Floral Island Resort is on the little island of Talacanen, with its striking limestone cliffs, just off the coast of Taytay on the northeastern side of Palawan. The resort — a main house with a collection of separate rooms and plenty of space to relax in absolute privacy — is set on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach (which has a lively coral reef and is perfect for snorkeling). The sun is shining and the coconut palms are swaying in the breeze. Originally, Floral Island Resort was a private getaway for hosts Martin and Flora, and still has an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. It's now available for rent on Airbnb.
We dock at a long wooden pier on stilts and head straight to the shade of the bar and restaurant area, where we are welcomed with a drink of deliciously sweet fresh coconut, served with local straws made from bamboo, not plastic ones. Some of the house rules are explained — the island is solar-powered, so there is no air-conditioning (there are electric fans, but usually the sea breeze does the job) and water is shipped from mainland Palawan so every drop is precious.
There are six rooms and cottages dotted along the beach area, so plenty of space for a group of up to 24 friends or family. As long as you have a minimum of six in your party, you’re guaranteed to be the only guests. The honeymoon villa is on high ground and has the best views of the island. All the rooms/cottages have their own balcony and all are simple but chic, built using local materials such as bamboo and nipa. Some of the cottages have more than one bedroom, connected by stairs, so are ideal for families.
Take your pick from swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, curling up in the shade with a good book or having a massage. The best swimming is at a sandy cove which you can reach in a couple of minutes by kayak. The reef in front of the resort can be reached from the pier. There’s even a diving board. The coral is stunning and guests are being encouraged to keep it that way by planting more. Don’t miss the underwater “garden” of giant clams. For the more adventurous, the staff can organize scuba diving. Floral Island hosts weddings and events. If you really need to get online, there is wi-fi, but only in the restaurant area.
All meals are included, as is 24-hour coffee and tea in the restaurant. Flora herself does a lot of the cooking with seafood often top of the bill. We had stuffed squid in white wine, sweet and sour grouper and fresh crab. Most of the food is organic and sourced on the island. For breakfast, try a big Filipino dish of beef, rice, egg, and lightly fried bananas. At night, order a cocktail, and have dinner by the beach under the stars.
Topnotch. Flora trains her staff personally and they are always on-hand to help and advise.
A thoroughly private, idyllic island escape, where you can completely switch off and relax. It feels truly home away from home.
For six people the price works out at about P42,000 or US$889 a night, which is reasonable if you are splitting it between friends and consider that all your meals are included.
For details and exact prices, look for Floral Island Resort exclusively on Airbnb. Go to floralisland-resort.phor tel +63917 162 5550 or see Facebook @floralisland.resort.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller, November 2018. Copyright @2018 Dornier Media International.