During my first trip to the white powdery beaches of Boracay, we stayed at Fridays, the original Boracay destination hotel, and had a magical experience. 15 years later, much has changed on Boracay, but White Beach is still amazing and we chose Fridays again to show friends from the US the island experience – and it didn’t disappoint!
Location: Fridays has a prime spot in Station1, the best part of White Beach on Boracay, making its location the prime reason to stay here. It is still the quietest part of the beach, with soft, white sand stretching from the restaurant to the waterfront. The hotel doesn’t allow vendors on the beach and relatively few people come here, giving you as much of the tropical paradise experience as you can find on Boracay.
While you can’t be dropped off right on the shore anymore, the hotel will organize the transport by boat and bus from Caticlan airport, which will take about 45 minutes. The walk to D-Mall at the center of the beach is about 20 minutes along the beautiful beach – or a 5 minute tricycle ride. There is enough light on the beach to walk day or night!
Service: The friendly, attentive and very competent service is another good reason to choose Fridays. Our airport transport was smooth, with staff expecting us at the airport, taking us on a shuttle to the private terminal and the short boat ride to the island, where a van was expecting us for the short ride. Staff was assisting with luggage for the walk down the hillside and check-in was quick and equally smooth. They addressed an issue with one of our rooms on the spot.
Throughout our stay, the staff was very attentive, always ready to assist with anything we needed. They helped book activities or organize a birthday party. They were especially sweet to the kids in the group, making Fridays a great place for a family vacation.
While I expect staff in the Philippines to be very friendly, the Fridays team is also very competent. We were a group of 10 people in three rooms, yet from day 1 the team seemed to know all of us, never having to ask for a room number when ordering. Any wish we had was promptly accommodated and there always seemed to be somebody close by to help, while being invisible!
Room: We stayed in a Superior Beachview Room and our friends in Premier Suites. All of the rooms have an island feel to them with natural woods and local materials being used.
Our Superior Room is located in a villa-style building on the ocean front, the best location of the resort. It’s compact, with a queen-size bed in the center, covered by a very romantic mosquito net. The windows are made of Capiz, thin and flat sea shells. It is a material local to the Philippines and provides a local touch.
The rest of the room furniture was a bit of a jumble, with an old tube-TV, a fridge and a small. Wooden desk arranged in front of half of the wide door to the bathroom. A door opens to the private balcony, with a small table & chairs as well as a hammock, all overlooking the beach and clear waters, making this the best feature of the room!
The bathroom is huge, with the toilet and sink on one side and a large shower on the other. There was a outdoor jacuzzi tub that might have been part of the room at some point, but was now not functional.
Overall, I loved the location of our room, but the room itself needs a renovation. I’m not a fan of the capiz windows, as they let light in early mornings, but don’t give you a view outside. I’d prefer regular windows with shutters to enjoy the gorgeous view and sleep in the dark at night! The furniture is well past the end of its aesthetic life cycle and needs to be replaced.
The Premier Suites are the newest addition to the resort and the most upscale accomodation. They are located up the hill with views over the trees out to the ocean. There are one lower level and one upper-level in the round villas, each with about 80sqm of floorspace. The room itself is huge with a king-size bed, as well as a single bed and pull out bed, perfect for a family of four. You’ll also have a desk and table inside and a large sitting area on the private balcony. The upper level suites have high, vaulted ceilings, adding to the spacious feeling.
The attached bathroom is bigger than most hotel rooms, with a long vanity, a deep soaking jacuzzi tub and huge shower with partial glass wall to the (private) outside. The polished hardwood floor and high-gloss wood furniture are a great fit for the island location while still looking contemporary!
The Premier Suites on the lower level have the same layout, but lack the cathedral ceilings.
Both are worth the higher price for a family of four, feeling much more luxurious than the older rooms. Keep in mind that you have about 50 steps down to the beach, so be ready for a little excercise!
Restaurant/Amenities: Fridays has a freshwater pool at the back of the property, as well as a game area with a soccer table and pool table.
The spa is facing the beach and offering massages and treatments with the sound of the waves as a backdrop – my favorite relaxing soundtrack.
The hotel will organize boat trips and other activities. While they charge slightly more than vendors on the beach, the quality of the boat and service provided was significantly better than what we got from the beach vendors and well worth the extra money to us!
The hotel restaurant and beach bar are open-air right on the beach front and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. You can choose from local, Asian and Western dishes for any meal and the bartender mixes some mean cocktails. It’s slightly more expensive than other restaurants along the beach, but also a little better in quality and service, making it a good choice if you don’t want to leave the hotel. On one night, the hotel had a great buffet dinner, with a huge selection of food, as well as a dance and cultural show right on the beach!
Bottomline: Our friends compared their trip to Hawaii and got a huge room and great service in a beautiful location – all for the price of a mid-range hotel on Hawaii. Add inexpensive food and massages, and you get a luxury vacation with a unique island feeling at a good price! At a rate of $250 during high season, it’s still good value considering the service. Low-season prices can go down below $150. You can find current prices here!
But Fridays does have competition now – if you are looking for rooms with a more modern feel, you’ll get more of a South Beach Miami feel at Discovery Shores or LInds next door at similar prices. Or, for a fraction of the price, you can stay at the White House or Strand Boracay, more basic hotels with access to the same beach!