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Reviewed 16 May 2015

My wife and I wanted to experience a luxury resort in Palawan - looking at the choices offered by El Nido Resorts it looked like we couldn't go wrong with any of them, but chose Apulit Island because of its remoteness and offerings of outdoor activities which we enjoy. Our biggest problem with the stay was that ours was too short (4 nights) - we'll go back for at least 7 next time, so much to do!

We had a beachfront loft cottage, which I'd highly recommend not just for the extra room but the sunset-facing location with a completely unobstructed view was wonderful. The regular cottages seemed rather small, and unless you get one furthest south on the cove (units 44-50 I think) you won't have a direct view of the sunset. However, be aware that it's a long walk from the main areas to the beachfront lofts, which might be a bit much for some people. It was nice to step right out of our cottage to swim and snorkel, and honestly the fish life right next to the cottage was almost as abundant as anywhere we snorkeled, including lots of small harmless reef sharks.

Almost all of the activities and equipment at the resort are included, such as kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, windsurfers, Hobie cat (although you need to sail with a guide), snorkeling, island hops, rock climbing, rappelling, etc.. Some, such as scuba diving and sport fishing, are extra cost. We tried as many as we could, especially enjoying the beautiful kayak trip around the island (easy paddling, about 1 hour), working on our stand-up paddleboard skills (like floating on air above the clear water), and new to both of us were rock climbing and rappelling. Besides the exciting fun, the rappelling trip is worth it just for the views from atop the cross rock! The island hop to Nagbat and Isla Blanca islands also offers some great snorkeling and beach time.

Food is important since you're captive on the island - overall the buffets always had abundant choices with good variety day-to-day. Generally Asian-Filipino oriented cuisine, but I think most anyone can find plenty of nicely-prepared dishes to their liking. The salads were particularly nice, I'm not sure how they get and keep lettuce and other produce so crisp and fresh in that climate, something quite rare in my Philippine experiences! Along with the buffet there were prepared-to-order stations, such as eggs/omelets at breakfast, meats/fish/noodles, etc. at lunch and dinner. We were treated one evening to a private dinner, expertly served and quite romantic, we even had a private serenade from Aaron, the island's resident singer!

As others have mentioned, the staff, from manager Carlo on down to every single server, helper, gardener, etc., is fantastic and always seem centered on making your stay as enjoyable as possible. How can you not feel the warmth when everyone you pass stops, smiles, and says hello or wishes you a good day?

One thing I was surprised with was that, although we were told that the resort was about 70% full, is that it never felt crowded at all. The beach, the pool, the equipment, meals, everything was instantly available. We almost felt we had the place to ourselves at times - not sure where everyone was!

I think the only points where improvement is needed are related to cleanliness in and around the rooms. Our shower had a bit too much mold (OK I know this is an impossible problem in the Philippines but it should be better in such an expensive resort) and the towels were sometimes a bit tattered and weren't always that white. Around the cottages there was some trash, particularly in or near the water, that should have been picked up. Small flaws in this otherwise perfect diamond.

Room Tip: Any of the beachfront loft cottages, or regular cottages #44-50) for best views.
  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Mark C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2015

Our family of 5 (2 adult and 3 children) travelled to Apulit Island March to April 2015. Unlike the other reviews, our stay on Apulit Island was beyond perfect. We had great weather and calm sea conditions throughout our visit. Transportation to Apulit was easy, our Prop plane from Manila to Taytay was on time and surprisingly smooth. Both terminals provided light snacks and drinks. There were a lot of mosquitos in the Manila terminal, but the staff was ready as they provided us with insect repellant. Upon arrival in El Nido we were greeted by kind smiles and lovely singing. Our number 1 tour guild, Benjie, clearly answered all of our questions. We napped most of our way to Taytay warf where we caught our boat to Apulit. The 5 of us were provided with towels and enjoyed our 45 minute boat ride to the island. Upon arrival, we were again greeted with more smiles and singing. Our loft house was truly amazing. It was clean, spacious and our views from our balcony was breathtaking. We enjoyed excursion after excursion - we had a private snorkeling tour and lunch to Isla Blanca. The marine life and colors of the reef were so alive and vibrant. Benji our tour guide pulled a buoy our youngest daughter held onto while snorkeling, while my husband and I explored and enjoyed the marine life carefree. While cruising around the islands our ship captains and tour guides gladly educated us and pointed out animals, birds and fish that are indigenous to Apulit Islands. Our children learned so much by seeing and experiencing everything first hand. We took advantage of everything Apulit had to offer, sunset cruises, sunrise cruises, visiting caves, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, repelling, massages and swimming.

Now for the food - It is important to know that there is always a grill open with lots of options for meats and seafood for grilling. There is always a salad bar and dessert bar. The rest of the buffet always has a variety of dishes. We were fortunate to meet our favorite chef Jeric. He knew exactly how we enjoyed our foods, down to how we like our eggs for breakfast. He and the kitchen staff always aimed to please. One night we were surprised with a small anniversary cake. I think one of my children may have mentioned that it was mommy and daddy's anniversary in passing. So we were so surprised to be presented with the thoughtful greeting.

We miss all of our kind friends on Apulit. Carlo the resort manager should be commended for running such a well oiled machine. We can't wait to go back... We would definitely recommend this resort to families with children and people with only good attitudes. If you can't have a good time on Apulit, you probably can't be pleased anywhere else.

Room Tip: Apulit Island had really nice rooms and if you are going as a family
  • Stayed: March 2015, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Fineza5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2015

This is a real gem of a resort with great activities, diving, snorkelling, food and staff. Nothing was ever a problem for the staff, especially Dang who would have to be one of the best staff members on the Island. She was always positive, smiling, attentive to your requirements and just polite.

