Straight out from the batting cage, I am going to say that this post is going to be blindingly biased.
My week-long(ish) stint over at Coral Bay Resort in Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido Palawan was, to be honest, such a wonderful experience – and I’m not saying that just because we had, literally, the best room in the entire resort.
First off, the view from the VIP Suite balcony is money. There cannot be anything better. Mornings, afternoons and evenings are often spent looking out to the water with any of the following in hand: beer, wine, and/or a cigarette. Mr. Walker himself practically hijacked the balcony the entire trip. He positions one of the wicker chairs to face the beautiful Bacuit Bay and parks his butt before flipping through the real or virtual pages of the book of the day. Every few turns of a page, he would glance up and indulge in the scenery before dropping his head back to his book.
Breakfast is served at 8am on the dot. For that, we still take to the outside balcony and have our morning eggs along with the slosh of lovingly lapping water on the beach. Mornings here start late and it generally never gets busy. I’ve had the opportunity of going into town at 7am to pick up some things and being my last day in El Nido, I have been spoiled by the purity of mornings in Coral Bay Resort. This early morning in El Nido town was a bit too much for me; it turned into quite the eye opener. Stores were open, people were out. There was a busyness that can only be described as a police car with its speakers turned to full volume as it blasted the morning news of an AM station. Coincidentally, I ran into that as well. What I’m trying to say here is that mornings in Coral Bay are exquisite.
Dinners were quite the same setting. Either we would have food delivered from town or I would’ve made the effort of picking something up from town that afternoon after my island hopping tours or meetings. Dinners were a bit more formal though, spent on the outdoor dining table, with the company of the night sitting across from me, properly eating rice and soup with a fork – neither dish, I believe, should ever be wielded by said utensil – a spoon always makes more sense.
Sunsets here were simply treats. We’ve spent it a number of different ways from standing on the beach, taking iPhone photos of it to standing in the garden, talking and chatting with fellow travelers with beers in hand. Other times, it was just the luxury of each other’s company, on the bench in the balcony. Heads on shoulders, heads on laps, wine glasses in hands, beer bottles on the table, cigarettes on the conch shell ashtray, arms around the other, arms clutching on armrests, arms wrapped around arms, outlandish jokes in the air, whispered nothings into ears, indifference to peering eyes, indulgence to the shades or oranges, yellows and reds – this was what are sunsets were all about. It was all too poetic; it was all too romantic. Best of all, it was all too real.
If you want a treat, stay up or get up around 1 or 2 in the morning when the moon has started to sink into the horizon. We’ve had a perfect moon hover over the stillness of the bay, with its reflection doubling the light – helping you to see each other’s eyes even more. The night couldn’t be deep enough, yet, you see each other glow, literally, by the light of the moon.
Coming back to a somewhat normal reality, we go back to the resort as it is. Without the access to a television set, mid-morning entertainment is provided by the resident British and French owners tending to the garden- hacking, raking and sacking away everything to keep the resort’s character as it is. Service is half of the resort’s charm – genuinely smiling faces tending to our every need – gastronomical, hygienic or purely sanity-centric. We’ve had every request made – breakfast in the balcony so we didn’t have to change clothes or wash our faces, buying ciggies for us because we were too lazy, having our take-out heated up, having water, beers and corkscrews brought up, having laundry sent out, having massages sent to our room and having island hopping tours arranged. We were spoiled and we appreciated every single gesture that they made.
Pale Pilsens are readily available within arm’s reach and cigarettes require a 1-minute walk from the resort gate. Neighboring rooms have rushed mornings, trying to catch that 9am-island hopping call time in town or in front of the resort.
For Mr. Walker, the dilemma of the day is which book was going to be ravaged by his mind and for me, it was the superficial mission of having that awesome Instagram photo of the day.
We both take breaks from our back-breakingly busy days and share a moment mid-morning to just enjoy the view. “Are you alright,” he asks with a playful and musical tone. Without breaking my stare into the bay, I answer, “Yes, I am.”
VIP SUITE ROOM DETAILS
* A balcony bigger than most El Nido backpacker rooms – not to brag, but this balcony is huge. It is wide as it is just plain expansive, with 2 separate seating areas
* Outside seating areas consist of (1) a dining table with 2 chairs and (2) 2 single-seaters and a 3-seater “couch”
* Queen-sized bed, quite the rarity since most double rooms utilize a double bed
* Bamboo-weave 4-seater bench inside the room
* 1 large closet with hangers
* Hot water, double headed shower (though water pressure isn’t stellar, much like the rest of El Nido, so this isn’t a downer, really)
* Air conditioning. Nuff said
* No TV. Like you need it.
* Breakfast can be served in your balcony
* P4,000 a night including breakfast – not for long – the adjoining room will be combined to create a mega-suite so take advantage of the great deal before it turns out to be too much.
* Tour Packages (as long as you meet the 4 person minimum) take off from the beach in front of the resort – as opposed to going into town for it.
* Breakfast only. No restaurant for lunch or dinner.
* Speaking of breakfast, it consists of 2-3 pieces of toasted wheat bread, 2 slices/pieces of ham/bacon, 2 eggs according to your preference, coffee, water, butter and jelly and a banana.
* Having a masseuse sent to your room will cost P500
* Best damn view in town. Seriously, those in town don’t know what they are missing
* They have P3500 single detached cottages that are truly beachfront
* They also have P2500 and P3000 rooms that are not beachfront but all have balconies overlooking the garden and has some skewed view of the beach somehow. Additional person charge is P500.