- Enjoy delights that await you for a unique and intimate picnic lunch (Image courtesy of Amanpulo)
It was our first night; an interesting moment and I vividly remember it as a blissful August night in an isolated haven in the Philippine province of Palawan.
In this article I am very delighted to feature Amanpulo by Amanresorts, proud full sponsor of my recent indulgent getaway. For more information about the resort, visit www.amanresorts.com/amanpulo/home.aspx
Carol and I braved the typhoon on our way back from Boracay to continue our adventure; we were both super excited to immerse ourselves to another lavish destination.
We arrived at Manila Airport where an Amanpulo’s Representative met and accompanied us to the Amanpulo’s lounge as we wait for our chartered flight to Pamalican Island, home to Amanpulo Resort. The flight from Manila to Amanpulo was approximately an hour. It was a smooth flight and few minutes before we touched down, I was amazed on the view from my window of the Dornier, a 19-seater twin-engine turboprop jet as I spotted the topographic island. It was a magical sight: the magnificence and colours of its natural beauty in its premium. As we stepped out of the plane and walked on the rolled out red carpet, I knew we were about to embark upon to another indulgent experience.
Both the General Managers, Christine and Nick Juett warmly welcomed all guests and led us to our own private buggy. Gillean, the polite and courteous Guest Assistant, offered us cold and scented towels. Gillean first took us around the island for a familiarisation trip prior to taking us to our appointed ‘casita’ to register. I immediately noticed the isolation of the resort as characterised by the pure and tranquil surrounds of green vegetation and rugged terrain, which added authenticity and charm to the place. The place definitely offers a blissful, relaxing and peaceful holiday domain.
From the blissful surrounds, our buggy lead us to the doorway of our private ‘casita’ eloquently styled in decorative wooden decors, all inspired by the country’s traditional and native ‘bahay kubo’ (nipa hut), which resembled the smells and sounds of the natural environ. Amanpulo’s 29 Beach ‘Casitas’ each has a private track that leads directly onto a white-sand pristine beach and your private hammock. The private space offers magnificent views of the nearby islands. The imposing oversized bathroom was impressively fitted with twin vanities complemented with fine amenities, a massive bathtub leading to a full glassed window overlooking the lush gardens, and a “his and hers smartly designed open plan wardrobe” stored with complimentary locally-designed sleepers, beach bags and hats.
A welcome bottle of fine ‘Marlborough New Zealand 2009 Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon,’ which had won wine lovers like myself, complemented with a plate of sumptuous canapés, were beautifully presented on the in-room table with a personalised ‘Welcome Card’ addressed to ‘Bininbining Riel at Binibining Mills’ – (Ms Riel and Ms Mills). It was a perfect afternoon in a perfect location. As we poured our first glass of the perfectly chilled crisp Sauvignon Blanc, raindrops suddenly hit our full-glassed window.
From our luxurious ‘casita’ to the restaurant’s kitchen, the resort offered nothing but a fine variety of international cuisines. The Lagoon Club offers a taste of Vietnamese-inspired cuisine, which was our first dinner choice. Impressively, the staff seemed to know who we were and did not even ask for our room number nor a signature to sign off our account (of course unless you wish to do so) when we culminated the evening. ‘That’s a secret of Aman.’ Although, Carol and I secretly thought that the island had hidden cameras.
Getting around in a buggy during nighttime in this massive island can be challenging and at the same time an amusing adventure especially when you have no idea where you are going. Whilst the rest of the world is safely tucked up under a warm doona (duvet), we found ourselves sleeping beautifully just like two little bear cubs snuggled up to their mum listening to the sound of the ocean waves.
The next day we were back in our buggy, which had been cleaned and replenished with 2 fresh bottles of water. It was another challenging day to find our way around to the Club House for a tasty ‘Breakfast Bruschetta’ (bacon, homemade semi sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, soft poached egg, and cheddar on whole wheat bread) by the pool. The Club House is the heart of the resort, and amenities include a restaurant, bar, library, boutique, gallery, and the main swimming pool.
