Resort Review, Honeymoon Edition: Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and SpaAsia, Couples Travel, Departments, Destinations, Hotels & Resorts, In-Room Reviews, Philippines, Traveling Solo & Together — By Lost Girls on November 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm
What’s at the top of every soon-to-be-married Lost Girl’s wedding list? Planning a fabulous and worldly honeymoon, of course. For Lost Girl’s editor Mona Lisa Macalino, her honeymoon was something she dreamed of even more than finding her wedding dress.
Her destination? The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands. Here is her review of Shangri-La’s Resort in Boracay, the little island known for its sparkling white beaches and lively night scene.
The journey to Shangri-La is epic, an experience in itself, if you’re awake for its highlights. Our trip to paradise required nothing less than a 16-hour plane ride, an hour-long jaunt in a tiny plane, two van treks across two islands and finally, a scenic speedboat ride to Boracay. When my husband and I arrived in Shangri-La, we were jetlagged, wide-eyed and tempted to sleep for our week’s stay (luckily, we resisted).
Shangri-La Boracay is tucked away from the main part of town, which makes it perfect for honeymooners craving a little privacy.
The grounds of Shangri-La Boracay is magical, breathtaking, and (insert your idea of paradise here!). Honestly, Shangri-La lives up to its name and hype. Lush, exotic fauna decorate the resort and the glimmer of the Pacific Ocean is always in the background.
My husband and I felt like we had Shangri-La to ourselves—it was August, full-blown typhoon season in the Philippines. Yes, we saw some wet days and even got caught in a sudden downpour. But in a place like Shangri-La, the rain only added to its charm. We spent hours walking around and exploring. Our favorite spot was a grove of towering palm trees, complete with swaying hammocks and gigantic circular cushions, which offered a place to rest under the shade of large palm leaves.
Shangri-La Boracay has everything you would expect from a first-class resort—an on-site spa, five-star restaurants and bars, a fully-equipped health club, nature trails, infinity pools and retail shops selling native goods. An in-house water sports pavilion offers guests snorkeling and diving equipment, among other unique selections such as hobie cat sailing and reef walking.
Shangri-La’s two beaches—Punta Bunga Beach, which is shared with neighboring resorts and Shangri-La’s private Banyugan Beach—are the gems of the resort. The sand is white and the views of the Pacific Ocean are unobstructed (except, perhaps, by your own yellow beach umbrella). The lounge chairs have cushions, the beach-side service is impeccable and the drinks are tropical. Pure honeymoon bliss! This is where we spent the majority of our time—swimming in the warm ocean, collecting seashells and playing with the many hermit crabs making trails in the sand.
As honeymooners, it was a must for our room to be a welcome place to hide out in. The Seaview Suite (99 m.²) did not disappoint. It featured a mini bar, complimentary broadband Internet access, 24-hour in-room dining, a safety deposit box, satellite flat screen TVs, coffee and tea making machines, a selection of his and her bathrobes and slippers, and a charming pillow menu.
We had our own living room complete with a never-empty platter of tropical fruits, a bar area, a gigantic walk-in closet and bathroom, and a large, outdoor balcony overlooking Punta Bunga Beach. The balcony had a dining table for two, two lounge chairs and a Jacuzzi complete with a colorful light show and major bubbles, which our housekeeper happily set up for us.
A Wedding in Paradise
Shangri-La Boracay is also a perfect wedding destination spot that mixes the best of beach and elegance. It’s perfect for a romantic couple with a taste for luxury and a love of the beach. The crown glory of the ballrooms is the majestic Sagana Ballroom, whose tall windows, gorgeous views and Aladdin-like balcony adds to the romance. I’m already talking to my husband about doing our vow renewals here!
Those wanting to venture out of Shangri-La’s grounds can either take a 10-minute complimentary shuttle to White Beach and its surrounding markets or have the resort call a tricycle, the Philippine’s fastest and cheapest way to travel around the island. If you decide to take a tricycle, do a little bargaining—the locals get a tricycle ride for 10 Philippine Pesos, while travelers are often quoted at 150 Philippine Pesos (1 US Dollar is approximately 41 Philippine Pesos).
If you end up leaving Shangri-La, don’t miss Puka Shell Beach, a short tricycle ride away from Shangri-La. It’s markedly different from White Beach—its beach front is relatively secluded, there are only a handful of shops and restaurants on the sand, and a rainforest serves as its backdrop. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a few curious monkeys sneaking peeks at the tourists and locals!
Another must-see in Boracay is D*Talipapa, a fresh seafood market where customers are expected to haggle and have their plunder cooked right there in the surrounding restaurants. We had our crab cooked in garlic sauce and served with rice and fresh mango smoothies. We had all of this for under $20 (though I hear we got majorly ripped off!), a price unheard of in Shangri-La’s walls. For great deals on fresh food, definitely go here.
Shangri-La is above all, the ultimate private island escape for honeymooners or travelers searching for tranquility in a beautiful setting where nature happily resides along luxurious and impressive architecture. Shangri-La is a must-see for all who have the budget for its prices (rooms go from $498 to $1726). Paradise is always worth it.