Palawan

For several years now, Palawan in the central Philippines continues to take pride of place in the annual “best” lists of such upscale travel magazines as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler. And for the best of reasons: this archipelago-within-an-archipelago, boasting 1,780 islands and islets, offers one-of-a-kind limestone bluffs rising from the sea, secluded white-sand beaches, awesome scuba diving sites, and swathes of coral reefs and virgin forests, among other incredibly superlative treats.

Now, add luxurious spa resorts to that list.

El Nido Resort in Apulit Island, in Taytay Bay, captures what Palawan is all about: secluded limestone cliffs coming alive with a lot of swimming, snorkeling, diving (yes, even from the cliffs), rock climbing, rappelling, and spelunking — and more. The cottages sit on stilts planted through the waves and right into the seabed, allowing you to feel the ebb and tide of the ocean as you drift along in your dreams.

Then there’s Amanpulo in Pamalican Island, which has its own airstrip — to welcome you from a chartered flight from Manila. Each villa is curated to evoke a sense of deep connection to nature, from the vernacular architecture using local materials to intimate access to the sea and land, including your own pool. In each villa, pampering and inner wellness are provided by a dedicated household staff who will help fill your vacation with irresistible options and tempting services.

Nearby is Qi Palawan, where the seven bamboo villas, offering open-air freshness, are stocked with soaps made here. Its own gardens provide organic herbs that make their way to your dinner. Snorkeling, island-hopping, and picnic lunches at the Linapacan island group are part of the holistic wellness treats.

Learn more about Palawan