One of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, Shangri-La Boracay

Recommendation of the Day: Staying at Shangri-La Boracay, Philippines.

If you are thinking of visiting the Philippines, do not forget to stop by Boracay island and preferably stay in one of the villas in Shangri-La, Boracay.  It was my first time in Boracay and I have to say that it was one of our best vacations ever!

Let me share our experience so you have an idea on what to expect on your visit:

From Manila we flew via AirPhil Express which I think was approximately a 75-seater airplane.  It maybe a small airplane but it was not one of those scary old airplanes.  In fact, it looks well-maintained, new and reliable.

It was an hour plane ride from Manila to Caticlan, a city before our final destination to Boracay island.

As soon as we landed, we were approached by uniformed representatives asking which hotel we are staying at.  When we said, “Shangri-La” they immediately carried our bags and escorted us out of the small airport leading us to a private van that will take us to the island. I was very confused in the beginning because I was still disoriented from the plane ride and I did not understand why these uniformed men were taking our luggage.  But later on, I realized that it was part of Shangri-La’s customer service to escort you out of the airport and lead you to a van.  Of course, I felt quite paranoid because things were happening very fast.  Although I appreciated their hospitality, I hope that Shangri-La’s representatives would at least brief us what they would be doing first before taking our luggage as there are people like me who are not used to random strangers taking our bags and escorting us out.  But since we came with our friends who are familiar with the island, I had at least some peace of mind that everything was okay because they appeared to be calm, and there was nothing unusual or out of place about their behavior.

Unlike other Boracay hotel accommodations, I heard that sometimes you share the van with other tourists.  With Shangri-La, we had our own private van.  It was only our group (my family and my bestfriend’s family) who were in the van.   The van took us to Shangri-La’s visitors’ lounge while waiting for the speed boat to arrive that would take us to the island.

As we arrived at the lounge, we were welcomed with friendly staff and refreshing lemonade.  The air-conditioned lounge was small yet very comfortable with a somewhat Filipino-Hispanic wood design style.

I noticed that there were many boats and water taxis outside the lounge area loading many people in one boat.   They were I think from different hotels.  On the other hand, Shangri-La’s speed boat was again private for our group only.  They carefully assisted us on the boat and loaded just our group and took us to the island.  Wow, Shangri-La knows how to really treat their guests!  I guess VIP treatment is the name of their game!

This is the view outside the hotel from the speed boat. It looks gorgeous already from afar!

When we arrived at Shangri-La we were welcomed again with friendly faces and load us to a personal golf cart or “buggy” as they called it, which they use as a mode of transportation in taking their guests anywhere inside the Shangri-La compound.

As we arrived at our villa, we were introduced to our assigned butler who will be available to assist us 24 hours (wow, we have stayed at the Ritz Carlton in New York and there was not even a hint of a butler that came with our accommodation!).  She walked us around the room and left us a cell phone which we can use to call her if in case we have questions or need anything that she can assist us with.

Here are some gorgeous pictures of our Shangri-La stay which we personally took while  majority of the photos were taken from Shangri-La website.

Unlike other hotels, Shangri-La has their own private beach, entertainment center for the kids, gym, restaurants, bars and spa so you don’t have to leave the vicinity.  But in case you still want to go to other places in Boracay Island, they provide a free shuttle to take you almost anywhere in the city.

One other thing also that impressed me with service is their check out.  First, there is really no check out time.  Your check out depends on the time of your airplane flight.  So if you are leaving at 5PM, you can stay in the villa as late as 2PM or at your request. Also, unlike most hotels, they do not just slip your bill under the door.  A guest officer personally comes to your villa and explains your bills and the best part is, they take you again to their lounge at Caticlan via their private speed boat and the do almost all of the check out procedures for you in the airport!  All they need is one family representative to check in all the baggage and take care of paper work and voila, your done!  Most of the time you stay in the lounge and when it’s departure time, you literally just walk into the airplane!  You skip all the lines and all the waiting in the airport.

I highly recommend staying at Shangri-La Boracay.  When you can, stay in one of their villas. Their tree house is gorgeous as well but overall, anywhere in Shangri-La is really a little piece of heaven on earth!  We definitely hope to come back soon.

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