Palawan has amazingly made its name appeal to both local and foreign tourists. From tourist spots well known the world over—El Nido and an underground river—new establishments and new transport systems have come up in the island to serve as pathways for visitors.
Palawan has attracted establishments catering to tourists. Despite being modernized, the island’s pristine beauty still shines.
Astoria Hotels and Resorts in Puerta Princesa, Palawan is one of these tourism-related establishments, offering guests a mystical summer experience that mixes nature and luxury.
Beauty and nature, all in one
Not far from the city proper, Astoria Palawan is an ideal place for family bonding, barkada trip, and a place to stay for nature lovers. As some say, it can be the best place for relaxation and prove to be quite an experience in a lifetime.
Astoria Palawan is situated in a mango orchard and has natural features that mostly attract people, according to Arnold Gamboa, marketing communications head of Astoria.
“Every time people enter our resort, first thing that they notice are the mango trees all over and the different bird species that seem to greet them,” Gamboa said, adding that guests just can’t help notice and appreciate the resort’s modern design and architecture.
“I would say that one of the strengths of Astoria is its design,” he mused. “It surely has impact on our guests. Next thing they would enjoy is the interior design of the hotel. Astoria’s interior color is very corporate actually—dark brown and gray— because usually executives and travelling businessmen are our guests. But then, here in Palawan, since it’s resort-type and the main purpose is to enjoy, when you go inside our rooms, it’s so homey it’s perfect for the family. Inside, it’s very modern, but outside, it’s very rustic. The rooms are all very vibrant that customers really feel relaxed.”
A complete vacation
As its vision is not only to build a resort but also to create quite an experience for all those who come over, Astoria aims to create an ambiance that is unforgettable.
“What we do is provide people an everlasting impression.” Gamboa shared. “We make it so experiential for the guests. We make sure that when they are in Astoria Boracay, they are in Astoria Boracay. When they are in Astoria Palawan, they are in Astoria Palawan. We also have a giant tree house, a coffee shop that overlooks the sea, and during weekends, we also place a giant screen near the pool, where they can watch movies.”
From inside, guests feel the breezy air and view the fresh scenery.
“You have the option of just staying in your room and you’ll be happy with it,” Astoria Palawan Resort Manager Liza Arbis said. “Because even in your room, once you’re inside, you can just open your curtain and there’s the seamless flow of the green outside. So you can just chill there and enjoy the breeze from the beach nearby. It’s very relaxing.”
Pointing to the beach front property with a coffee shop and a pool that also offer guests with a panoramic view of the sea, Arbis added: “Basically, vacation is what you make out of it. If you want a place to chill, there’s an area for that. If you want activity, there are activities available, maybe not on the island or not on the resort itself, but there are activities that we can always arrange for you. In short, there’s a place for everything.”
The resort is not only after excellent service and a pleasing sight. It also aims to keep the natural resources of Palawan pristine.
“As much as possible, what we did is we tried to preserve all the mango trees,” Gamboa added. “Some of the construction, we built it around the mango trees and others were transferred to another location, since it’s the last frontier where you can find flora and fauna in the Philippines.”
One house rule for guests is to have an “environmental awareness attitude” and enjoy at the same time.
“We have this advisory to our guests that since it is an environment friendly resort and also to help Mother Nature as well, we ask them if they still want to use their towel, they can just hang it on the rack. If not, then they can just drop it on the floor. We’re amazed and shocked at the same time because a lot of guests cooperate with this house rule we have. We’re just glad that these people are so environment-conscious.”
Helping the locals is another concern of Astoria Palawan.
“We don’t only provide local employment,” Gamboa said. “We also do some charity works like helping build classrooms. That’s how we help build the economy in our own little way. We also recycle things. We give all our used tarpaulin to a certain center for women and children, and what they do is they convert it into bags. Also, our linens that we use here, instead of throwing them away after use, we give them to a certain orphanage also for them to recycle it.”
Gamboa said Astoria has learned lessons from mistakes made in other islands.
“We are here not only to make business but to protect Palawan as well,” Arbis stressed. “The vision is not just only to grow as a company, but also to grow with the community. So we really believe in giving back to the community, and we want to ensure that we can deliver the promises we make. You have to be consistent in delivering excellent service at any time.”