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El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in El Nido
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 18, 2006

We took a chartered plane (seats around 20 pax)to get there. The pilots were well experienced (on our way back home we experienced a lot of turbulence and clouds due to slightly bad weather and they did the best they could to keep us all from throwing up after a long night of drinking - but that's another story..) In the plane, there were maps indicating landmarks (such as Taal volcano) that we passed along the way - great aerial view - which you can follow so you can guage how near or far you are from Palawan.

Upon arrival in Palawan, a small group of natives (dressed in traditional Filipino attire, with a guitarist and a cart pulled by a carabao) greeted us with a song. We were ushered into a waiting area where we had some free drinks and snacks (filipino treats like suman - sweet sticky rice). After a few minutes, we boarded a speedboat (seats around 15 pax) which took us to a bigger boat (seats around 30 pax) that took us directly to Miniloc Island.

We stayed in the new cottages (ask for the new cottages!) where the beds were comfortable, the aircon was cold and the overall layout of the room still had that "island feeling" to it but with the comforts of a 4* hotel room. There was a woven bag in the room that we used to put our beach stuff in and we were given woven slippers too.

Every night we would find a sheet of paper containing stories or myths experienced by people who lived in the el nido islands - I looked forward to them each time as they were either ghost stories or legends.

Food was pretty good and plentiful - buffet style for every meal.

I'm not into diving but my friends and I still tried the intro dive (which is for free) - make sure you ask for Chris (there were 2 guys who helped us with our intro dive, Chris and another guy - Chris took better care of my other friends - the ones who were afraid were able to go around 4 or 5ft and they moved around. I was held by the other guy - since I was petrified, I just stayed like 1 or 2ft underwater..lame, I know..but he didn't ease my fears and he just held me down and sat on a coral - he wasn't even looking at me when I was signaling that I wanted to go up - I had to splash around to be noticed.

Swimming at Miniloc is really great. The water was calm and refreshing. So many parrot fish and other varieties! At first we were afraid of them but on the last day, a friend and I decided to swim at 6am - fantastic! The jetty was covered with water as it was high tide so we floated on the jetty while hundreds of parrot fish swam around us - we took awesome photos!

Compared to Lagen Island (el nido has 2 islands), Miniloc is more island-like while Lagen is more of a hotel-resort type. The water in Lagen is rougher than Miniloc and it's farther from the big and small lagoons and other island-hopping spots.

Speaking of the big and small lagoons - amazing! We loved the scenery, the water..did I mention that the speedboats were freely at our disposal? We went island hopping whenever, wherever we wanted.

In short, yes, I would go back but I'd make sure I was with my friends - no tv, bars, just peace and quiet - which we sometimes need anyway, but 3 nights of that is a bit boring.

  • Stayed: October 2005
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15  Thank Gorby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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721 - 727 of 912 reviews

Reviewed April 15, 2006

I just returned from a 3-day, 3-night stay at the El Nido Miniloc. I can not say enough positive things about the staff. Everyone from the "banca boys" to the activity coordinators (thing Julie on the Love Boat) to the front desk and serving staff were gracious, patient, and sincerely helpful. I believe the professionalism and desire to be of service is on par with hotels I've stayed at in Vancouver, Seattle, Chicago, etc.

Just a couple of random thoughts:
1) The Lagen (where I visited for lunch) and the Miniloc are comparable in service, but differ in architectural style and layout. Miniloc is older, and is set up in a village style with free-standing cottages on the cove with a superb view of the beach, lagoon, etc. Meals were served either on the beach under an open-air grass roof or ond the maind veranda (again with no walls, but covered by a roof). The food was routinely delicious, with a generous number of choices for appetizers, entrees (some cooked to order), and dessert.

Lagen is visibly newer, with the bungalows (arranged in pairs if I recall correctly), main building (with an enclosed dining area), and swimming pool comprising the complex.

It's hard to recommend the Lagen over the Miniloc or vice versa because the style and feel of both resorts are different. The Miniloc is probably *slightly* better for families with kids because the village arrangement is cozier and more communal (I'd dare say like a luxurious version of Gilligan's Island) in feeling. :-)

The Lagen is probably slightly better for those looking for more privacy (e.g., honeymooners). The management does allow you to travel between resorts to avail yourself of the corresponding amenities, but I should note that when we requested about the spa services, we were informed that only massages were available at Miniloc (where we were staying), while the full complement of spa & massage services was only available at Lagen. On the up side, the Miniloc appears to have better snorkeling opportunities, and guests have the chance to visit Miniloc's Big and Small Lagoons.

2) I definitely recommend reserving the Miniloc private beach for one of your meals (in our case, breakfast). We were ferried over to the other side of Miniloc and deposited in a private cove. The wait person served us coffee and removed the covering from our dishes, then left with the boat driver. We were then picked up a couple hours later at a time we specified, leaving us the chance to eat a leisurely breakfast, then to go swimming and snorkeling in the cove. (I can only imagine how romantic it would be at sunset or idnd the evening!) :-)

3) One last remark: something I don't think was emphasized on the Miniloc website is that it has strong eco-conscious underpinnings. (In fact, the entire El Nido island chain has been declared a protected nature preserve zone by the Philippine government.) Some examples:

a) The staff asks you to bring any items or trash to be disposed which you brought with you to the island *back* with you when you leave the resort (e.g., plastic water bottles or anything non-biodegradable).

b) The pretty stones and sea shells you find on the beaches *stay* on the beaches. (Drat, but the hippie tree hugger in me understands that stance.)

