, , , ,

Best Couples Spa & Resort in the Philippines – Mandala Spa & Resort Villas

As the doors opened, the smell of incense, the sound of gentle music and the sight of colourful flower petals elegantly strewn were the first to reach our senses. Stepping into the villa was like entering a tropical paradise with the beautiful canopy bed with artfully placed petals atop the white linens, the warm wood decor and the trail of flowers leading into the modern and spacious bathroom. This hideaway off the streets of Boracay was a welcome oasis away from the busy, tourist filled beaches and was surrounded by trees and tranquility and saturated in luxury and relaxation. We had found a luxury oasis and one of the best couples spa and resorts in the Philippines.

Finding A Luxury Oasis at the Best Couples Spa & Resort in Boracay

mandala spa and resort villas couples spa

Boracay is a beautiful island in the Philippines with many hotels, resorts, spas and activities. It is also a popular tourist destination and as such, the main strip of the beach can get pretty crowded and, in some areas, fairly noisy. Our first night on the island had us staying right on the beach in Station 3 (the strip of the beach is divided into three stations though the borders between each are arbitrary rather than actual physical divisions). Unfortunately, our hotel was right beside a late night bar pumping out high-level bass music into the wee hours of the night, leaving us worried about the rest of our time on Boracay. Though we didn’t know it, we’d have very little to worry about.

After the first night, we made our way off the beach and headed to what would be our accommodation for the next several nights – the award winning Mandala Spa and Resort Villas and what we came to see as the best couples spa and resort in Boracay, Philippines. Situated a short walk away from the beach, nestled away from the streets of Boracay, we found the main entrance to the resort and started down a path covered by an archway of foliage. Pulling our wheeled carry-on sized backpacks down the path, we stopped as the dark green, leafy cover opened up to reveal the resort.

The lush vegetation gave the feel of a secluded tropical paradise as we navigated the path past the spa, to the reception area. Welcomed with warm smiles and an offering of ginger tea and water, we sat and relaxed out of the sun while the check-in process began. We quickly found ourselves being led to our villa along the winding path, with the greenery surrounding us and the occasional butterfly fluttering past.

A Luxury Villa Off The Beach in Boracay

best couples spa and resort philippines mandala spa and resort villas

Tucked off the side of the path, we took in the greenery of the Mandala Spa and Villas and walked up to our own, private getaway. As the doors opened and we took our first look inside, we knew we had found a special resort in the Philippines. The soft sounds of music drifting from the private iPod docking station was the first thing we noticed. Calm and peaceful, it beckoned us further into the villa where we were struck by the gentle smell of incense burning. Olfactory and auditory senses now stimulated, we surveyed our surroundings: warm wood floors and furniture, white flowing curtains on large floor-to-ceiling windows, and accents of red and purple combined to create a room that seemed to radiate luxury and tranquility.

mandala spa and resort villas flowers

The flowers and petals were amazing touches as well and as we followed the trail from the door of the bathroom, across stone tiles, we found ourselves in another haven of comfort. A large tub with petals already floating in the water, plush bathrobes and towels, and an outdoor private rain shower were just some of the amazing features in this spacious en-suite.

couples spa and resort philippines villa bathroom

We were quite surprised with what we found in the room – a kettle with all the fixings for tea and coffee, a private modem for WiFi, a great basket of toiletries, and a large TV that managed to only add to the luxury of the room without taking away from the tropical paradise vibe that had infiltrated our minds from the moment we stepped into what was shaping up to be one of the best resort in Boracay, Philippines.

mandala spa and resort villas philippines

We quickly got ourselves settled, making coffee and tea with our in-room amenities, and headed to the patio outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and the peaceful privacy of our own oasis.

A Focus on Feeding The Body, Mind & Soul

the garden cafe mandala spa and resort villas philippines

The Garden Cafe, an outdoor restaurant pretty much central to all the villas, was a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful weather and the tropical seclusion of this luxury spa resort while grabbing a meal. With the Mandala Spa and Villas’ focus on health and wellness, it was no surprise that the food offered had a variety of healthy choices and ingredients.

breakfast at mandala spa and resort villas best couples spa philippines

On our first morning, we woke up in a haze of contentment, tucked in our comfortable bed with the canopy curtains let down around us. After taking our time to get ready, we headed to the Garden Cafe to grab some food. Sitting at a table overlooking the resort, the birds entertained us with their morning calls as we browsed the menu and made our selections. This was to be the pattern set for the rest of our mornings at the Mandala as we went through their all-day breakfast menu, one dish at a time, trying things like their incredible oatmeal and quinoa pancakes, fresh muesli with homemade organic yogurt and fresh fruit, and perfectly cooked eggs Benedict.

