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All reviews big lagoon el nido resorts big mac jack fish garden cottage water cottages sister resort entalula beach club full board meals activity coordinator buffet style buffet lunch boat ride our honeymoon resort staff marine life private dinner
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Reviewed 11 December 2017

- Value for money despite expensive cost - This hotel is part of a group of hotels under the El Nido resorts group. The cost of the hotel can seem very expensive at first but when you see what it includes, this will have you rethinking this and I personally thought that it was excellent value for money. The price includes the accommodation, transfers, all inclusive basis for meals (but not drinks), activities at the hotel itself such as paddle boards, kayaks, snorkelling gear and equipment, life jackets etc and all tours offered by the hotel (there are many). There is no limit to how many tours you take during your stay or in any given day so you can take as many tours as you like at no additional charge.

- Activities on site - the water is just perfect for snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding and is crystal clear and often shallow enough to wade in. We visited quite a few of the resorts and went to Lagen too but nearly all the staff reported that the snorkelling at Miniloc was probably the best in the area. It was beautiful full of starfish,different fish, turtles if you are lucky (though we didn't see any). Check if it is jellyfish season (it was when we were there) and if so, it is worth bringing along jellyfish rash guard clothing or trousers/long sleeved top protective clothing. We hadn't but the gift shop does sell it (quite expensive there though). If you do get stung, as I did on the first day, the stings were quite mild to be honest, wore off quickly and the locals say vinegar works best to ease the stings - if you ask the staff if you get stung, they can provide this for you. They also have a pool table in the heart of the bar area and a big choice of board games you can borrow. The bar area is really the social heart of this hotel and even though we don't usually spend evenings at the bar on our holidays, this was what we did each night as there was such a good vibe and buzz.

- Tours - The tours the hotel provide go to some of the other El Nido resort properties such as Lagen island, which is perfect for a day of relaxation poolside and beachside again, Entalula beach club for more relaxation and a fabulous beach lunch and fresh grilled fish.seafood lunch in the sand. The other tours we did were Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Snake Island and Cave Trip and Shimuzu island for snorkelling. We also booked the sunrise cruise for our final morning but this had to be called off due to poor weather. When 2 of the tours we wanted to do were clashing, without us even asking, the activities coordinator made arrangements for us to be able to go to both by informing the boatmen of the change so that we split from the rest of the group to go on to Snake Island. The tour guides are so chatty, jovial and passionate about their jobs and Mario, Andy and Jay (the intern) were all wonderful guides for our trips. They were so good at helping first time snorkellers, giving safety advice, helping us on and off the boats, telling us the history of these islands and always offering to take photos of us all.

- Eco friendly - very eco friendly resort, minimal use of plastic (no plastic water bottles in the room so if you want to take water out on tours, you'll have no choice than to either buy a bottle from their shop or carry an empty bottle), even the straws are made of paper. I wonder whether this was the reason a hair dryer was not provided in the room.

- Food - the buffet choice was very impressive and was plenty of choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One one night, they had live music during dinner, which made for a great buzz - would be nice if they did this on other nights too or at least played some background music as not much atmosphere in the restaurant without this. The food mostly was delicious and with a good choice of vegetables and vegetarian options and desserts too. Also, each night, they had something bespoke you could order - one night Mongolian bbq customised, one night it was a custoised risotto station. They also did this with desserts - one night, crepes, one night the signature Philippines dessert as well as all the regular offerings

- Service and Rooms - this, unfortunately, was where things were a bit more hit and miss. If it wasn't for this aspect, I would have happily given a 5 star rating here but this was where things went downhill. The service very variable between staff, in contrast, for example, to places like Discovery Shores Boracay and South Palms Panglao, which I have also written reviews about - in which the service was consistently excellent and warm. At Miniloc, the tour guides, activities coordinator and front desk staff, were helpful and smiley but as for the restaurant waiting staff, some were much less friendly than others.

