To be truthful, Boracay almost didn’t make it on our Philippines itinerary. From stories of overdevelopment on one hand, to tales promising the best beaches in Southeast Asia on the other, I didn’t know what to think. I do, however, have a knack for finding serene, blissfully uncrowded corners wherever I land. Coming across Mandala Spa & Resort Villas sealed the deal. We would go to Boracay, and it would be relaxing!
Mandala Spa & Resort Villas is an ideal first stop for relaxation after long-haul travels. T’s an especially good choice if you decide to go marathon-style like myself and manage to get from San Francisco to Boracay in under 24 hours! We booked their Signature Romance Package, and cashed in our spa credits upon arrival. The Hilot-style massage in their lush garden setting was a perfect way to ease into the trip. The grounds of Mandala are a oasis of tropical foliage and twinkling string lights, made for romantic strolling.
If zen and romance had a lovechild, the villas at Mandala Spa would be it. Light filled, floating four poster adorned in gauzy layers with an intricately carved headboard, teak accented, sandalwood incense burning, frangipani petals abound… It was a serious ‘pinch myself’ situation. The spacious hexagon shape of the room gave way to a private terrace perfect for morning tea and lounging with a novel. Bonus for our terrace having both a partial ocean view and a peek at a little farm complete with adorable baby goats!
As much as our room impressed me, the bathroom may have been even better. I’m a sucker for a luxuriously deep bathtub filled to the brim and adorned in flower petals. An outdoor rain shower, and a modern zen aesthetic makes the villa bathroom one to emulate in your home.
Mandala Spa & Resort Villas is located less than a 10 minute walk to Station 3 of White Beach. Staying off White Beach was a definite positive for us. It was nice to retreat back to complete solace after enjoying what Boracay’s most famous beach has to offer. Station 3 ended up, by far, being my favorite area of White Beach. With smaller, family owned accommodations rather than glitzy hotels, a bohemian vibe, and decided lack of crowds, Station 3 is perfect for the type of people who are keen on relaxation. We enjoyed traipsing up and down the sand, popping into resto bars to enjoy a Red Horse, people watching, and absorbing the surroundings. High recommendations also go to the Treehouse Restaurant, which served up a mouth-watering sizzling sisig in an airy bamboo loft setting, overlooking the beach, with good conversations with our friendly waiter to boot.
The other Stations of Boracay were, in a few words, not for me. I am a solace seeker in every sense, and although I enjoyed taking in the hustle and bustle, I found myself always itching to get back to Station 3 and to Mandala Spa.
Back at Mandala, an array of intoxicatingly wonderful spa services await. Although at more of a Western price point compared to other places, the quality of the experiences at Mandala is second to none. They offer a very private and personalized experience, with experienced therapists. The spa facilities themselves are as luxurious as their villas, the massage tents being open to the sounds of the tropical birds. I chose a lovely sandalwood scent for my massages which still faintly adorns the sarong you’re given to wrap up in. Scent, being so closely tied to memory, takes me right back to lazy spa days at Mandala!
Service is something Mandala Spa does with natural grace. We had a wonderful concierge, Beverly, who went out of her way to make sure everything was flawless for our stay. The term “destination spa” never resonated with me until our stay at Mandala. But now that I’ve experienced it, it’s something I will seek out in my future travels. Mandala Spa & Resort Villas has a serene sense of place on busy Boracay, and is an experience that, if even only for a day (but hopefully longer), I wholeheartedly encourage you to have.