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“Dated, poor customer service, beautiful place in the world”

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El Nido Resorts Lagen Island
Ranked #1 of 17 Hotels in El Nido
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 10, 2014

We had a stay planned for Apulit Island resort in Nov 2013. Unfortunately, Typhoon Haiyen came through and Apulit remained closed. While our locations had to change, which was not a big deal, the way El Nido Resorts responded was horrific!

CUSTOMER SERVICE PROBLEMS:
We booked months in advance, with the sole intent of staying in a water cottage, which is why we had initially selected Aupulit Island (Which is all water cottages). We were not notified of any problems in advance of the trip, despite being facebook "friends" and them having complete contact info for my partner and I. When we arrived at the Manila NAIA charted flight terminal, the airline told us that our destination had changed! That was quite a surprise. We asked if they were sure, since we had received no notice. They contacted El Nido Resorts booking office (in Manila) who asked to speak to us. My partner spoke at length with the booking agent (Melanie de la Fuente) on the telephone and asked specifically about our reservation being transferred to a water cottage. Changing to Lagen Island, or any of the other resorts was not a big concern to us. She told us that it was not available for 1 of the nights we were staying. At that point, we told her that we would like to cancel the entire trip, since the whole purpose of going was for the water cottage experience. She told us that it was not necessary and she would make sure we were in a water cottage. We were completely prepared to return to the home of family that day. But she insisted that we get on the flight to el nido. After the flight, jeep trip, and boat ride to Lagen island, we were finally ready to check in and get settled. But, the desk staff at lagen island said there were no water cottages available for our stay! Not ANY night! This was quite upsetting and the manager was not on the island. They contacted the same booking office person we had spoken to (Melanie de la Fuente), who now was saying that she did not have a water cottage. They wanted us to stay in a "forest suite" instead. She also told the Lagen staff that she never told us we could stay in a water cottage, essentially telling them that we were lying. We were outraged at this, as you can imagine. Our peaceful vacation was not starting that way. We again told them, to return us to Manila, as we knew there was another flight home that day. We did not want to be in any other accommodation and did not want to be treated like this. Eventually, they sent us to lunch and found a water cottage to put us in, by moving someone who had not arrived yet into a forest suite. This process was almost 3 hours in length. It was clear that they did not want to lose our money by letting us return to Manila. The one nice thing they did was give us a "private dinner" on our last night. This was essentially the food from the buffet served to us on plates in a remote area of the island. I am glad we did not pay for this service. We have traveled extensively around the world and stayed in many types of accommodations and have NEVER had such a bad customer service experience. We finally met the location manager as we were leaving the island, who offered an apology, but at that point, it was irrelevant.

THE ROOM:
The water cottage was good in size, but was quite dated. There is obvious wear of most of the features. It is also lagoon style, which does not allow for the views of open sea. The bed was 2 single size beds for my partner and I. I am not sure if they just did not realize that we were a gay couple or if they just did not want to recognize that.

LAGEN ISLAND STAFF/SERVICE
This was a good point for El Nido Resorts. The staff was mostly helpful, but the person helping plan the day should have a little more knowledge of the available options.

FOOD:
All meals are included, regardless of where you eat them. The food on al resort islands and the "beach resorts" was about the same Most was underseasoned. Drinks are not included, so you will have a bill for that at the end. Some bartenders are much better than others. We did have a bottle of wine with dinner on the last night, which seemed to have been stored well enough to not ruin the wine.

SPA:
We had a couples massage while there, including a body, foot, head/neck massage as well as a facial. It was very nice and relaxing. Afterwards they gave us a fruit platter and juice tea to take to our room, which was a very nice touch.

EL NIDO:
The El Nido region is very nice. I wish there was another way to stay without using El Nido resorts, but still have a luxury experience. I would love to stay in a Shangri La type property here. El Nido resorts can take you to great places and you get to see cool things, but they do not offer the greatest advice in all places. I wanted to snorkel from a beach resort and hey directed me to an area with a TON of seaweed! I became tangled and if I was not a strong swimmer, could have had a major problem. My partner could not have snorkeled in this area and I would never recommend it for kids or timid swimmers. I have heard the diving is good, but I did not dive on this trip.

