Pangulasian Island is described as El Nido Resorts’ Eco-Luxury island resort in Bacuit Bay, El Nido where I had the pleasure of spending 3 nights recently. The cost of the three nights for bed and breakfast and certain tours and activities was £574 ($720) per night so expectations were high and Pangulasian Island was being measured against similar priced experiences I have had in other resorts and hotels. The short break definitely had elements of luxury and the location is just picture postcard perfect and definitely ticks the location, location, location box. Being escorted to and from the local airport and transferred by boat was smooth and nicely done as was being greeted and serenaded on departure (though a little prolonged) and check in in the room was slick. The outside of the accommodation was a little tired but could pass for being shabby chic as island life can be. The inside of the accommodation met expectations, though as reported by other guests the temperature of the showers was found to be variable but didn’t detract from the whole experience. The free gifts were a nice touch. The team conducting local water based tours and activities were excellent, attentive and engaging. Unfortunately the whole luxury experience was let down for me by three factors:
1. The whole resort is tired and desperately needs refurbishment with visible signs of damage, decay and general disrepair though I won’t expand in detail as the resort is closing for said refurbishment in July of this year.
2. The food is mediocre at best and not up to standard for a luxury resort (even on an island), the breakfast buffet was average though food hygiene is questionable with flies on food sitting around uncovered, the toaster was wired in a dangerous fashion and provided electric shocks along with the toast which when raised as an issue the response was “we know that’s why we provide plastic tongs!”, omelettes were served burnt, sausages under cooked with associated risk of food poisoning. The majority of fish related items (and these were limited) at the pool bar were unavailable throughout the stay and the fries accompanying food tasted as though the oil they were cooked in was old and well past its sell by date – again on complaint a “oh well” attitude was displayed. Evening al a carte meals were better and presented well but again the food itself was not up to expectations.
3. Everything has a 10% service charge whether food, drink or additional activities and whilst I don’t mind paying for good service it grates a little when you are not getting good service.
On the whole the trip was a welcome distraction from time working in Manila. The resort has the potential to be great, especially considering the location and the things it has got right but is sadly let down by the points raised and in my opinion not worth what is currently being charged.
I communicated the above via email to El Nido Resorts and received the following response:
Thank you very much for your recent stay with us at El Nido Resorts – Pangulasian Island. We are however disheartened to have read your email and we do regret to know about all the short comings in service issue that you experienced. We do apologize for this and we are sorry that you had to go through such inconveniences – this is really unacceptable. This is deeply unsettling news, as it is of major importance to us that our guests truly have a memorable experience that they enjoy whilst staying at any of our resorts. We will be renovating the resort this July and all maintenance issued will be addressed. In line with the renovation, our staff will also undergo refresher course and training. We are also reviewing the menu and will feature new dishes. Our kitchen team will also have their training enhance their skills. We will improve our service when we reopen after the renovation. Looking forward in welcoming you back in Pangulasian or to any of our affiliate resorts. We will ensure your stay will be a better one. Apologies, I was not able to meet you on your recent visit as I was in Manila for my days off. Please know that we take all negative feedback very seriously and that we shall be addressing all areas that you mentioned and looking into this immediately, therefore we sincerely thank you for informing us so this may be looked into. Regards, Heidi, HEIDI HOCSON, CGSP, CHA | Resort Manager, El Nido Resorts – Apulit Island/Pangulasian Island.