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“Our Perfect Piece of Paradise!”

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El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in El Nido
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 24, 2013

From the moment you land at El Nido airport you can forget all your cares and let the staff take you by the hand for your entire stay at THE most beautiful location in the world – an undiscovered gem of both beauty but also service that we have never experienced anywhere else…

It’s clear from the beginning that Miniloc is a special place, nestled in a secret cove of Bacuit Bay, the scenery on the way is spectacular, the scenery from the resort – even more so. So to spend each and every day with that on your doorstep is heavenly before you even begin. But that alone wouldn’t be quite enough to make it so fantastic; in fact it’s really the staff that help glue all of this together to give you one truly wonderful resort that you will never forget. Fillipions are known for their warmth and humour but the staff here are so incredibly genuine, effortlessly friendly, happy and thoughtful. On so many occasions the restaurant staff would bring me my English tea at breakfast or my favourite banana cake in the afternoon. You would mention it once that you like it and they would remember, so much so that we arranged a special anniversary dinner on a private beach which was outstanding and the staff remembered our favourite desert from the island..Mango madness! All these little touches are what make a holiday special and memorable. We constantly felt at home there, always greeted by a smile and sadly a wave off at the end of our trip.

As I’m sure you’ve probably gathered by now, Miniloc also has a sister island, Lagen and many other small islands that you are free to travel to and explore on your trip – do it! Make the most of free boat transfers and trips, wake up early to watch the sunrise (it’s beautiful) over the bay and kayak round to the small lagoon before 8am when all the other boats and tourists start to arrive. We did this and had it completely to ourselves; we’ve never seen mint green water or had such tranquillity like it! We also did the same for the big lagoon and stayed for the day on a raft there in complete privacy with a picnic lunch – all arranged by the resort. Where else can you do this and not pay any extra or have to worry about times, transport modes?! It’s all taken care of. If this was Jamaica you would feel the need to say ‘don’t worry, be happy’.

Choose from lazy or active days surrounded by so much wildlife that you feel you begin to learn more and appreciate the world and all its beauty. The resort actually give you a checklist which really gets you actively into finding monkeys (we saw them!), reef sharks (them too!) turtles (no such luck..) and many more. Keep an eye out for the huge sea eagle that swoops down most nights over the bay. You really do feel grateful for the opportunity to visit a place still rather undiscovered and even now whilst writing this review makes me feel desperate to return to island life.

I should also mention to enjoy the spa whilst the waves lap under you and send you off into a deep relaxing sleep, the facial was a total treat and nice after so much sunshine. And for those all-important room choices, I would suggest the beach cottages as they are smack bang on the beach (obviously) and central to the resort, even though it’s very small. We actually made this trip for our 2nd Wedding Anniversary and were very fortunate to be given an upgrade from a garden cottage. We only booked one of those because that was all that was left but if you can afford to pay the extra then do it, they didn’t look so great compared to the water cottages or beach cottage like we had and for our room (43) was on the 2nd floor and had fantastic views over the beach and the bay. Every morning I would rush to open the blinds and just lie in bed looking out watching the boats and people go by, it never got old. Bear in mind there are no tv’s on the resort but we never missed one instead you while away hours playing dominoes at the beach bar, walking the boardwalk to watch the jackfish, snorkel, sunbathe, relax, love it!

Although we visited Miniloc for our wedding anniversary it wasn’t just the anniversary day itself that was spectacular or special, the whole trip was! But for our special day the staff arranged for us to be taken to a private beach and private it was! Speedboat drops you off at a place that reminded me of something out of a Bond movie (or think more like the recent Bourne Legacy shot there in the bay) and you were left for hours to explore at your leisure before they return to serve you lunch. The same at night, we were taken to a different beach and had a full on staff cooking and catering to us, another special touch was we had told a Chef that we would love to try some Filippino Pork Liempo and that is indeed what they served and after dinner we were serenaded by guitar which was just wonderful, not cheesy at all – fun!

300 photos and even more memories later, we would like to extend a special thanks to Noel, the manager who runs Miniloc like a breeze and has all his outstandingly helpful staff around him. They really excelled themselves when I unfortunately dropped our camera and being on a remote island where am I to get another? So the resort lent us there one..no hire fee, no security deposit just lent it to us without any concern. This idea never even occurred to us but there they were with a solution. It was like this so many times for plans we made regarding the weather, on our anniversary it began to rain so we worried our special beach dinner could be cancelled, they simply moved it under a romantic canopy. They really were always one step ahead of you with an idea, with a plan, with a solution right up to the day you leave the staff come to take your luggage before you even think about how you will pull it through the sand!

