We have had a really busy few weeks at New Wave Divers with lots of customers through the door. We happily hit 200 reviews on Trip Advisor, further solidifying our Number 1 rating! I have been nurturing my skills as bookkeeper and Max is a tiny amount of paper away from becoming a Dive Master having passed the theory and practical exams.
It has been a busy time for us, although obviously very enjoyable, but I have to say, it was music to my ears to hear that we were going to have two nights at the Shangri La Resort & Spa for some rest, relaxation and spoiling luxury.
For those who don’t know, the Shangri-La group is a Hong-Kong based company offering luxury hotels and resorts all around the world from Taiwan, to London to Abu Dhabi. The resort on Boracay is situated in the district of Yapak, the more secluded north of the island, offering 12 hectares of lush green gardens and 350 metres of immaculate powder-white private beachfront. We obviously arrived from our home in Diniwid but if you arrive the normal way, via Caticlan jetty, you will be collected by a beautiful looking speedboat heading straight to the resort!
Upon arrival we were escorted in a buggy up to our rather magnificent two storied loft villa amongst the lush green tree tops. We were introduced to Julius, our butler, and shown around our home for the weekend.
The villa is beautifully designed with Shangri-La’s hallmark elegance. Set in an eco-reserve it seems only fitting that the architecture combines modern features with the use of indigenous materials and native touches, to create an incredible space to relax and enjoy this retreat.
However, it is when I opened the big glass panelled doors that this place really captured me. Outside, looking over the blue and turquoise waters of Punta Bunga Beach and the tree tops below, sits a tiled infinity pool, a dining area, an outdoor hot shower with the most stunning view, and plenty of cosy loungers. I love how everything fits so peacefully amongst the plentiful greenery.
All of the villas have been cleverly designed to remain private despite their location, so yes, skinny dipping is a go-go!
After a few hours of getting wrinkly in the pool we enjoyed the sunset before heading down to the reception area for the ‘Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony’.
Being in a tropical country, it has been hard to feel Chrismassy so this invitation was wholeheartedly welcomed! With the entrance to the hotel lined with poinsettia and the beautiful unique tree glowing from bottom to top, it immediately brought back that wonderful Christmas feeling.
With Christmas music and the chatter of guests softly filling the room, we sipped on wine and tried hard to resist (but failed miserably) the hors d’oeuvres prior to supper.
This was no ordinary supper either. Solana, one of the resorts restaurants, offers guests the opportunity to have a private BBQ on the beach. An area of perfect smooth sand was ringed with lanterns and candles. Our waiter, Robert, and the chef, Kannit briefly explained what we should expect and took our seats, me, beaming from ear to ear.
With only the lapping of the waves, an incredibly good playlist and our toes in the sand, I couldn’t think of a more romantic setting.
The five course meal mainly consisted of seafood dishes, all cooked on the BBQ in front of us. The chef was not only incredibly friendly but as he explained each dish to us, his eyes lit with passion and pride for what he had prepared.
We began with grilled scallops and a citrus salad. I love this combination of flavours and it’s really easy to recreate at home. Having said that, cooking scallops as perfectly as this takes practice.
A fresh light greek salad followed. Simple but delicious.
Grilled prawns with muscles, squid and grilled zucchini, Maxs favourite.
My personal favourite was this dish, grilled Lapu-lapu on a bed of roasted potatoes with garlic and saffron sauce. Taste sensation!
For the sweet, we enjoyed a fruity delicious deconstructed cheesecake but I ate it before taking a picture! whoops.
We enjoyed fireworks in the distance, which were not for us, but even so…
After a magical evening, we were chauffeured back to our room. We climbed into the crisp linen sheets and I enjoyed the most peaceful nights sleep for weeks.