Boracay isn’t the destination for big-box hotel experiences. Chain-brand outposts are few and far between on the tiny Philippine island, but boutique-style hotels, dive resorts, and quirky little getaways line Boracay’s famously beautiful shore. We visited nearly 100 places to stay on the island — most of them independent hotels — and these seven are the ones we determined to be the very best boutique hotels in Boracay.
Situated along the powdery white sand of aptly named White Beach, the Discovery Shores Boracay has a relaxing atmosphere throughout and serene, manicured grounds dotted with bamboo, palm trees, and other local plants. All 87 rooms are spacious and airy, with large windows overlooking the lush grounds or beach, contemporary decor, and upscale amenities, like flat-screen TVs, DVD players, coffeemakers, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Premier units come with a few perks, including lofted bedrooms and hot tubs on the balcony. In addition to a gorgeous beachfront area with loungers, the hotel has a spa and a serene pool with a shallow area for kids, a swim-up bar, and a whirlpool. Beach and pool butlers offers drinks and snacks in both areas, and there are casual and fine-dining options are on-site, plus a cocktail bar and a tapas menu that can be enjoyed on the beach at sunset.
The District Boracay is a laid-back, upscale boutique directly on White Beach and a short walk from popular nightlife and dining spots in Station 2. Its 48 rooms are sunny, clean, and contemporary, and all have furnished terraces, some with beach views. A lap pool complete with a whirlpool and lounge chairs, a rooftop bar with sunset views, and a spa offering body and foot treatments lend the property a relaxing vibe. Caruso serves tasty Italian cuisine and gets good reviews, and Star Lounge is known for its extensive buffet. Freebies such as breakfast or brunch, Wi-Fi, and airport transfers add value.
Built on the side of a steep hill, a 15-minute drive from the action in Station 2, the Mediterranean-style Monaco Suites de Boracay has a relaxing atmosphere hard to find in properties closer to White Beach. Its 50 suites are housed in 14 beautiful villas with panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding area. Each suite has a spacious living area, large terrace, a full kitchen with a stocked fridge, and bathrooms with either steam showers or separate showers and tubs. The hotel has direct private access to a small sandy beach with usually clear water; the large dolphin-shaped infinity pool and whirlpool look out over the beach. The restaurant serves varied breakfast buffets (included in the rates) and tasty international and Filipino cuisine and a few Filipino dishes in a curved dining room with large arched windows that lead to a big terrace. The hotel also a rooftop bar with ocean views and a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
The 39-room Villa Caemilla is a contemporary, four-pearl beachfront boutique located in quiet Station 3. Rooms are stylish and modern, with soft earth-tone palettes and great amenities such as large flat-screen TVs and minibars. However, a few are small and dark, and only suites have ocean views. The restaurant serves salads, sandwiches, and pasta directly on the sand, and the hotel offers discounted rates at a nearby spa, but there is no pool or fitness center on-site.
The 36-room Boracay Beach Club is a friendly, family-owned hotel right across the street from Boracay’s most stunning white-sand beach. Rooms are basic but clean, and feature good amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and air-conditioning. The hotel has an airy restaurant, a rooftop deck with views, and a small but pleasant freeform pool, but the highlight here is the beachfront bar, which has a drinks and food menu and unobstructed sunset views. Affordable rates and location within walking distance of famous bars and restaurants make it a great pick for value-minded travelers.
Friday's Boracay was one of the first high-end hotels on the island and remains one of the most popular three-pearl picks for its wide shoreline along a beautiful stretch of White Beach. It's on the northern end of Station 1, where sand is a fine white powder, and the hotel makes the most of this prime spot, with a beachfront restaurant and bar facing rows of comfortable bamboo loungers. The hotel aims for a traditional look that's most appealing in upgraded rooms, which have hammocks on their verandas, but the smaller Superior Rooms can be a let down. Friday's also has a small outdoor pool and a game room, but few other facilities and only a modest spa.
The Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel combines the atmosphere of a classic, slightly faded beachfront resort with the amenities of a more urban hotel in the middle of Boracay's Station 2. A number of cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops are within a five-minute walk. Its spa has a beach-facing lounge for relaxing foot treatments and the tropical landscaping around the pool creates a relaxed daytime vibe, but the scene changes at night when the beach hosts live music late into the evening. Its Italian restaurant makes its own bread and gelato, and breakfast is included. The 52 somewhat dated rooms have furnished balconies, but some are showing a lot of wear.