We stayed for 4 nights in one of the Executive Suite Villas which faced the mangroves and the bay (Alpha or Delta, not sure which room exactly). The room was very large (definitely earned the title of "suite" for me), although it was only a single room plus the bathroom. Large, wrap-around windows covered two entire walls and let in a great amount of sunshine and offered fairly nice but not spectacular views of the water. The room and linens were clean, the bed was comfy, the water was hot and the air conditioner worked well.
We booked a number of tours through the hotel in advance of our arrival. The rates were the same as I had found elsewhere, so for no additional cost it was nice to have the convenience of the hotel making the necessary bookings for us. This was especially true for the underground river tour, which has a limited number of spaces each day for environmental preservation reasons. We also did a scuba tour, the City Tour, the Firefly Tour and maybe one other that I can't think of. All were fun and definitely worth the time and money (although diving is so much better in El Nido, just like the hotel staff had told me before we booked). The staff reminded us about our tour schedules ahead of time so we knew when to wake up and have breakfast, etc.
Breakfast was included in our hotel stay, so I'm not sure how much it normally is, but it was really good. They have a list of maybe 6-8 traditional Filipino breakfasts and so we just each chose a new one each morning. Some better than others, but in my opinion all worth trying. The garlic rice is fantastic even just by itself. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant just once or twice. The food was also good, but in my opinion just a little overpriced compared to what you could get outside of the hotel (although at just USD 12-15/person, it's still not expensive). Plus in general I think it's more fun to eat outside of your hotel (although eatting outside may not be an option if you're already back at the hotel for the evening since the hotel is quite far from the city center).
The location was good and bad for different reasons. The hotel is quite far (maybe 20-25 minute tricycle ride) from the downtown area, with maybe 5-10 minutes of that nearest to the hotel going along a very bumpy dirt road. Being away from the city lights and sounds made staying there much more exotic and peaceful for me. I felt very far away from the bustle of the city, and to me that was relaxing. I wasn't going into the city 4-5 times per day. We left the hotel for our tours in the morning and generally stayed out until we were done for the day, so a longer commute wasn't a big deal for us. Plus, I've read a few reviews complaining about the cost of a tricycle from the city to the hotel. We never paid more than PHP 250 as far as I can remember. That's around USD 5-6. Not bad at all. To get such a large room, as clean and as relaxing as this hotel but smack in the city center would have cost a lot more than that taxi ride. We occassionally had some problems with the tricycle drivers not knowing where the hotel was, but after they asked one or two other drivers for directions we were off with no problem. I would guess that's a problem with all hotels except for the huge ones (Hilton, etc.).
1) When I booked our room, I booked the room plus several tours. Then a few days later I was looking through their website again and noticed that the room and several of the tours I had booked were included in a package deal that was a good bit cheaper than what I had paid. I sent an e-mail to the hotel explaining what had happened and asking if I could get the package rate. No problem at all, they told me. Since I had only paid something like 50% as a deposit, they changed the total price, credited me for the deposit I had already made and then I was all set for an even cheaper vacation than I had been expecting.
2) The Philippines is overflowing with delicious fruits. We bought a bag of mangos, pineapple, mangosteins and some other things and brought them back to the hotel for a snack later. We called roomservice and asked if we could have a knife to cut the fruit and instead they took our fruit and came back with a gorgeous fruit basket. Everything chopped up and beautifully displayed. Really, really great service without even asking for it. They set it up for us at one table in their restaurant which sits apart from the rest, overlooking the bay. It was a beautiful and romatic setting. Perfect end to the day.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Marina de Bay is a private getaway resort situated just twenty minutes away from the airport. On that way from the airport, you will already see a breath-taking view of the Puerto Princesa bay and the mountain ranges. It is also at Marina de Bay where the private yachts and boats can be viewed docked at front. During the night, the ambiance becomes even more spectacular with the vast view of the stars in the sky and with the dainty lights of the city screaming in from across the waters. Marina de Bay is not like any usual hotel building simply built in the city, it encapsulates the natural wonders of Puerto Princesa - a hidden paradise. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Marina De Bay Hotel Puerto Princesa
- Marina De Bay Palawan Island/Puerto Princesa