TRANSFERS:
Mostly safe, but depending on water conditions, people with poor balance or mobility issues would have issues, especially at El Nido port. Island Transvoyager was safe and quite helpful at the airport. No problems with them at all.

OVERALL:
I think everyone should visit El Nido at some point in their life. It is a truly amazing place. I liked it better than Phuket. I would, however, book knowing the limitations of staying with El Nido Resorts. They really do have you trapped into going on their day trips and to their other islands. At this point, I know of no other luxury level accommodation in the region. It is overpriced for the service, amenities, and quality offered. My partner, who is Filipino, will not go back again after experiencing this customer service. It is too bad, but there are tons of amazing beaches and resorts in Asia and Oceana...

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank David A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElNidoResorts P, Manager at El Nido Resorts Lagen Island, responded to this reviewResponded February 17, 2014

Thank you for sharing your comments with us, we apologize for the handling of your booking, which caused you and your partner inconveniences during your stay at Lagen Island. Our goal is guest satisfaction and we are sorry we did not meet your expectations this time. I hope you give us another opportunity to show you we can do better.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 9, 2014

Details, details, details .... this place takes care of the both the daily minutiae and large picture for you. Our all-inclusive package was so full of what we wanted to do, and the guides and helpers with us were so attentive and informative. The stunning scenery, and weather alone was enough to make you want to come back. The food was always superb, and a surprise dessert was sent tom our family table by the chef one night. I could live like this forever ....

Room Tip: The seashore cottages are tops.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Bong Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

It was a tough choice, but after talking to friends and researching online, we decided to stay at El Nido Resort's Lagen Island. It was a good decision. Lagen Island and the surrounding islands is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. (And I have been to Santorini, Crete, Phuket, Bali and all the Hawaiian Island). We stayed in Water Cottage 110, which had the best view of the Sunset. We only had a few days. I wish we had at least one more full day, because the trip to El Nido takes the whole day. (But the ferry ride is beautiful, especially during Sunset! It's part of the adventure). There is a cruise ship feeling at times, especially when the activities director keeps asking what you plan to do the next day -- but when you are in paradise this seems less annoying. Our first full day we choose to hike over to the cove on the other side. (I felt like I was shooting an episode of "Lost"). It's a good hike (don't forget your mosquito spray!) up and down the mountain, but worth it. The cove is breathtaking. The resort staff delivered our snorkel gear, along with towels and a kayak to get back. The next day we visited the Little and Big Lagoon. We took a boat out and kayaked inside the Little Lagoon. If you don't want to do any activities, the pool is a great place to hang out. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. While, we love the trip, there is always room for improvement. The food was ok. It could have been better and maybe more Asian food. Beef Wellington? I'm in the Philippines. I would have preferred roast pig or some amazing Filipino fish dish. Also, the coffee could be better. Also, there was a narrow window for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think they should add a "afternoon" snack and a late night snack. (On the other hand it did keep us from overeating!) The resort also contracts out the transfer to ITI airlines. For the price one pays for the airplane and transfer, ITI could arrange a shuttle to and from Manila International to the ITI airport. (Our cab driver had no idea where it was located. Thank goodness for Google Maps). But overall, amazing vacation. We can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Ask for Water Cottage 109 or 110 if you want amazing sunsets from your room.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank ErnieNYC7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2014

Lagen Island is one of four El Nido resorts properties, and generally lives up to its reputation as a very good resort, and a special place to retreat to. There are lots of activities, all part of the three day package, and the time goes by in a flash. It's all very professionally handled, with the staff efficient, polite and accommodating. Very good indeed! The only real drawback is that the food does not match the high quality of the rest of the services. Buffets are all well and good, but can become a little boring if they lack innovation and imagination. A simple fresh pasta counter for example could make it so much more interesting. Or some special fresh roasts. Also, the more popular dishes could be refreshed and replaced more often. And frankly, with seafood so abundant in the islands, it's surprising that there are not more fresh seafood dishes. Breakfast too could be made more interesting with fresh juices, better egg preparations, better bread, better coffee, etc. In any event, the resort can be recommended, and is a very environmentally friendly place which is a real plus.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Shahid Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2014

Oh my God is all I can say! Beautiful place and amazing service! Fantastic resorts & ambiance! You must get the water villa! The staff from the security all the way to the Resort Manager is accommodating and welcoming! I honestly felt like I knew these people my whole life and that they were family. You must subscribe for the package the resort offers to be able to maximize your trip there! 2 whole days should be enough to see all the sights and beaches around Lagen! The food is amazing as well! Excellent chefs from the appetizers to the deserts! Exquisite Tiramisu! The worst part of the trip was when I had left, serenaded once again by most of the staff. They wave until they can no longer see you or your boat. I actually felt sad and it felt like I was leaving home.

