Growing up in the Philippines, the very mention of El Nido, Palawan always seemed to conjure up images of idyllic pristine beaches, but also of exclusivity and unattainability.
After all, most of the press releases we heard back in the 1990’s and 2000’s, spoke mostly of the numerous Hollywood and foreign celebrities that frequented the island paradise. The buzz was always all about the exclusive island resorts which can only be reached by chartered planes and private boats.
But it seems times have changed – for the better. These days, El Nido, specifically the main town, is welcoming more and more mid-range and budget travelers from all over the world.
So as we were planning our epic Palawan trip, we decided we would focus on finding a beachfront hotel with local Filipino character, while still having all of the modern creature comforts. We were going to the Philippines so we wanted to splurge a bit and have that island resort feeling — while still being close to the main town, the port and local beaches.
Luckily, we stumbled upon Panorama Resort – a place that met all of our requirements. It’s a true hidden gem, which we suspect won’t stay hidden for long.
Located on Corong-Corong beach, about a 5-minute tricycle ride outside the center of town, this new boutique hotel is owned by 3 young entrepreneurs from Spain.
At the time of our visit a few weeks ago, the hotel had only been opened for less than 3 months, yet it was already quite sought-after and fully-booked!
While the place was still very new, you could see how the owners and staff certainly knew how to run their business, as displayed by their warm and personalized service.
We absolutely fell in love with the design of the place. It’s easily one of the most stylish hotels we’ve stayed at in Asia.
We are impressed at how they ingeniously utilized native Filipino design without sacrificing any of the modern comforts.
In particular, we love the uniquely-shaped rooms, inspired by the ubiquitous Filipino coconuts. It also has impressively chic landscaping, which makes you feel like you’re in a true green tropical oasis.
Panorama Hotel El Nido boasts of 8 rooms sprawled over its strikingly stylish complex. Each room is detached from the others, which gives you that feeling of privacy in your own comfy retreat.
The design of the rooms is uniquely ‘modern Filipino’ and we absolutely love the use of indigenous materials such as rattan, bamboo and local wood. Even some of the pillows showcase designs inspired by traditional Filipino weaving. The bed was very comfortable and huge – a true king size. It was actually hard to get up in the morning since it was so comfy! The floor to ceiling windows are perfect to let natural light in, but there are also ample curtains if you want more privacy.
All rooms are also complete with a private bathroom, while some rooms at Panorama Resort also boast a seating area. The bathroom was exceptionally clean, incredibly spacious and had enough storage space. Each room also has a pool and garden view, WiFi, minibar, tea/coffee facilities, luggage closets, quality toiletries, soundproofing, safety deposit box, air conditioning, a fan and a spacious work desk. Electrical sockets are also plenty.
This is no exaggeration: the service is nothing less than top-notch. Even before we checked-in, we were already very impressed at their responsiveness via email.
From the moment we stepped into their hotel, we quickly felt how they put their guests first, even treating us like friends and family. Full disclosure: we stayed at another local hotel while in El Nido and its service paled in comparison with Panorama.
Their staff was very friendly and attentive while still giving you space and privacy. The resort is also well-staffed and it feels like they are able to give ample attention to each guest at the hotel. Special thanks to Nani, Ivan and co-owner Borja for their exceptional service and for going above and beyond for us.
Before our stay, we searched for the hotel and based on Google Maps, it looked that the beach was close but not too close to the resort. However, we were quite surprised – it is actually a beachfront property on Corong-Corong, one of the quieter beaches on El Nido!
The beach is not visible from the rooms, but it is only a few steps away, less than a minute walk from the rooms. They even have a private walkway going to it. There is some construction currently happening on this walkway during the daytime. But it’s not too bothersome since it’s far enough away from the rooms. There are also bars on the same beach, but we never heard any of the music or noise from our rooms.
From the airport, you can reach the resort in 35 mins via tricycle, for about Php 300 – 350 only. From the center of town, you can reach it within 5-10 mins also via tricycle, for about Php 50 – 100 only.
- Corong-Corong Beach – onsite, beachfront
- Las Cabañas Beach – 1.8 km
- El Nido Port – 3.4 km
- Big Lagoon El Nido – 4 km
- Small Lagoon El Nido – 6 km
- Matinloc Shrine – 3 km
Restaurants and markets
- Republica Sunset Bar – 1 km
- Farmacia Comprendio – 5 km
- El Nido Public Market – 2 km
They have their own bar and restaurant in the middle of the complex, right beside the very inviting pool area.
At the restaurant, there’s a fair selection of local and foreign cuisine on the menu. The bar is also well-stocked and offers the usual bar drinks and cocktails. During our visit, we tried the pasta and cocktails for dinner. Rob thought the penne pasta with sausage was fantastic – and that’s saying a lot since Rob’s usually pretty picky about food.
They also have free onsite WiFi, too. However, we’ll admit that it was weak and even non-existent at times. Though to be honest, it seems like weak WiFi is standard in El Nido so please take note if you plan on being on the internet often. Then again, you’re going to El Nido for the beach and not the internet, right?
Turn-ons: The stylish ambience, beachfront location, large beds, relaxing amenities and the friendly staff
Turn-off: WiFi was slow during our visit
Overall, we absolutely enjoyed our stay in Panorama. We couldn’t stop raving about the place to our family and friends. They more than exceeded our expectations – highly recommended!
- Sitio Lugadia, Barangay Corong Corong, El Nido, Palawan
- 0939 514 3922
- Check room availability here
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panoramaelnido/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/panoramaelnido/
By Joli Switzer
We were invited as guests by Panorama El Nido. However, all opinions are our own and based on our honest personal experience.