A few examples of small issues we faced were, one evening, I brought a glass of coconut water (that I had paid for) to the dinner table. The staff accidentally removed it and got rid of it, which is an honest mistake and I fully understand this BUT when I tried to explain it to the waitress, she didn't seem to be understanding what I was saying and eventually when she did, she said that she would look into it. 20 minutes later (by which time, I had finished my main course), she had not come back to me. In the end, I approached the man in charge of the restaurant, who quickly replaced it for me and apologised but I cannot understand why the waitress could not have come back to me earlier or just offered to bring me another coconut water to start with. Surely this would have been easier all round?

Another issue in the restaurant was when one waitress picked up my plate to remove it whist I was still chewing and finishing a mouthful let alone finishing my meal. Some staff also seemed disinterested and bored.

- Rooms - when you see this kind of price tag, you might be expecting a highly luxurious room. Be warned, this is not the case and the price tag is very much for the gorgeous stunning location, the beautiful lagoons, house reef and inclusions - the room itself falls wide off the mark of what one would expect for this price. Don't get me wrong, it is fine for all basic needs but no added luxuries and not large enough to spend any free time in really. We stayed in a garden cabin, which is quite small and cosy and would have been quite romantic if it wasn't for these issues. The rooms need a refurb and in need of some TLC. When there were power cuts, there was a system in place as a back up so we weren't without power but when the power went off, it seemed to interfere with the Air Con whereby it would not come back on itself even when power had resumed. Therefore, there were a couple of nights where we had a very uncomfortable, stuffy humid night because the AC not restarting.

Secondly, there is no hair dryer. The latter is not a big thing really and again, I managed without the hair dryer but I know many who would find this problematic and I would have liked one ideally. They may have been able to provide this on asking, I don't know, but this was not mentioned anywhere, which I think they should address. My biggest problem though was the enormous number of ants in the room - I understand that because of the forested nature of the island and the fact that it is so at one with nature, that to some extent, this is inevitable and in itself, I would not find it so much of a problem if it wasn't for the fact that there were so many ants both on the day bed and on our actual bed, near the pillows! I rang the front desk one evening around 9pm to report this, to which the lady asked if I wanted them to bring in an insect repellent coil. This is all good and well but this would not have helped me sort out the bed itself and she made no mention of this and when I said "what about all the ants in the bed", she then proceeded to say "what would you like us to do about it?" I was quite surprised by this - surely, either changing the sheets, changing the bedding, bringing in repellent, looking for cracks in the walls where they may be coming in from etc etc - surely these are all suggestions they could have made? It was only when I said I would like someone to come in and sort it out, they sent a member of housekeeping, who changed the sheet. No more appeared in the bed itself but the next day, we noticed more ants all over the day bed. I mentioned it to the front desk after breakfast, telling them I was about to go on a tour and that this was the 2nd time I had had to report this. I expected that she would send housekeeping straight away to sort this and at least, it would all be done by the time we were back fro our tour later. Unfortunately, we returned and nothing had been done. This time, we just removed the sheet from the day bed ourselves and left it outside the room on the porch. As paying customers who had not caused this issue through any fault of our own, we should not have had to resort to doing this ourselves. For a budget property in a forested area, these things do not come as a surprise but at a hotel part of the luxury properties of El Nido resorts costing hundreds pounds/dollars per night, this is not acceptable and certainly, the blase, dismissive response from the front desk when I raised it, was again not acceptable.

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank hungryforcake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2017 via mobile

My daughter and I just made a quick stop to miniloc island while on tour . We had some drinks and a snack while we were there. It was nice because we were able to just charge the food and drinks to our hotel room in another isoand. The resort seemed to be busier than ours but nevertheless beautiful as well.