To cut it short, go here it's well God damn worth it and beautiful!

Room Tip: Water Villa is a must! Separated into two sides of the resort. If you want privacy and don't min...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AvidAppreciator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2014

I have stayed at both El Nido Miniloc Island Resort and El Nido Lagen Island Resort, the difference between the two resorts is vast.

Lagen Island Resort makes up for everything that Miniloc Island Resort lacks, well, almost everything.

Lagen has a very relaxed feel to it and is set on an island with truly breathtaking views. The water cottage rooms overlook the bay and have their own private balconies. The rooms are spotless, tastefully designed and fairly spacious with all the amenities you'd expected at a 4 star resort. The bathroom is modern, fairly large with powerful hot shower facilities.

Lagen also has an average size swimming pool with a bar nearby. Whether you are using the swimming pool or just having a drink at the bar and overlooking the ocean and the islands in the distance, you'll find yourself not wanting to leave.

There isn't really a beach as such at Lagen, so for any swimming or other water activities, the resort will shuttle you to one of a number of club houses they have on other islands. The transfer is usually about 15 minutes.

There are excellent spa services at Lagen and Internet connectivity seems pretty good throughout the resort.

The primarily let down at Lagen Island Resort is the food. The food quality is average and can be rather boring at times, so if you are here for a long time, you may start to get fed-up with the food.

All the staff at Lagen Island Resort are incredibly friendly and hospitable and will always go out of their way to make you feel like you are being looked after.

When staying at Lagen Island Resort, try to select a water cottage in the north wing, that is water cottages 109 through to 118. These will give you a more peaceful experience with added privacy. The other water cottages, 101 through to 108, are located on the south wing and are nearby the arrival area, so are convenient for quick access to the activity centre, swimming pool and restaurant, but won't perhaps be as quiet.

Room Tip: Pick water cottages 109 through to 118 for a more peaceful experience. These water cottages will als...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Invisible_Shadow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

We stayed at the Lagen Resort for our honeymoon in early January.
The professional service and genuine care of the staff was second to none.
The water cottage that we stayed in was beautifully decorated and equipped for the humid, hot days/nights. The pool is sensational and the use of paddleboards and kayaks in the lagoon is great!
All our trips to neighbouring islands were fantastic and the Banca boys who took us there were just as friendly and entertaining.
Randy on the guitar each night at dinner was an absolute star, and all of the staff with their big smiles made us feel so welcome.
The food was great, I definitely recommend this resort to those looking for untouched beauty, discreet and professional service, and a great Filipino cultural experience.

Room Tip: Sunset water cottage was very romantic!
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Julia K
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 Lagen Island

Address: Lagen Island, El Nido, Palawan Island 1229, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > El Nido
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in El Nido
#1 On the Beach Hotel in El Nido
#1 Spa Hotel in El Nido
#1 Top resorts Hotel in El Nido
Price Range: $429 - $677 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — El Nido Resorts Lagen Island 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lagen Island is a haven of tranquility nestled between a lush forest and a calm shallow lagoon. Its calssic and modern design exudes an air of subdued elegance. Cottages, rooms and suites are well appointed over the water, beside the beach, or surrounded by verdant forest. Lagen Island is part of the El Nido Resorts group and is located in El Nido, northwestern part of Palawan. It takes a 75-minute direct flight from Manila or a 6 hour land trip from Puerto Princesa City (Palawan's Capital City). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Nido Resorts Lagen Island Hotel El Nido
Lagen Island Hotel
Lagen Island El Nido
El Nido Resorts Lagen Island Palawan Island

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