Why go? If you’re celebrating a milestone, whether it’s a wedding anniversary, a birthday, or you just want an excuse to get away from it all, a few days’ break at Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa in the beautiful Malaroyroy Peninsula on Bulalacao Island, Palawan is pretty hard to beat. The island has two private beaches, stunning scenery, a vibrant house reef, and an array of water sports. It’s also a turtle and giant clam sanctuary.
First impressions. The Two Seasons Coron airconditioned van picked up my friend and I from Coron town to take us to Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel, where the hotel group has its speedboats docked, ready to whisk us away to the resort in Malaroyroy, Bulalacao island in Coron. It’s velvet gloves service from the start, with staff carrying our luggage, offering a hand to help us board the boat, handing out bottled mineral water, life vests and towels. It’s September, rainy season in the Philippines and the waters could get choppy. Travel time is about 45 minutes, but I never really noticed the time as I was busy looking at various islands dotting the sea. At some point during the trip, I dozed off and when I opened my eyes I was greeted by the sight of this gorgeous white sand-fringed island.
Check in. Nice and easy. At least three members of staff were on hand to welcome us. I can remember warm towels and welcome drinks being handed out. I showed the front desk my passport and filled out some forms and got the keys. From the reception, it’s a short golf buggy ride to our room.
Room. We're booked in a one-bedroom island tip bungalow with a jacuzzi, next to the sandbar. It’s perched on top of a hill, with a spectacular view of the west and east side beaches and islands in the distance. There is a row of similar bungalows, but our bungalow, number 205, is at the very end, so we only had one neighbor to our right. It did not disappoint. It’s a modern detached bungalow with sliding glass doors leading to a verandah furnished with wooden dining tables and chairs, loungers and jacuzzi. The bedroom has one king-size bed, a 55-inch LCD TV, and a bathroom almost the size of the bedroom, with a giant, ceiling-mounted rain shower. From the shower room, you can slide open a glass door leading to the verandah and jacuzzi, so you avoid trudging all over your bedroom floor with wet suits. The view from both room and bath is stunning. Just a few minutes after inspecting the room, housekeeping rang the doorbell and gave us welcome snacks — delicious warm churros with a chocolate and a caramel dip.
Activities. We had some bouts of rain, which tended to clear after an hour or so to give way to sunshine, so when it rains I’m in the jacuzzi and when the sun’s up I’m on the beach. While raining, my friend and I decided to get in the jacuzzi, which was big enough for perhaps six people. It was fun being in warm water while the heavens poured. Other activities we signed up for were kayaking using the Molokini, a transparent, two-passenger kayak made out of polycarbonate material used in the production of bullet-proof glass and fighter jet canopies. On sunny days you can see up to depths of 75 feet. Unfortunately, rough waters cut short our Molokini adventure. The Hydrobob submersible scooter is also available to allow non-divers to explore underwater, but we had to give this a miss because we were flying out of Coron the following day, not enough rest time after a hydrobob "dive". Instead, I booked a Shiatsu and reflexology melange massage at the hotel’s Narra Spa, part of Conde Nast Johansens’ 2014 Luxury Spas Collection. My friend, who was not such a spa fan, decided to give it a try and had a Narra Spa massage. My reflexology massage started with a drink of ginger tea, footbath, and then a series of stretches and pressure point massages while I lie on the massage bed, my face resting on the massage table face hole, gazing at a basket of flowers right underneath me. The treatment was so relaxing I didn't want it to end. Narra Spa is located in a big thatched cottage hut. Next door to it is another hut with a deep bath facing the sea. You can choose where to have your massage — beachfront cabanas, hilltop spa villas with an ocean view, or a villa nestled in a mangrove forest.
Food. Order the crispy soft shell crab and other seafood on the menu. This is Palawan after all and you get the freshest catch. I also like the hotel’s fruit salad and crab fat pasta. If you’re staying in one of the bungalows, you could have your meals served in your private verandah facing the sea. On check-out day I ordered Filipino a la carte breakfast of crispy milkfish belly and garlic fried rice and it was delicious.
Service. Staff are genuinely warm and friendly and prompt to attend to your every need.
Not so keen. I think the resort could do with some screening hedges between bungalows for the ultimate in privacy.
Verdict. One seriously stunning location for a resort. I'd definitely go back with my family, but time my visit sometime November to May when the waters are calmer. Although on hindsight, the off season of September is really not bad since you get the island almost all to yourself. The resort gets booked up during the peak season so advanced booking is necessary.
Visit Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa. Located in Malayoyroy Peninsula, Bulalacao Island, Coron, Palawan, tel +632 410 2075 to 80.
The Island Tip Bungalow's published rate is P42,700 or about US$854 per night (rate does not apply on Chinese New Year) and includes breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers for two.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller December 2016 to February 2017. Updated December 2016