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Reviewed October 7, 2007

For my wife and I, it seemed very over-priced and only mediocre quality. The bungalows have a nice enough design, but they appeared wanting of upkeep and could have been cleaner. The location is pleasant, but not convenient because its not near to anything else, and you need to go to the road and hail a tricycle to get anywhere at all, including the restaurants and beach. This can be a bloody bore if its raining. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had a pool, but they don’t.

The rooms had wood interiors, which gave a certain warmth, but they didn’t have a homely feeling (or homey, as the Americans say). The interiors are distinctly not luxurious, but Mandala describes them as such. For my taste, they are a bit drab with sparse, plain furnishings, and skimpy and cheap on the amenities: no TV, no hot water, tea, or coffee, and a fairly empty minibar! The soap and shampoo were in cheap-looking plastic pump bottles. Don’t know about the other rooms, but we only had 1 chair on our veranda.

The restaurant was also sparse, but pleasant enough with a pleasant view. The food was fine, but is vegetarian only, and no beer. The room service is limited and is only available until 10 PM.

We have friends living in Boracay, and what concerned me the most was when they told me that they heard Mandala had quite a few thefts, and apparently some of those robberies happened when the guest s were in their rooms, asleep. That was not comforting, to say the least! (What would have happened if they woke up with a robbery in-progrress?!)

In fairness, I think their location makes security very challenging. Presumably, times may have changed, and there was probably a time in Boracay, not too long ago, when one need not be concerned about robberies.

On a good note, the staff are very pleasant and my wife said that the spa was ok (she didn't rave, however), but I didn’t try it, so can’t comment further.

All in all, it was certainly not the best value (actually, not even good value) for the money. We prefer Nami and Fridays, and anyway, this year we noticed that there are a lot of new spas in Boracay. Next year, Shangri-la and Chi Spa will open, and I’m sure it will be gargantuan and an utter anomaly in Boracay – but I’m looking forward to trying it! ;-P

  • Stayed: August 2007
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4  Thank sprinterUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2007

First of all, let me first say that we were not there for the Spa treatments... because booked late for the Christmas season, almost all hotels were fully booked so we decided to stay at this high end spa resort.

The resort: The bungalow where we stayed was quite charming, excellent showers and quite large room. We had nice sunset views every night. It was clean but not up to the cleanliness you would expect from one of the most expensive resorts in Boracay.

Service: Staff was very courteous, friendly and really helpful.

Room: We had difficulty getting hot water ( we stayed one week) and although there is a great bath, we could not really use it because the water was not warm enough to make the experience interesting. As well water pressure was somewhat weak, it took quite a while to fill the tub.

The outdoor shower is superb... a little more hot water and better pressure would have made the shower fabulous!

Incense available to burn in the rooms was a nice touch but a mini bar with more choice would be a good idea.

Location: very easy to get to all island destinations. However, the resort is not very close to the beach, you have to walk up and down a long path that takes you to a part of the beach that is average for the Boracay beach. If you want to have a beach experience, better to stay at Friday's if you are going to pay the same rates where there is a wonderful beach, no crowds and wonderful water.

Restaurant: We didn't use the restaurant at lunch or in the evenings so cannot comment on this. Breakfast was ok... nothing more and nothing less. The venue for breakfast is quiet and nice but has nothing special for a high priced resort. Food was very healthy and the same every morning.... quality food but nothing that stood out for a high price resort (more choice and variety would be a good idea). One morning, there were not enough tables for everyone to sit ( in a resort that has only about a dozen bungalows) and if you ordered a la carte, it could be a bit long before you were served possibly because the very polite and friendly young lady serving us was on her own and had to run up and down to serve the hot meals.

Spa: We used the spa service and I thoroughly enjoyed my facial but my wife found her massage a bit hard... she might be a bit sensitive and could have asked her masseuse to soften her touch.

Overall we enjoyed our time in Boracay but for the same price would suggest Nami Resort or Friday's if you are more there for the beach than a spa.

Last note: when we did mention about the hot water to the staff they did react immediately and it improved slightly. As mentioned before the bungalows are super... but the windows could be cleaner since they are large and expansive with a wonderful view. Having them not that clean hampers the effect. Remember this is not a budget place...

We'll go back to Boracay but I'll do my homework and book ahead so we can be closer to the beach.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Summerchill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2007

A year ago, my husband and I spent a week in Boracay at the Mandala Spa. It was divine.

