Style Tropical-rustic retreat
Setting Private white-sand isle
On remote, reef-fringed Pamalican Island, Amanpulo boutique hotel in the Philippines Crusoe luxe, with snow-white beaches, crystal-clear seas, pristine diving and endless watersports. After a tough day on the beach, recoup in the spa, then retire to your airy casita deck. The ‘peaceful island’ delivers on the elusive fantasy of getting away from it all.
Need to know
Rooms 40 casitas and 11 villas.
Facilities Spa, PADI dive centre, marine sports, tennis courts, playground, golf cart for each casita, library with CDs and DVDs, boutique, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen satellite TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, coffee-machine.
In the know
Our favourite room Inspired by native bahay kubo dwellings, all rooms have timber frames and pitched roofs with rustic island styling. Mermaids and their mermen will love the 29 Beach Casitas, as you can saunter straight onto the sand and into the waves. Or for dreamy Sulu Sea views, opt for a Deluxe Hillside Casita. The two- and four-bedroom Villas offer opulent, airy living and dining pavilions, with private pools and a cook, ideal for families or friends.
Dining The poolside restaurant at the Clubhouse serves up flavoursome Filipino and international cuisine, with views out to Manamoc Island. For just-caught seafood and tasty Spanish tapas by the sea, make for the chilled-out, open-air Beach Club pavilion, where loungers and shaded seats face the sand (the huevos rancheros are delicious!). The Lagoon Club specialises in Vietnamese cuisine, and the Windsurf Hut serves up thin-crust wood-fired pizzas for munching by the waves – the chocolate and strawberry one rocks!
Wining Fancy some star-gazing with your sangria? At the Lobby Bar in a corner of the Clubhouse, switched-on staff can point out the constellations while you peer through the telescope. Enjoy an apéritif at the marble-topped bar or an after-dinner liqueur with a cigar on the terrace, often accompanied by live music by local guitarists or harpists. There’s also the floating Kawayan pontoon bar if you don’t mind swimming out to enjoy your liquid refreshment.
Dress code From beach casual to Ab Fab kaftan chic, depending which eatery you plump for. This is the place fashion designers have in mind when they dream up their resort collections.
Poolside Bordered by vibrant bougainvillea trellises, the 30-metre, aqua-tiled swimming pool stretches out in front of the Clubhouse. Bask on your umbrella-shaded sun-bed or one of the three open-air salas where comfy mattresses reign supreme.
Couples or kids? You can bring the whole family along to Amanpulo: baby cots are provided for free and extra beds for older children cost US$100 a night (or they can sleep on day-beds in your room for free). Babysitting with hotel staff can be arranged for PHP300 an hour, with 48 hours’ notice. Travelling à deux? Never fear, this honeymoon favourite flaunts plenty of secluded spots.
Time out Relax and recuperate in Amanpulo’s intimate day spa, a series of hillside pavilions overlooking the Sulu Sea. Local Cuyonin healing treatments, private yoga sessions, a Pilates studio, gym, steam rooms and cool plunge pools will have you feeling fabulous in no time. Book through Smith to receive a free signature one-hour massage for two.