I had high hopes when I flew into Puerto Princesa last Aug. 2 because I was booked into the Paboreal Boutique Hotel rated Excellent by Trip Advisor.
But when we turned into a dirt and deserted road, I thought, "Oh, oh," this does not look good. Things got worse when I went into my room and saw untiled floors.
At first encounter, Paboreal is a mess. There is no sign of it being a boutique and I thought it could be anything but Excellent.
When I simmered down and looked around, I realized it does merit the title. It also made me realize that there are things worth commending than shiny floors, and beautiful front desk girls, or a stately concierge.
Paboreal has none of those. But it has a lot to make up for these shortcomings.
For one, Paboreal is located far away from the maddening crowd and noise. It is so peaceful, quiet and serene, it brings you closer to your soul. It makes you find yourself. It is surrounded by lush greenery, the early-morning stillness broken only by the beautiful bird songs.
The hotel's staff are ordinary people with extraordinary kindness, politeness and sincere desire to serve its guests. They make you feel at home even if you are away from home.
The hotel exudes the warm friendliness of the owner, Enrico Coco, a French/Italian expatriate.
I've stayed in a lot of hotels and resorts in my life - big and small, high end and low end, but they never made me feel sad upon leaving.
Paboreal Boutique Hotel has a certain aura that cannot be found in others. And this makes up for all the little "eyesores," that I saw when I checked in.
I checked in with a heavy heart, I checked out sad that I am leaving.