In Boracay, your intention depends a lot on your location, location, location. From the devout yoga practitioner, the watersports diehard, the beach bum, gimmick seeker, to the avid foodie, thereâs definitely a place and activity for everyone.
For the holidays, if youâre the type who wants a perfect retreat where everything youâll need is within reachâincluding some peace and quietâthen Boracay Garden Resort, the islandâs best-kept secret on Station 2 might just be the place for you. Donât be deceived by the narrow entrance on the beachfront. Once you enter, youâll discover a spacious 1.6-hectare hideaway complete with lush pocket gardens, three swimming pools, a pool bar, gym, and a central dining hall where the islandâs best meals are served.
Things could get busy especially around this time of the year, but you know youâll be in a good place when you check the room and rates, say for a deluxe room (P4,800++) or family room (P7,700++ per night) and find out that it comes complete with all plush amenities (including a pool right in front of your door in some rooms) and that all-important WiFi access. Or, when you see the resort ownerâs own son up and about to personally attend to the operations.
The resort is just one of three luxury resorts of the Hennan Hotels and Resorts group led by businessman Henry Chusuey. His first venture is the 258-room Boracay Regency Beach Resort that he established in 1998, the other is a non-beachfront luxury hotel called Boracay Regency Lagoon. Boracay Garden, on the other hand, is an existing hotel property that has been renovated according to modern resort standards. Call it destiny, Chusuey was able to get all three properties that are beside each other. Another property in Bohol is being developed and is set to open with 400 rooms by early 2012.
The Hennan properties are definitely a far cry from the first accommodations that Chusuey used to stay in when he would visit Boracay in the â80s. Back then, the only accommodations would be native huts. He didnât mind roughing it up, he says, âI liked coming back here. Itâs paradise. You cannot see a place like this. Iâve gone to so many places already. Maldives is beautiful but the beaches are not as beautiful as ours. Boracay sand is very fine. And the sunshine is different. Mas mainit ang tama ng sun nila. I stayed in a shanty for three nights but I didnât want to go home. Everybody was living in a shanty anyway.â
Fifteen years later, Chusuey found himself collaborating with architects and designers on building a luxury resort that suited his personal standards but, as he still underscores today, âwith value for money. Thatâs why we came up with the âluxury without compromiseâ slogan for Boracay Garden.â
His son Alfonso, a hotel and restaurant management graduate, ensures that his fatherâs vision is fulfilled as he remains on top of operations. âMore like troubleshooting when needed,â says the young Chusuey.
Boracay Garden has 200 rooms to date and will have 50 more rooms by next year. The resort is slowly going through renovations since most of the previous infrastructures have been changed, including renovating a deep swimming pool and turning it into a lap pool for safer swimming.
For Christmas, Boracay Gardens, along with its sister resorts, is offering the perfect holiday break: easy, comfortable, and with a good noche buena spread to be enjoyed by families and friends.
Executive Chef Dario Roxas and his team are preparing a buffet feast that includes traditional favorites like morcon, maya-maya sa mayonisa, roast beef, and glazed ham, to name a few. Foreign guests yearning for certain dishes can also request Chef Roxas to create it for them as the team can also prepare Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other international fare.
New Yearâs Eve, on the other hand, will be more festive as the three resorts unite for a grand buffet at the beach. The celebration becomes even grander with a fireworks display. âItâs our gift to the public,â says Chusuey.
Around this time, Boracay island is as alive as ever as various establishments attract travelers with a frenzy of gimmicks, from loud beach parties, band music, poi fire dancers, to all kinds of bar promos.
But itâs comforting to know, youâve got a quiet hideaway afterwards where you can bury your head under the softest pillows, rest your party weary body on a good bed, and have room service for your New Year breakfast the next dayâjust the way Mr. Chusuey wants it.
â˘ Boracay Garden Resort is located on Station 2, Balabag in Boracay. For details, contact (+6336) 288-6672 to 76.