Friday, August 24, 2007

The Panoly Resort Hotel Renews its Vision

The four-star Panoly Resort Hotel, at the northern part of Boracay Island, reaffirms its initial vision of being a first-class luxury establishment in the Philippines’ most popular beach tourist destination. The resort has been undergoing refurbishment and redevelopment since 2006. Although delayed by typhoons last year, the upgrade is about 70 percent done and is expected to be completed by the end of 2007, according to Tommy Chia, the president of the resort.
Aside from the makeovers of the existing rooms and facilities, the Panoly is building a 100-unit condotel, a spa and more recreational and dining facilities. With these new developments, the resort is also enlivening its promotional activities, having been low-profile in the past years.
The Panoly Resort Hotel is one of the pioneering resorts in Boracay, just off the northwestern tip of the province Aklan and the island of Panay. “In 1988, we started building,” reminisced Chia, Singaporean former pilot, who jocularly calls himself a “Singapino,” during a press conference in Makati City. “Boracay in those days consisted of shanty guesthouses operated by foreigners catering to foreign backpackers.”
Chia had been visiting the Philippines many times and went to Boracay during one of his diving excursions. He noticed a shortage, if not a total lack, of quality hotels. Jose Antonio Gonzales, then secretary of the Department of Tourism, encouraged and then supported him in building a hotel. Chia said that he was going against conventional wisdom in establishing a resort. Plunging into the resort business for the first time, he didn’t make any feasibility studies, and during that time, there was no regular transportation to the island nor a supply of power and water. Despite this, he had an audacious vision of establishing the first luxury resort in Boracay.
In 1989, Club Panoly, owned by the Singapore-based CTW Groups, opened and was given a Triple A rating by the Department of Tourism, the first to be accredited as such on the island. In 1996, the resort explored the timeshare concept by affiliating with Resorts Condominium International (RCI), opening Club Panoly Membership Division. In 2004, it was renamed the Panoly Resort Hotel.
The Panoly Resort Hotel is located at a secluded cove in Punta Bunga at the northwestern tip of Boracay, a few kilometers from the much developed and famed White Beach area. On its four-hectare beach front property are nine octagonal clusters of five cottages and a four-storey building containing 55 deluxe rooms and suites. The rooms of the hotel, which sits further inland, have verandas that afford guests a panoramic view of the beach and the surrounding landscape. All rooms are equipped with the requisites of a luxury resort, from cable television to full air-conditioning. The eight suites have their own Jacuzzis and mini kitchens. The rooms and the resort itself are said to be designed mixing the native and the contemporary.
There are ample dining options inside the resort, with three restaurants serving Asian, Italian and Continental cuisines. At the center of the resort is Cafe Punta Bunga, which offers pastas, sandwiches, native and international favorites, cakes, pastries and gourmet dishes prepared by their executive chef. The Yum Yum Restaurant serves seafood and Asian dishes, particularly Singaporean. Cafe Havana affects a Cuban atmosphere with its music. On the other hand, Panoly has two bars: the Bikini Bar, which serves drinks and finger food at a uniquely designed bar by the pool; and the Voodoo Bar, which is a chill-out place by the beach with salsa and Caribbean music.
The resort offers a range of recreational and sports activities including golf, boat tours, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, pedal boat, fly fishing, banana boating, snorkeling and scuba diving. Its spa has a range of body and beauty treatments for tired souls.
The Panoly is building a bigger spa, housed in a two-storey structure being built near the beachfront. The building will also house a coffee shop and a Chinese restaurant.
After all the years and with the developments, Chia said that they are still true to the initial vision, that they are still “holding on to our dreams.” They said their efforts have paid off. Numerous investments have been and major developments have transpired on Boracay. On the Punta Bunga, where the resort is, the surrounding hills sprouted little cottages where residential estates are planned. The major development in the area and on the whole of the island is the coming in of the Shangri-la group, a major chain of luxury resorts and hotels. “Our perseverance attracted hoteliers like the Shangri-la group, which invested $100 million next to us,” said Chia.
“Credit must be given to the private sector, which contributed to the success of Boracay,” added Chia, who is one of the founders of the Boracay Foundation.
Established in 1996, the local business association, which is made up by establishments on the island including big resorts and hotels, airlines, restaurants, dive shops, water sport stations, banks, market stalls, island organizations, residents and expatriates, aims to promote its businesses as well as address environmental and social concerns. Thus, according to Chia, the environment is taken into account in any of their endeavors.
Although most of the development is concentrated along the White Beach area, Chia aims at making the relatively less-crowded northern part of Boracay a location for “discerning tourists,” those in search of quality and of the high-end away from the highly “commercialized” area of the island. He said that they are trying to be an alternative choice for those tourists, offering some sort of exclusivity and maintaining a “cosmopolitan ambiance.”

Published in The Daily Tribune, 09 August 2007, page 12.

Contact Information
The Panoly Resort Hotel is located at Punta Bunga, Boracay, Malay, Aklan, with telephone number +63-36-288-3011 and fax number +63-36-288-3134. The Manila sales and marketing office is at the ground floor of ACT Tower, 135 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Salcedo Village, Makati City, with telephone number +632 812-2233 (local 401 for sales and marketing, 403 for reservation, and 101 for member services), and fax numbers +632 812-6455 and +632 812-6434. Email at, (for member services) or (for reservations). Log on to

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