mandala spa and resort villas food

After our first breakfast, we knew we needed to try more of the menu and returned for many meals. We were particularly fond of their roasted pumpkin soup, the surprisingly delicious quinoa burger and their Moroccan chicken wrap, though everything we tried had our taste buds and stomachs feeling satisfied.

the vessel mandala spa and resort villas best couples spa and resort

We had quickly realized that the Mandala Spa and Resort Villas was one of the best couples spa and resorts in the Philippines but what took it to the next level for us was its focus on nourishing the body, mind and soul. The food provided us with healthy, nutritional and amazing tasting food (many ingredients grown in their own greenhouse garden) and their fitness centre, The Vessel, offered classes in the morning and afternoon, like yoga, jazz dance and pole dancing. Add the spa to the mix and it isn’t difficult to see how we could feel completely content and relaxed for our entire stay – our mind, body and soul having been pampered completely.

Enjoying an Award Winning Spa in Boracay

award winning spa philippines mandala spa

Staying at the Mandala meant we were also staying at a luxury spa resort that has won awards for their spa treatments and is easily one of the best couples spas in the Philippines.  Recently winning the Leading Spa Resort in the Philippines for 2015, we knew we couldn’t leave without indulging in their spa services. It didn’t take us long into our first treatment to understand why they were award winners and to decide a second treatment was an absolute must.

We booked a Romantic Mandala Spa Journey for one of our last days at the resort and after months without any successful efforts to ease our tense, travel-weary muscles we were excited for not only the romantic experience but the hopefully healing benefits of the treatment!

mandala best couples spa philippines

Our Romantic Spa Journey was divided into three different treatments starting with a “Royal Footbath” which was the perfect way to begin to completely relax. After the footbath and some tea, we were taken to massage tables, side-by-side. Here we were given their full-body “Asian Signature Massage”. Sinking into pure bliss as our knots and tense muscles were kneaded and released, we let all sense of time or stress melt away. The final treatment was their “Cleopatra Milk Bath” where we both luxuriated in the warm, petal-filled water enjoying fruit shakes and chocolates as the last of our stress evaporated and any remaining muscle tension faded.

After the first treatment we booked our second for the following day, this time going with one of their award winning spa treatment: Mandala Spa’s Hilot Trilogy. We were intrigued to experience an ancient Filipino therapeutic form of massage and traditional healing.

mandala spa experience romantic journey

We first experienced Hihilaan, where banana leaves covered in coconut oil were dragged along our backs in order to determine areas of imbalance. Next, a traditional form of vacuum cupping, Bentosa, followed by a Hilot massage of deep strokes. Finally, there was the foot massage, Dagdagay, where two bamboo sticks are used to massage the soles of the feet. We found each one incredibly interesting to experience, although Macrae got a bit ticklish with the Dagdagay technique!

Again, complete relaxation took over us both and we were left in a state of loose muscles and calm moods. What we noticed most about both spa experiences was the attention to detail. From the flower arrangement underneath our massage tables so we’d have something to look at, other than the floor, if we opened our eyes, to the soft linens and choice of oils, there was great thought and care put into every aspect of the treatments.

Escaping the Chaos & Enjoying Some Tranquility

mandala spa and resort villas boracay

While we always enjoy staying on the beach, finding some tranquility and peace away from busy areas (like many strips along the beach in Boracay) is a respite we also look for often. With free towel rentals from Mandala Spa and Resort Villas and a path that leads out to a shortcut to the beach, the sand and water was only a short walk away and allowed us to enjoy the quiet and relaxing vibe of the spa resort, while still getting as much beach time in as we wanted.

Between the villa, the food, the spa and the overall focus on relaxation and wellness, we knew we had found one of the best couples spa and resort destinations in the Philippines and by the end of our stay, we were dragging our feet, wishing the experience didn’t have to end.



Like this post? Share or save it for later on Pinterest with this pin below!

mandala spa and resort villas philippines

, , , ,

Nobu Manila: A View From Inside The Golden Towers

The Nobu Manila… Golden window-panel covered buildings stood like gleaming mirages reflecting the busy city beyond, withholding the secrets within. A city within a city. We knew there was something special about it when we first passed by, one of the most identifiable of the hotels in Manila, Philippines, though we hadn’t yet had the chance to peek behind the gilded curtain of the gleaming towers. When we finally had the opportunity to venture within the buildings that had beckoned us since our arrival, we learned that it lived up to the promise of its name… we had found a City of Dreams.

