The stunning island of El Nido in the Philippines is nestled in the dreamy waters of Bacuit Bay. The stunning region is located a short flight away from capital Manila and lies at the very northern end of Palawan. Above all, El Nido is most known for the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the South China Sea peppered with dramatic limestone cliffs and backed by rich, lush emerald forests. Evidently, El Nido, Palawan is the perfect beach destination in the Philippines, with there also being lots of options for best hotels on the island.
El Nido has quite a few uniquely different areas to stay. First off, the municipality is made up of a group of islands, including the El Nido town on the mainland. Moreover, other pristine islands that comprise El Nido are Tapiutan, Lagen, Matinloc, Inambuyod, Cauayan, and Cadlao islands. When it comes to budget hostels and hotels, travelers will find lots of options in the buzzing proper town of ‘poblacion’ of El Nido. On the other hand, Las Cabanas/Marimegmeg and Lio Beaches have the best sunsets. However, you might want to also consider the secluded and exotic Nacpan beach, one of the country’s best beaches. In fact, Nacpan beach also has some splendidly amazing glamping experiences for intrepid travelers!
So, there you have them – the best areas where you can stay on this lovely island. And, listed below are the 11 best hotels and resorts in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.
Cauayan Island Resort and Spa
Wake up to breathtaking views of the beach at the Cauayan Island Resort and Spa, which is nestled in an unspoiled cove on Cauayan island in El Nido Bay. The stunning luxury hotel sits right on the white sand shores and offers spectacular 360-degree views.
The public spaces at this lavish resort are straight out of a fairytale. To begin with, a sparkling swimming pool sprinkled with sun loungers is the perfect way to spend a laidback day. The stunning ocean-view restaurant offers delicious continental and Filipino cuisine and is the ideal space to tuck into a hearty breakfast as your day begins. Also, if the natural turquoise waters weren’t enough, the resort even offers a host of water fun and activities like kayaking, snorkeling, island-hopping tours, trekking, and even professional scuba courses. The swim-up pool bar is where you should be during sunset, enjoying delicious sundowners. And after all the excursions, a treat awaits you at the resort’s decadent spa.
The resort features just 23 individual villas, all of which have natural wood interiors and thatched sloping roofs. The best part about them is the wooden verandahs/terraces with lounge beds. For an absolutely sumptuous experience, choose the Cuayan Pool Villa with its own private patio and plunge pool.
Mad Monkey Hostel Nacpan Beach
If you’re on a shoestring budget, then you’re about to have the time of your lives on this island. Mad Monkey Hostel is not only affordable but also one of the best hotels for glamping on not just El Nido but entire Palawan!
The hostel lies on the breathtaking Nacpan Beach around 45 minutes north of El Nido town. The hostel sits under slender palm trees with a serene setting or hammocks and thatched beach palapas. When it comes to the accommodations, one can choose between 6/12-bed mixed dorms with secure lockers, mosquito nets (hello, island life!), and power sockets. The private rooms are in the form of two-person tents, while a step-up is the stilted loft Nipa Hut that lends a bit more privacy.
The best part about Mad Monkey is definitely the beachfront bar and restaurant, which serves lip-smacking cocktails, free alcohol shots, and yummy local dishes. What’s more, the friendly staff can book you on island-hopping tours with even Secret Beach swims and seafood lunches. Sitting on comfy seating on the soft sand under umbrellas and a bevy of beach games are the best way to meet interesting people and have the time of your lives at Mad Monkey.
El Nido Resorts Lagen Island
Couples looking for a romantic hideaway might just fall entirely in love with El Nido Resorts Lagen Island. Tucked in a paradise cove overlooking limestone cliffs and turquoise waters, the romantic resort is surrounded by lush forests. It is the best setting for having an ultimate romantic Filipino adventure.
What makes El Nido Resorts so special is that it is also an eco-sanctuary and offers forest trail hikes where one can spot all sorts of exotic birdlife and fauna. The vibe extends to the resort, which uses reclaimed and treated timber from older Filipino homes. The sandy beach right in front of the hotel has padded loungers and a bar that serves beverages and snacks throughout the day. What’s more, there are tons of complimentary water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding for guests. Additionally, there are a whole lot of outdoor activities ranging from sunset cruises and island-hopping tours to beach volleyball and more.
Coming to the resort’s amenities, the heavenly pool is an enchanting spot to spend a languorous, sun-kissed day. Dig into a hearty breakfast buffet at the restaurant, or work off all those indulgent-food calories at the well-equipped fitness center. If all else is done, one can treat themselves to a traditional Filipino massage at the spa. One can choose from 51 rooms, suites, and cottages, all of which feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors leading to private terraces with spectacular sea views. The most luxurious of them all is the Forest Suites, but the Over-water Cottages are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Frendz Hostel El Nido
Can you imagine how it would be to live on an island in a fabulous, affordable hostel that has a rooftop swimming pool? Well, with Frendz Hostel, you don’t have to imagine anymore. The hostel lies in El Nido town and is an excellent place for meeting like-minded travelers.
