Once we had decided to go the Philippines, the real task was to decide which island to visit. With around 1000 intricate islands making up the country of the Philippines, many boasting of white sandy beaches and picture perfect views this was a hard task in itself. Finally we decided on Panglao Island, Bohol and the newly built Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa, set on top of a cliff, which overlooked its own private beach.
Most main international flights arrive in to the capital Manila, or the up and coming city of Cebu. From there you can easily get to Panglao Island by flying into the nearby city of Tagbilaran (2 hours) or taking a short boat ride from Cebu (1hour 30 minutes). It is then only a short transfer ride to the resort.
On arrival at this boutique hotel, designed by the well-known Filipino architect Bobby Manosa, the relaxing and tranquil surroundings were overwhelming. With 15 individual private villas set in the grounds surrounded a fantastically positioned sizable infinity pool. The most striking feature in all the villas was the stunningly beautiful outside bathrooms, consisting of a centrally positioned Jacuzzi bath and an unusual bamboo shower. A number of the villas boasted their own private infinity pools and all the mod cons you would normally attribute to a hotel in the middle of London rather than a secluded boutique hotel on an island in the Philippines.
We were not short of things to do at Eskaya Resort, many vacate to Panglao Island for the diving alone. However from Eskaya`s own private beach you can also hire the resort`s jet ski and canoes along with using the facility of the resorts affiliate dive centre which also resides on the beach. Further to this, it is possible to organise a personal tour to many of the fascinating sites around Bohol in their own private air-conditioned transfer vehicles.
As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre the food was exceptional, and surprisingly not overpriced. You can enjoy the delights of the local cuisine or stick to something closer to home, with the added pleasure of being able to choose to eat in the charming restaurant next to the main infinity pool, on the beach or within the gardens.
The personal touches and attention to detail of this development is astounding, from the rose petals in the bath to the attentiveness of the staff. Each villa has its own personal maid who can be contacted at any point and in addition there are golf buggies for when you do not wish to walk around the grounds, which any staff member will be happy to provide.
The real gem of this paradise is the Handuraw Spa facility, consisting of two large treatment rooms with private changing rooms featuring your own sauna, steam room, outside Jacuzzi and infinity pool. What better way to truly unwind and revitalise your body whilst on holiday and this is only the start of the delights on offer. I would recommend this place on the Handuraw Spa alone.
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