After a full-on week of late nights and early mornings at a conference in Manila, full of people I didn’t know, I needed an ‘introvert’s’ break. It’s great to meet new people, but being ‘ON’ in the social department wears thin after while. I needed to get back to my thoughts, my writing and not being forced into small talk, so I decided to head to Boracay and write a Coast Boracay new hotel review.
I chose Boracay because in less than an hour you arrive on this beautiful island. It is also a winner of the Conde Nast Traveler ‘Best Island in the World.’ So, not a bad choice.
Boracay, pronounced ‘Borak – eye’ first became a tourist destination in the ’70s. It is increasing becoming known as a big party destination and a scuba diver haunt. I’m not a party girl nor a diver. I do like locations with a bit of hippy buzz. And one of the newest hotels to open in the centre of the action is Coast Hotel Boracay.
Coast Boracay Hotel Review
Coast opened in May 2016 on the seafront in Station 2. It was still under construction when I was there (Oct 2016). They had yet to finish their restaurant, pool bar, gift shop, boardroom and roof-deck bar/club. All the outlets are now finished and everything is a very high standard. And in fact, within the 10 days I was there, they opened their restaurant/seafront bar. We got to try some of their signatures beverages, one being ‘beach fuel,’ and a few of their menu options. Two pools are open, and a function room served as the breakfast room. They also had 3 of their 4 floors of accommodation open.
Entrance to Coast Boracay
The lobby greets you with a bright, open-air feel and double-height ceilings. Immediately upon entering from the sand path in front of the hotel, you see the stark contrast of the blue of the indoor pools against the bright white walls of the hotels’ interior. The sand path in front of the hotel is the pedestrian strip that goes all the way along the sea front. It is the divider between many hotels/restaurants and the 4km stretch of beautiful beach.
White Beach Boracay
The main beach area, called White Beach, is very clean. It is split into 3 stations, which were once a reference to boat docking stations. Station 3 is quieter, a bit more authentic to the way the island used to be. There are stretches of bungalows in the coconuts, more open space, vegetation and trees. It is a bit savage. Station 2 goes from somewhat quiet to lively. It is typically hotel after restaurant after hotel. Most nights you’ll find live entertainment on the beach competing for patrons with either ambient or live music. Filipinos are some of the best live music entertainers you’ll find all over SE Asia and beyond. Station 1 is the party-end of the strip. You find Happy Hour going on until the wee hours of the morning, and clubs heaving.
Getting to Coast Hotel
Coast Hotel Boracay offers round-trip transfers to and from Caticlan airport. They will do the same for Kalibo Airport, which is further away, for an additional fee. This makes getting to the hotel super easy. Frankly, I wouldn’t stay at any hotel here that didn’t offer a transfer. Otherwise, it’s one more thing to think about and can be quite a schlep. There is no airport on Boracay itself. You need to fly to one of these airports and take the outrigger-style boat over.
Once you land at Caticlan Airport, there a shuttle bus (1 min) to the ferry and staff will load your bags. The crossing takes only 15 minutes. It adds to the overall magical experience of arriving on this island.
As you leave Caticlan, you see the beautiful verdant hills behind you that are dotted with windmills. They waters are multiple shades of aqua, turquoise and blue. The air is moist and the sun, stinging. When you arrive on Boracay, your bags go into another shuttle and you arrive at Coast in 10-15 minutes.
Renting a car on Boracay
Don’t bother renting a car on Boracay. You’ll compete with cars, trikes, scooters and small Jeepneys. The main parts are walk-able. There is plenty of local transport to get you from point A to B and why not support the locals? Otherwise, if the hotel shuttle is not busy they will happily take you where you want within reason.
Coast Hotel Room Features
The hotel has a very smart, contemporary design. The rooms face into the central courtyard overlooking the pools. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the rooms are extremely bright. Luckily you can control the light coming in with two roller blinds – one that is opaque that let’s light in, but not viewing eyes, and another darker one for privacy blocking the scorching sun in the mornings/early afternoon.
The only issue with lighting is in the bathroom. It’s fine during the day, but in the evening the overhead light casts a shadow on your face. It is not easy to put on makeup and would be great if they add a lighted mirror to the wall.