Guests can choose from both 4/6-bed mixed and female-only dorms, as well as private rooms. Apart from being comfy, cozy, and personalized, the dorms even provide power outlets, towels, locker storages, and even a privacy curtain.
That being said, the beating heart of this hostel is the magnificent rooftop swimming pool with incredible ocean views. Apart from offering free coffee, this hostel also has a bar and restaurant with amazing food and drinks. All in all, it is the perfect atmosphere and ambiance to make new friends.
Frangipani El Nido
Nothing says ‘beachfront boutique’ better than Frangipani, which is one of the more luxurious hotels on El Nido, Palawan in the Phillippines. The resort lies just down the road from Corong Beach and overlooks the blue waters of Bacuit Bay.
Frangipani emits a tropical-modern vibe and is wonderfully wide-spaced and minimalist. The resort playfully uses concrete and wood for its E. Murio furnishings and touches of greens. The open-air restaurant overlooks the beach and it’s ‘the’ spot to begin the day with a hearty breakfast. The Rubra Lounge, on the other hand, overlooks the lazy swimming pool and is an Instagrammer’s paradise. It is also a great place to sip on coffee or a nightcap before winding up an eventful day.
With just six suites, Frangipani feels more like an intimate high-end guesthouse than a resort. While all rooms are equipped with a slew of mod-cons, it’s the gorgeous balconies/patios that are the highlight of the room.
El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island
The 42-villa El Nido Resorts on the peaceful and tranquil Pangulasian Island is the very definition of a deluxe tropical island getaway. Guests are whisked from the airport to this private slice of paradise via boats.
To begin with, there’s the chic, open-air lobby peppered with modish wooden furniture, potted tropical plants, and huge rocks. The cushioned lounge chairs that look out to the sea make for a comfy seating space to enjoy the idyllic scene. Dig into international cuisine at the on-site restaurant with beautiful alfresco deck seating. The bar out by the pool/beach is wonderful for dining on the pool deck or in the sand. Likewise, the outdoor infinity pool and beach with lounges and daybeds overlooking Bacuit Bay are excellent for a laidback day. Furthermore, one can indulge in a bit more R&R in the Zen Spa or curl up with a book in the cozy library. Finally, the marine center is a haven for water babies, with lots of equipment for snorkeling, kayaking, boating, and what-not.
Standalone villas, including Canopy Villas, Beach Villas, and Pool Villas, serve as rooms at El Nido Resorts. The most luxurious of them all is the Kalaw Villa lying in a secluded cove with its own private pool. Regardless, all of them feature contemporary Filipino designs with rattan furnishings, white canopy beds, and natural rugs. Apart from hi-tech mod-cons, the rooms also feature chic artwork and elegant bathrooms.
Maremegmeg Beach Club
The splendid Maremegmeg Beach Club is easily the most chill beach hotel in El Nido, Palawan! The resort lies in a quiet cove just 10 minutes south of the town of El Nido and is the perfect and chicest escape on the island. Moreover, it lies on Maremegmeg beach, which is the sole swimmable beach on this side of town.
The beach resort boasts a stylish eco-inspired design, right from the main hotel to its rooms. Everything from the locally crafted furniture to the fluffy bed will instantly make you feel right at home. Furthermore, the rooms are all eco-friendly and feature everything organic and environment-friendly from bamboo toothbrushes to organic shampoo! The cherry on top is the huge veranda overlooking Bacuit Bay with its famous limestone cliffs in the background.
What makes the Maremegmeg Beach Club so special that the entire exterior facade is covered with lush foliage, like a modern-day Hanging Garden of Babylon. An inviting infinity pool sprinkled with comfy daybeds and chaise lounges is just what you need for a laidback day. The lovely wood laden bar and restaurant sits right next to both the pool and beach and makes for the best ambiance ever to tuck into delicious food. American, continental, and Filipino breakfasts of choice is perhaps the best way to begin a day. Moreover, the place turns into a lively bar area in the evening. Apart from this, the hotel also has free kayaks for use and offers an adventure-laden Canopy Walk to Taraw Peak as well.
Qi Palawan lies on the northeastern side of Palawan island overlooking the Sulu Sea, around 30km away from El Nido town. True to its name, the boutique resort-hotel redefines tranquility with its in-the-wilderness location.
