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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rekindling My Boracay Love Affair with Discovery Shores





With my life straddling between long hours in the hospital and fleeting weekend travels, unique hotel experiences are a must. Luxury is not yet that ubiquitous for obvious reasons but the real danger is when it becomes generic. Hotels are now upping the ante in order to provide something exceptional for their guests. People certainly want  more value for their hard-earned money. 

After my trips to India and Maldives, both my dream destinations, the ridiculous first-world dilemma that presented itself was how to top those exceptional properties. Boracay was next on my list. Considering the recently concluded Laboracay event (Labor Day Weekend on the Island – a weekend of pandemonium that turns Boracay into an extension of Manila’s party scene. Que Horror!), was it still possible for our tropical paradise in the Philippines, one of the best islands in the world, to wow me? The island's inevitable tourism boom has become some sort of double-edged sword. I must admit that the idea of seeing a crowded Boracay with algae in its once pristine waters was a bit frightening. I have developed a slight aversion for anything that becomes too commercial. I value my quiet time and privacy these days. One special weekend, I found all my answers when I was lucky enough to have a staycation with Discovery Shores Boracay.


Discovery Shores, the first member of the Small Luxury Hotels in the World in the Phiippines (soon to be part of the Preferred hotels group), is one of the best properties in the world. For three years in a row (2011-2103), Discovery Shores was voted by the readers of Travel + Leisure Asia Magazine as the Number 1 Hotel Spa in Asia. Every year, Discovery Shores has succeeded in receiving recognition for its outstanding qualities – from its facilities to service. Among all those qualities though, if there was one thing that always stood out, it would be its legendary service. 

I flew to Boracay via Caticlan onboard Philippine Airline’s Bombardier plane. I actually liked the aircraft’s 2-2 configuration and the short flight was perfect to deter me from being agitated. 

When we arrived in Godofredo airport, the staff waiting for me greeted me by my name, a nice personal welcome to Boracay after many years. The last time I was here, boats were still allowed to go directly to the island.

From the mainland, there was a 10-minute boat transfer to Boracay Island but this was not an ordinary one. Discovery wants to make everything comfortable for all the guests. The hotel had its own air-conditioned boat, complete with an attendant that offered me and two other guests cold towels, drinks and cookies. Without me knowing it, I felt sudden gush of excitement when I realized I was going to see Boracay again. Perhaps it was possible for me to rekindle my love affair with this island.


Upon reaching the property, Ms. Seng Teodoro (the Hotel Manager) and Eduard Anzures (The Front Office Manager) gave me another warm welcome. What I love about the Discovery group is that they make you feel like a VVIP. More importantly, you feel that you are part of their family. There is a genuine warmth and care from all the staff.

Indeed, I was home.


Eduard gave me a brief tour of my well-appointed 45-sqm Junior Suite. A welcome foot scrub was waiting for me but I opted to do it later.


More welcome treats. 

The famous refreshing Pandan Water of Discovery Shores. 


The bathroom was quite simple and amenities included Discovery's own toiletries.


Books for your reading pleasure. 

My suite had a beautiful view of the pool.

There was even a bubble maker right beside my Suite! How adorable is this?

Despite the midday heat, I went around to check the hotel grounds immediately after getting settled.

It all happens in the Pool Bar.




The altar you see here is actually called a Wish Stone. There's a brush on top of it and you can write your wish on the table. Can you see what I wrote?


The beach was as breathtaking as I remember. The sand was powdery and cool. Having gone to Maldives, I can now say how special the sand truly is in Boracay. I always urge local and foreign tourists alike to be more responsible and feel the need to pick up trash when they see one.

Based on the number of shots I took here, it only showed how much I missed this place. Discovery is perfect for people who want a more private and exclusive stay in Boracay, away from the noise of Station 2 and 3. You'll also notice that the sand is the finest in this area.

There was a slight algae problem but I was assured this was quite normal during summer. 

Thank God for this Sunny day.


For a brief moment, mother nature let me see how it cleaned its waters. When the waves became stronger, almost all the algae in front of hotel disappeared. It was the Boracay I wanted to see. 

As for the other suites, Discovery Shores has 88 luxurious accommodations ranging from Junior to Two-Bedroom Suites.  I had a private tour of the other suites on my second day.

