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“OMG! Paradise and more!”

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Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #7 of 50 Hotels in Puerto Princesa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 16, 2014

Unfortunately, we did not experience the privilege of staying overnight in this resort, only visited as part of a day-trip arranged by our hotel manager. After we arrived at the port, two very efficient and friendly staff members got our manifests in order and escorted our group onto the boat. The boat, by the way, has a capacity of up to 60 persons. So, we found this ride to be less bumpy and faster than the smaller bancas we took on a previous island-hopping trip. Every person is provided with the proper life vest, including children. The ride took about an hour and a half. The time went by quickly, as we were happy to take lots of picture of other islands we passed along the way.

Arreceffi island was easy to spot from the stilted cabins to the extra large port and bridge that jut out into the sea. We were welcomed by a band and drinks, and promptly shown where we could get everything we need. The day trip includes: buffet lunch on the beach, complementary use of snorkeling gear and kayaks, boat rides to the reef, a snorkeling guide and return transfers from island-to-Puerto Princesa-to-head office downtown. Excludes: pool, spa and diving gear/lesson.

It was really everything we asked for. Even if you can't swim, they provide life vests, and you can follow the snorkeling guide around at a slower pace. Buffet lunch was excellent; traditional and not so traditional Filipino foods, like, chicken sinigang, salted eggs with tomatoes, coleslaw with raisins(!), and leche flan for dessert - just like my Titas always make! So good, didn't get sick after, which is a bonus, haha. Service was quick, professional and friendly.

Just bring sunscreen, a swimsuit and your own drinking water, cuz they charge a lot for small bottles of water here, FYI. Other than that, splurge on a cold island drink, cuz they don't stint on the alcohol! Reefs were colorful and alive; many species of fish and an old sunken warplane are yours to discover. If you can't foot the hotel bill, take the day trip - you'll only regret NOT making that reservation ;)

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank 2CwhatwecanC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 13, 2014

This place may possibly be the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at, especially if you take the price into consideration. For the Philippines, this is actually quite expensive. And believe me - it’s so not worth it! When I made the booking, the idea of a remote and solitary resort sounded romantic and exclusive. Getting there, I realized it meant that we we're trapped and stuck with nowhere else to go...

It’s not all bad. Let’s focus on the good parts first:

Snorkeling:
The snorkeling is amazing! They’ll take you out to a platform off shore, and the corals and tropical fish are stunning. However, visibility is not that great in Honda Bay. Also, you don’t have to stay at this hotel to experience amazing snorkeling. You can stay somewhere else and go on a snorkeling day trip.

Pool area:
The pool area is quite nice, although there wasn’t enough sun loungers.

Spa:
The spa is reasonably priced and the treatments are not bad at all. I ended up going a few times, and the quality was consistently good.

Island Trip:
The resort will offer to take you on a short trip to a nearby island every morning.The island and its beaches are gorgeous, and the snorkeling is great. However, they’ve actually put quite a few pictures from this tiny island on to their hotel website, so they make you believe the pictures are from the island the hotel is located on, which is not actually the case. The beautiful picture on the website (and on the hotel book sites) with a couple on a small and deserted beach are not from the same island Dos Palmas Resort is on! Those pictures are from the nearby island the hotel will take you to on a small boat trip. The beach on the island where the hotel is located is not nearly as beautiful. I almost feel like it’s false and misleading advertising to post those pictures on the hotel website, and have you believe these photos are taken on the island of the hotel. Not Ok. I still enjoyed the short boat trip to the small island though.

And here comes the bad parts:

The Rooms:
From looking at the pictures on the website, I knew the rooms were nothing special. But basic and clean standard rooms. That was the expectation I had before going: Nothing special, but nice and clean. Nevertheless, the only good thing I have to say about the rooms is the size. They’re quite big, which is nice. However, I’ve never stayed in a hotel with such worn out rooms! I’m not sure exactly when the resort was built, but it must be old. The rooms look like they’re at least fifteen years old, and very little have been done to keep them up to date. The bed, the sheets, the curtains, the lamps, the worn out floor, the air con, the hair dryer, everything look like something from the 90ties, and I suspect that’s because all of it is from the 90ties. Possibly early 90ties. And when it’s that old, it’s just not possible to keep it clean.

The first night when it was time for bed, we realized the top mattress had some pretty nasty stains on it. It was so bad that you could see the brownish stains through the (thin and worn out) sheets. We walked to the reception area, and asked them to change the top mattress. Living in Asia, we made it very clear that it was the top mattress and not the sheets that was the issue. Returning to our room 20 minutes later, we realized they had indeed just changed the sheets, and not the top mattress. The stains were still there. This time we called the reception and explained the situation - again. They promised us they would send someone with a clean top mattress. We sat on the balcony and waited for them to come back. Thirty minutes later and no sign of a clean top mattress, we had to call the reception again. It took them more than an hour to fix this issue. Not OK when you’re tired and just waiting to go to bed. The resort claims to be four star, and I don’t understand how they would even use old and stained top mattresses in the first place. Moreover, most of the sheets were so old they were torn and had holes in them, but that I could live with, as long as they appeared clean.

