The holidays are finally upon us and with their arrival comes the challenge to make them fun and meaningful. People are discovering more and more the value of experiences: bonding time with family and friends takes precedence over things. From shared meals in a favorite restaurant, to slumber parties in a cool hotel—with the requisite photo taking sessions, of course.
This holiday season, make those plans of a local getaway and create new memories with the people closest to you at Lifestyle’s top 15 boutique hotels and resorts in the country.
It’s so easy when you can book a place with the click of a button. You can conveniently and safely make online transactions with your credit, debit or prepaid Mastercard. Imagine an added layer of protection to your payments. Check with your bank about the Mastercard SecureCode, which allows you to have a unique password (called a One Time Password or “OTP”) for each online transaction you make.
Easier travel planning means you can spend more quality time with your loved ones. This holiday season, take some time off to recharge, and make your travel plans a reality with Mastercard.
Anya Resort, Tagaytay – One of only three Philippine properties listed in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Anya Resort in Tagaytay has 88 well-appointed rooms distributed over 11, two-storey blocks. To get to their rooms, guests can walk or take a golf cart from the main building that also houses the reception area. The resort has three dining outlets: Samira for all-day dining, Anila for drinks and bar chow, and Amra for pizza and pasta served poolside. What sets Anya apart is the personalized service offered by “lifestyle assistants” who can make arrangements for guests before they arrive and during their entire stay. anyaresort.com
Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa, Bohol – The luxury resort located on Panglao Island in the southernmost tip of Bohol covers 16 hectares. The beach fronting the resort is a long stretch of powdery white sand.
Villas or “balai” are all single-detached and made of sturdy construction materials, but finished with bamboo, cogon and wood for that tropical island appeal. The focal point of the resort is the infinity swimming pool that appears to melt into the sea.
Eskaya is the second of three Philippine properties in the list of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. eskayaresort.com
Pangulasian Island, Palawan – El Nido Resorts’ eco-luxury island resort in Bacuit Bay is set against a backdrop of tropical forest. Pangulasian has 42 deluxe accommodations (canopy villas, beach villas and pool villas) built with contemporary Filipino and cutting edge “green” design.
Apart from the personalized service, guests are enamored by the rich marine sanctuary located practically at the resort’s doorstep.
Pangulasian is the third Philippine property listed under Small Luxury Hotels of the World. elnidoresorts.com/pangulasian-island/
Sitio Remedios, Currimao – In the sleepy town of Currimao in Ilocos Norte is a resort made up of several reconstructed traditional wood houses lining a mini plaza.
The villas are perfect for small families, and feature creature comforts like airconditioning, and hot water. There is a plunge pool near the dining area but the beach and its dark gray sand is inviting as well.
Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel, Palawan – This new full-service hotel with a marine theme has a reception area decorated with corals, and lighting designed to mimic sunlight piercing the ocean. The food at Baya is generously portioned and tasty. Winners included Sinampalukang Manok with pepper leaves and chili, Lechon Kawali, and Guinatang Pugita (octopus quickly cooked and added to a creamy coconut sauce).
After a day spent hiking up and down Kayangan Lake, island-hopping, or bobbing around in the hot springs of Maquinit or the hotel’s infinity pool, there’s nothing better than a cool shower, dinner and a good night’s sleep at Two Seasons. twoseasonsresorts.com/corontown
Summit Galleria Cebu – The business and leisure hotel sits on the podium of Cebu City’s Robinsons Galleria mall. Providore, its all-day dining outlet, is run by Raintree Restaurants Philippines. Amenities include spa and fitness facilities, an indoor swimming pool, and a pillarless ballroom that can be divided into three smaller function rooms.
All its tastefully done rooms are outfitted with chiropractic designed beds and pillows covered in layers of linens for maximum comfort. summithotels.ph/hotels/summit-galleria-cebu/
Aruga at Rockwell -Aruga’s serviced apartments have all the well-designed amenities one expects from a Rockwell brand. Units range from studios to one- or two-bedroom suites.The larger rooms have dining areas where one can host intimate dinners for four to eight people.
Or, one can head to Aruga Café on the ground floor that serves comfort food like cheese sandwiches with guava dip, callos and lengua.aruga.com.ph
Ascott Bonifacio Global City – Ascott Bonifacio offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with lavish living spaces and plush interiors.
It has a lap pool that can get cold late in the afternoon but the water in the outdoor Jacuzzi is warm and inviting. Feeling peckish? Head to Bonifacio High Street just across the hotel and take your pick from dozens of restaurants. the-ascott.com
Discovery Country Suites, Tagaytay– Tagaytay is always a good idea as long as you head there early enough to beat the crowds. Discovery Country Suites has less than 10 themed rooms and staff that will cater to almost every whim.
Its turn-down service includes warm milk and cookies. discoverycountrysuites.com
Domicillo, Tagaytay – This eight-room boutique hotel was designed by Budji Layug of Budji+Royal Design firm. As such, it is filled with Instagram-worthy spots and has one of the best unobstructed views of Taal Lake. Layug’s clean lines and studied use of poured concrete pair well with the shiny mirrored surfaces. There is a restaurant that serves tasty Filipino breakfast (crispy danggit, longganisa, fried bangus) although one can always head to Antonio’s or Josephine’s for a late lunch or early dinner.
The Henry Hotel Manila – The guest rooms at Henry Hotel Manila are spacious and light-filled, while the bathrooms are outfitted with modern showers and deep, claw-footed tubs. Linger over afternoon tea on the tiled verandas or take a dip in the pool.thehenryhotel.com
Siama Hotel, Sorsogon -Siama Hotel has beautifully designed interiors. Credit goes to furniture and home designer Milo Naval, who turned four hectares of the 10-hectare copra plantation into one giant showroom. “When we were conceptualizing the resort, we wanted to maintain the provincial feel of the place but with all other creature comforts,” Naval said. siamahotel.com/
Summit Magnolia – The hotel has 82 rooms including four themed suites (two of each). The Magical suite has Moorish inspired touches like curved arches and filigree lamps; the Fabulous suite has an Old Hollywood theme with a mural including Audrey Hepburn in pearls; Divine offers a Zen-like space for guests to zone out; and Nostalgic pays homage to the old Magnolia Ice Cream factory with one wall listing childhood frozen delights like “pinipig crunch” and “choo-choo train.” Since the hotel is connected to Robinsons Magnolia, guests can choose from a variety of restaurants and cuisines.summithotels.ph/hotels/summit-hotel-magnolia/
Discovery Shores – The award-winning hotel is included in the 2017 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. It ranked seventh in the Top Best Resort Hotels in Southeast Asia, and is the only Philippine property on the list. The resort, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, continues to hew close to its aim of “Service That’s All Heart.”discoveryshoresboracay.com
Amorita Resort – The resort perched on a limestone cliff overlooking Alona Beach is one of the area’s most luxurious with some villas even outfitted with plunge pools. To mark its 10th anniversary, the resort is offering a special “Perfect 10” package that includes luxury accommodation for two, daily breakfast at Saffron, dinner at Tomar, and head and shoulder massage for two at Sea Tree Spa. amoritaresort.com