Thursday, May 10, 2012

HOTEL CHECK THE PHILIPPINES, part 1, Amanpulo

ANOTHER LAST PARADISE.


There is at least one more last paradise on earth, Amanpulo on Pamalican Island. This Crusoe isle is simply dazzling with tropical beauty and just as stunning as the Maldives, especially in the eyes of "Amanoholics" addicted to Aman’s sublime style and authenticity.



The world's best beach?

Apart from Aman’s gracious yet understated signature, the resort is blessed with the “world’s best beach”, long white sands, tall palms and turquoise water. What is more, Amanpulo has views of mountains on the neighbouring island – an island providing fresh foodstuffs and also hotel staff, thus living up to the Aman reputation for eco friendliness, authenticity and local touch.



Dazzling beauty and peace


For those who find the romance of a small island lasts only a few days, the greater size of Pamalican is a blessing. You can whizz between the 40 bungalows (casitas) on white sandy paths in solar powered buggies, or if empowered by organic gourmet eating enjoy a morning jog around a 5.5 km track. But go early – this is the tropics.

Free daily snorkeling trips leave at 10am and 2pm for an hour of discovery on the fringing reef. Since that is exactly when the Select team chose to eat breakfast and lunch, we took the option of kicking out from the beach to the reef on our own – some 10-15 minutes for an average swimmer. You could also paddle out on a Hobie ocean kyak.

The water is divine turquoise and aquamarine as it lies over pure white sand. Tidal effects are minimal and one can swim all day including low tide. Close to the land swimming is safe even for children. Further out currents can be quite strong.



Activities

Great gym with steam facilities booked free for 30 minute sessions. Pilates studio, yoga retreat and spa: all located on the highest point on the island. Paddle boards, canoes, snorkeling gear and full dive centre available.

30 metre swimming pool




Accommodation

We insist you stay in a beach casita - as we did on our recent visit. All casitas at Amanpulo are identical in design. Simple understated luxury in wood, well maintained but not modern or flashy in any way. All have TV, DVD, espresso machine. Each is spacious with a big bedroom and a big bathroom/dressing area – and an outdoor deck. All casitas come with a club car since island is big to get around. There are also villas with private swimming pools and kitchens.

For families, note that the 2 and 4 bedroom villas are actually 2 and 4 separate houses and not connected. They have a pool and a living room sala in the middle.



Our hammock and beach casita  - privacy and peace

Simple tasteful luxury

Meals


There are 5 restaurants in season. Meal pricing is on par with 5 star resorts – expensive but not exorbitant. Hamburger around 25 euros. Breakfast is a la carte and offers all sorts of delicious things that can make it costly if you indulge freely.


Breakfast


Arrival

When landing in Manila you are met by the Amanpulo representative. A 10 minute minibus ride transfers you to the domestic hangar. Once there relax in the Amanpulo lounge which offers free wifi, Nespresso coffee, snacks and tea sandwiches.
Arrival in paradise...

How to get to Amanpulo
From Manila the flight is on a Dornier twin engine propeller plane which seats 14 people (in 1+1 configuration). Onboard are earplugs, blanket and a useful guide about the island. No toilet on the plane. Flight time is 1h10mins.

Manila is an overworked airport so it’s good to allow 2 hours connecting time at both arrival and departure. On departure from MNL one has to pay a terminal fee of 550 Philippine pesos (approx 13USD) per pax – Visa and Master card accepted.



Some added values

Daily complimentary snacks (sweets and coconut water) are served in the Club House at 3 pm. A daily fruit plate is also brought to your casita. Local bottled water is plentiful and always free even with meals.



Who to stay

Any guest would be happy at Amanpulo due to the beauty of the island, though a sound budget helps.




Families

No specific facilities for children; no kids pool but the big pool at the club house has one section which is not so deep. Nevertheless the island can be great for families it is flat and safe, and during our stay there were plenty of families. Casitas can easily accommodate 1 extra bed, but 2 would be a bit too much.



Weather and best season

Amanpulo has a long season with reasonably good weather. The dry season is November to May. Best months to visit are March and April, while June, July, Aug, September & October bring a risk of typhoon. But even at this time of the year weather can be quite nice. When it rains it usually does not rain for long.


Wind direction on the island changes with the seasons. Ask your Select travel consultant to guide you on which Amanpulo accommodation is best at various times of the year.

NOTE: The images were snapped by the Select team with a mobile phone camera and no retouche work has been done - these are the real colours...

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