INTRODUCTION TO AMANPULO
Opened in 1993, Amanpulo, an exclusive private island resort operated by Aman on Pamalican Island in Palawan, Philippines, remains one of the finest exponents of understated luxury done right at a private island. Featuring one of the world’s finest beaches at a resort – the softest sands and clearest waters – unadulterated nature is married with Aman’s signature service standard.
Date of stay: February 2016
Room: Beach Casita #23
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOYLAD
WHAT I LOVED
- Location. A secluded private island in Philippine’s most picturesque region of Palawan, but away from the crowds that populate mainland Palawan, specifically El Nido.
- Beach. Some of the softest, finest sand anywhere in the world, and complemented by clear waters that change shades regularly from turquoise to aquamarine to emerald. On account of its spectacular beach (and matched by the service), many have deemed this the “best beach resort in the world”.
- Kawayan Bar. A floating bamboo bar in the middle of the sea is the perfect spot for sunset gazing, and can be accompanied by light snacks and pre-dinner drinks or something more substantial meal-wise (including picnic lunches etc).
- Service. Prepare to be pampered. As Amanjunkies know all too well, service is top-notch. Warm and welcoming Filipino hospitality shines through in its genuinity. The staff are on-point and thoughtfully notice or remember even the smallest of preferences.
- Food. Aman’s “refined home-cooked” style is really at its peak here, with many dishes, including the mangrove crab, being absolutely exceptional. For a private island of its size housing so few rooms/villas, there are ample choices for food – the Clubhouse Restaurant serves a variety of food including local specialities, the Beach Club serves delectable tapas, the Picnic Lounge serves light fare during lunch and the Lagoon serves grilled specialities. But the real star here is the private barbecues, which can be done outside your (beach) casita.
- Activities. All kinds of watersports including snorkeling, diving and kayaking happen either at Amanpulo or in its immediate vicinity. Cruises offer excursions to local islands, as well as mainland Palawan, but are also available for more relaxing sunset jaunts. The health concious (and kids) will enjoy the playful ‘Jungle Run’ – an obstacle course designed around the centre of the island’s shrubbery and foliage. Strolling around the island can be a leisurely 90-minute walk, and be
- Spa. Although elevated spaces on the relatively flat island are few and far in between, the spa is one of the few structures housed in an elevated space, and thus enjoys some of the best views.
- Honeymoon or family. Despite the private island vibe, this is not a “honeymoon-only” resort (though there is no doubt that it can be very romantic as well although there are no overwater villas!). Kids are more than welcome, and the private residence villas are built to cater for families or groups.
- Space and privacy. Unlike other private island resorts in renowned destinations such as the Maldives, Pamalican Island is nearly 100 hectares in size, meaning there is plenty of space for everyone. Additionally, the resort is only restricted to a handful of casitas and villas, ensuring further space (even many of the best resorts in the Maldives house over 100 villas).
POINTS TO NOTE
- Design. Amanjunkies may find the design a little blasé. Recent refurbishings, particularly for the bathrooms and treetop casitas (some of which now have private pools) have improved certain aspects. The design remains timelessly elegant, but does not wow (as Amankila, Amanpuri, even Amanusa etc will).
- Landscape. Apart from the beautiful sand and beaches, the Palawan region is also known for its unique landscapes. However, as a private island off the coast of mainland El Nido, the island which houses Amanpulo is quite flat. Neighbouring islands including Manaloc offer a more varied topography.
- Snorkeling. While there is plenty of marine life in the vicinity, accessible via Amanpulo’s snorkel and dive excursions, unlike in the Maldives, the coral reef does not hug or fringe the beach and it is actually quite a distance away. However, marine life in the vicinity include black-tip reef sharks and giant sea turtles.
- Guests are picked up following immigration, luggage claim and customs at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) and driven to the A. Sorianoa Hangar (approximately 20 minutes away), where Amanpulo has a small lounge for refreshments. From there, it’s only an (approximately) one-hour private scheduled charter plane ride to paradise. Amanpulo’s private schedule charter timings are synced with international arrivals from Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The plane operates two scheduled charters per day, round-trip.
- For guests on long international journeys, the private schedule charter maintains a strict 20 kg luggage allowance per person. Excess luggage may be charged, or guests may store luggage at the lounge for a small fee.
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Pamalican Island, Palawan, Philippines
- OPENED: 1993
- HOTEL ROOMS: 40
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: 20
- RATES FROM: USD 1,100/night++
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
- PRIVATE ISLAND HIRE AVAILABLE
OFFICIAL HOTEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
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