There is a certain cool and relaxed vibe surrounding the world-famous Boracay island since it reopened after a six-month rehabilitation in 2018.
Yes, most of the usual spots are still there, the white sand remains gloriously powdery, the water clear as a blue sky. But perhaps because many activities have been banned and stricter policies have been implemented and rehab efforts are yet to be finished, the crowd in White Beach is still smaller and relatively calmer than before; there’s more space in which to breathe and move around.
It’s the beach for those who want to laze around under the sun with a good book and an ice cold beverage on hand.
Such is the typical situation a 30-minute drive from Cagban Jetty Port—at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, located in the serene Punta Bunga Cove in the northern tip of the island.
Owing to its secluded location, away from the action on the island, Mövenpick enjoys a kind of sun-sea-sand tranquility perfect for those who want to avoid the noise and the crowd.
“We want it to be a family hotel. We want to take advantage of the location so we’re promoting it as a family destination,” said general manager André Brulhart.
The property, tucked in a lush landscape, is large enough to cater to families and friends. It offers 312 spacious rooms and suites divided in several mid-rise buildings that surround Mövenpick’s pride: its 3,300-square-meter multi-level pool, the largest swimming pool to date in Boracay.
Each guest room features a bright, contemporary design in teal, coral, and blue color palette; and looks out the property’s tropical garden or the sea. Rooms range from 27 square meters (Classic Room) to 370 (Sol Marina Villa).
The view from the beach is as glorious, if better, as the one in the main White Beach, as the resort is located right at the center of the cove, sharing the beachfront with two other hotel chains.
Mövenpick offers free shuttle services to and from the main beach, but those who prefer to stay in Punta Bunga Cove can do so as it offers a complete, integrated resort experience. In addition to well-designed rooms, large pool, and beachfront, the 3.4-hectare property has six restaurants, one beach club, a spa, a salon, a fitness gym, a kids’ club, and four function rooms.
“Everything’s here; you no longer have to leave the resort!” enthused Brulhart.
A culinary trip in one destination
They say a trip to Boracay is not complete if you have not tried the delicacies famous on the island: calamansi muffins, chori burger, Jonah’s fruit shake. In response to that, Mövenpick has its own must-try food items featuring flavors from around the world.
Brezza (which literally translates to “breeze”) serves the fastest and freshest handmade pizzas on the island. Using the restaurant’s wood-fired oven imported from Napoli in Italy nicknamed “The Beast,” the pizza comes out perfectly baked in 90 seconds or less. Try the Quattro Formaggi Pizza and the Seafood Pizza.
The restaurant also serves a wide selection of other Italian dishes, aperitivo, and fine wines.
Ssäm is a casual dining spot that offers Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines. While the resort’s all-day dining restaurant The Market serves delectable daily buffet breakfast and global ala carte dishes for lunch and dinner; it also features themed evening buffets.
A unique offering at the resort is the Chocolate Hour every 4:00 p.m. at The Café. Aside from an hour of chocolate treats, the coffee shop also serves freshly baked breads, signature sandwiches, cakes, Filipino merienda favorites, coffee, and tea.
The sunken Pool Bar, on the other hand, serves refreshing drinks and light snacks. The Fun Pub, which serves delectable bar drinks and chow, is perfect for those who love cheering their favorite sports team or singing their hearts out.
Mövenpick also has its version of Boracay’s famed nightlife right at Sol Marina Beach Club, which serves a wide array of food and drinks, and features international DJs and live music acts, with a side of golden sunset view or cool sea breeze.
Third time’s the charm
In a span of two years, Mövenpick has opened and reopened three times. It first opened in October 2017, but the grand launch was only held in January 2018. However, it closed its doors three months later to comply with the rehab efforts. It then reopened in October 2018.
“It was a challenge for us during the first and second opening because the product is not yet 100 percent complete. We didn’t have 312 rooms available before. But now we are more optimistic,” shared Brulhart.
Since it reopened last year, Mövenpick enjoys an average of 80 percent occupancy rate, largely due to several holidays in January and February.
With its recent acquisition by French hospitality company AccorHotels, Mövenpick expects to attract more foreign guests. “Ideally you want as many markets as possible, but now we’re targeting the Asian market,” said Brulhart.
Currently, majority of the resort’s guests are from China, South Korea, and local domestic market.
Photos by Bernadette Lunas
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