It’s a small thing for some people, sure, but it suggests a well-run establishment, whose operators are mindful of the green sensibilities of many of today’s travellers.
I’m talking about the two-litre glass, recyclable bottles of drinking water that are provided in the 48 guest bedrooms of The District hotel, Boracay, one of the most beautiful of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines. As anyone who knows Asian beaches can attest, discarded plastic is a ubiquitous scourge, and in a small way The District is trying to do something about it.
The four-star hotel is set on Boracay’s famed White Beach, a stretch of gleaming talcum-power sand on the western side of the seven-kilometre-long island, in the busy central tourist area known as Station 2. This precinct’s unimaginative name belies the beauty of the beach itself – and of the hotel. It’s a delightful white-painted building whose cool interiors, symmetrical lines and elegant stone pathways and finishes are redolent of hostelries of the Greek islands and southern Spain.
Standard room rates include round-trip transfers from the airport at Caticlan on an adjacent island, involving a private speedboat ride and a choice of breakfast or brunch buffet for two. The District is in fact the only resort on the island that offers guests the option of either breakfast or brunch as part of the regular rate, says Marketing and PR Manager Vina Mataganas.
It’s great value for money for events and leisure visitors alike, Vina says. “You can have your late breakfast or brunch till 1pm, and guests enjoy complimentary massage samplers at our spa or complimentary drinks at the bar. In addition to the physical treats they enjoy personalised service, which I think is really at the core of a great resort or hotel.”
Wedding ceremonies are a key component of the District’s business, as are private dinners and corporate events. The conference room can accommodate up to 80, and can be easily converted into two rooms to cater for smaller groups. And there’s an events roof deck (and bar) that overlooks the beach. On this elevated first-floor perch guests can enjoy evening cocktails while watching the sun sink into the South China Sea.
The hotel’s MICE business is at present mostly local, but it also hosts international incentive visitors, says Vina. One recent group, for example, came from Russia.
There’s a serene lap pool as well as a spa and fitness centre, and two restaurants serve as well-priced alternatives to the plethora of other outlets that front onto White Beach.
One of the District’s restaurants, the Caruso, has tables inside the hotel, on the ground floor, and set out on the beach after dark. (It will operate at The District until May 31 then be replaced later in the year by a new restaurant, The Plenary, offering comfort food, and a café, the House Brew.)
The breakfast and brunch buffets offer a variety of local and western fare, from fresh fruit and salads to Filipino dishes like fried pork and noodles. In an egg station, smiling chefs whip up omelettes to order, virtually in an instant. The buffet restaurant, The Star Lounge, has both alfresco and indoor areas, the latter suiting diners who prefer eating in cool surrounds.
But, undoubtedly, one of the most attractive features of the establishment is the beach itself. Guests leaving the hotel step, literally, from the front door onto the sand and into the shade of rustling palm trees. The azure water, fifteen metres away, is a balmy-bathwater temperature all year round.
“Most important of all, we know our guests by heart,” says Vina. “We offer unrivalled and personalised service; in fact we’re a consistent recipient of TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award, mainly because of our service, as well as our location and facilities.”
From USD180 per day
Meeting package rates here range from PHP 1,800 (USD 36) to PHP 3,200 (USD 64) per person per day, depending on menu choice and whether organisers opt for half-board or full-board meals. Room rates start from PHP 9,900 (USD 198). “But we customise packages, which gives our guests flexibility in managing their budgets,” says Vina.
Events visitors, meanwhile, appreciate The District Boracay’s embrace of sustainability principles in a variety of ways. For example the hotel uses solar power to augment its electricity needs, via a hundred solar panels installed on the rooftops. “We’re for sustainable tourism; that’s why we make sure we do our part in offsetting our operation’s carbon footprint,” says Vina.
More information here.