ABOUT THE PROPERTY
Mandala Spa is a haven. We were seeking a luxurious, quiet retreat – and found exactly that in Mandala. It is on-par with a Four Seasons property (without the price tag to match). Soft, trance-like music was playing in the background when we initially entered our cottage (all "rooms" are detached, single units), and the faint, spicy scent of incense wafted through the air.

The units are just like the images shown on Mandala Spa's website ([--]). Ice-cold concoctions (Mandala's signature drink) were waiting for us when we walked in our room, which had hibiscus flowers scattered throughout the bedroom, sitting area, bathroom and balcony. Most rooms have garden views, though if you request it ahead of time you can get a room with an ocean view. (Note: you will have to squint to see the ocean, which is beyond the treetops.)

The rooms are decorated with an earthy feel, employing lots of creamy linens and bamboo structures. If you look closely, you will see that the hotel preserved some trees on its property by cutting a hole directly through the exterior portion of the thatched roof of each cottage for the trees to grow. Our cottage had several glass walls, which gave us a 180-degree view (but complete privacy from other units on the property and from other resorts).

I fell in love with the bathroom. It is downright SEXY. Our bathroom was entirely encased in glass walls, save the wall adjacent to the bedroom. Orchids grew from the exterior rock wall that surrounded two walls of our bathroom (about three feet from the glass window), creating an enchanting environment. At first I was timid to use the outdoor shower, but upon further inspection I realized that the thatched roof extended far enough to block anyone's view – again, total privacy.

During our entire stay at Mandala, we felt like celebrities. The property is small enough to accommodate only a small number of clientele, and yet runs as smoothly and efficiently as any large, luxury chain might be expected to operate.

ABOUT THE STAFF
Staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful: they always said hello without being intrusive, recommended great restaurants upon request and responded promptly to our requests.

ABOUT THE ENTRANCE
The long, winding entrance was both private and romantic, with vines twisting overhead, forming a canopy. The stylish in-ground lamps marked the paths throughout the property, and gave off enough light to brighten the area while still creating a serene environment.

ABOUT THE PROPERTY LOCATION
Mandala Spa is on the southern tip of the main stretch of beach, called "White Beach." It is NOT a beachfront property, and requires a short (3-4 minute) walk down a side road to access White Beach. As such, the property is also on the southern end of the commercialized portion of the island (where the shops, several restaurants and random vendors are located). The boardwalk stretches along White Beach and people are always milling about, so we did not feel that our safety was in question.

MUST-DO IN MANDALA
For approximately $10 per hour, we rented a sailboat and crew and spent an entire afternoon (6 hours) sailing around the island, stopping to snorkel, eat lunch, island hop, etc. It was lovely to have our own boat, to lounge in the sun, and to leisurely circle the island. I highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: February 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank jessicalferris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2007

Mandala is one of the more famous spas in the Philippines. It has won awards for being one of the best spas in Asia. It was probably the pioneer for other Phil spas to emulate. I came in with high expectations and was left feeling a bit 'wanting'. Having experienced spa treatments in both Cebu's Chi spa and Mandarin's Oriental spa, i feel that they have overtaken Mandala spa in terms of overall luxury spa service. Therapists were very courteous and efficient, although technique was average. The villa where we had our massage was charming but a bit run down. Just felt that they are in need of a renovation to compete with the newer spas. I would still recommend it to first time massage tourists though, it was still overall, a charming experience.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank siomao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2006

I am a regular visitor to Boracay and had stayed once before in another place and used the spa while the rest of the hotel was still being constructed.

The bungalow rooms are top quality. Clean, beautifully designed with extremely sexy bathrooms (wonderful for couples) -outdoor shower and large Italian made baths.

Not sure about the other reviewers comment on getting allergies, as everything is perfectly clean and perhaps they just are generally not used to Philippine environment!

The staff are very corteous and helpful if you need anything extra- books, or DVDs to watch.

But the main thing that makes Mandala worth staying in is the spa. This spa must be one of the best in the world. The staff are obviously highly skilled and I had one treatment everyday! I came back from holiday a completey different person.

Only two things could improve the hotel facility as a result and I really hope that do try to do it as it will make this place a more popular destination: access to beach is via the main road on the island- if they could cut through the side or front it would be more convenient and idyllic for the guest. And secondly, a slighly wider range of food and beverage and more flexible breakfast and dinner times. Vegetarian is fine, but perhaps the menu could be more inventive .

Love the place, and if I could afford it I would go every year!

  • Stayed: March 2006, traveled solo
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9  Thank Efoster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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