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“An awesome retreat that isn't just sitting on the beach”

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El Nido Resorts Apulit Island
Ranked #8 of 87 Hotels in Palawan Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

My girlfriend, two friends and I went to Apulit recently and it was a little different than I expected. First you need to decide if you're going to get there from Puerto Princesa or directly from El Nido by way of Manila. The drive from puerto princesa is long. Probably 4 1/2 hours. However I think you should definitely do it if you're not from the Philippines because it will give you a perspective that you're not used to seeing. Only go from puerto princesa one way. Fly out of el nido to Manila it's not worth your time to go back and forth to puerto princesa. We hooked up with a driver at the airport and they packed in 8 ppl with dropoffs and pickups along the way. I suggest setting that up earlier. Our planned driver was on Filipino time so we decided to get going. If you go from el nido it's way shorter and the ITI airplane is not a scary little plane, it's a legit large jet plane but with propellers of course. Once you get to Taytay they'll take you on a catamaran across the ocean (about 30 minutes) and over to apulit. It's beautiful there and I suggest getting the larger lodging because it's only $100 a night more and much larger. When you get to apulit they welcome you as a group and immediately get you set up with a host whose job it is to get you to do various activities like kayaking, snorkeling, island hopping, rappelling down their steep mountain (which is fun but we avoided), scuba diving, and more. A few other pointers: all the food is in buffet format but is very good. You have a ton of selection. There is a single bar right in the middle of the island and a few people hang there. They have a daily drink that's cheaper than making up your own and we just went with the local rum mix they had there. There is a wifi in the bar area but it's honestly not that strong or great but you won't care when there. There's no bugs in April/May. Get a water protection bag to keep your cameras and that stuff in while going on the boats. REI has that. Take a go pro with underwater housing if you have it. It's awesome. And have a damn blast!

  • Stayed: May 2014
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6  Thank shane2323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 August 2014

Our family of 5 went the first week in April 2014. The resort was mostly empty but that was perfect for our taste. The staff was incredible the food was really good and they were always willing to make local special items that my wife requested. I strongly recommend that you book your reservation and flight directly through El Nido. I didn't originally find their site and booked it through Expedia which didn't book the correct dates and left the flight off. Expedia also charged more than $1000 more than booking it directly through El Nido.

When they say all inclusive it really was all boat snorkeling dive etc was included the only extra were alcohol.

Many nights our kids were so tired after dinner they fell asleep at the table and the staff would go get a wheel chair to wheel them back to the room for us.

Perfect staff experience

Room Tip: As it's never too busy or loud I'd recommend one of the cabana's close to the main Lodge...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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9  Thank 910Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2014

El Nido is a drop dead gorgeous part of Palawan in the Philippines. Apulit Island is one of four resorts run by Ten Knots Development. Although we had a few kinks to work out with the online booking, everything else about our experience there was smooth as silk.

I traveled with 7 girlfriends, after we finished a build with Habitat Philippines for 2 weeks in Manila. This was our R&R and it was just what the doctor ordered! Getting to the island was bit of an adventure, but your booking includes everything (although you have the option of booking your transportation to Palawan separately and get there on your own). It was so easy to take the small private flight offered by the resort, round trip from Manila. The flight is about an hour. Once you land, you'll travel by van over land for about another 1.5 hours and finally take a boat for about 45 minutes to the island. Frankly, we were all tired from our work and just enjoyed not having to do anything.

Apulit is an all-inclusive, so there's nowhere else to go for adventure. The meals are served buffett style and there is plenty of good food. Our vegetarians and vegans were very happy too. You can order beer, wine and liquor but beware: the wine is super over-priced! Alcohol is not included. Massages (in an open air cabana) are very inexpensive (about $20/hour) and I recommend. Snorkeling was amazing and I was told the diving is world class. You can get certified here too if that's something you are interested in (and willing to pay for).

Most of us were there 5 nights and there was plenty to do for that amount of time. Those who had to leave early were sad to go early.

All the staff were absolutely wonderful and we couldn't thank them enough for making our time there most enjoyable!

Room Tip: There are only 2 types of rooms and they are all built over the water and have decks. The water cot...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank GlobalStaci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

From the minute we arrived a Manila airport for the charter flight we were treated by warm friendly staff wanting to make our 3-day weekend the most enjoyable vacation we'd had.
The staff at the boat transfer were very re-assuring to my friend who was very nervous getting on and off the boats, holding her hand as she boarded. They were also prepared for the wet weather and not only ensured all our luggage stayed dry but handed us out towels.
Although it rained almost the entire time we were there we still have a very relaxing time. The staff were always so friendly and responsive, keen to attend to whatever question or request you gave them. We couldn't have asked for more from our hosts.

The setting is stunning and we witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen.

Guests really are a captive audience so the rate we paid was all inclusive for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All meals were buffet style, although they did serve us a plate of crabs for lunch one day after I'd commented the night before that all the crabs had run out by the time I got to them. There was always a good variety of food on offer however Westerners do need to be open minded about which part of the world they are in. That said, there was fresh barbecue grilled fish or chicken or meat every night, usually a roast and one night they had a pasta station where you could ask them to create your sauce/pasta combo just as you wanted it. Breakfast also had an egg station.

The little beach is lovely. The pool was gorgeous. There was a hobbycat, a pedalo, several kayaks and the option to go rapelling had the weather been dry.

