Time Stands Still at the Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa

A view of Banyugan Beach from Solana Bar
Let’s admit it. There is no such thing as a secluded, untouched beach in Boracay—the island that has gained attention from all over the world because of its immaculate white sands and crystalline waters; the island that has bagged Travel+Leisure’s World’s Best Island award in 2012.

The main white beach, dotted with all types of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and other commercial establishments you could think of, is as busy as the bustling metropolis. Try going here during Holy Week or Labor Day and you’ll see what I mean. The other side, also known as Bulabog Beach, is where the action starts as it is the launch pad for various adrenaline-inducing activities like parasailing and helmet-diving. Just like the main white beach, it is jam-packed most of the time. Puka and Ilig-iligan Beaches, on the other hand, are famous stop-over for island hoppers.

Boracay is more like a party place; an island where you get intoxicated all night and wake up just before the happenings begin again.

It’s a good thing though that there is still one part of Boracay that is peaceful and less congested. I am referring to no other than the Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa up on the hilly side of the island. Here, time is idle, and the views, spectacular.

The resort's private speedboat
The moment we arrived at the Kalibo International Airport, the signature impeccable service of the resort beckoned. An airport representative was already waiting for us at the arrival area, and he was gracious enough to explain our resort transfers options: car rental, shuttle van or bus. We chose the latter as it has good reviews and is more affordable. He then processed our bus tickets while we were waiting for our luggage to come out of the conveyor. Service was fast and efficient from the very start; a perfect prelude to our three-day two-nights journey.

Aboard the Southwest bus, we were able to take a nap, waking up to picturesque landscapes mid-way. The two-hour land trip was smooth and we didn’t realize that we had arrived at the Cagban jetty port where the exclusive lounge for the resort is nestled. We were welcomed with cold towels and a refreshing dalandan (local citrus) drink. After everyone had settled down, the staff announced that they had to transport us to another port due to rough sea conditions. At the said port, it is supposed to bring us to Fairways and Bluewater’s private dock at the opposite side of the island from where Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa is. The sea transfer would then take longer than usual because we would have to pass through the side of the island where Bulabog Beach and Crystal Cove are located. Safety first, of course.

The resort’s speedboat was already waiting for us when we arrived at the makeshift lounge at the temporary port. We boarded the speedboat after all the luggage have been loaded. It took us another 20 minutes to reach Fairways and Bluewater, where the sea was unbelievably calm, and another 10 minutes to finally reach Shangi-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa.

A temporary port

The iconic rock formation at the Fairways and Bluewater's jetty port

The private docking area at the Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa
At the airy lobby, we were graciously welcomed by the resort’s resident manager and a charming Russian lady who happened to be the front desk staff assigned to make our check-in fast and hassle free. They had led us to the luxurious Seaview Suite, where we also met our butler, Janice.

On the way to our suite

Combining modern sensibilities and Filipino style, the spacious Seaview Suite features woven abaca rugs, statement lighting with capiz accents, and hardwood floors. There is a veranda complete with a day bed, a Jacuzzi, and a breakfast nook, all commanding a spectacular view of Punta Bunga Beach—one of the resort’s private coves. The suite is also located just a few steps away from the beach.

The living room

Plush king-sized bed

Have coffee (breakfast) here

A roomy, LED-lit Jacuzzi at the veranda
Punta Bunga Beach
A bar, complete with Nespresso machine and my favorite Lungo Forte pods, Dilmah loose teas, and other snacks, is a delight.
Pods and leaves


Complimentary drinking water on refillable glass bottles

The toilet and bath starts with an expansive walk-in closet complete with a huge safe, dressers and even an ironing board. To the left of the walk-in closet is a marble-floored bathroom featuring two sinks, a separate rainshower and bath, and premium toiletries.

Walk-in closet

The bathroom


Premium toiletries include soap and body lotion from L'Occitane
If you feel like not leaving the inviting suite for the day, you won't have to worry about getting famished as the resort can bring champagne and cheese ensuite. You can even have a private barbecue by the beach or on your veranda.
Champagne Taittinger and premium cheeses
At the resort's fitness center are state-of-the-art gym equipment and relaxing wet area that has my favorite steam bath, sauna, and Jacuzzi. You can indulge in a rejuvenating steam bath or sauna before having a massage at the resort's wellness sanctuary--the Chi Spa.

Lockers at the fitness center

Jacuzzi at the forefront, sauna at the back left, and steam bath at the back right

The shower room


The Chi Spa is a 5,714 sqm wellness sanctuary perched on a rocky peninsula looking out over a private bay.

In traditional Chinese philosophy, ch’i or "Qi”is the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality. For good health to be maintained, it is believed that ch’i must flow freely within the body and, when blocked, "dis-ease" and illness follow. 

The gateway to the Chi Spa

The lobby
Upon entering the lobby of the Chi Spa, the signature Shangri-La scent awakened our senses. We were served my favorite ginger ale infused with honey. A trivia: I used to hate the taste of ginger ale not until I tried this concoction--a sweet and spicy mix-- at the Chi Spa in EDSA Shangri-La, Manila.

Waiting room

Cold towels and ginger ale
Since we came in an hour earlier for our scheduled massage, we were able to take a dip into the pool while waiting.

Chi Spa's pool


When the right time arrived, we were led to our private room and were asked to change into our robes. The room, dimly lit, is also clad in charming Filipino accents.

The dressing room

Our room at the Chi Spa
My mom and I both had the Philippine hilot massage, a treatment based on ancient diagnostic methods passed down through generations of Philippine culture. It started with a warm coconut milk and salt foot rinse, followed by rubbing warm coconut oil and placing heated banana leaves over the body. The one and a half-hour massage was rejuvenating! We went back to our suite recharged and ready to sleep soundly that night.

The following morning, we were all so excited to have breakfast at Vintana, the resort's all-day dining hub. What did we have for breakfast? Here, let the photos speak for themselves:



Pull-aparts

Pan au chocolat and croissants

Tom Yum and Salmon Sushi

Yogurt

Cheeses and cold cuts

More sushi

Korean Stir-fry Noodles

Chicken Dumpling

Bibimbap

My plate
Mom's plate

And the star: warm bread pudding ala mode topped with choco chips and syrup
After breakfast, we went to the Chi Spa again to let Akisha enjoy feeding the fish. They have this activity every so often so if you happen to have kids with you, check with your butler if they have this scheduled during your stay and I'm sure the kids will love it!

Fish feeding at the Chi Spa
Next, we went for a dip at the resort's pool--one of the country's largest free-form swimming pools, set amidst lush landscaped gardens and water fountains.




The pool is fronting Banyugan Beach, a beautiful private cove bordered by rock formations on both sides.

Banyugan Beach

Punta Bunga Beach

A view of the resort from the dock

Banyugan Beach

From Solana
Contrary to how busy and crowded Boracay's white beach is, Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa is a tranquil haven where you do things at your own pace.

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