Both my wife and I did scuba diving for the first time and we enjoyed it so much that we arranged 3 dives. The dive master was great and very supportive and have opened up a word to us that we will continue to explore.

I would recommend this island and resort to anyone. To the management of the island, you have done very well with your staff training and have a very good set up. Well Done. We hope to be back in the near future.

  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank TasmaniaScott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2015

Everything was absolutley PERFECT!
From booking until leaving the resort. Any question regarding booking resort or flight was promptly solved. When we came to the resort after 1 hour boat ride we were welcome by a group of resort employees singing to us and giving us fresh cold towels. Accomodation is a bit old fashioned but very serene. Food was good (full board meals), food restriction was partialy considered. All staff crews were very nice and more than happy to help with anything. Free wifi with excellent signal all over the resort. Diversity of activities was also good, with instructor to any activity. At the end we were very sad to leave the resort. Will totally recomment anyone i know visiting El nido to go there. 5\5.

  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Dr_shavit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2015

I wish I could give the resort 5 points due to the very nice staff and potential it has but I can´t because it´s concept isn´t oriented toward the quiet and peace seeking northern european indivudal tourist (me) but rather to the activity and fun seeking asian group tourist, which is ok of course, but I would have liked to know that in advance.
First the pros: location (beautiful remote island with fantastic snorkeling possibilities), friendly and dedicated staff, good food (special needs are being considered!), plenty of activities. The positive aspects of the loft water cottages are: they are clean (no bugs), have direct access to the sea and you can sleep with and without ac, meaning for people who don´t like ac there is a quiet ceiling fan and you can create a breeze by leaving the balcony door open.
The cons: What you get for at least € 450 / night is a room in a row house colony with a tiny balcony without peace and privacy (especially in the loft water cottages because they are built in double house style so you can hear every move and sound your neighbors make). People who are looking for peace should be aware that the loft water cottages are regularely used by big families since there is space for 4 people easily and are correspondingly noisy (starting at 5.30 in the morning). The very nice infinity pool tends to get overrun by noisy people repeatedly. The boat transfer from Taytay is only twice a day and in an uncomfortable banka where you can get completely wet if the sea is rough. There are all sorts of noise at the beach (generator, music from bar and restaurant).
My personal experience: To me a luxurios resort should be a place that offers me space, privacy and peace in a beautyful scenery where my personal needs are being met. Our vacation at Apulit resort began with difficulties: Due to our own failure with transportatin from Busuanga we had to take the ferry from Coron to El Nido in the morning of our first booked and paid night on Apulit island. We arrived in El Nido at 15.00, had booked a private van to Taytay via El Nido resort and arrived in Taytay at 17.00. The boat transfer to Apulit island under normal conditions is just 1 hour so we could have made it easily but unfortunately the last boat goes at 15.00 and the El Nido resort people insisted that they couldn´t offer any later transfers in general for "safety reasons". They informed us that the current would be too strong and the coastguard wouldn´t allow any transfers after 15.00. I don´t want to allege that this is a lie but what I can say is that the sea was completely flat and calm when we arrived in Taytay. We were forced to stay the night at someplace there and lost our first night on Apulit. We were supposed to be picked up the next morning at 10.00 and the boat was scheduled to leave at 11.00. We ended up being picked up at 11.15 without any explanation and first taken to a shabby office where our baggage was checked (I guess for weapons) and we had to wait together with some other guests. We found the procedure authoritative (like cattle being herded) and for a first class resort rather irritating. At the harbour it was obvious that the sea was very rough, which was probably the reason for the delay. Our boat was a banka probably built for 20 people. Fortunately it had a few seats inside and in the back. That´s where we sat on a uncomfortable wooden bank like on a public ferry. The boat left around 12.15. The 10 people who sat upfront were completely soaked after 10 minuntes. They laughed about it which is good for them. I wouldn´t have laughed about it at all if it had been me. I have stayed 3 nights on Miniloc island in 2010 and I remember being picked up in a much better boat for the transfer. I don´t mind an uncomfortable banka transfer where I can get soaked going to a cheap resort but from a place like this, I find it hard to accept. Also this creates unnecessary problems allready at the beginning. Anyway after arriving at Apulit ressort we were welcomed very friendly. Being shown to our rooms we were not really happy because when we stepped out on the balcony we saw that one is exposed to at least 3 of the neighbors. Also our room was inbetween a large filippino familiy who had booked 3 rooms. We managed to change the room but that didn´t help much. The concept of the resort just isn´t oriented towards people like us. On our second day (we stayed for 6 nights) a big incentive group arrived and occupied the pool and beach area noisily. This is just incompatible with my personal need for a vacation. The manager and the staff tried everything they could to make us feel comfortable which is one reason why I don´t give Apulit only 1 or 2 points. The other reason is that the snorkeling is really great. I read one complaint about the corals not being nice enough. Also it is true that the corals at the house reef aren´t spectacular but the other marine life is! The operator company who owns the island has enforced a ban on fishing. This is the reason why you can see many and also bigger fish, turtles, sharks and they also have a large school of fish. I really enjoyed this very much and haven´t ever seen anthing comparable.
All in all if you are not sensitive to noise and turbulence, are interested in snorkeling and like to be active this is a good place to go to.

  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Saskia1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ElNidoResortsPH, Public Relations Manager at El Nido Resorts Apulit Island, responded to this reviewResponded 5 May 2015

Thank you for your candid review of your recent stay. It is unfortunate that certain areas of your trip didn't meet expectations. Please note that all these are taken seriously, and progressive measures to address these are being explored. For one, we are looking into getting better and more comfortable transfer boats for our guests. These and other improvements are being made to better service our guests needs.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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