(SPOT.ph) When Boracay reopened after a six-month government-mandated closure in 2018, travelers couldn’t wait to hop on a plane, get on a boat, and return to the island ASAP. But the calmness of the first few weeks didn’t last long; and soon enough, the huge crowd that the tourist destination is known for returned. The Auhana, a new resort on the tropical island, hopes to be the respite for travelers who’d rather spend their weekend escapade away from the droves of people frolicking along the newly cleaned beach strip. It started welcoming guests in the first week of June 2019.
A Quiet Escape in a Tourist Hotspot
"We have the longest beachfront in Boracay," says Hanil Salcedo, Resident Manager, about the 330-meter coast fronting The Auhana. This means that there’s a lot of room to set up your beach towel and just lie down on the powdery white sand. It’s still a public space, but you’d notice that most of the beachcombers are miles away.
It would also take a three-kilometer walk (or a tricycle ride) to the popular D’Mall where most restaurants (and where most people) are, but dining won’t be a problem if you’d rather stay within the seven-hectare expanse of the resort. Right below the lobby is All-Day Dining, which serves international cuisines and local dishes. It seats more than 300 people, but it's spacious enough to guarantee some quiet time while you're enjoying your complimentary breakfast buffet. In one of the buildings, there's Asian Eats for Asian food and fusion—with tables you can reserve ahead of time. Down the villas, The Porch offers a more laid-back dining experience right by the beach.
You also won’t run out of things to do—from a relaxing session at the spa to a movie date at The Auhana’s mini-theater. A clam-shaped swimming pool adorns the center of the resort’s nine five-storey buildings. Its longest side measures 50 meters, which is the length of an Olympic-sized pool just in case you don’t want to miss doing your laps even while on vacation. By sundown, you can walk to the beachfront dipping pool and enjoy the view of the sky changing hues.
The kids have their own swimming pool with fun slides, a courtyard with a teepee tent and playground, and a clubhouse with cute, small-sized beach chairs.
Preserving the Environment Starts From Home
These facilities reinforce the resort's aim to "cater to the children, to the family." Salcedo also explained that the resort's name was inspired by the Polynesian term "ohana.” If you’ve seen Lilo and Stitch—because who hasn’t?—you know what that means.
It’s also why the management rejected offers from a casino operator and a hospitality company to take over the resort. Initially, the property was supposed to be a joint venture with the original foreign owners, but they chose to manage The Auhana themselves and maintain its family-centric atmosphere.
This homey vibe can also be seen in the furniture pieces and other fixtures in the resort. "It's not the [usual] hotel furniture. They are furniture from my house. Ang ginawa ko, dito ko nilagay," one of the owners reveal. She goes on to point which sofa sets and tables, now scattered around the lobby and lounge areas, were once hers.
The owner was also hands-on during the construction of the resort, personally choosing which Machuca tiles to buy from Spain and what kind of iron-wrought gates to put within the property. (She describes the latter to be inspired by Japanese patterns.)
But this kind of care for guests doesn’t stop with the furniture and amenities. It also extends to "many small things na hindi nakikita," she added, referring to the sustainability policies she implemented at The Auhana.
"'Yong tanks ko diyan, kasinghaba ng building," she says, pointing to the rainwater catchment system. This reservoir is used to water the plants, which are abundant in The Auhana's many green spaces. Water heaters in the rooms, on the other hand, are powered by solar panels spread out on every building's rooftop. "I just want it that way. Kahit sa bahay, wala pang solar energy no'ng '80s, ginawa ko na 'yon sa bahay ko."
With this level of comfort, attentiveness, and concern for the environment, you almost forget you’re in one of the Philippines’ busiest tourist destinations. Maybe nearby resorts can follow suit, and prevent Boracay from reverting into a "cesspool" once again.
The Auhana is at Station 3, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. Introductory rates range from P10,000 to P80,000. For more information, visit The Auhana's website.
UPDATED (August 7, 6 p.m.): This article has been edited to omit the name of the owner upon request.