This place may possibly be the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at, especially if you take the price into consideration. For the Philippines, this is actually quite expensive. And believe me - it’s so not worth it! When I made the booking, the idea of a remote and solitary resort sounded romantic and exclusive. Getting there, I realized it meant that we we're trapped and stuck with nowhere else to go...
It’s not all bad. Let’s focus on the good parts first:
The snorkeling is amazing! They’ll take you out to a platform off shore, and the corals and tropical fish are stunning. However, visibility is not that great in Honda Bay. Also, you don’t have to stay at this hotel to experience amazing snorkeling. You can stay somewhere else and go on a snorkeling day trip.
The pool area is quite nice, although there wasn’t enough sun loungers.
The spa is reasonably priced and the treatments are not bad at all. I ended up going a few times, and the quality was consistently good.
The resort will offer to take you on a short trip to a nearby island every morning.The island and its beaches are gorgeous, and the snorkeling is great. However, they’ve actually put quite a few pictures from this tiny island on to their hotel website, so they make you believe the pictures are from the island the hotel is located on, which is not actually the case. The beautiful picture on the website (and on the hotel book sites) with a couple on a small and deserted beach are not from the same island Dos Palmas Resort is on! Those pictures are from the nearby island the hotel will take you to on a small boat trip. The beach on the island where the hotel is located is not nearly as beautiful. I almost feel like it’s false and misleading advertising to post those pictures on the hotel website, and have you believe these photos are taken on the island of the hotel. Not Ok. I still enjoyed the short boat trip to the small island though.
And here comes the bad parts:
From looking at the pictures on the website, I knew the rooms were nothing special. But basic and clean standard rooms. That was the expectation I had before going: Nothing special, but nice and clean. Nevertheless, the only good thing I have to say about the rooms is the size. They’re quite big, which is nice. However, I’ve never stayed in a hotel with such worn out rooms! I’m not sure exactly when the resort was built, but it must be old. The rooms look like they’re at least fifteen years old, and very little have been done to keep them up to date. The bed, the sheets, the curtains, the lamps, the worn out floor, the air con, the hair dryer, everything look like something from the 90ties, and I suspect that’s because all of it is from the 90ties. Possibly early 90ties. And when it’s that old, it’s just not possible to keep it clean.
The first night when it was time for bed, we realized the top mattress had some pretty nasty stains on it. It was so bad that you could see the brownish stains through the (thin and worn out) sheets. We walked to the reception area, and asked them to change the top mattress. Living in Asia, we made it very clear that it was the top mattress and not the sheets that was the issue. Returning to our room 20 minutes later, we realized they had indeed just changed the sheets, and not the top mattress. The stains were still there. This time we called the reception and explained the situation - again. They promised us they would send someone with a clean top mattress. We sat on the balcony and waited for them to come back. Thirty minutes later and no sign of a clean top mattress, we had to call the reception again. It took them more than an hour to fix this issue. Not OK when you’re tired and just waiting to go to bed. The resort claims to be four star, and I don’t understand how they would even use old and stained top mattresses in the first place. Moreover, most of the sheets were so old they were torn and had holes in them, but that I could live with, as long as they appeared clean.
We had a few other issues with our room. The window in the bathroom didn’t close. Due to aging – of course. When we asked them to fix it, they just taped it shut. I guess that did the job of keeping the mosquitoes out. But seriously – this is an quite expensive four star resort, and not the way I’d expect them to fix this problem. Next issue was the fact that the bathroom door also didn’t close. Which was an issue as long as the bathroom window didn’t close, meaning there was no way of keeping the mosquitoes out of the bedroom. The door was beyond repair due to the age, so instead of fixing it they put a lock on the inside. Now we could lock the door from the inside, but there was still no way of closing it when you were not actually in the bathroom, meaning this was still no fix for the mosquito situation. Thank God for the tape!!
