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El Rio y Mar Resort
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Reviewed January 6, 2014

Bit adventurous, with a Fokker plane from Manila , after by jeep to the boat, and so to the island. Very quiet, very nice and a great service a nice bar ,short, we have to go back. Thanks to the crew.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Marc779
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

The trip from the airport was a true indication of what we would find at the resort. The pick up was very well organised but off course, with this level of isolation you get the impression that this is not about luxury.
The resort was perfectly adequate in terms of facilities. We stayed in a newer room which sounded less 'island' than the bures but actually they were great. Everything worked well including the shower. ( Housekeeping was a bit sloppy).
The staff battle - the issues are evident - productivity is low! Its not about poor customer service- the staff don't have much clue what to do. There is an obvious lack of training. Management need to be held accountable for the staffing issues ... Mel is fantastic.
The staff put on a show on NYE that was just fantastic - they enjoyed doing it and the guests enjoyed watching it.
On the island hoping tour, you became aware of the extent of the damage - so travellers need to be aware that damage is still extensive.
My only negativity is about the price. The rate is top end pricing. This is not reflected in the food which is inconsistent. I understand the economics associated with island operations - but food inconsistency has nothing to do with operations. Cut back on variety to increase quality.
But travellers should keep focused on the benefit of the isolation and you will really enjoy this resort. Its a fantastic place to unwind.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Ausparisspace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2013

I stayed here for six nights. The cabin was actually pretty nice. They're not updated, but they're fine for what they are. The location is fine. Once you're at the hotel....that's all there is .... unless you go on a tour.

Tours booked through the hotel were good. I got to see everything I wanted to and tur guides were great! :-)

El Rio y Mar is no longer affiliated with Club Paradise, so you can't visit Club Paradise anymore. This is unfortunate as the beach area at ERyM is muddy and not a "swimming beach" at all. The pool is small and ok. The grounds are actually nice and well-kept. The restaurant had decent food and I couldn't really complain about that.

Service here was just completely and utterly awful!!! I've lived in the Philippines for over three years now and have never given such a low rating anywhere (I've posted over 30 other reviews all over the world and several in the Phils). However, the service here is just deserving of a low rating. It really ruined my stay here. I didn't have a falling out with anybody or anything like that .... the service was just NOT GOOD AT ALL!!!

1-When I ordered drinks at the bar, I often had to seek out somebody to take my order/make a drink.

2-Drinks were made by random staff members that weren't necessarily bar staff. Shakes ranged from good to not good at all. The same went for bar drinks. Smetimes when I ordered a drink, they'd have to find a bartender and it's take almost 15 minutes to get a drink.

3-Water is available; however, you have to find someone to get you a glass and continue to refill it yourself from a water cooler behind the bar area.

4-Water provided in rooms isn't enough. You get a small pitcher for the night.

5-No coconuts :-s I asked for a buko juice when I got there and proceeded to ask for one several more times .... there's coconuts all over the island .... obviously just nobody that cares enough to get any :-s

6-When I was getting ready to leave, cleaning staff wanted to clean the room. I had clearly just gotten out of the shower and they just stood outside the door looking in. I asked if they could come back later as I was getting ready to leave. They came back ten minutes later knocking and hanging out outside my room. I told them I had to leave at 11:00 and asked them to come back. Again, they hung around outside and I just closed the curtains until they knocked AGAIN. I finally just let them in as I was not surprised .... and I was dressed. It was really annoying and rude .... however, I didn't expect any more at this point.

7-The first three days, we were only shown a menu with specified meals. Several days into our stay, we were shown a snack menu with smaller/cheaper meals. There weren't any special ingredients that would've prevented them from showing us this menu sooner.

8-After check out, I had to go back to the office and run my credit card a second time because they forgot to charge my tours onto my bill.

9- One day when I asked about wifi .... I was told "Maybe someone borrowed it?"

I could go on....

Alas, this place is just a prime example of a place that doesn't do customer service well. I'd pay the extra for a different place with good service. I'm not recommending this place to anybody.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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8  Thank Jen31373
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We where shocked about the beauty of the place and the friendliness of the hotel staff, just to discover than Filipino are in general superfriendly and that the whole islands between Busuanga and Palawan are just a beauty constest non-stop.

There are only a few rooms, and no road access, so the place is not crowded. On the other side, there is no place to go for a dinner out or to visit anything from there, some take a few books and plan to relax for your stay here. We greatly enjoyed the great snorkeling in the bay and the use of the kajaks to go to the nice little neighboring beaches. Two great guys where playing guitar and singing all the time, creating a great atmosphere during dinners :-)

With the food, however, we were very disappointing. A lot of frozen and canned food and barely fresh fruits and veggies... not even fresh fish (with one or two exceptions). One day we got frozen pizza of the cheapest kind, but the waiters are so nice we just decided to go along. We initially thought that it was an island issues (difficulty to get fresh stuff), but after we left the resort we discovered great places in the same island... and after vising the Coron market (on the same island), we decided the food at the hotel was really a crime.

The hotel has three types of accommodation: native cabana (the best location), cedar cabania and casa, in which we stayed. Casa are two story building with four units each. The rooms are nice and all look to the bay BUT the further the casa the closer to the BIG energy diesel generator. Our room was beautiful, but the generator was running 24/7 behind our bed, and the beautiful terrace into the water was ruined by a permananet diesel odor... due to this we decided to shorten our stay.

After having spent three weeks in this area in some 6 different hotels, we sincerely think this is a great resort with an excellent staff, but it is not worth the money considering the rest of what we have seen. In our opinion, they should very significantly improve the food and relocate the generator or reduce the price bu 60%. In fact we found another resort on a private island with twice better food for 1/4th of the price!

In summary, if you do not care about food, only want to stay at the resort (e.g. not visit nearby villages or try out a local restaurant), like snorkeling and kajaking (as much as we do), and get a room or a cabania far from the generator, El Rio y El Mar is a very expensive but decent option to relax in beautiful Busuanga pampered by excellent staff.

Room Tip: take a native cabana
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Bogabonga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

We went there amidst strong winds and heavy rain but the stay is worth every penny.
we purchased the romantic package with island escapade, spa, romantic dinner, kayak and full-board meals but have not experienced the island escapade due to the extreme weather condition. I must say all other inclusions made up for the loss.
The cedar room is perfect for the rainy weather. wonderful interior with all the creature comforts you would need.
The Reef Bar at the end of the deck has the perfect scenery for a palawan stay.

Room Tip: Choose Cedar rooms 1 or 2 which is closer to the pool/al fresco restaurant. It is a bit pricey but worth every penny.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank catalyst09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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