The boutique features elegant, casual, and internationally branded wears such as Elizabeth Hurley, Helen Kaminski and many more. The Gallery showcases a native collection of Filipino pottery and handicrafts. My favourite was the unique locally-inspired jewelry. For peaceful and quite nook, the library offers local and international reading materials, entertainment games, music CDs and DVD collections.
On our way back to our ‘casita’ we made the wrong turn and drove back to the runway for the second time around. Our ‘casita’ was made up by the time we were back, all serviced and cleaned.
At lunchtime, we were fetched from our ‘casita’ to join Chris and Nick for a casual lunch at the The Windsurf Hut. We had gourmet pizzas, cooked in a wooden home built oven, paired with the island grown organic green salad as starter. Make sure you order the irresistible homemade ice cream and try the local ‘ube’ flavour. It was absolutely divine!
Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles are the island’s resident species in Pamalican Island starting from June to October. As the female turtles hit the shore at night, the Amanpulo staff monitor and protect the laying process of the mother turtles. This is just an added bonus if you are in the island around this time of the year. You may have the opportunity to witness from the laying to hatching process, where guests are invited to watch the release of the baby turtles making their way merrily into the sea. For family travelers, this is something that your children will remember and cherish forever.
The resort’s activities are endless, from nature walks to stargazing, tennis, gym, windsurfing, and scuba diving. One of the complimentary activities offered by the resort is Fish Feeding and Snorkeling Trips. Despite our inability to swim, Aljor, our calm boat driver, and Roland, our superb guide, allowed us to enjoy snorkeling with the aid of a life jacket. Snorkeling is somewhat my favourite solemn activity as I emerged myself into the world of the calm sea shared by sea turtles, sea cucumbers and quite a number of colourful tropical fish.
For seekers of private dining and picnics, Aman offers and fulfills any whim or wish that you desire. Amanpulo is your ultimate destination for an intimate dining experience: definitely a true and unique way for a memorable stay. Tempt yourself as well with the replenishing spa treatment or ‘Pulo Signature Massage’ for 60 minutes with a choice of Aman’s own range of essential oil selections to enrich your experience, as Carol and I did. My choice was ‘energise’ using the traditional ‘hilot’ (massage) strokes and techniques.
By the second night we had mastered our way around the island to get back to our freshly serviced ‘casita’ with replenished night treats placed on our turned down bed. Amanpulo’s added secret is all about the sensations of 24/7 pure relaxation in seclusion, shared by the world-class comforts and facilities.
Surprisingly, on our last day, the fabulous staff of Aman continued to impress me with the check out process. It was not the sight of a typical busy morning in a typical hotel that you would be used to. We did not see anyone queuing at the reception area rather, we were encouraged to be seated by the pool whilst the Guest Assistant was preparing and finalising our account. As expected, the bill was remarkably accurate.
I arrived to the conclusion that my stay exceeded my most ambitious expectations by a huge margin. The collective commitment and effort of the Amanupulo’s management and staff in providing a 5-star customer service excellence is the key ingredient and responsible for the solid prosperity of Aman Resorts.
‘Aman surely holds the ultimate secret, the secret of customer excellence.’
We had our days in Paradise. It’s now your turn, don’t just think about it, be lost in it. Amanpulo is an ideal destination catering for anyone and ideal for that special occasion you may want to celebrate. It is your ultimate address for peace and serenity. Make Amanpulo Resort your next ticket to paradise.
‘To Aman Resorts, thank you for a wonderful and memorable stay. Throughout my trips, I have seen and stayed in some amazing destinations but Amanpulo is somewhat unique and magical. It’s nothing but the best and a perfect closure to end a 12-month phenomenal journey!’
Sadly, the end of my 12-month journey is here and I am ready to face the final curtain. I am left with nothing else to desire.
© 2012 by Michelle Riel, retains sole copyright to her contributions to all the contents of this site.