The one thing I was disappointed with was the accommodation. Our water loft (suitable for 4 people) was not a single stand-alone unit but rather joined to our next door neighbour. This gave us no privacy on our balcony. This would not have been the case had we booked a 2-person water bungalow. Back on the topic of balconies, although we had booked for 3 people, there were only 2 chairs on the balcony. They were more than happy to supply a 3rd chair however this then meant we had to squeeze past one another to get in and out of the room. Had their been 4 of us we would never have all fitted on the balcony at the same time without sitting on each others laps.

Despite the weather, the staff remained cheerful throughout. They even arranged for some of their staff to help us make hats our of coconut leaves to while away a rainy afternoon.

We did end up being stranded on the island for any extra day because of the weather (our visit was snuggled between 2 typhoons in the region). They are well prepared for such eventualities and have a special lay-over rate. They also seem to have provision in hand for alternative accommodation nearer the airport had we been able to make the boat journey only to find the plane couldn't land so 10/10 for contingency planning!

So why did I only give it a 4-rating? To be honest, the accommodation, ie the room itself, felt like 3-star accommodation while we were paying 5-star prices.

Room Tip: ask for a room facing west for spectacular sunsets. We were in room 21 (lower numbers would have ha...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank skatexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2014

My husband and I decided to go to the Philippines for our honeymoon. We searched and searched for just the right resort for our honeymoon. My husband is from Manilla so I did not want to go anywhere he might have already been. When my brother in law showed me a picture of the El Nido resorts I fell in love and immediately decided that was the place we would go. El Nido has four resorts and we visited three of them while staying there.

When researching the four destinations, Apulit had the most activities to do on site. This being said it is the most remote island of the four so there would be traveling time if you wanted to do more. Once you travel from Manilla to the El Nido airport the plane ride is about an hour then you must take a winding van ride on a dirt road to get off and transfer to a banka boat for 40 minutes. The travel time is a little long but well worth the wait once you get there. The island is gorgeous, and the staff is incredibly welcoming. Upon arrival we were greeted with a group of the workers, given a grass necklace, handed a refreshing drink, and sung to. It was pretty cool. Then the resort manager (Carlos) explains the resort and what can be offered while staying there.

Apulit was a little secluded and there wasn't that many guests staying there while we were there but I found it ideal for our honeymoon (or possibly a romantic getaway). We were treated amazingly by each and every guest with personal attention and sincere kindness. Mario was our tour guide for transportation, snorkeling, and island hopping. He is an incredible worker and always welcomed us every time we saw him. He showed up amazing reefs and explained different surroundings. I felt like he went above and beyond with his service.
Clarke was our guide for Spelunking (cave exploring) and Repelling. He also went above and beyond expectations. He was really patient with us Repelling. He is very kind natured and a great addition to your staff. While Repelling we gave our camera to Benji who sat there and took photos and videos of us Repelling.
I was afraid I wasnt going to be able to Scuba dive in the Philippines because I am certified but my husband was not. Alan (Scuba Instructor) explained that my husband could do the Discovery dive with some training and by able to go along with me. My husband had the time of his life while down at about 30 feet and now that is all he can talk about. I am so glad we were able to go together and he was able to share in something that I love so much.
I also recommend doing the private dinner. It is extra but so worth the cost. You are given a waiter (we had Calvin) who serves every course to you. They do an amazing job decorating the spot and it looks like something out of your dreams. We had ours in the hut on the beach but I look forward to going back and doing it in the cave with the small lagoon.

We had an amazing time. Things to consider when traveling to one of these resorts is sunscreen, bug repellent, your own mask and snorkel (if you have one), go pro (attach to head), dslr camera, and smartphone with waterproof case. We filled up over 50 gigs of photos and videos.

We had the best honeymoon, I couldn't have asked for any more. The service was great, the food was decent (but Im a picky eater), and the scenery was picturesque. The staff will not accept personal tips, and you are always transferred with security which made me feel good. I could not have dreamt up anything better even if I tried.

Room Tip: The water cottages furtherest from the beach. 51 is the last cottage.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank JennErfe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

Thank you El Nido resorts for giving us such an amazing experience during our stay. The resorts are obviously spectacular, but we have to say that the service and staff were even more incredible. We could not have asked for a better service or should I say hospitality. Your employees made our stay even more special. Your tour guides Chris at Miniloc and Mario at Apulit were exceptional. Manager Jon Jon (I think) at Miniloc was phenomenal. Again, thank you for making our honeymoon stay there unforgettable!! Until next time...

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank gel e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014 via mobile

Fantastic Resort... Staff always ready and willing to please ..good organised events .
Great Diving facility for teaching and actual dives. ( Got my Open Water PADI at 60 years of age ! ).. I truly cannot fault the place ... Maybe the only drawback is the mini bus trip from El Nido to Tay Tay ....
But I enjoyed that too as you see plenty of local sights and living ..

Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
3  Thank bob p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Nido Resorts Apulit Island

Address: Apulit Island | Taytay, Palawan Island 5322, Philippines (Formerly Apulit Island Resort)
Region: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Palawan Island
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Palawan Island
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Palawan Island
Price Range: £354 - £501 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — El Nido Resorts Apulit Island 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Apulit Island Resort is nestled within a pristine cove with a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs. Apulit offers a wide expanse of white-sand beach lined with coconut trees. It has 50 cottages built over the water in traditional architecture mixed with contemporary design. Apulit Island Resort is part of the El Nido Resorts group of eco-island resorts. It is located in Taytay, northeastern part of Palawan. It takes an hour flight from Manila to El Nido, and an hour and a half van ride, or a 4-hour land trip from Puerto Princesa City (Palawan's Capital City). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apulit Island Hotel Palawan
Club Noah Isabelle
Hotel Noah Isabelle
Resort Noah Isabelle

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