c) The Miniloc stresses water conservation pretty heavily. One cool thing I noticed is that it makes use of a "grey water" system whereby clean and potable water from the sink and shower are filtered to a separate storage tank than (used) toilet water. This grey water is then used to flush the toilets and to irrigate the grounds landscaping. Coming from Seattle, this sort of thing impresses us a great deal (ha ha). However, at first you look at the toilet water funnily because it always somes whoever went before you didn't flush the toilet. ;-)

d) Bring some good books or take complete advantage of the activities the Miniloc offers because there's no TV and although you can purchase internet access at the giftshop computer, I'm told it's expensive ($6/hr or so?) and a super-slow landline. This didn't bother me because the scenery, tranquility, and isolation (compared to Boracay, for instance) is superb.

e) A caveat: our stay at the Miniloc was--for the most part--"all inclusive," meaning that all meals and most activities are free. However, be aware that you're going to be charged for every Coke or Royal True soda you drink! Massages are cheap (about PhP 1,200 for 60 minutes). HOWEVER--be conscious of the fact that the closest town (El Nido) is 40 minutes away by banca. If you need to buy something from the gift shop (bottled water, waterproof cameras, chips, sunblock, etc.) you will be charged exorbitantly.

f) My one and only complaint is that I never saw the monkeys which we were supposed to not feed and which purportedly inhabited Miniloc. ;-)

In short, I had an absolutely fabulous stay in the El Nido Miniloc. It's hard to say which is the real natural resource--the stunning views, private coves, etc., OR the completely since and naturally gracious demeanor of each of the resort staff!

Stayed: April 2006
33  Thank Garuda70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2006

Miniloc is the most beautiful location, but the resort is in major need of an overhaul. The first night we were put in a Beachside cottage, the one nearest the beach. Sounds great, right? Nope!! The room was a dingy 'traditional' affair with a bathroom that looked like it had been there since 1960 - cracked tiles and an ant infestation! Not to mention the air conditioning unit that sounded like an aircraft landing. Even at night, when you tried to switch the air con off to get some sleep, the air con unit in the office next door pitched in accordingly. Not what you'd expect for US$250 a night. We complained to the manager, who very kindly moved us to one of the 'new build' sea view cottages. What a huge difference!! Lovely bright room with white interior, brand new bathroom (ant-free!) with limestone floor and walls. Almost worth the money! Be sure to take one of the 'new' rooms above anything else (including the very tired looking water-bungalows). The manager told us that they're starting a refurbishment programme and will do the rooms bit-by-bit, so if you plan on visiting in 2006, be sure to check the state of play on the refurb. The last thing you want is construction going on as the resort is very small and protected by the high cliffs.

The food was something of a let-down. Buffet style, rather dull, with many scary looking lilac and lime green desserts! They're for the Korean guests, I'm told.

We took a trip to Lagen (sister resort where you can use the facilities) and at night, it looked amazing, but by daytime, less impressive. It's bigger and busier and if you want to do any of the activities, you invariably need to take the boat to Miniloc anyway.

If you go, be sure to hand feed the fish off the end of the pier. They come right up to you as you're sat on the dock!

Would I return? Maybe not, although I'm glad we went. The location is very, very beautiful. I couldn't believe the amount of stars I could see in the sky at night!!

  • Stayed: January 2006
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8  Thank Bunnykins007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2006

When I lived in Manila in 99-00, I heard nothing but fabulous things about Palawan and this resort. So, I came back as soon I was able to afford it (now that I am no longer a student). Unfortunately, the resort is fine, but not fabulous. In this big world of amazing 4 and 5 star hotels in Thailand, India, Malaysia, etc, why would one pay more than $400 per night (for a couple) for a so-so resort with a hard bed? In fairness, let me say the following. Three meals a day and almost every activity immaginable are included in the price (except scuba diving). Breakfast is really good, but the other meals are standard buffet food. The natural scenery is majestic and breathtaking, and there are almost no other decent alternatives in the area in terms of accomodation (which I suspect is the reason for the high price to value ratio). That said, I remain disappointed in the resort. The staff could do a much better job of communicating the activity options (perhaps a printed menu?). The beach bungalows were simple and quite frankly resembled the $30 per night bungalow I stayed in in Borocay. The diving was fine, but not spectacular. I was suprised not to be given a wreck diving option, even though there are 7 Japanese destroyers sunk in the area. Diving purists should know that diving elsewhere in the Philippines is better - at Apo Island for example where the beach bungalows cost $10/ night. If you do go, remember that there is no TV in the room, so bring a laptop or portable DVD player if you need one. The people were nice, and I really wanted this resort to be much more than it was. Next time, I will stick with more established resorts in areas with competitive pricing so I don't overpay for a medium quality experience.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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19  Thank frankieboodog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2005

Miniloc and Lagen resorts are owned by the same company (the distance between them is 30 min. by boat, and guests at one resort may visit the other). Visit the websites and you get a fairly accurate view of the differences. I'd recommend Miniloc for families with kids, as the sand, the home reef, and the nipa hut architecture give a relaxed feel appealing to kids. The open air dining pavilion is quite pleasant at Miniloc. The home reef is terrific fun. Lagen is much more upscale. Both resorts provide endless day time nature-based activity, helpful staff and good food.

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
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11  Thank Valerie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: December 2016, traveled with friends
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Thank sealovesea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: October 2017, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Jinto_Fu
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
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > El Nido
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in El Nido
#2 Spa Hotel in El Nido
Price Range: $491 - $767 (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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