Bohol is one of the island provinces in the Philippines that I don’t mind visiting again and again. There are a lot of beautiful sights to see here for first-time visitors, including the famed Chocolate Hills, cute tarsiers and Loboc River. But if you’ve seen all that already, you’ll probably just want to take it slow and enjoy the laid-back beach life with loved ones.
One of the best places you can do that is Amorita, a secluded luxury resort located on a limestone cliff on the southern edge of Bohol’s Panglao Island. I recently got to stay to stay in the property for two nights to attend the media launch of AirAsia’s new in-flight meals.
I normally stay in budget-friendly backpacker joints or hostels when I travel on my own, so it’s always a treat staying in top-class resorts for media trips. The tranquil seaside retreat whose name means “Little Darling” combines world-class service with signature Filipino hospitality. It’s said to be a favorite of expats and European tourists because of its quiet luxury and intimacy.
Photo by Monique Tendencia of Our Awesome Planet
Amorita currently has 96 rooms ranging from deluxe rooms to two-bedroom villas with either garden or ocean views and their own private pools. My roommate Karla of Karla Around the World and I shared a junior suite with queen sized beds, en suite bathrooms, and a cozy couch nook by the window ideal for reading, working or just lounging about.
All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, flat-screen cable tv, drinking water, and free wireless internet access. The rooms have a modern aesthetic, but still have a lot of island details. I appreciated the natural design like the use of gray stone, the earthy palette and the use of local and organic materials in the room. The welcome snacks and complimentary lemongrass and cucumber based coolers in the mini-bar were really refreshing.
During our tour of the resort’s facilities, we got to see the other room types including the one-bedroom seaview suite, ocean villas, and luxurious 2-bedroom villas, (which apparently costs roughly Php 32,000 a night during the lean season). It’s not every day that you get to stay in such luxurious digs, so you can be sure we made the most of it. We mostly hung out in the spacious Garden Villa of fellow travel blogger Melo of Out of Town Blog, who had his own private pool.
The most striking feature of Amorita are the two sleek infinity pools near the lobby area and right next to the al fresco restaurant. Both are beautifully-designed swimming pools which offer dramatic vantage points for photography.
Karla chilling out on a unicorn floater
The swimming pool near the lobby offers another great view of the sea and boats parked near Alona Beach.
Though you can easily walk down to the main stretch of Alona Beach, for those who want a more secluded spot, Amorita has its own tiny secret beach, accessible by wooden stairs near Saffron Restaurant.
This small cove offers another picturesque spot where you can swim or just lounge about or enjoy the view.
WHAT TO DO IN AMORITA
All guests have access to the two pools, gym and in-house dive center. The resort has its own boutique if you forgot to buy beach supplies. Guests who want to relax can also enjoy a healing massage at the Sea Tree Spa (try the Maharlika signature massage using Boholano herbal healing medicine.)
For those who prefer more active pursuits, you can explore the waters surrounding Alona Beach by kayak or Stand-Up Paddleboard (Amorita offers free use of watersports equipment), go snorkeling or diving to discover more of Panglao’s amazing marine life or stroll along the white sands of Alona Beach.
BIKING IN BOHOL*
While we were checking in, I was happy to find out that Amorita offers complimentary use of bicycles to all checked-in guests who want to bike around Bohol. They have a few vintage-looking folding bikes parked right outside the boutique if you just want to go around the resort. Since we had one free morning, I decided to borrow a mountain bike to make a loop of the entire Panglao Island (roughly about 40 km).
It took me about 4 hours of biking at a leisurely pace, with several stops at the White Beach, Bohol Bee Farm in Dauis and the bridges leading to and from Tagbilaran City to do circle the whole circumferential road of Panglao Island, but I managed to get back in the nick of time for our lunch visit to Momo Beach House. Will write a separate post on this.
Amorita has two in-house restaurants that you can try even if you’re not checked-in at the resort.
Saffron Restaurant serves interesting Boholano heritage dishes using locally available ingredients along with a range of continental and Asian cuisine. During our first day, we had roasted chicken and salad with a fresh vinaigrette for lunch as well as some of their signature cocktails like the chocolate liqueur-based Chocolate Hills, Ube Martini (with purple yam) and Chili Mojito.
Their breakfast buffet has a limited selection, but everything I tried was pretty good. I gravitated towards the crispy bacon, cold cuts, cheese plate and overnight oats. They also serve fresh fruits and mini-pancakes as well as rice meals. The lunch and dinner buffet options were similarly focused, with a few stand-out dishes.
Tomas Tapas x Bar offers classic tapas, paellas and pintxos (small snacks) best paired with wine or whiskey. Of all the tapas served, I enjoyed the chorizo, patatas bravas and calamari the most.
Just when we were stuffed, they brought out heaping pots of Paella Negra or Paella Valenciana. Talk about Squid Goals! The Paella Negra was amazing. Tomar also serves pretty good Churros here for those with a sweet tooth.
Aside from these two dining destinations, there are a lot of other restaurants you can check out nearby if you’re staying in Amorita, including The Buzzz Cafe by Bohol Bee Farm, which serves delicious homemade ice creams with unique flavors like malunggay, spicy ginger, dragonfruit and Peanut Kisses (Bohol’s top pasalubong) in cassava cones.
One of Amorita’s partner resorts is Momo Beach House, where we had a lovely boodle-style beach meal in their restaurant called Beach Tree Café. One of the most interesting dishes we got to try here was Tinolang Saang, a Boholano specialty that makes use of spider conch shells cooked in a ginger-based soup.
If you love craft beer, be sure to check out Ken’s Place in Alona Pawikan, which is just walking distance from Amorita Resort. This cozy and secluded bar serves a wide range of foreign and local craft beer and Japanese cuisine. As a tribute to Bohol, I had a Tarsier Wheat Beer from Crazy Carabao and Chocolate Hills Porter from The Cebruery (and took home a bottle of Big Eye-pa Double IPA.) If I stayed longer, I would have gone back to sample some of the other international brews. Very good selection!
WHO / WHY YOU SHOULD CHECK IN:
With its lush and romantic set-up and top-class facilities, Amorita is a great venue especially for weddings and events. We really enjoyed the view and vibe during the sunset cocktails at the cliffside for AirAsia’s launch of in-flight meals overlooking the beach. I can see why AirAsia has partnered with Amorita for media events in the past, as the place just exudes elegance and class. It’s a great place to stay if you’re a leisure or business traveler.
Amorita is also an ideal getaway for balikbayans, expats, families, honeymooners and foreign tourists who don’t mind splurging for quality service and for those who intend to maximize their stay in the resort. Thank you very much to Amorita and AirAsia Philippines for the lovely stay!
ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO:
#1 Ester A. Lim Drive, Barangay Tawala, Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines.