The 9 Best El Nido, Philippines Hotels of 2021

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The Rundown

01 of 09

Best Overall: El Nido Pangalusian Island

El Nido Pangalusian Island

Courtesy of El Nido Pangalusian Island

The most luxurious property of the El Nido Resorts group, El Nido Pangalusian Island is your quintessential tropical paradise. The 42-room property occupies its own island on South China Sea’s Bacuit Bay, which features a swath of pristine jungle, a white-sand beach, and beautiful coral reefs. Guests are shuttled there via a 25-minute boat ride from the Lio airport on the main island of El Nido.

There are just 42 accommodations at the resort that range from beachfront bungalows to luxe treehouses to sprawling villas with private pools, each featuring contemporary Filipino design with furniture crafted from local wood, canopy beds, and plenty of artwork. Communal facilities include a restaurant serving international cuisine, a beach bar, a pool bar, the Zen Spa with an open-air lounge, a game room, a library, and an infinity pool. And there are plenty more activities to do on Pangalusian Island: kayaking and snorkeling are free for guests, while scuba diving incurs an extra fee. Plus, don’t miss boat tours of the island’s many coves.

02 of 09

Best Budget: Tapik Beach Park Guest House

Tapik Beach Park Guest House

Courtesy of Tapik Beach Park Guest House

Tapik Beach Park Guest House isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a unique experience in El Nido, you’ll certainly find one here. A room at the budget-friendly property often costs less than $10 a night, but there’s a bit of a catch — electricity only runs during the day (there's no air-conditioning, but there are fans that run when the power is on), not every room has a bathroom, and Wi-Fi is spotty at best. Additionally, some accommodations are just a bamboo platform with a tent. As such, the crowd here skews on the more adventurous side, but guests still give the property high marks.

There is a seafood restaurant here, which is a bit of a necessity, as the property is on the remote western side of Palawan where there aren’t many dining options off the resorts. While amenities might be limited, the staff can organize massages for guests. The biggest draw to the property is its access to nature — guests love the diving and snorkeling excursions, hiking treks, and the ability to completely disconnect.

Take a look at other budget El Nido hotels and resorts you can book today.

03 of 09

Best Boutique: Qi Palawan

Qi Palawan

Courtesy of Qi Palawan

There are just eight rooms at Qi Palawan — all private bungalows, some of which are designed for families — making the property one of the most intimate and charming on the island. If you’re looking for seclusion, this is the place for you, as there’s nothing but jungle and sea surrounding the hotel. It’s set about an hour drive from the airport and the town of El Nido — plus, there are free shuttles for guests. While the hotel will organize tours and excursions outside the property, there’s plenty on-site to keep you entertained during your stay.

The rooms are delightful spaces to hang out in, with a rustic vibe that creates a castaway-esque vibe, given the hotel’s remote location. There are, of course, creature comforts like electricity, plumbing, and Wi-Fi, not to mention a full-service restaurant cooking up a fresh catch of the day. But Qi Palawan was designed with sustainability in mind, as it was crafted from local materials like bamboo and features eco-friendly toiletries. For wellness, the hotel offers free yoga classes each morning (or guests can borrow DVDs if they want to practice in the comfort of their own room), and there’s a spa that offers both Swedish and Filipino treatments.

Check out other accommodations in the area with our reviews of the best Palawan hotels.

04 of 09

Best for Luxury: Cauayan Island Resort

Cauayan Island Resort

Courtesy of Cauayan Island Resort

Another private-island paradise in El Nido, Cauayan Island Resort is the textbook definition of a luxurious tropical getaway, with a scenic crescent beach, towering cliffs, and dense jungle. The property has just 23 villas with special traits, whether it's an overwater setting atop stilts, a private pool, or waterfall views. Interiors feature warm-wood furnishings, dark-wood floors, crisp white linens, and natural stone elements that create a serene environment.

Guests are entertained with a number of activities, including scuba diving, boat tours to secret coves and caves on nearby islands, kayaking, and trekking through Cauayan Island’s densely forested interiors. If your endeavors have worked up your appetite, you can dine on exquisite dishes at the on-site restaurant, then grab a well-earned cocktail at the pool bar. There are plenty of more laid-back activities, too — get a massage at the spa, take a dip in the infinity pool, or simply relax on the beach. 

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Best for Families: El Nido Resorts, Lagen Island

El Nido Resorts Lagen Island

Courtesy of El Nido Resorts Lagen Island

There’s a whole range of tourists coming to El Nido, from couples who want a serene getaway to adventurous backpackers. Families comprise a decent percentage of visitors, too, and their best bet for a hotel is El Nido Resorts Lagen Island. For starters, children under 6 stay for free, which is a good enough incentive for families with young ones. But beyond that, there’s a top-notch kids’ club with an indoor playground and hosted activities, along with a game room with table sports like ping pong and foosball.

All that said, the resort is by no means an overcrowded Disneyland. There are only 51 rooms here (small families should opt for the more spacious suites that house up to three, while larger families can book multiple Forest Rooms). The setting is picture-perfect — Lagen Island has beaches, forests, and cliffs for guests to explore through activities like kayaking and hiking. There are also organized activities like soccer, frisbee, and volleyball.

06 of 09

Best for Romance: Vellago Resort

Vellago Resort

Courtesy of Vellago Resort

The Vellago Resort on Seven Commando Beach, which is only accessible by boat, is the ideal vacation spot for couples looking for an intimate getaway, whether you’re celebrating a major occasion like a honeymoon or an anniversary. There are only six rooms on the property that range from a standard queen to a two-story honeymoon suite, though the most spacious and deluxe room is the Beach Villa, which features an outdoor soaking tub overlooking the water. All six rooms, however, are romantic — they feature canopy beds, ocean views, and traditional wood furniture.

Breakfast is served on the balconies of the rooms, while light bites can be ordered for lunch throughout the day. Dinner is an extravagant affair, where guests are seated on the the beach and dine under candlelight. (Dinners can be booked by non-guests, too.) Afterwards, guests often mingle at the beachfront bar before retreating to their rooms. While there’s no pool here, there doesn’t need to be one — the beach is beautiful, and the hotel can organize private boat trips to neighboring islands so you can experience even more stretches of sand.

See what else the country has to offer with our selection of the best beaches in the Philippines.

07 of 09

Best for Nightlife: MaryGold Beachfront Inn

MaryGold Beachfront Inn

Courtesy of MaryGold Beachfront Inn

El Nido isn’t known as a party hotspot per se, but that doesn't mean nightlife can't be found here. While most hotels have their own restaurants and bars, you’ll find a large cluster of dining and drinking spots in the town of El Nido, a walkable area dotted with affordable hotels, hostels, and inns. Our favorite downtown hotel that puts you right in the heart of the action is the MaryGold Beachfront Inn, a modern, well-kept budget property that’s right between the beach and bars.

Rooms vary from standard hotel rooms with two beds (usually a single and a double) to standalone cottages that sleep from three to five adults. Rooms are also painted in bright, cheery hues and feature white furniture. Unlike many properties in downtown El Nido, MaryGold Beachfront Inn has a backup generator, which means that you’ll almost always have air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi, even during the town’s frequent, but short outages. Guests are served a free continental breakfast every morning, and bites like burgers are cooked up throughout the day.

08 of 09

Best Eco-Friendly: El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island

El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island

Courtesy of El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island

El Nido Resorts bills its Miniloc Island property as an “eco-discovery island resort,” thanks to its focus on sustainability. The 50 rooms and cottages are all crafted from indigenous materials — they have thatched roofs and walls covered with woven bamboo known as sawali — and they use solar power to power their energy-efficient lighting. Otherwise, the rooms skew on the rustic side (they don’t have Wi-Fi), but they’re very comfortable. They’re located in different places across the resort, with some built on stilts over the water and others built on the cliffside — the property and its beach are surrounded by towering limestone karsts and jungle foliage, creating a dramatic scene.

There’s no pool at the resort, but there's an open-air Clubhouse restaurant that serves three meals a day, an overwater hut for spa treatments, a beach bar, water sports, a kids’ club, and a gift shop. Guests can use a free boat transfer to El Nido Resorts’ Lagen property—they’re welcome to use the amenities there at no cost.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Best Hostel: Outpost Beach Hostel

Outpost Beach Hostel

Courtesy of Outpost Beach Hostel

There are a number of hostels in El Nido, but our favorite among them is Outpost Beach Hostel, which is located right on Corong-Corong Beach, a five-minute tricycle ride from downtown. Most accommodations are mixed-sex dorms ranging from four to 12 beds, though private rooms with en-suite baths are available — bathrooms are shared, otherwise, but they do have hot water.

The atmosphere here is lively, to put it lightly, as guests are usually quite social. For instance, some guests recommend you bring an eye mask and earplugs if you’re trying to get some shuteye on the early side. The hostel promotes this warm vibe, offering a free sunset shot for guests each evening and hosting fun meals at its on-site restaurant, including a weekly barbecue dinner. There’s a bar here, too, but it closes early so as not to disturb the neighbors — you’ll have to head into town for a big night out. If you’re looking to go on a daytime adventure, the hotel organizes group tours to some of Palawan’s most famous sights.

Traveling to the Philippines? Read these tips for first-time travelers to El Nido.

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