This was the One-Bedroom Suite Premier, a spacious 78 sqm loft type bedroom with a private jacuzzi at the balcony deck.




It also has a fantastic view of the beach and the hotel.


This was another Junior Suite on the ground floor.  Because of its location, they usually give this room  to persons with disabilities or the elderly.


I had my impromptu complimentary welcome food scrub and massage here. Heaven.

The One-Bedroom Suite has a spacious living area.

It is ideal for two people but I would think three people could stay here. The Two-Bedroom suite layout is basically the same as this one but with an addition of another room on the other side (left) when you enter. 




For the other amenities, the hotel naturally has a gym for the fitness addicts.

If you want some more pampering, Discovery Shores has an award winning Terra Spa that is available for guests until 9 PM.  The Spa's core is also grounded on the notion that wholeness can be accomplished when there is tranquility of both mind and body.



I had a pre-sunset Signature  (Terra's Touch) massage here.  With the right lavender oil and pressure, I drifted for a few minutes to dreamland.

I know I am relaxed when I am able to fall asleep. 

Bigger groups can also have Sparties (Spa Parties) here for Bridal Showers, Birthdays or Corporate events.


For dining choices, the hotel has two main restaurants - The Indigo (below) and Sands. They also have the Sandbar beach bar, Platitos and Sunken Pool Bar. I'll have a separate post about the food here but believe me when I say everything we ate here was excellent - from the appetizers to the desserts. Food did not disappoint at all.

The airy Sands Restaurant.

A happy lunch with this happy bunch.

A simple divider separates the Sands from the Indigo Restaurant.

Everything in Discovery Shores is almost faultless. However, I would like to express why I love this hotel so much. It's all about SERVICE.

During the course of the my stay, the staff who were almost invisible, left the cutest things in my room. They listened intently and delivered what I wanted. I briefly mentioned over lunch how much I loved the VMV sunblock Armada. Voila, I found them in my room as soon as I got back.


They even served my favorite Maja Blanca.

And when I mentioned about videoke, they prepared the room for us to sing that night. I even discovered that there was so much talent here when Seng and Eduard sang as well. One of the staff was also taking photos of us and I thought it was just for documentation. What I did not know was that they would actually print and frame the photos. It would be given to me as a souvenir upon checkout. Those little surprises make this property unmatched in this country.

While I was sunbathing, a beach butler gladly offered to clean my sunglasses and fold my clothes.




Hospitality is something innate in Filipinos. It is not hard to teach us how to take care of guests.  In Discovery Shores, I saw the finest example of Filipino hospitality that will make you want to come back for more. That is a true mark of a hotel’s excellence. All of the things they do for their guests come with a genuine smile. Service does not feel forced or contrived. In the hospitality industry, service with a heart is the key. Sometimes, you can go wrong with food and accommodations and guests can be forgiving. But, if service is compromised, you will lose the loyalty of your guests.

Discovery Shores has truly been doing a remarkable job when it comes it guest relations. They have made me fall in love in Boracay again. All the awards and praises are well-deserved. Kudos to the whole team!


Thank you Seng, Eduard, Julius, Jane, Blessy and all the staff in Discovery for this perfect weekend in Boracay. 

P.S

I hear the Discovery Shores Villas will be opening next year. Imagine all of this perfection brought to another level? There goes another reason to visit Boracay.
______________________________________________________

Discovery Shores, Station 1, Balabag, Boracay Island, 
5608 Malay Aklan Philippines.

Telephone number: (+6336) 288-4500, (+632) 720-8888
Fax:(+6336) 288-4505, (+632) 720 5555
Email: dsbrsvn@discovery.com.ph

For Discovery Packages:
Lovestruck 4D3N starts at 46,200 (Lean) ++ to 65,700 ++ (Superpeak) for Junior Suites
Beach Bliss Package 3D2N starts at 28,500 (Lean) to 41,500 (Superpeak) ++  for Junior Suites.

For more details: 

Check their website:

Philippine Airlines fly to Boracay and Kalibo everyday.
For bookings, click www.philippineairlines.com



3 comments:

Red said...

WOW.....

deobaraanmd said...

Thank you!

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