Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review



A tropical haven - private island luxury at its finest

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Pamalican Island, Palawan Province, The Philippines

Travel Information

On arrival at Manila Airport guests are taken to Amanpulo's private lounge before a 70-minute transfer to the resort aboard Amanpulo's own 19-seater aircraft

Top Tips

Paddle boarding around the island spotting baby black tip reef sharks

5-Star X-Factors

Beyond-paradise private beach with dazzling white sands and crystal waters. Kawayan floating bar for sundowners whilst feeding tropical fish

Private island paradise

Amanpulo is set on the truly breathtaking Pamalican Island, perched at the northern tip of Palawan Province in the Philippines, forming part of the Robinson Crusoe-style Cuyo Archipelago in the Sulu Sea. 

After a short one hour connection from Manila on the island’s private plane, flying over deserted islands and peaceful seas, we begin our descent towards Amanpulo. The colour of the water below gradually transforms from deepest navy blue to light turquoise as we descend over the reef to the islands private airstrip, where we are greeted by our charming guest assistant. 

A short journey on the back of golf buggy takes us through dense green jungle punctuated with magnificent red hibiscus flowers to our island home.  We are driven along the winding pathways, with glimpses through the jungle to the sparkling ocean - our journey only to be interrupted once by one of the island's slow-moving monitor lizards crossing in front of us. Looking back, our first few minutes after arriving at Amanpulo were spent in silent awe of our surroundings.



Pamalican is an astonishingly beautiful tropical island set amongst a vibrant coral reef teeming with turtles, baby black tip reef sharks and a vast array of tropical fish.  Just 2 and a half kilometres long and only 500 metres at its widest point, sunset walks around the whole perimeter are entirely achievable before cocktail hour.

Once unpacked at our Jungle Casita, we slowly amble down to the Beach Club where a teak wood veranda sits slightly elevated over the powder-white sand.  The views from here sweep across to neighbouring islands and the mesmerising cerulean seas. 

Guests of the resort are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. The Beach Club, Nama and Picnic Grove are open during the high season, while guests can enjoy Mediterranean specialities at the Lagoon Club and stone-baked pizzas at the Windsurf Hut from June to October. The Clubhouse Restaurant, set around the heavenly pool area, is open throughout the year where you can enjoy views out to the Sebu Sea beyond.

From freshly caught fish and a daily array of fruit and vegetables picked from the organic garden, the Amanpulo Beach Club offers Filipino, Mediterranean and Japanese dishes using only the freshest ingredients. We while away our first afternoon here before taking advantage of the array of water sports on offer. Hours were spent paddle boarding, spotting baby black tip reef sharks and slow-moving sea turtles lulling beneath the waves, before heading back to the beach for sunset. We barely see another human being, save for one, our guest assistant who meets us at the water’s edge with ice cold water and lemongrass-infused face towels.  



Our home for the duration of our stay was high in the jungle canopy in a ‘Jungle Treetop Casita’, a secluded island-chic haven with mesmerising views over the treetops and out onto the sea beyond.  The casita is entirely private aside from our new neighbours - the tree frogs. Each property is designated a golf buggy and bicycles to navigate their way around the island - but for those that wish to slow down the pace, walking amongst the frangipani lined pathways is an extremely pleasant way to take in your new surroundings.

We have a sweeping terrace beyond our Casita, complete with his and hers divans nestled under the trees giving us shade and respite from the heat. Our large bathroom is lined with Cebu marble and our special open plan suite with vaulted ceiling complete with fan is truly a delight to retire to at the end of our heavenly days on the island. 

There are also Treetop Casitas with pools, Hillside Casitas and Beach Casitas with direct access to the white sand beach. Amanpulo's one and two-bedroom Villas are all just steps from the shore with sea views and designed around a central pool with expansive terraces for seamless inside-outside living. Each comes with a private chef and butler.


Amanpulo has such a range of idyllic spots to enjoy a sundowner that guests truly are spoilt for choice. The Kawayan Bar was a bucket list moment for me - hopping onto one of the resort’s speed boats on the beach, we are whisked out to sea and escorted onto the shaded driftwood platform. This incredibly cool floating bar is complete with sound system, cocktails, sofas and sun loungers along with freshly prepared canap├ęs. Whilst we sit listening to gentle music drifting on the sea breeze, tropical fish are gathering just beyond our feet - we sip champagne with our toes dangling in the sea and feed them as the sun sets in front. The Kawayan Bar can be privately rented by guests for early evening cocktails at sunset or for a period of time throughout the day - the perfect spot to rest between snorkelling and swimming in the sea, with light refreshments and snacks on hand. 

Whilst Amanpulo is truly ideal for rest and relaxation, there are plenty of activities for those in search of action and adventure. Amanpulo has a fully equipped state-of-the-art gym set up amongst the jungle canopy and a vast array of water sports equipment for kite surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Guests can hike up to watch the sunset at the far end of the island, make use of the tennis courts or take on the jungle obstacle course.

For those that would prefer a slower pace, the Amanpulo spa is breath-taking. The views from my massage bed look out over the treetops down to the reef and out to sea. The Spa is completely secluded - guests of the resort can enjoy hydrotherapy, pilates, massages and a full range of healing treatments. 



We venture down to a private section of the beachfront on our last night on the island, we emerge from the tree-line and out onto the sand. Red lanterns make for a warmly lit pathway down to a beautifully laid dinner table, just in front of the lapping waves.  We watch the sunset drinking champagne whilst dinner is being prepared on the nearby barbecue, sitting in awe at the rosy hues that the sun leaves behind as it floats beneath the clouds, marking the end of another incredible day. Gazpacho is served as we are seated, toes firmly in the warm sand, with the flames from the lanterns casting a warm glow across our table.  We feast on scallops, barbecued seafood and light salads, cooled by the balmy island breeze. The beach barbecue was a truly dreamy experience and the service, food and ambience are like no other I have experienced. 

After dinner we sit and watch the stars before walking down to the shoreline to splash and kick up the phosphorescent tide. Flashes of electric white and blue dance beneath our feet, creating a dream-like spectacle in the warm, shallow water.  Amanpulo well and truly captured my heart, it is exceptional in every sense of the word - a heavenly tropical paradise of white sands, crystal seas and bright blue skies, eclipsed only by inimitable Aman style and service.


Hannah Smith
Hannah Smith

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer

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