We had a few other issues with our room. The window in the bathroom didn’t close. Due to aging – of course. When we asked them to fix it, they just taped it shut. I guess that did the job of keeping the mosquitoes out. But seriously – this is an quite expensive four star resort, and not the way I’d expect them to fix this problem. Next issue was the fact that the bathroom door also didn’t close. Which was an issue as long as the bathroom window didn’t close, meaning there was no way of keeping the mosquitoes out of the bedroom. The door was beyond repair due to the age, so instead of fixing it they put a lock on the inside. Now we could lock the door from the inside, but there was still no way of closing it when you were not actually in the bathroom, meaning this was still no fix for the mosquito situation. Thank God for the tape!!

Other issues included the fact that the balcony door was unable to close or lock. They did their best to fix that as well – rather unsuccessfully though. Also, the first time I tried to shut the curtains the whole thing just came down. Due to a complete lack of maintenance the entire room was basically falling apart. Instead of the basic standard room I was expecting, the room was a horribly worn out disappointment. They do a very good job of disguising that in the pictures on the website – but be warned! If the hotel was half the price, I could probably live with it. But not at that price.

We actually requested to change rooms, but they wouldn't let us explaining that the hotel was fully booked.

The outdoor areas:
Unfortunately, It’s not only the rooms that are worn out and falling apart due to lack of maintenance and attention. Walking outside in the garden, the general feeling is that everything is starting to fall apart. The gardens are not very well kept, and Christmas decorations were left outside and falling apart by the end of January. The old rooms that are standing over the water, are left unused and unattended to, waiting to fall into decay. The only areas that are nicely kept are the two pool areas and the spa.

The restaurant and the food:
Together with the room, the restaurant and the food were the biggest disappointments of our Dos Palmas stay. We’ve visited quite a few places in the Philippines, and I know that the Philippines is not a gourmet destination, but I still expect a four star resort to have a least decent food. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Dos Palmas. Furthermore, there’s only one restaurant, and even the bar shares the exact same menu. So while there, you really only have two choices: Eat at the restaurant or starve. At some point, I was inclined to go for the latter option...

We stayed three nights, and having tested quite few options on the menu, my husband and I concluded that the best items om the menu was an undercooked Hawaii Pizza with far too much cheese, and spaghetti bolognese. How sad is that? Trust me – we’re not usually picky. We love all Asian cuisines and especially spicy food. Living in China we’re used to eating everything from jelly fish to frog hot pot, and we’ll usually test whatever is in front of us. But the food at Dos Palmas was tasteless, boring and not to forget insanely overpriced. The breakfast buffet was also a disappointment. The only time they actually had much food left was the morning we had to get up at five in order to reach the ferry back to Puerto Princesa. If you take your time and show up at 9am most of the food is gone. And they only refill it if you ask them to. Also, a refill usually takes so long that you’ll have finished your breakfast by the time the missing coffee or butter finally comes back out. I’ve said it before, but this is not the kind of service I expect from a four star resort. But hey – there’s nowhere else to go and eat, so they don’t have to make an a effort. Either you eat there or you starve!

The restaurant itself is very uninspiring. And there's nowhere to go if you want to enjoy your meal without loud live music, fire dancers or whatever entertainment is on for the night.

The Service:
The service is very much on and off. Not altogether terrible, but also not great. On our last day we actually decided to leave the hotel and the island and go back to Puerto Princesa one day early. We were sitting in the reception area booking a hotel back on Palawan, and when the booking was made (and the hotel paid for) we told the receptionist that we wanted to go on the 2pm boat back, and only then they told us they had cancelled the boat because of a coast guard warning. This is understandable, however, there was no such information on their message boards and the boat schedule was still on the wall. They failed to inform the guests about their cancellation, and we had to stay one more night and ended up paying for a hotel on the mainland, because Dos Palmas didn’t give us any information about the cancelled boat. Again, unacceptable. The least you can do is to put a sign up or take down the boat schedule for the day. Consequently, we were stuck one more night...

It's all about value for money. Had this hotel been half the price of what I paid, I may have given it three stars due to the pool area, the snorkeling, the spa and the value. I've previously given much cheaper and simpler hotels a high ranking, due to great value. The only thing this hotels has going for it, is its location on a small and remote island. But when you think about it, this is really not that great, because you may wind up getting stuck if you don't like it, and there are no choices when it comes to dining.

Dos Palmas tries too hard to be something it's not - or maybe something it was fifteen years ago, but is no longer. This place could have potential if it underwent substantial renovation, and upgraded its dining facilities. But do yourself a favor and don't go... It's really not worth it.

Room Tip: Our room on the second floor was terribly worn out in desperate need of substantial renovation.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank enirtak_kat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2014

Had a horrible time in Manila..this island is the perfect place to be. My friend booked everything and the rest of us had absolutely no expectation nor seen any photos or details online prior to the trip.
Took one hour from Honda Bay to the island on a ferry. It's a relaxing ride. Once we r on the island, we had such an unexpected welcoming from the staff, had a welcome drink,the necklace and a traditional gamalen ensemble was playing for us.
Room was nice with your own balcony overlooking the beach and saw the most amazing sunset!!!!!