We also want to thank all the staff especially Vokz on the boat trips for his knowledge, stories and tales. He gave us a tour around his hometown of El Nido which the resort do not promote but you should ask about it, hire a banca for the day and go see a traditional town. Also, Joel at the beach bar. Everyday we loved our daily happy hour watching the sunset, slurping a coconut and Joel was always there with a smile mixing my favourite cocktail (bluebird bay – try it!)

Miniloc is a wonderful resort, quirky, traditional and totally homey. If you want to try somewhere a little undiscovered yet clean and somehow familiar then this is the place for you. We felt Lagen was a little too ‘hotely’ for us. We have travelled alot but can honestly say this was our best ever holiday in the most beautiful location in the world – GO before the rest of the world catches on...

Room Tip: Beach cottage for central location on the sand and beautiful bay views :)
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank sunnybunny7381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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565 - 571 of 947 reviews

Reviewed February 17, 2013

We had the pleasure of staying for 4 nights on Miniloc Island from Feb 9 - 13, 2013 and can't say enough good things about our accomodation, the staff, activities and the food. Noel Barrameda is their Manager and he has done a stellar job with the staff. They all work together as a team and go out of their way to look after you. The activities each day were well organized and it was great to see the other islands. The weather was superb and we would love to go back on day.

Room Tip: Go for a water cottage. The rooms are great and the views can't be beat
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank mbaToronto_Ontario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

We spent 5 night in Miniloc Island over the Chinese New Year. Let start with the positives. The location is fantastic. Wonderful scenery, plenty of well organised activities buy the staff. If you are looking for helpful friendly staff then this is what you get. After talking to them over a week you do understand that El Nido resorts do value and look after there staff. They are payed well, have paid health insurance and are evening given free flights to see the family. What disappoints is the the price you pay for the accommodation and food, the price to quality is appalling. We both got food poisoning and even though you are surrounded by the sea, the seafood was terrible. Laden food and accommodation was far better. It surprises us to here that miniloc is better we did not see this.

Room Tip: Choose lagen
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Tim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

The staff at Miniloc is amazing. Noel, their manager was extremely helpful and sincere. The island is beautiful and had a lot of natural surroundings to boast of. Miniloc is one fine place to build good memories with your loved ones.

Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
4  Thank lexbonife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We spent 6 nights on Miniloc and what an experience, the staff were phenominal they took a genuine interest in you and provided excellent customer service. Staff in the resturant took the time to get to know what you liked and always tried to ensure that the food was available.

The resort organised all day tours this meant you could do as much or little as you pleased. All tours were proffessionally organised and most included lunch in a buffet or picnic style.

Snorkelling gear was provided and swimming with the Jack fish in the resorts reef was a definate highlight. Kayaks were available to explore the islands, the small and big lagoon is well worth the trip.

We stayed in a water cottage, we loved the quirkyness of the cottages, and watching the fish swim below while we were relaxing on the balcony. We found the staff could not do enough for you we enjoyed coming back to our room each evening to find a good night message, a tradittional story and a sweet on our bed - what a great touch!

The manger was outstanding, he took the time to have a conversation about our experience at the resort and organised a dinner for the three of us on a private island... he even knew our favourite wine ! he was very passionate about the island and our experience and took the time to get to know us !

We can not speak highly enough of this place and look forward to returning for our honeymoon next year.

Room Tip: There was no pool or fitness centre.... with all the activities and islands to visit we did not feel...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Terri J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Miniloc for 8 days over New Year.

Firstly, the positives – the outstanding thing about Miniloc is the staff. The main reason I’m giving the island a 4 rating is because of the quality of the fantastic people who work there. From the minute you arrive to the minute you leave (both with a song) you are treated to first class customer service. The people are amazingly friendly, cheerful, warm and helpful – without the interaction feeling forced. Every day your activity coordinator will come to find you to arrange something for you to do the next day – if you wish to be active! I liked that we didn’t have to chase people up to organise things. All activities were run with the utmost of professionalism and the guides were fantastic. The staff all work incredibly hard – the effort put in to the New Year’s Eve celebration was phenomenal. The bar staff, waiting staff, guest relations staff and front desk staff were all exceptional.

The location of Miniloc is obviously incredibly beautiful and it has a huge advantage in that you can visit so many other lovely islands and beach clubs. Our main priority for choosing El Nido was because of the opportunities for snorkelling. Staying somewhere with an accessible house reef is always a privilege. The snorkelling on the house reef was good. We didn’t feel that there was a huge variety of fish life but swimming alongside the jacks was fun. Perhaps it was unfortunate that visibility was not great during our stay. Some of the snorkelling trips we did were also good; with some very impressive coral. Not the best snorkelling we’ve experienced but some of the best scenery.