Eight eco-friendly villas and cottages tucked away all over the property amidst thick tropical forests and with ocean views is just what you need for your secluded island getaway. The standalone cottages and two-story villas feature bamboo walls and thatched roofs that keep them cool even in humid weather. Spacious sea-view balconies and terraces, outdoor showers, rustic wooden furnishings, plush bathrooms, and a slew of mod-cons make the remoteness all the better.
That’s not all that this boutique ‘zen’ resort offers. The lovely swimming pool is a great place to take a dip, while the ocean-view restaurant offers great food with stunning views. A striking pavilion houses the spa and the open-air yoga studio is the perfect place to get some R&R. While the yoga studio sees sun salutations every morning, the spa offers traditional Filipino massages. Moreover, the resort also offers other activities like island tours, mountain biking, and scuba diving.
The Birdhouse El Nido
Nestled in the trees a few meters away and higher from Marimegmeg beach lies The Birdhouse. This extraordinary glamping site is a perfect escape for those who want to have a more meaningful living experience.
This Instagram-worthy eco-friendly retreat comprises three luxury bell tents or “nests”. The raised platforms that the tents are built on puts guests at eye level with the surrounding birdlife. The tents are cleverly built using local materials like rattan furniture, bamboo mat walls, and tad-tad roofs. Moreover, the electrical outlets, hot water, and lights are all solar-powered. Private bathrooms and comfy beds are a bonus. The stunning open-air balcony with Bacuit Bay views only elevates the living experience to something extraordinary. All these aspects easily make the Birdhouse one of the most meaningful hotels you could stay at in El Nido, Palawan.
The communal space, aptly called the Mother Nest, is a great social space with board games and books. Apart from complimentary breakfast, the relaxing and dining space also hosts cocoa and nightly s’mores receptions which are very popular. Finally, the place even offers the choice of four different island hopping tours!
Miniloc Island Resort, El Nido
From the able stable of El Nido Resorts comes the Miniloc Island Resort, which lies on the Eco-Discovery Miniloc Island. A 45-minute boat ride from Lio Airport brings visitors to this charming hideaway, is reminiscent of a coastal village.
A rustic open-air lobby with a song and a welcome drink beckons travelers to this lovely resort. Since it has such a wonderful coastal location, it is but natural for the resort to have a bevy of water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. Children have a separate sea-themed playroom and there’s a marine sanctuary on-site as well. Food is a serious and hearty business here at the open-air clubhouse, which also serves up a hearty breakfast. The beach is primed for relaxing, complete with palapas, cushioned lounge chairs, and a fabulous beach bar. A gorgeous over-the-water spa hut is the ideal place to get a massage done, and you can even grab a ride to the resort’s private island Entalula!
Rooms are all crafted with indigenous Filipino materials like sawali, rattan, and bamboo. Guests can choose from Garden Cottages, Cliff Cottages, Deluxe Seaview Rooms, and the striking Water Cottages. Notwithstanding which one you choose, all rooms feature mod-cons and comfortable living aspects.
If romantic luxury is what you’re after, then you’d do well to choose the uber-luxurious Vellago Resort. Wondrous sea views aside, the resort is known throughout Palawan for being one of the most romantic ambiance hotels in El Nido. Whether it is a proposal experience or a candlelit dinner on the beach, the Vellago staff has you covered!
The resort lies on the remote and secluded Seven Commandos Beach and can be reached only via boat from Corong Beach. With coconut trees, turquoise waters, and white sand setting, the resort and its beach bar boast some truly incredible sunset views. It’s a great place to have a cold one, play games on the beach, or engage in some amazing water fun. Apart from the on-site restaurant that serves international cuisine, the staff sets up romantic dinners on the beach for you and your partner!
Guests can choose from five kinds of rooms – the king view and queen view suites, the beach villa, the beach view suites, and the honeymoon suite. Apart from jaw-dropping views of the ocean, each room has comfy modern amenities and a design aspect unique to each room. For absolute exclusivity and luxury, book the Beachvilla which has a bathtub and a patio overlooking the sea.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars / Food Tours in El Nido:
- Sava Beach Bar: Located in the heart of El Nido, this popular beach bar serves some of the best cocktails on the island.
- Republica Sunset Bar: This fantastic bar directly faces Bacuit Bay and Corong Beach and serves some yum eats and drinks. It absolutely lives up to its name and promises Instagram-worthy sunsets.
Recommended Activities In El Nido:
- El Nido Hidden Beaches and Lagoons: Who wouldn’t want to explore the hidden beaches and lagoons of El Nido? Enjoy an entire day of hopping around remote, deserted, and gorgeous beaches and lagoons around El Nido.
- El Nido Beaches Private Tour: You can never get enough of the beaches of El Nido, especially its most beautiful ones like Nacpan, Las Cabanas, and Duli beaches. Explore them all in a single day on this fantastic tour of El Nido’s beaches.