Hotels

Experience the New Boracay: How This Luxury Hotel Managed to Preserve Paradise

The narrative of Boracay is changing from being a party island to a place of tranquility and paradise.
IMAGE COURTESY OF MOVENPICK RESORTS AND SPA
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It is a breezy dusk in the island, and above the coconut canopies, thousands of passerines fly in uniform acrobatic dance. “These birds turned up after the island was cleaned,” says Andre Brulhart, general manager of Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay. Apparently, the birds’ revelry has become a regular spectacle at the resort before sundown and into the night ever since the island’s six-month closure in 2018.

The narrative of Boracay is changing from a party island to a place of tranquility and paradise. The only revelers here are the wildlife. Preserving that paradise is one of Mövenpick’s thrusts. When the island reopened in October 2018, Mövenpick was one of only three resorts allowed to resume operations when it passed the government’s requirements.

More: 8 Things You Should Know About The 'New' Boracay

Before Mövenpick was established in 2018, it was known as the iconic Club Panoly, a popular resort in the ‘80s. Club Panoly’s owner had envisioned a resort with luxury accommodations while leaving a very small footprint on the environment. It took steps to preserve the flora on the property, taking care not to destroy any trees.

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When Mövenpick acquired Club Panoly’s four-hectare property, it faced the challenge of needing to add rooms and restaurants without damaging the hundreds of trees on the sprawling property.

“The layout of Mövenpick was designed to be built around all these coconut trees, and you can notice that,” says Brulhart. “We didn’t want to destroy them, not even saplings. The buildings’ layout is also designed to minimize noise from the environment.”

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The resort’s strategies for sustainable development include using biodegradable alternatives to chemical products, optimizing energy consumption, reducing water consumption, and minimizing its carbon footprint.

It is this same sensitivity about the small and big things that attracts people to the resort.

Upon arriving at the resort after being exposed to Caticlan’s plentiful sunlight, guests are welcomed with fruit shakes and cold towels infused with lemongrass to soothe the skin. This thoughtful gesture resets the mood from the sometimes taxing transfers from Caticlan to the island.

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For Brulhart, Mövenpick takes care of these details so guests can enjoy little moments and make memories at the resort.

“One of our signature moments is the Chocolate Hour,” Brulhart tells T&C. “In every Mövenpick hotel around the world, that is one of our big moments. It is something that people must really experience,” he says. “The chocolate for each hotel is different, and also varies every day.”


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Chocolate Hour, a Mövenpick signature

Asked about tips for tourists to maximize their experience the resort, Brulhart minces no words. “Don’t bring your tablets or cellphones and get busy with them, unless you are taking pictures,” he says. “You just come here and you let go. This is just pure relaxation. Enjoy the finer things in life and let go.”


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Chocolate Hour happens every day, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Café, one of Mövenpick’s seven restaurants, where a table topped with artisanal chocolate is featured, from homemade eclairs and truffles to chocolate fountains. Guests are encouraged to try its unlimited chocolate offerings while sipping roasted coffee or hot cocoa. They can also have wine or cocktails at the open-air Sol Marina Bar at the beachfront while watching the sunset.

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Since Punta Bunga Beach is most easily accessed only through Mövenpick, guests are treated to a private view of the sunset while being serenaded by an acoustic-only band’s music that blends well with the resort ’s nature-centric environment.


“The face of Boracay is slowly changing,” Brulhart tells T&C. “The reason why people travel to Boracay is changing. It’s going from a party island to more of a family or couples destination. Since the ‘80s when this was still Club Panoly, and now when Mövenpick was established, the resort has always catered to that reason for visiting Boracay. That’s what makes this resort more charming.”

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Among the charms of the resort is its Italian restaurant, Brezza, where Italian chef Francesco Leone creates his signature dishes with ingredients imported all the way from Italy.


Breeza chef Francesco Leone

At the restaurant’s centerpiece is an authentic wood-fired Neapolitan oven imported from Italy. Here, Leone gamely prepares his signature Neapolitan pizzas in front of guests. Each pizza takes over four minutes to prepare from scratch. This personal and interactive approach of the restaurant is a memorable moment at the resort.

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The wood-fired Neapolitan oven at Breeza

“This is the only place on the island where you get the best pizzas,” Leone says. “Especially my Quattro Formaggi.”

Leone is very accommodating toward guests. But when teased about pineapple on pizza, his automatic Italian response is, “No. Never.” He laughs. “I have to preserve my tradition, as long as I am here, I don’t think I will make pizza with pineapple.” 

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Other dishes at the resort’s array of seven restaurants are prepared by executive chef Ameer Al-ali. His pièce de résistance: a generous slab of wagyu beef on thin sheets of boiled potato. Paired with red or white wine, seasoned very minimally, and perfectly cooked, the dish is a classic favorite that does not disappoint.


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The Marketplace restaurant, one of the seven dining options at the hotel

At night, when guests retreat to their rooms, they always find interesting treats on their table, which vary every day.

Inside the Junior Suite of the Mövenpick Resort

As a luxury hotel, Mövenpick not only prides itself with preserving paradise. It also takes small moments and makes them memorable, from its dishes, its unique artisanal chocolate, to intimate sunsets. “You just come here and you let go,” repeats Brulhart. “Relax. Enjoy the finer things in life, and let go.”

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Delicious treats on offer


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The white sand beach on the property


An aerial view of the resort

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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