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
Thank Claudia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2017 via mobile

This is the oldest property of El nido resorts. Payment includes ferry transfer, lodging, all food, water (not bottled)/coffee/tea and activities (picture included).
Ferry can pick you up at 2 locations: El nido resorts Pier inside Lio complex or El nido boat terminal in town. Bangka takes 40 minutes to resort. Upon arrival to resort (paradise) you are greeted by the staff offering a cool towel, drink and welcome song. Buffet lunch is waiting for you. After lunch you get checked in and escorted to your rooms. Free WIFI with strong signal thru entire property.
We stayed in beach cottage 41, it has direct view of the beach. Rooms are clean, max occupancy for our room is 3 people. Strong AC will keep you cool and comfortable. Desk, safety deposit box, coffee/tea inside the room. Beds tend to be on the hard side here in the Philippines so no exception here. Bathrooms are spacious and plenty of hot water for showering. Our bathroom needs a little maintenance because we noticed a leak from shower ceiling light but it didn't disturb our stay. Small outside porch where you can hang clothes out to dry, leave shoes, foot wash station and umbrellas in case you need them.
The resort is lush with limestone mountains, good snorkeling right off the beach. Kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear and vests are also included at no extra charge. Beach is maintained clean by workers all thru the day. 5 beach cabanas with 2 cushioned loungers each plus other loungers on the beach. Open spa facilities available with massage tables at 2 different locations of the resort. Hilot massage was very good.
Plenty of food choices even if vegetarian. Buffet style only, no a la carte at this resort. Bfast from 0630-09, lunch 12-2pm and dinner from 7pm-9pm. Happy hour from 4p-6p buy one drink get one free. Kareoke room available. Beach side bar with pool table and sitting area. Plenty of board games to keep you entertained. No pool at this hotel.
Tours available (picture included) have specific times so book a day ahead if you can. Activities coordinator, Jade, is very approachable and helpful when making reservations for the tours. Tour guides are friendly and take care of you every step of the way. Non-swimmers felt safe at all times and guides took them out snorkeling and Kayaking so they can also enjoy the activities. Life vests provided and not the ugly Orange ones, they are green with better fit and different sizes, even for kids.
The staff is friendly with superb customer service. They will go out of their way to make you happy. If you want to tour at different times than offered or different islands it can be arranged as long as boats and guides are available. Private boat for 3 people Max will be extra charge $3000 pesos local money for 3 hours.
Guests can kayak 20 minutes to Big lagoon and 30 minutes to small lagoon. Half basketball court, volleyball court, diving center and small playground for the kids available.
We were celebrating a birthday on this trip so for an extra fee the resort arranged private Kamayan dinner at big lagoon. The island was lit up and beautifully decorated. The food was amazing, we ate to our hearts content.
On our departure day we had to leave early for fast ferry departure so we arrange for speed boat transfer to ferry terminal $3500 pesos per boat. Per coast guard rules the earliest boat can leave the island at 05am weather permitting. We made it to ferry terminal in 20 minutes and had plenty of time to check in for fast ferry leaving 06am.
Very happy with this resort and superb customer service. VIP treatment all the way!!

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with friends
Thank MONKEYBUZZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2017 via mobile

The front view of the resort upon docking is beautiful. The rooms are just ok, it has seen better days. It is old. Our hair dryer sparked and short circuited, totally scary. The bed and sheets were comfy. We had frequent brownouts throughout the night.

The main selling point of Miniloc resort is the rich marine life by the front of the resort. We had a school of jacks swimming every morning and various other fishes. They also include day trips to their other resorts: Lagen, Pangulasian. If you have the budget, I suggest staying at either of the two, both are better options.

The food was so-so, nothing really spectacular or made a dent in my memory.

The service was bad. It seemed like they dont like what they're doing. Bad. Hard to get their attention and they forget to bring your requests.

Stayed: March 2017, travelled with friends
8  Thank iamshutterbugbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2017

We spent 4 days of fun, relaxation and adventure all rolled into one place called Miniloc. From the time we checked in at the airport to go to El Nido until we checked in for our flight back to Manila, we were given special treatment by El Nido Resorts and Air Swift personnel. Miniloc was the ideal resort for families and friends. The tours were well-spaced because of Miniloc's proximity to the various scenic spots. The food was always excellent - a different buffet was served for every meal. Finally, the service and hospitality were impeccable. We are already planning our next trip there.

Room Tip: you can choose the beach view or the sea view cottages
  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mylene E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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