Located in station 2, right in the thick of the Boracay island action, Azalea looks like your standard modern four-star chain hotel, with a towering white facade, and it's named in bright blue letters right by the entrance. This is not your quaint, romantic island getaway. Its architecture and energetic vibe is undeniably urban, but its bright colors and cheeriness are distinctly Boracay.
The lobby is spacious, with copious amounts of sunlight streaming in to brighten the space up. If that doesn't put you in a cheery mood, the reception staff certainly will, with their friendly manner and eagerness to help.
The rooms are just as spacious as the lobby, with the smallest unit, the deluxe room, at 30sqm and the biggest room, the two-bedroom suite, at 75sqm.
The rooms have everything you would need for maximum convenience. To begin with, there's room access, which happens through a radio frequency identification (RFID)-powered wristband - no more rooting in your bag for keys or cards that you might have dropped. The wristbands are also waterproof, so no problem if you're going for a dip.
There's a fully-equipped kitchen complete with pots, pans, and other culinary implements if you're up for cooking up a storm. Ingredients can be bought at the nearby wet market, the famous D'Talipapa, where you can find meat, and an extensive selection of fresh seafood. Or, if you're just heating up some takeaway from one of the island's many must-try restaurants, there's a microwave readily available too. At the neighboring D'Mall, you've got a lot of options to choose from: Lemon Cafe for pastries and seafood, Bite Club for big, juicy burgers, SpiceBird for some piri-piri grills. Venture further and you could land in Subo on station 3, which serves hearty Filipino food with a gourmet flair. Of course, no visit to Boracay is complete without trying the calamansi muffins at Real Coffee, also on station 3, which also serves a great Filipino breakfast.
But if you really don't want to lift a finger or walk anywhere to feed yourself, the room at Azalea boasts of a well-stocked minibar, and in-room dining is available too.
There's also a closet, with an iron and a board, so you never have to look shabby, even on the island.
When it comes to beds, the deluxe room has two. Queen-size, dressed in heavy duvets, with three big pillows and a throw pillow each. The sofa, which is part of the living/dining area, can also be converted into a bed, giving more than enough room for three adults, or two adults and two kids.
The bathroom is crisp and clean, stocked with lots of fluffy towels, and Azalea-brand toiletries - from dental kits, to bath products. A retractable clothesline runs from one end of the bathroom to the other, perfect for drying out your seawater-drenched gear. The glass shower is spacious, and runs hot and cold water at great pressure so that you'll actually look forward to washing up after a long day frolicking in the island sun.
Then again, with a room this comfortable, and fitted with an LCD cable TV and a DVD player, you'll find it extra challenging to go out and do stuff on the island, but no judgments if you just stay under the covers all day, watching movies or reading a book. The hotel styles itself "your holiday haven" for a reason.
Azalea Hotels & Residences Boracay, Station 2, Sitio Manggayad, Brgy. Balabag, Boracay; Tel: +63917 861 1139
Rooms start from P7,500 (US$160) per night off-peak, P8,500 at regular season, P9,500 at peak, and P11,000 at super peak.