Dedon Island Resort, Siargao Island, Surigao
This native-style boutique resort on the southeastern tip of Siargao Island, Mindanao, faces a stunning white-sand beach (and a proper, rectangular swimming pool) and lives up to its claim of offering chic, barefoot luxury. The airy, deluxe villas have glass facades that make the most of the ocean views and large verandahs where you can chill out in private – perhaps listening to some mood music on the pre-programmed iPod. The restaurant uses ingredients from local fishermen and foragers, and for dinner staff can set up a table for two, lit by torches, on the sand. There’s surfing, island-hopping and deep sea fishing, but for something seriously relaxing, the price includes yoga lessons and limitless massages.
Address: Malinao, General Luna, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, 8419, Philippines
Telephone: +63917 701 7820 or 40
Price: About P25,000 (US$1,000) for two per night
Bamboo Private Islands, Palawan
You don't need to be Richard Branson on Necker or Mick Jagger on Mustique to have the luxury of a whole island for a romantic break. Bambooo Private Villas has two islands —Small Bamboo Island and Big Bamboo Island —in the middle of Southeast Culion Bay, off Coron, Palawan, each renting out at a price less than most hotels in London or New York. Small Bamboo Island, perfect for a couple or a party of up to 16, comes with a personal chef and friendly and discreet staff. Accommodation is a simple bamboo thatched hut with all creature comforts for island living. The hut has a fan, comfy queen size bed with a mosquito net canopy, and a terrace overlooking the white-sand beach, turqouise waters and the mountains. The staff can arrange a sunset cruise to the “best reef in the region”, private cocktails, or dinner under the stars, lit by tiki torches. The resort runs on solar energy and puts rainwater to good use.
Address: Middle of Southeast Culion Bay, north of Coron, Palawan
Telephone: +63918 906 8332
Price: From about P8,000+ per person per night for a minimum stay of three nights, excluding meals.
Two Seasons Coron, Palawan
The view from Two Season Coron Island Resort & Spa on a private island in northern Palawan is pretty hard to beat. Island tip bungalow 205, a modern detached one-bedroom bungalow perched on top of a hill, next to a sandbar and at the end of a row of similar bungalows, has a spectacular view of the west and east side beaches, a vibrant house reef, and islands in the distance. The Sandbar Bungalow, the only one of its kind in the resort, has even more spectacular sea views, unobstructed owing to its location on the pointed tip of the island where the sandbar connects to an islet. Bungalow bedrooms and bathrooms are designed with glass doors leading to a verandah where meals can be served, so you need not leave your room if you don't feel like it. The resort can arrange for private dinner on the beach or the garden, boat trips to secluded islands, romantic days out, or an indulgent spa for two in a beachfront cabana, hilltop spa villa, with an ocean view, or a villa nestled in a mangrove forest.
Address: Malaroyroy Peninsula in Bulalacao Island, Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Telephone: +632 410 2075 to 80
Price: From P42,700 per night for an island tip bungalow
Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Palawan
Amanpulo on the private island of Pamalican in Palawan has been described by a UK paper as "the world's most VIP island," where guests such as Brad Pitt and Beyonce have holidayed. In true A-list style you get there by private 12-seater jet from Manila arranged by the resort or arrive in your own plane. There's a choice of luxurious casitas, modelled after the Philippine native thatched hut, with direct access to the beach, and views of the sea from the hillside, and villas in secluded settings for utmost privacy. Opulence lies in the milky powder white sand that envelops the island, turquoise seas with a vibrant reef, excellent for snorkeling and diving. For a romantic evening, the resort can arrange a private barbecue on the beachfront of a secluded cave or high up in Gary's Nest overlooking the pier. Or book the whole Kawayan Bar, a bamboo platform raft with thatched roof, for private dinner in the middle of the sea. Ask and the resort delivers. For the price of a monthly UK flat rental for a room night on the island, you'd expect no less.
Address: Pamalican Island, Philippines
Telephone: +632 976 5200
Price: From P67,500 per night
The Peninsula Manila, Makati City
The Peninsula Manila, Makati's grand old dame, regularly lays on romantic staycation packages for Valentine's, from the standard hotel stay, in-room spa and romantic dinner for two to a more elaborate "romantic date" package that can include a helicopter ride from the hotel's helipad to Corregidor Island for an al fresco dinner and back, and little touches like decking out your room with enough red roses to carpet the floor if that is what it takes to sweep your loved one off her feet. If you'd like things a little low key, go for a private dinner for two in the hotel with music provided by a string quartet.
Address: The Peninsula Manila Corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, 1226, Makati City
Telephone: +632 887 2888
Price: From P11,300 per night
This beautiful resort in San Fernando, Cebu, facing the Cebu Strait in the Visayas, is the place to go for luxurious island living and consummate privacy. Its thatched villas are surrounded by lush foliage and palm trees so you feel cloistered in a world of your own. The one-bedroom Seafront Thatched Villa has a living room, private pool, lanai, outdoor jacuzzi, and dining area and gives you the flexibility of having your meals delivered or dining in the resort restaurant or by the main pool. Pulchra's highlight however is its own white-sand beach, house reef, and 13 excellent dive spots, just a boat ride away. At the end of the day, enjoy some pampering at the Undina Spa built on stilts over water.
