When we were planning our week in El Nido, Philippines, a stay at the El Nido resorts was a must for us. It was a given we would be staying at El Nido Pangulasian Island Resort but we quickly had to decide whether visiting another one of their properties should be added. There were a few features of El Nido Apulit Island that caught our attention: it was on a different side of the island than the other 3 El Nido Resort properties, the rooms were huts on stilts, meals were included in the rate and the snorkeling was highly rated. Did the resort deliver on these features? We’ve outlined the experience below.
Apulit Island is the furthest from the airport. After arriving via our flight with Air Swift, we had roughly a 2 hour van ride to Taytay Town. From there, we boarded a boat for roughly a 40 minute trip to El Nido Apulit Island Resort.
There is no way to sugar coat it, it’s a long trip. However the views of the blue water upon arrival, you quickly forget about all the hours spent to get here.
El Nido Apulit Island Resort staff definitely know how to welcome its guests! The crowd greeting us with song and welcome drinks was the perfect way to start our stay.
We were quickly taken to our hut for the next 3 nights. The huts are close together from the walkway. Not surprising to us as we found the same in Bora Bora.
As we entered the room, we were surprised at just how intimate they are. They are very small in fact our knees touched the wall as we sat on the toilet.
The tight quarters were felt on the deck as well. While the views were stunning, we felt a bit cramped.
We panicked a bit when we saw there was no coffee in the room, but that quickly subsided when we realized we just called and fresh coffee would be delivered! Due to jet lag, we woke up around 5am every day of our stay and within 15 minutes of calling we’d have a fresh pot of coffee delivered. Excellent service!
One feature that makes this property unique versus other El Nido Resorts is the fact that the meals are included. The resort is so secluded that it would be quite a feat to get the mainland for alternative dining options so I suspect the property wanted to encourage guests to stay for meals.
First off, the dining area is gorgeous! It offers amazing views of the water surrounded by brightly colored flowers/bushes surrounding it. There is even a spot to dine with your feet in the sand.
The breakfast was fantastic with a wide variety of hot and cold items. We’re a big fan of properties that include breakfasts and really appreciate the ones that put on elaborate spreads.
Lunch was great as well. It was also offered buffet style with a mixture of salads, traditional items and made to order grill.
Dinner was not bad but after 2 meals each day served buffet style, it would have been nice if they switched it up and offered a traditional menu service. The food was good but on day 3 we were a bit bored with it. While there was an incredible variety each meal as part of the buffet, the selections did not differ much day to day. In saying that, the food was always good and we left the dining area full each meal.
The one feature that we didn’t get bored with was fresh coconut juice as our beverage! This was a must at lunch and was super refreshing on these hot days.
Beverages were an extra charge at the resort, although not too overpriced in our opinion. They did offer a happy hour each evening which we always attended! In addition to beer and wine, they had cocktail specials each night. A great way to begin the evening!
If you are looking for an opportunity for a romantic, sit-down meal, for an additional fee you can have a private dinner setting. This was the best meal we had during our time at El Nido Apulit Island Resort! It was 5 full courses of fresh seafood and local dishes. But the setting…..it was just dreamy! The uplighting was incredible and we really felt like we were in a secluded spot with just the two of us. Great way to celebrate a special event or create a romantic evening.
The fresh flowers, uplighting and fabric draping made for such an elaborate setting for a dinner! A row of luminaries led the way to the platform and 2 servers helped to ensure the drinks were plenty while the courses kept coming. We highly recommend including this dining option when booking your stay with Apulit Island resort.
There are no shortage of areas to relax throughout the property outside of your room. There are many hammocks spread along the beach, perfect for siesta in the afternoon!
The pool offers the next lounge area with several loungers all around. Additionally the pool is smartly designed with several shelf area seating all around. This enables a comfortable stay in the water during the hot days. A great place to enjoy an adult beverage!
The entire beach is lined with comfortable loungers throughout the day. The resort also offers complimentary umbrellas or cabanas to relax in the shade. We took our afternoon nap here each day!
There is a simple open air space where you can purchase a massage. We found the prices to be quite reasonable and quickly booked a couples appointment during our stay. It was fabulous! The setting was not as luxurious as others however the quality of the massage more than made up for the simple setting.
In summary, the tides are quite drastic. While I know the managers cannot control this, if we were to return, we would request a hut furthest away from the main areas to minimize the impact and be farther from the shore.
This makes it difficult to swim in the afternoon as you need to walk quite a distance to get to the water. Additionally, the views from the huts become drastically different during low tide.
There were snorkeling, rappelling, boating, sunset cruises and a few other included activities. This was a nice way to fill up the afternoons. The staff was extremely friendly and we loved spending time with them each evening. Speaking of the staff, we committed an electronic foul, we did not have a back-up memory card for our Go-Pro(amateur hour over here)! Upon arrival we realized it was corrupt. The staff helped us by sending their boat out the next day during pick-up and getting a new memory card for us! We were extremely grateful and were able to capture the second day snorkling.
Overall we were happy with our time at El Nido Apulit Island Resort but we were ready for the next adventure. We were happy to see this part of the island and definitely visited in the right order of here first and Pangulasian Island second.