For my return visit to Boracay with my sister, I was deliberating over the choice of hotels for a while: I wanted to show off the wonderful beach and water, but also show the lively side of Boracay, with its many restaurants, bars and entertainment. So, the choice fell on Station 2 at the heart of White Beach and the Uptown, a new hotel opened less than a year ago! It turned out to be a good choice at the heart of the Boracay action.
Location: The Uptown is located at the center of Station 2, White Beach, right next to the d’mall. You reach it from the main road on foot through the mall to the beach walk. It consists of two buildings, one right on the beach with coffee shop, restaurants and stores on the ground floor, a few rooms on the second floor and an infinity pool and bar on the third. The second building is in the back with a pool in the middle, another pool bar and the breakfast restaurant on the fifth-floor rooftop. The central location makes it easy to go anywhere along White Beach in a few minutes: the quite, wide beach at Station 1, the mall next door, the strip of restaurants and bars to both sides of the hotel or the budget bars and restaurants at station 3. The central location does make it very lively and a bit noisy!
Service: The service was professional. While the front desk was not as friendly as I have come to expect in the Philippines, they did a great job and were thorough and responsive. The hotel organized our transport from and to Caticlan airport, it worked flawlessly and was quick. Check-in and out was easy. We reported two small issues with our room and they were both fixed by the time we got back – something that even more expensive hotels in the Philippines don’t always get right! The staff at the restaurant was probably the best – very friendly, went out of the way to assist us and by day two, had our preferences worked out and anticipated our wishes! Great job!
Rooms: We had a premier room that was located on the 4th floor in the second building, looking over the pool! It was a great location, away from the noise (except for the crazy rooster who went well beyond the “call of duty” till lunch time!). It’s a very large room with a colorful, modern decor. Two queen beds, two clothing racks/shelves, a desk/table (with mini-fridge, mini-mini-safe, LCD TV) and chair left plenty of room to enjoy. One of the more unusual features was a hammock – don’t try it after too many drinks! The bathroom is a little tighter, with an ok-size glass shower enclosure, sink and toilet. Complimentary water, coffee and tea, a kettle as well as a large selection of toiletries were available at check-in and were generously replenished daily. The quality of the items provided, as well as of the towels, bath robes and linen was mid-scale – no issues, no temptation to buy for home! Everything was in working order and in very good condition – as it should be in a brand-new hotel!
Amenities: The hotel offers loungers on the beach right in front of the hotel. If you go to the front row, you can easily ignore the people on the beach walk behind you. Ask for some pads for more comfort – they have them, but don’t volunteer them! There are also two pools, an infinity pool on the 3rd floor overlooking the beach and a pool with whirlpool elements on the groundfloor in the back. We enjoyed the ground floor pool in the afternoon to get out of the scorching sun. The shade, cool water and loungers were a nice place to relax.
Restaurant: Our room rate included breakfast and we took advantage of it every morning. It’s served on the roof-top, open air. While that was a nice place in February, I might prefer an airconditioned room in the heat of summer! The selection and quality of the breakfast food was ok. There was fresh fruit, pastries and breads, an egg and pancake station and some hot Filipino and International dishes (Pasta Carbonara anyone?), making it almost a brunch that got us through the day till dinner! The egg station was the best feature, the quality of the breads and pastries the low point, no flakey croissants here… The team made up for that with friendly service, bringing the eggs and pancakes, coffee and toasted pastries to our table when they were ready, allowing us to enjoy the breakfast. It does get pretty crowded up there. While the team is refilling everything promptly and till the very end of the serving time, it’s not a relaxing place. There are also several restaurants on the ground floor, with one setting up on the beach for dinner, but we didn’t try them – there are so many restaurants on the beach to choose from!
Overall, the Uptown is a good place if you want to enjoy the entertainment White Beach has to offer. The large, modern rooms and the service stand out and make it a solid recommendation. For my next trip, I’d probably choose a hotel at Station 1 to enjoy the wider beach and the calmer environment, walking to the party rather than having it on my doorstep. If a good party is part of your plan, Uptown should be on your list of hotel candidates!