After our activity-filled first 2 days in Coron, we slowed down and spent the rest of our trip just lounging on the beach–we headed to Club Paradise.A luxury island resort with complete amenities for all sorts of activities, Club Paradise is approximately 1.5 hours away from the airport. The first part of the travel was via a rough and bumpy road that leads to a river. The second part was in a motor boat along the river and into the open sea. The weather was good on our way to the island; it wasn’t too hot even though we traveled after lunch. From afar, the white sand of Club Paradise cast off a bright glare under the sun. And as the boat approached, we could see men in uniform waiting by the shore with their guitar–they welcomed us with a serenade and offered us refreshing drinks while we did the paperwork for checking in.
Club Paradise is an amazing place. It’s a perfect destination for people who are looking to get away from their busy lives for a while, get some much needed tranquility by being close to nature, and enjoy being pampered for a few days.The resort has complete amenities–a restaurant that serves buffet; a bar; a recreation area with billiards and table tennis facilities + board games; a karaoke room; a diving and snorkeling shop; a swimming pool; and a wide stretch of beach with beach chairs scattered along the shore. But while the resort has modern amenities, it is able to retain its serene environment and its almost off-the-grid feel. There are still so many trees and a hiking path surrounded by greenery. The shore is vast and the sound of the waves beckon.
There are 3 types of accommodation in the resort–beachfront cottages, garden suite cottages, and hillside cottages. We stayed in the latter, and our cottage was a far distance from the main reception area in the island. The hillside cottages are ultra spacious and airy because of the large windows. They have a balcony that overlooks the sea, and a hammock where one can take a nap or simply lay down to listen to the sounds of nature. The bed is king-sized, with an AC but no television (although they have a bluetooth speaker). The bathroom is also spacious and complete with toiletries. However, their shower looks old and can do some improvement. And, they need to add an exhaust in the bathroom. As for the rest of the cottage, we could not ask for more.
One thing to note is that the resort has wifi only in the restaurant–there is no wifi in the rooms. There are also areas in the resort with weak internet signal (for those who will be using their own internet connection).
The RestaurantThe restaurant in the island serves buffet meals all day, except during those times when there are only very few guests in the resort, when guests can simply order anything from the menu. Every buffet set is complete with soup, vegetables, fish, meat, and fruits + appetizer, dessert, and everything in between. They also have a theme in every set–Thai cuisine, Filipino food, etc. For breakfast, they have options such as baked goods, fried rice and viand, cereal, and champorado (loved this one). Drinks are not included in the buffet items, except for the coffee and fruit juice during breakfast. They serve fruit shakes, but they’re a bit pricey at Php220 per serving.
They have a house band who plays the guitar and the piano while the guests are dining, the same group who would go to the shore to serenade newly arrived and departing guests. The restaurant is open-aired, with high ceiling, spacious and capable of accommodating many guests.The Service
The service was good. The band who welcomed us really set off the tropical feel of our vacation. And when we arrived in our room, there was a welcome platter of mini cakes and cupcakes waiting for us.The package included a foot wash upon arrival, and just a few minutes after we got in our room, someone was already knocking on the door to pamper us–a welcome treat after the long travel.
The staff were all accommodating. Our room was made everyday, all requests were brought to our room just a few minutes after calling the front desk, and most of the staff had a warm smile and were ready to help.Just one thing: the person I talked to when I called in advance seemed to have forgotten my request for a ‘happy birthday’ note for C. I called in advance and was informed they’d even throw in their complimentary birthday cake, but perhaps they were unable to take note of this request.
Overall, though, we loved the service and the staff.
Club Paradise is a complete vacation package–it offers a wide range of activities added to swimming and lounging on the beach. It has a pool for those who don’t want to swim in the seawater. Aside from swimming, those who want to explore the sea can snorkel, go kayaking, or take diving lessons (this last one for a separate fee). We went snorkeling, and we had the chance to see the several turtles that the island is looking after. Beautiful creatures.
There is also a hiking trail in the island, a trek up towards Eagle’s Point, which offers a vantage view of the entire island and the surrounding seas. A guide is needed for company, but we were allowed to trek on our own since we went in the morning around 9am–we were the only hikers at the time. It was a long and tiring trek, but it was a satisfying experience. We stayed there for a while, and we only decided to go back when it started to rain–we arrived back in our room soaking wet.
Those who want indoor activities can play table tennis or billiards, as well as board games such as scrabble, chess, games of the general, and uno stacko. And, they have a karaoke room! They also have bikes for those who want to explore the island on two wheels–too bad we were not able to try it.Another interesting, and unique, activity in Club Paradise is bat watching. They have several trees there which serve as home for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of fruit bats. The trees were almost devoid of leaves–the bats looked like they were the leaves of the trees. They stayed there throughout the day, asleep, and then they’d start to wake up around 6pm and fly to nearby islands to look for food. It was an almost magical phenomenon, and it was fascinating seeing the bats come alive from their sleep, and fly one at a time or in groups away from the island, across the sea, and to neighboring areas. The sky would be dotted by black flying bats, some of them circling the island and going back a few times to their tree before deciding to finally leave. According to some of the staff, the bats return at sunrise. I wanted to see this, but I was unable to wake up early while there.
There is also a pond in the island, and it is inhabited by monitor lizards (bayawak). We’d never seen one, and we thought we’d leave the island without seeing any, but one came out prowling the grounds when it rained–it was bigger than I expected, but it was afraid of people (and I hope they remain that way so they wouldn’t fall prey to hunters).
Our entire stay in Club Paradise was a wonderful experience–it gave us our much needed break. The entire package was a bit heavy on the pocket (approx. Php7000+ per night + Php1500 per pax for roundtrip transfer + service charge + tax), but I think it was worth it because of all the package inclusions and the beauty of the place. It’s not the kind of vacation I would regularly take because of the high price range, but it’s good to experience this kind of vacation once in a while.