Other issues included the fact that the balcony door was unable to close or lock. They did their best to fix that as well – rather unsuccessfully though. Also, the first time I tried to shut the curtains the whole thing just came down. Due to a complete lack of maintenance the entire room was basically falling apart. Instead of the basic standard room I was expecting, the room was a horribly worn out disappointment. They do a very good job of disguising that in the pictures on the website – but be warned! If the hotel was half the price, I could probably live with it. But not at that price.
We actually requested to change rooms, but they wouldn't let us explaining that the hotel was fully booked.
The outdoor areas:
Unfortunately, It’s not only the rooms that are worn out and falling apart due to lack of maintenance and attention. Walking outside in the garden, the general feeling is that everything is starting to fall apart. The gardens are not very well kept, and Christmas decorations were left outside and falling apart by the end of January. The old rooms that are standing over the water, are left unused and unattended to, waiting to fall into decay. The only areas that are nicely kept are the two pool areas and the spa.
The restaurant and the food:
Together with the room, the restaurant and the food were the biggest disappointments of our Dos Palmas stay. We’ve visited quite a few places in the Philippines, and I know that the Philippines is not a gourmet destination, but I still expect a four star resort to have a least decent food. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Dos Palmas. Furthermore, there’s only one restaurant, and even the bar shares the exact same menu. So while there, you really only have two choices: Eat at the restaurant or starve. At some point, I was inclined to go for the latter option...
We stayed three nights, and having tested quite few options on the menu, my husband and I concluded that the best items om the menu was an undercooked Hawaii Pizza with far too much cheese, and spaghetti bolognese. How sad is that? Trust me – we’re not usually picky. We love all Asian cuisines and especially spicy food. Living in China we’re used to eating everything from jelly fish to frog hot pot, and we’ll usually test whatever is in front of us. But the food at Dos Palmas was tasteless, boring and not to forget insanely overpriced. The breakfast buffet was also a disappointment. The only time they actually had much food left was the morning we had to get up at five in order to reach the ferry back to Puerto Princesa. If you take your time and show up at 9am most of the food is gone. And they only refill it if you ask them to. Also, a refill usually takes so long that you’ll have finished your breakfast by the time the missing coffee or butter finally comes back out. I’ve said it before, but this is not the kind of service I expect from a four star resort. But hey – there’s nowhere else to go and eat, so they don’t have to make an a effort. Either you eat there or you starve!
The restaurant itself is very uninspiring. And there's nowhere to go if you want to enjoy your meal without loud live music, fire dancers or whatever entertainment is on for the night.
The service is very much on and off. Not altogether terrible, but also not great. On our last day we actually decided to leave the hotel and the island and go back to Puerto Princesa one day early. We were sitting in the reception area booking a hotel back on Palawan, and when the booking was made (and the hotel paid for) we told the receptionist that we wanted to go on the 2pm boat back, and only then they told us they had cancelled the boat because of a coast guard warning. This is understandable, however, there was no such information on their message boards and the boat schedule was still on the wall. They failed to inform the guests about their cancellation, and we had to stay one more night and ended up paying for a hotel on the mainland, because Dos Palmas didn’t give us any information about the cancelled boat. Again, unacceptable. The least you can do is to put a sign up or take down the boat schedule for the day. Consequently, we were stuck one more night...
It's all about value for money. Had this hotel been half the price of what I paid, I may have given it three stars due to the pool area, the snorkeling, the spa and the value. I've previously given much cheaper and simpler hotels a high ranking, due to great value. The only thing this hotels has going for it, is its location on a small and remote island. But when you think about it, this is really not that great, because you may wind up getting stuck if you don't like it, and there are no choices when it comes to dining.
Dos Palmas tries too hard to be something it's not - or maybe something it was fifteen years ago, but is no longer. This place could have potential if it underwent substantial renovation, and upgraded its dining facilities. But do yourself a favor and don't go... It's really not worth it.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Agoda, Expedia, Hotels.com, getaroom.com and Ebookers so you can book your Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Dos Palmas Island Resort And Spa
- Dos Palmas Island Hotel Puerto Princesa
- Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa Palawan Island/Puerto Princesa