Address: San Isidro, San Fernando, Cebu
Telephone: +6332 232 0823 to 0825
Price: From P16,000 per night
Diniview Villa Resort, Boracay Island, Aklan
Diniview Villa Resort on the cliffs above Diniwid Beach in Boracay, Aklan, has seven dreamy self-catering thatched hut villas perfect for holing yourself in in Boracay. All villas have seaviews, surrounded by greenery and have living, dining rooms, well-equipped kitchen, a verandah and all mod cons. Salt Villa, one of the largest of the villas, was designed by Swedish designer Alexander Lervik in what can be described as Scandi-Filipino style, all white, clean and crisp, using local furniture and accessories. The Villa has spectacular views of the famous White Beach from every room. The resort offers a daily shopping service for food and any other essentials, and a daily cleaning service. You can rustle up a meal yourself or walk down to Diniwid Beach where there are restaurants by the sea. Boracay's famous White Beach with its string of restaurants and bars is just a tricycle ride away. The resort can arrange for activities such as native boat sailing, diving, in-house massages and private yoga sessions.
Address: Diniwid beach, Boracay Island, Malay Aklan 5608 Philippines
Telephone: +63 917 7992029
Price: From P11,000 per night
The Farm at San Benito, Lipa, Batangas
The Farm at San Benito, a holistic sanctuary in Lipa City Batangas, about an hour's drive south from Manila, is just what the doctor ordered — a romantic break and wellness retreat rolled into one. It has beautifuly furnished villas, some with their own pool, surrounded by well manicured gardens and mature trees. Luxury here is not caviar and champagne on ice. Instead you'll be dining in a vegan and dairy-free restaurant that serves meals straight from the resort's garden, joining daily walks or yoga exercises, and indulging in therapeutic baths. Couples can try Massage Under the Stars, a 60-minute treatment in an open area of The Farm's Healing Sanctuary. The treatment, which costs P3,900+ per person, has to be booked in advance.
Address: 119 Barangay Tipakan 4217 Lipa City, Batangas
Telephone: +632 884 8074
Price: From P17,100 per night
The Henry Manila, Pasay City
In a city that has lost many of its iconic buildings and landmarks, The Henry Hotel Manila is a rare find. Owner Hanky Lee converted five 1950 two-storey houses in a residential compound that was once home to a wealthy Chinese family into what is now a 34-room hotel. The hotel covers all five refurbished houses, interconnected by a walkway. Original features have been retained, from the original hardwood floors, scala grills, to the Spanish baldosa tiles. The hotel's sprawling garden, which comes into its own when lit up at night, is well tended and the acacia and caballero trees look like they've been there forever, and in fact they have. Experience the romance of old Manila and choose the Classic or Suite Room, which is currently on offer with breakfast for two, including a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, romantic dinner at the Courtyard, and a soothing couple massage.
Address: 2680 FB Harrison Street, Pasay City
Telephone: +632 807 8888
Price: About P5,000 per night on Agoda
Aetas Glamping, El Nido, Palawan
This one-year-old, 4,000sqm glamping site up on a hill in El Nido, with a view of limestone cliffs, is an eight-minute drive from El Nido Town in Palawan, southeast of Manila. It's more of a bed and breakfast than a hotel, but we thought we'd blur the lines to give you the option of experiencing rustic living. Your room for the night is a tent made of high-grade canvas and wood, with a proper double bed, private toilet and shower with hot and cold running water, handmade toiletries, and wooden furniture made by local artisans. There are power outlets in the tent, an electric fan, and light fixtures. The fragrance of essential oil from a burner wafts in the air and at night you'd hear the sound of cicadas and Palawan's wild life. "Tent service" is available with a menu consisting mostly of Filipino dishes.
Address: Sitio Nasigdan, Barangay Villalibertad, El Nido, Palawan.
Telephone: +63 917 540 0513
Website: Follow Aetas Glamping El Nido on Facebook, and on Airbnb
Price: P6,200 per night, minimum two nights
Siama Hotel, Sorsogon
This boutique luxury resort in Sorsogon province in the Bicol region, sits on a one-hectare property, with beautifully landscaped gardens, coconut trees, tropical ferns, and an inviting infinity pool. Its rooms with pool views are stylish; its woven mats, chairs and wooden furniture won't be out of place in a John Lewis croft collection catalogue. Capiz lamps and crisp white linen complete the picture. Not-to-miss activities in area are a whale shark tour in Donsol, and a romantic river cruise along Buhatan River to watch thousands of fireflies light up the night sky.
Address: Sitio San Lorenzo, Bibincahan, Sorsogon, Sorsogon
Telephone: +63917 881 6497
Website: Follow Siama Hotel on Facebook
Price: From P6,500 on Agoda