around 700 pesos for a journey of around 1 km. If possible, try to restrict the weight of your baggage (including hand luggage) to 10 kg - the airline may charge you for any excess weight. Be prepared to be splashed a little during the boat transfer to the Island.

THE RESORT: We booked standard accommodation and found it to be comfortable but a bit small. All told, the inside of the 'cottage' (really a hut) is around four by four metres and the bathroom is particularly cramped - I'm only of average height but my knees nearly touched the wall when I sat down on the toilet! The resort provides eco-friendly shampoo/conditioner and 'bath gel' (but no bath - only a shower) so, if necessary, you can save a little weight by not packing these items. Because the huts project out into the sea, at times there will be plenty of noise from the waves crashing beneath them. This didn't bother us but some other travellers might find it a little wearisome.
There was no written information on the facilities available so if you don't take in the verbal explanation as you are guided to your hut, you will spend some time trying to find out what to do and when, as well as who to contact.
Service is very enthusiastic, particularly in the dining area - I can readily understand why Apulit won a TripAdvisor Award last year in this category. However, do I really need someone to place a napkin on my lap or to offer to carry my dinner plate from the buffet to my table?
The resort style will be familiar to anyone who has tried Club Med - Apulit even has a French Manager (Franck Merot) and there were plenty of French ex-pat couples and families around when we visited.
The food was okay - buffets had a reasonable choice and were competently cooked. 'Specialty' coffees, by which they mean expressos, cappuccinos and lattes, cost extra (100 pesos upwards), which we thought was a bit mean given what people pay for this resort. On some nights the staff put on singing and novelty dances - not to everyone's taste but I guess they have to cater for all types.
The main attraction is the location, particularly the sea. Frankly, the reefs are not in good condition - the coral is mostly bleached and there was plenty of dead stag horn coral on the house reef. However, there is still an abundance of fish life so it's well worth snorkelling or taking a couple of scuba dives - we saw plenty of nice giant clams and colourful 'christmas tree' worms as well as a green turtle, blue spot sting ray, some cute nudibranchs and a cuttle fish. If you are thinking of going in April and snorkelling is a priority, check beforehand as sometimes the resort suffers from stinging jellyfish around this time. The Dive Club is rated by PADI as 'five-star'. I think this is fair as most of the kit was in good condition. However, there is not much choice - for example, they only offer slip-on fins. More positively, the dive staff, like the rest of the Apulit staff, are very helpful - they really go out of their way to make your dives enjoyable.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ricky_Brent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

We spend one week at Apulit island and really enjoyed our stay. The manager Franck and his staff really took care about us. We still remember the "surprise dinner" at the bech as a great evening. The bungalow was not so big but enough space for two. You can sit on the balcony looking for small sharks in the water. Nice. Very good with wifi in the bungalow. Food was buffet style and very good in our opion. Not too much, good variations and very tasteful. All regards to the chef.
Apulit island gave us a fantastic week.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Olahel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Nido Resorts Apulit Island

Address: Apulit Island | Taytay, Palawan Island 5322, Philippines (Formerly Apulit Island Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Palawan Island
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Palawan Island
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Palawan Island
Price Range: $456 - $599 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — El Nido Resorts Apulit Island 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Apulit Island Resort is nestled within a pristine cove with a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs. Apulit offers a wide expanse of white-sand beach lined with coconut trees. It has 50 cottages built over the water in traditional architecture mixed with contemporary design. Apulit Island Resort is part of the El Nido Resorts group of eco-island resorts. It is located in Taytay, northeastern part of Palawan. It takes an hour flight from Manila to El Nido, and an hour and a half van ride, or a 4-hour land trip from Puerto Princesa City (Palawan's Capital City). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apulit Island Hotel Palawan
Club Noah Isabelle
Hotel Noah Isabelle
Resort Noah Isabelle

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