The Nobu Manila – Decadence, Luxury and Elegance Within A City of Dreams

City of Dreams and Nobu Manila

Entrance to the City Of Dreams and Nobu Manila

It’s hard to miss. The City of Dreams Manila, a large golden complex and its 6 shimmering towers can often be seen while driving the busy and chaotic streets of Manila, Philippines. The gold-tinted windows of the elegant towers immediately draw the eye and awaken the imagination.

Of the 5 star hotels in Manila, this integrated casino resort hosts three, as well as a casino, a range of dining options and a shopping complex, just to name a few of the many features to be found within. But it wasn’t until we entered the doors of the Nobu Manila, after we had stepped out of the car and handed over our bags to the patiently waiting bellman, that we realized the extent of the grandeur and elegance to be found in one of the most luxurious hotels in Manila.

The dining room at the Nobu Restaurant Manila

The Nobu Manila is inspired by renowned Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his array of world-famous restaurants. The accommodation arm of Nobu is now reaching ranks with some of the most modern and most luxurious hotels in the world, and we were excited to be able to experience the decadence, luxury and elegance the brand is known for.

One thing we always look for in accommodation, along with the comforts and luxury, modern decor and aesthetics, is that unique feel. We like experiencing something different, something that makes a place stand out for us and helps make our time in that place more memorable. It’s that certain “je ne c’est quoi” that the best luxury hotels in the world have, and it was that same “I don’t know what” that we found at the Nobu Manila.

That ‘Je Ne C’est Quoi’ of the Nobu Manila

Sure, “je ne c’est quoi” suggests an unidentifiable “something”, but often times it’s not one intangible element but instead, a host of well-crafted, well-executed ideas and an attention to detail that make an accommodation standout, make it superior.

the view from the hallway at the Nobu Manila

From the front lobby of the Nobu Manila, where staff greet you wearing beautiful outfits and warm smiles, the Japanese-influenced design begins its flawless integration into the modern and elegant decor and the incredible combination of great service and impeccable style resonates from every inch of the property.

After our incredibly quick check-in, we were lead through the lobby of earth tones and subtle cherry blossoms, to the south tower and made our way to our room.

A Room of Added Touches

We stayed in the twin room of the Nobu Manila, it has a great view

We were immediately impressed with the room which exuded all the charm of a boutique style room and none of the, often soulless, feel of a hotel chain. The crisp white linens, the continuation of the cherry blossom and Japanese-inspired motif, and the neutral colours with modern lines and touches made the room elegant while the attention to detail, like the welcome bowl of fruits, the specialty tea, the variety of toiletries and the personalized message on the television added a whole extra level of welcome and comfort.

The tv in the rome at Nobu Manila hs a personalized greeting

We also loved the added touches we just kept finding. Opening the drawers of the nightstand we found tea and coffee, wine glasses and a bottle opener, and a whole snack bar with some extras, like an intimacy kit, for purchase.

The sake and wine selection in your room at the Nobu Manila is fantactic!

There were outlets aplenty and even a master light switch near the bed eliminating the inevitable fumbling around in the dark that always happens as you search for a light switch in a new place. Luckily, the room was spacious enough, it wouldn’t have been a problem even if there wasn’t a master switch close by. The bluetooth/docking station was also a great addition and was probably the first feature we used, streaming out music while we sat to enjoy our welcome tea and fruit.

Welcome fruit, tea and sake from the Nobu Hotel Manila, Philippines

The large bathroom too was fitted for comfort. Many plush towels, the essential toiletries (plus some), a spacious shower with a rain-shower head and two of the most comfortable, soft-lined bathrobes we’ve had the pleasure of donning.

This is the view of the pool we had from our room at the Nobu Manila

After seeing the room and the bathroom, you would think it couldn’t get much better, right? That’s what we thought until we opened the curtains and looked out at the view. Facing inwards towards the pool, the view was fantastic and when the sun set and the lights of the ‘Fortune Egg’ and the rest of the City of Dreams were illuminated, it made for a fantastic, and romantic, evening scene.

Nobu Restaurant – An Experience In Itself

The dining room at the Nobu Restaurant Manila

Nobu Restaurant. Our stomachs are still singing its praises. Since our accommodation package included breakfast (guests of the City of Dreams and visitors can also purchase breakfast here separately), we had the pleasure of dining here and enjoying some of the style of food Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is so famous for. The restaurant is set up buffet style for breakfast with a range of options from traditional Filipino food to American fare to Japanese-inspired dishes and everything in between. Salads, vegetables, noodle dishes, pastries, breads, okonomiyaki, and a pancake station with some incredible toppings, like their pecan butter. There was something for everyone and, being the passionate food lovers we are, everything was for someone like us.