Coast Boracay gets kudos for having a hair dryer that is female-friendly, actually hot and powerful enough to dry and straighten even Medusa’s hair in this humidity. There are 2 electric points for your gadgets in the bathroom, and an additional 8 points in the bedroom, so there’s plenty of electricity.
Coast Boracay Hotel Hiccups
Where they did fail, but only temporarily and they already knew this, was the hot water pressure. The boilers are not robust enough for even a 2-minute shower. I kid you not, and I learned the hard way. I applied shampoo even BEFORE turning on the shower. Yes, my dry hair is full of shampoo, but when the warm water arrives, I’m ready to quickly suds up and rinse! It was a major hassle.
They have a very cool overhead ‘rainfall’ showerhead, which exacerbates things with the cold water falling on you. Standard soap/shampoo are on offer, and to their benefit, within my stay, the water issue was resolved. Not sure if that was me personally, or overall, but I could enjoy a normal shower with lots of warm water. So, well done Coast!
The beds are super comfy with Sealy mattresses, and yes, I checked. There are Harry Bertoia-inspired wire mesh diamond lounge and desk chairs. Room safes allow you to keep valuables locked up, and plenty of closet and drawer spaces to fully unpack. The coffee maker, a stocked minibar and a few snacks for purchase are welcoming. If by chance you run into bad weather, the hotel offers Smart TV with Netflix, iWanTv, Arirang, WowTV, WeatherNation and other channels.
Coast offers a great breakfast
Room rates come with an enormous buffet breakfast, and you won’t go away hungry. There are Asian and western choices that change daily. The egg station offers up scrambled, omelettes, and fried eggs made to order. Or maybe choose pancakes, waffles, mini eggs Benedict, quiches/fritattas, cereals, fruit, cakes or cookies. I love the tasty aromatic garlic rice, Asian beef, Singaporean Noodles, Congee, local Chorizo, flavored butters and cream cheeses. There are so many options and it’s a lovely spread. The staff are super attentive, perhaps a little too much. I know they aim to please. It’s a new hotel and that’s the Filipino way, but you kind of feel under the microscope.
Dining options on Boracay
While Coast’s restaurant wasn’t yet open, there are a bazillion options up and down the path. You can choose from Filipino, Greek, Chinese, Korean, Italian, steak and barbeque joints. There are a boatload of options in D*Mall, which is an open-air shopping area just up the path toward Station 1. For those who absolutely need a bit of Americana, there are Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s, Shakey’s Pizza and Johnny Rockets. I often opt for authentic Chinese at Hap Chan just up the road. It’s 5 minutes from Coast and locals recommend it.
Wifi works well in the rooms, but I could not access it well in the breakfast room, lobby or just outside on the front terrace area. Wifi on the island is weak in general, and frustrating if you need it for work!
As this property is still under construction, there is noise during the day. However, depending on where you are, you may or may not hear anything. With the A/C on, it pretty much drowns out any noise. It was not an issue for me. Having worked in hospitality for a number of years, the only issue I see forthcoming may be mould in the bathroom. The shower water doesn’t drain properly. Soapy water rests in the shower area. They may experience unnecessary mildew in the showers because staff shut the bathroom door after servicing the room, so A/C doesn’t dry out the room.
Coast Boracay’s super, well-trained staff
Front desk is happy to organize island hopping, tours and spa treatments, and they will accompany you to the pickup point. The staff in general are exemplary, and most knew my name after 2 days. Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad! They call you what sounds like ‘Mom.’ “Yes, mom” ,”Hello, mom,” when they mean “ma’am.” Quite cute.
And staff work long hours. Not only are the staff doing their regular shifts, but they are also there in the evening attending courses on what’s in mixed drinks and learning their wines. Coast spends a lot of time training staff.
In all, I had a fantastic experience at Coast Boracay. The room rates were reasonable considering the property was unfinished. The prices will most likely increase post completion, so get there while you can. It’s a pleasure to write this hotel review of Coast Hotel Boracay because hopefully more people will give it a try.