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
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
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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