The selection of food for breakfast at the Nobu restaurant in manila is extensive

Nobu Restaurant steps it up a game though with their ‘Breakfast Minis’, a menu with additional small plates. While it is included in the breakfast buffet, these are ordered individually. Each item we tried brought together wonderful, often unique flavours and several of them were so memorable we are still talking about them.

The Nobu Restaurant in the Nobu Manila has an amazing breakfast that noone shoud miss

The Eggs Matsuhisa, a poached egg with spinach and bonito egg sauce on a toasted bao, looked simply stunning and, with a perfect poach on the egg, didn’t disappoint. The Nobu Style Cheeksilog, a miso braised Wagyu cheek with garlic rice, popeye relish and a fried egg did justice to the traditional Philippine dish while fusing Japanese flavours perfectly. Our favourite of them all however, was the french toast. Thick and fluffy with a light yuzu custard, whipped cream and tomato jam. This dish had us fighting over each bite.

The Nobu Restaurant in Manila has a special french toast, one of the best french toasts in the world

From the clean and modern Japanese decor to the good-to-the-last-bite food, the breakfast at the Nobu Restaurant was exactly like the rest of our experience at the Nobu Hotel Manila: decadent, wonderful, comfortable and truly memorable.

Relaxation & Refreshments Under The Golden Towers

the golden towers from the deck of the Nobu Manila hotel

Stepping outside as we headed to the pool area, the glimmering of the golden towers once again cast their spell but this time, the sound of the trickling water from the fountains and the pool, the warm breeze on our skin and the smell of something delicious being cooked at the nearby poolside restaurant, Wave, had us fully engulfed in the moment and appreciating the experience those buildings of gold contained.

While each hotel has their own pool, the Nobu is at the centre of the property with a decent sized swimming area, a lifeguard on duty and many deck chairs and couch-style seating for guests to enjoy.

We ate caesar salad, burger and fries at Wave restaurant in the Nobu Manila

We sat for a bit by the pool, enjoying the view, the breeze and the peace of the area before our stomachs got the better of us and we moved to the restaurant, Wave, for some poolside-meets-patio dining. Since we’re always on the hunt for a good burger, we decided to try one out, along with a caesar salad and boy are we glad we did! One of the best burgers we had during our time in the Philippines, the burger at Wave came perfectly cooked, topped with flavourful caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, pickle and onion rings and some pretty great tasting fries. The Caesar salad was also well prepared and we loved the crispy, real pieces of bacon.

Gold-Plated, Luxury-Filled Experience of a Lifetime

There is more to the Nobu Manila however, above and beyond being a gorgeous luxury accommodation with a restaurant that makes stomachs grumble in memory by its mere mention. There are other things aside from the fact that it features a fitness centre and a spa allowing you to get a bit of pampering in during your stay.

What elevates the experience at the Nobu Manila to the next level is the fact that it is a full-service hotel located in the City of Dreams and, as we touched on, that means access to a whole world of activities and experiences beyond the doors of the Nobu Hotel itself: an impressive casino floor, a variety of excellent restaurants, shops, clubs, and Dreamplay, a Dreamworks-inspired interactive play space. Whether you are there for business or leisure, a stay-cation or vacation, the Nobu Manila has everything you need and want.

We were wecomed with this tea set from the Nobu Manila hotel

As a couple exploring the city of Manila, we ended up experiencing a side to this busy capital we weren’t expecting. The city within a city, where one needn’t wander further than the lobby of their hotel, though the city beyond is only a free shuttle ride away; where you can escape the intensity of Manila and head to one place where comfort, food, culture and entertainment come together.

The entire complex containing the Nobu Manila is a gold-plated, luxury-filled, experience of a lifetime and on that first night, when we finally slipped between the crisp sheets of the extra-comfortable bed and laid our heads on our pillows, we did so with a sigh of contentment and a smile in appreciation for the day and anticipation for what else we would be experiencing in this City of Dreams.

Want to stay at the Nobu Hotel Manila? Or dine at Nobu Restaurant?

Find information about the Nobu Hotel Manila, the City of Dreams and the Nobu Restaurant:

Nobu Hotel Manila  &  Nobu Restaurant

Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City,

Parañaque 1701, Manila, Philippines

Phone: +632 800 8080