So much to do in this island. We did two snorkeling trip for free, they take you on a boat a few minutes away from shore, provided all snorkeling gear..lots of colorful corals and fishes. The guide lead us around the snorkel platform..even the first time snorkeler will feel very safe.

Two swimming pools. Night time swimming in the lap pool is simply amazing..no one was there.
They provided table tennis, basketball, tennis, volleyball, kayaking, bicycle around the island(though its a small island take around maybe 15 mins to cycle around it). Also a free boat trip to a sandy beach island which is half an hour away. Perfect for photoshoot.

Lots of nice little shelter around the beach for perfect night time chatting and relaxing.
They even have a art center and a clinic with a doctor...

And most importantly...they have the best customer I've ever experienced. All the staff are super super friendly.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank ywwonglp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2014

I had a very relaxing the enjoyable stay at Dos Palmas. The room was Ok. It had all the basics. No TV or internet. The shower is a little rusty due to the salty water but that doesn't bother me. Everyone with a waterfront property knows about this problem with metal fixtures. The pool is great and clean and the pool guy (Ryan) is very nice and attentive. The restaurant is nice, you can use the wifi here but it's a hit or miss. You can try the main lobby if you're desperate for wifi. The breakfast was so-so but it'll do. The food menu is great and they grow their own vegetables as well as the coconuts in the island so they are fresh . Snorkeling is great!! I've been to Mexico, Hawaii, Thailand and Dos Palmas have best snorkeling hands down. I could not get enough. The guides are all friendly and can take you to the best site to snorkel. Diving is also great and very reasonable (about $50.00/ dive). You can also kayak around the island and weave through the Mangrove forest and look at the birds and jumping fish. If you Kayak in the morning when the water is calm, you can see the coral reef without snorkeling. At night, you can play table tennis, pool, dart or karaoke. One of the pool table is a bit old and the balls need to be replaced. The spa is very affordable (about $12.00 for a Swedish massage) for an hour. All the staff are very nice, friendly and attentive. Overall, it was a very nice stay and I've been recommending it friends already and planning to comeback soon. Start your day early (8am breakfast, then snorkeling at 9 for as long as you want. then lunch, then nap or relax in the pool, drink cocktails or eat halohalo. Afternoon Kayak or bicycle, then dinner, then play in the recreational area for an hour then have a massage at the spa. Have a good night sleep then repeat. Underwater camera is a must!!

Room Tip: A rooms, B rooms and X rooms are close to the pool and restaurants.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Willy Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2014

we were a party of nine who came here to celebrate a birthday. staff do their best but are
not trained properly. ask if we want drinks, bring them, and don't ask if we want more.
we had to chase the staff. re dinner - bring the food out to a few people at a time -10 minutes
before they bring more.hotel showing its age. needs a total remodel.
finally the real bad news. on the third morning here I woke up with food poisoning so bad it
put me in hospital for two days. as it was the third morning it could only have come from here
as this was all inclusive ( hospital copies on file ). sent them an email and no reply.

Room Tip: all are showing their age
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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3  Thank kevin h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2014

We stayed 2 nights in February 2014. After having seen the pictures we were really looking forward to our stay but left the island with mixed feelings.

The transfer was well organized (and is included in the hotel price), the island is lovely, pools are very nice. The view from the beach over the sea with the mountains of Palawan in the background is spectacular - as are the fruit cocktails. Also positive was the dive center with very kind and professional dive masters. The water offers some interesting corals, and huge clams to see. Only downside is that the visibility is poor due to the rivers coming into the sea from Palawan Island.
The beach is average (don't expect powdery white sand) as well as the food. Service in our case offered everything from nice and professional (bartender) through inattentive and clearly annoyed (this was when we chose a table close to the garden that had already been used and the tablecloth needed to be changed). Rooms are outdated and offer sea view which is partly blocked by the mangroves surrounding the entire island with the exception of the northern part.

Overall we felt that this place may have been great once but now is outdated and lacks the attention to details. It is a decent place but for the price we would have expected a little more.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Ferdi_Magellan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2014 via mobile

My family stayed here for 3days 2 nights from Feb 12-14... I have a 2yr old daughter who enjoyed her stay a lot because of the pool and jacuzzi! Our beach villa room is perfect on the 2nd floor to have a great view of the beach. Evey staff is smiling!

Stayed: February 2014
3  Thank ayesha05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa

Address: Arrecife Island, Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Puerto Princesa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Princesa
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Princesa
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Princesa
#5 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Princesa
#7 Family Hotel in Puerto Princesa
Price Range: $122 - $154 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 38
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Also Known As:
Dos Palmas Island Hotel Puerto Princesa
Dos Palmas Island Resort And Spa
Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa Palawan Island/Puerto Princesa

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