Our main problem with the resort (and one reason why I can’t give it a 5 star review) is the quality of accommodation in relation to price. Obviously we visited at probably the most expensive time of year and we also stayed longer than a lot of guests. Most guests seem to stay for about 5 nights. Perhaps if we’d stayed for a shorter period the room would not have been an issue. We stayed in a Garden Cottage. If you can afford it I would definitely recommend paying more for a higher standard room. The main problem was the bathroom – it was in desperate need of renovation. The room is tiny and quite dark and really has no comfortable seating area outside. Some of the garden cottages’ views are completely blocked by other two storey accommodation buildings. We got the impression that the island had been slightly overdeveloped in terms of fitting as many rooms in as possible. However, saying this, the island never felt crowded even at a busy time. If the standard of room is very important to you then Lagen may be the better option. The pool area there is lovely. However, the dining area and bar is far better at Miniloc.

Staying for 8 nights the food also got very, very repetitive. I admit I am a fussy eater. I don’t really eat much fish or meat so my choices are limited. However, my husband will eat anything and everything and he also agreed that the buffet got very monotonous. At first I thought, “Well it’s a small resort so you can’t expect much choice” - but in comparison to similar sized islands (in terms of guest numbers) in the Maldives, it didn’t compare well. We’ve visited far smaller islands in less accessible places which manage to produce a greater choice of foods – using very similar basic ingredients. Most lunches and evening main meals were a choice of meats or fish in a sauce, rice and a choice of the same fish and meat each day to be grilled or stir-fried. The desserts were generally fruit and a choice of two cakes, usually one being, what appeared to be, a defrosted pre-made cheesecake. As a previous reviewer has said we also did not realise that you could order a la carte. Had we known that we might have done so. I also would have liked to have been able to order a snack for lunch rather than eating in the buffet. If this is possible then the island should advertise it more.

In a way it pains me to only give 4 out of 5 because the people were so wonderfully hospitable and the location is gorgeous. Although 8 nights wasn’t too long a stay, perhaps if we had only stayed 5 the negatives I have mentioned would not have had such an impact. But, ultimately, even when taking into account the excellent trips which are included in the price, the island is still overpriced for the quality of accommodation and food. We were left with the impression that guests at Miniloc have maybe been over-charged and renovations have been neglected in order to help fund the newer developments of the Apulit and Pangulasian Resorts. Although Miniloc is a beautiful island with wonderful staff we would only return at a different time of year when water visibility is usually better and, more importantly, if the accommodation were totally renovated and the price remained similar.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank cakestin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

The hotel has a great location . Kayaking distance to big and small lagoons which are stunning. Recommend early morning paddle to the lagoons which are about 30-40min paddle away- check the tides as big lagoon access cannot be paddled on low tide. The resort itself is a little old and could do with a bit of TLC. We stayed in a a 2level seaview room with our 2 small kids,room was a little musty, stairs were a bit dodgy and aircon drowned out any sounds of the sea. Food was ok but was surprising the resort had run out of mangoes, pineapples and coconuts on a Friday before the weekend- food and beverage planning needs some improvement. The snorkeling in front of resort was great and sealife was amazing. The service was exceptional. It is a beautiful location and some prefer the more rustic appeal but after visiting Lagen resort we moved straight away as we found the accommodation there more comfortable and the resort was much quieter.
Make sure you take advantage of the boat shuttles to the beach clubs- Entalula is fantastic.
El Nido is certainly one of the most stunningly beautiful locations we have ever visited. Miniloc is a great location for experiencing the beauty of El Nido but if you are after more up market luxury would recommend paying a little extra and staying at Lagen.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Alena&Steve
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 Miniloc Island

Address: Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan Island 5313, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > El Nido
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in El Nido
#2 Top resorts Hotel in El Nido
Price Range: $540 - $879 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island 3.5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Miniloc Island is a rustic and charming hideaway reminiscent of a coastal village. Miniloc Island is located in El Nido, in northwestern Palawan. It takes a 75-minute direct flight from Manila to get to El Nido or a 6-hour travel by land from Puerto Princesa City (Palawan's Capital City).Miniloc Island Resort is tucked within a beautiful cove surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and a vibrant coral reef. It is a gateway to popular activity sites in a breath-taking location known for its high biodiversity. The resort has 50 cottages and rooms built in traditional Filipino design over the water, beside the beach, or surrounded by garden and limestone cliffs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Nido Resort Miniloc Island Hotel El Nido
Hotel El Nido
Resort El Nido
El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island Palawan Island

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