A jump-off point in Palawan

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    The island province of Palawan has been regarded as the last frontier of the Philippines. It is filled with exotic flora and fauna and features several tourist destinations such as the Iwahig penal colony, the Puerto Princesa Underground River, and San Vicente, to name a few.

    However, going to these places can be difficult due to the large size of Palawan.

    While Puerto Princesa, the city proper, might be considered small, it is actuality second only to Davao City in terms of land area. This makes travelling to the different tourist spots a lengthy ride.

    Astoria Palawan aims to help alleviate that by giving travelers the option to stay in a high-quality resort close to most of Palawan’s tourist destinations. The hotel was opened in 2015 and since then, it has been one of the top resorts for those who want to get away from the city and enjoy the atmosphere it has to offer.

    “We saw the opportunity to build in Palawan a few years ago given the growing popularity of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park; the Underground River being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also voted as a New 7 Wonders of Nature destination. These boosted the attractiveness of Puerto Princesa as a destination,” Vivian Ng, Astoria Hotel chief operating officer, said.

    “Together with the opening of Puerto Princesa International Airport, it has been primed as a destination for a high influx of tourists. We decided that to locate ourselves nearby would be according to our corporate objective of being in major tourist destinations,” Ng added.

    “Being a very large and long land mass, Palawan was a bit challenging in picking the right area. The question of being in the city or close to it for convenience versus being farther away but with better beach experience was the conundrum. We decided that a large tract of land with beautiful mango trees and a long beachfront would offer the best experience for our guests. The extra hour of travel is a small price to pay for the enjoyment of having the best of all worlds in Astoria Palawan. Here, we can truly showcase the best that the Philippines has to offer – great eco-adventures set amidst the backdrop of a pristinely beautiful island with fresh seafood and local produce,“ she also said.

    Since then, the hotel has expanded its rooms and amenities, adding the Premier Villas for guests who want more privacy. These are six villas with 30 rooms facing the scenic Sulu Sea.

    Guests can have a pick of the two-bedroom or one-bedroom unit of the Premier villas.
    Guests can have a pick of the two-bedroom or one-bedroom unit of the Premier villas.

    The Premier Villas look more spacious because the rooms have high ceiling and glass window design. There is an infinity pool dedicated for the 30 rooms of the six villas.

    Guests can choose to stay in either the two-bedroom or one-bedroom units of the Premier Villas. The rooms have either one king-size or two double beds. Each room features a custom hard-surfaced kitchen and ceramic-tiled bathroom with a separate relaxation tub, an LCD flat screen television and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet, tea and coffee-making facilities with bottled water.

    Also new in the property is the Waterpark which is open to both hotel guests and walk-ins.

    New in the property is the Waterpark which is open to both hotel guests and walk-ins.
    New in the property is the Waterpark which is open to both hotel guests and walk-ins.

    The waterpark has its own restaurant, Aqua Cena, which offers a buffet spread for lunch.

    The waterpark is divided into three sections, each with different themes. The Batak Misters and Marine Sanctuary pool is a zero-depth area, making it perfect for younger guests. Here, they can enjoy the installations that jet out water fountains of varying heights and strengths, and every 2 minutes, the large bucket overhead dumps its fill onto the crowd.

    The tumbling buckets zone is for the more adventurous children who wish to enjoy the slides. The 2-foot deep area is enough to cushion the impact of sliding down a waterslide while another bucket dumps its water contents every minute.

    The thrill-seekers can try the Velocity and Vortex slides. Towering three stories tall, the slides take people on a thrilling ride to the Surf’s Up pool. Guests can opt to slide using their own bodies, or for a faster ride, use either a slide mat or an inner tube.

    For those who prefer the beach, guests can rent a boat and hit the sandbar roughly 20 minutes away from the hotel.
    For those who prefer the beach, guests can rent a boat and hit the sandbar roughly 20 minutes away from the hotel.

    For those who prefer to swim in the beach, guests can rent a boat and hit the sandbar roughly 20 minutes away from the hotel. This area is a cove so the waters are calm with minimal currents. At the sandbar, guests can play volleyball, lounge around and get a tan, or enjoy the vistas of the sea and the mountains.

    Astoria Palawan is also targeting the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market with the completion of The Mangrove, the hotel’s conference and convention hall which has a 500-person capacity.

    “We believe that our MICE market will steadily grow as we are becoming more well-known as a ‘WorkPlays’ – a destination where business and leisure are both catered to in equal measure, with an easy sense of seamlessness between the two,” Ng said