We knew Nay Palad Hideaway was going to be special, but even our high expectations were blown away by what we experienced over our stay. It is actually HEAVEN. Tucked away on the Southeastern tip of the stunning island of Siargao, every experience offered at Nay Palad is completely made to measure and unique. Regardless of whether it’s round-the-clock attention you want on your holiday, or utter peace and privacy, the team are able to deliver whatever you want, and seem to have an intuition meaning they get it just right every time.
Coming from Manila, I was very much ready to escape the city and get back to that barefoot bikini island life. On touching down in Siargao, just a short 2hr 10 minute flight from Manila, our bags were lifted out of our hands by the Nay Palad team, and we were ushered into a car and offered cold towels, fruit juice and snacks for the 40-minute journey, past mangrove forests and white sandy beaches, to Nay Palad.
Arriving at the boutique hotel we were greeted by the whole team, all of them smiling and barefoot, setting the tone for how we would be our entire stay! Nay Palad’s tag line of “barefoot luxury” is totally encapsulated by everything they do. They provide absolute luxury at it’s finest, but with no stuffiness or pretentiousness. Nothing is too much trouble, the service is impeccable, and every little detail is perfectly executed, but it’s also chilled out, friendly and relaxed. You genuinely feel like you’ve gone to stay at a close (and minted!) friend’s beautiful house, rather than being just another guest in a whole line of visitors staying at a hotel.
The first thing that struck us, besides the pristine white beach, turquoise clear waters, sunshine and blue skies(!) was the unique design of the resort. Nay Palad is the brainchild of an outdoor furniture designer and so scattered throughout the resort are beautiful daybeds, swinging chairs, birds nests, etc all made from local materials. The villas too are of similar design, and all very airy and light, with both indoor and outdoor rain showers, and a glass front so you can see the view of the ocean from your bed.
Rather than the usual check in process at most hotels, the first question we were asked on arrival was were we hungry, before being taken over to the beautiful outside dining area where the waiter swapped me a fresh coconut for my passport to give to someone to check us in. The chef came over to say hi and check if we had any dietary requirements or preferences; there are no set menus at Nay Palad, you simply let the chef know your preferences and dietary requirements (and even your cravings if you like!) and he’ll create something amazing for you for every meal. Everything is cooked to order. Phil was vegan at the time, meaning that for some of our trip around Asia he was limited to a no-fish-sauce-and-no-egg-nasi-goreng, but here he was spoilt for choice. The menu was largely of Asian and in particular, Filipino, influence, with touches of Mediterranean styles too. And it was ALL incredible, some of the best food we had throughout our trip. I still think about the tuna steak I had there now… and it’s been almost 6 months.
Everything at Nay Palad is all-inclusive and this isn’t just limited to the food and drinks; it’s excursions, island hopping trips, paddle-boarding, surfing, snorkelling, yoga, cooking lessons, in-villa dining experiences, spa treatments… the list goes on! You don’t need to take a card or cash (or shoes) anywhere. I know some people have their grievances with all-inclusive resorts, probably because in some hotels this can mean that dinner time feels a bit like feeding time at the zoo, but Nay Palad could not be more different. With only 9 villas, it’s rare to even see another guest, let alone be fighting with them over desert. What’s more, guests are free to have their meals whenever and wherever they want. On our first night, we walked down to the beach to find an isolated table set for us, in front of the waves, and surrounded with candles and fire torches. On our second night, they set up our table in front of fire pit, with torches adorning the whole walk way to the table. Both were unforgettable experiences! You can choose to have it on the day bed, in your villa, in one of the bird’s nest, or even on the pagoda out at sea while the sun sets!
Days at Nay Palad are equally as magical. On our first day, the designated adventure manager, Sean, came and said hi to us and asked if we’d like to go island hopping the following morning. The next day we met with the captain and crew of Nay Palad’s private boat, who took us to the neighbouring pristine islands surrounding Siargao, including Guyam, Daku and Naked island. At each of the stops, the team set up deck chairs and an umbrella for us, and the boat was stocked with snacks, refreshments and a pre-prepared lunch for when we stopped. We spent the morning sunbathing on board, exploring the islands and snorkelling off the back of the boat. It truly was INCREDIBLE and probably one of the best mornings of our trip!
It wouldn’t be fair to write about Nay Palad and not mention the little touches – something that, for me, further set this hotel apart from so many other luxury hotels. After dinner on our first night, we arrived back to our room to find the room turned down, the lights dimmed, tea lights adorning the floor (I’m obsessed with tealights) and a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket at the side of the bed. And after dinner on our second day, waiting on our bed was a handmade postcard from the team, with a little message and photos on it that had been taken of us on our island hopping trip that day.
This truly was one of our favourite and most memorable places we visited during our 2018 travels – the worst thing about it was having to leave! For anyone contemplating a trip to this Siargao paradise, just do it, you won’t regret it, and the memories will last a lifetime.