Eco Resorts in Bohol: Reviewing Amorita Resort
If you’re looking for where to stay in Bohol, it doesn’t get much more eco-friendly than Amorita resort.
Sometimes the best commitments to sustainability by hotels, resorts, guesthouses and the like are the ones we don’t see as guests. Advice on Responsible Travel is generally to avoid larger hotels and resorts, to stay local, and choose small places to stay at. I agree with that in general, but the challenge with generalisation is just that—we over generalise.
Another generalisation is that somewhere branded as ‘Eco’ must be the most environmentally friendly place to stay. Something which this resort proved to be wrong. Amorita is not officially an Eco Resort in Bohol, and yet they are making significant environmental efforts—more than some places that call themselves ‘Eco’.
My recent travel in Bohol and stay at Amorita Resort in Bohol, Philippines was a great example of how larger resorts can make a difference to their environmental footprints, and be pioneers in Eco-Friendly accommodation.
Planning travel in Bohol? Read my post about what to do on the island of Bohol (that are responsible/eco friendly!) here!
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Travel in Bohol: About Amorita Resort
Amorita is located at the North End of Alona Beach, on Panglau Island, Bohol. There are plenty of options of places to stay in Bohol, but not that match up to Amorita’s position. Amorita a minute’s walk from the beach (they have a private area on the beach) but the resort itself is perched on a clifftop looking down on the beach and does not front on to it. For me that was the best of both worlds—away from the parties on the beach, but at the same time just a few steps to the white sand and clear salt water.
Amorita Resort is part of the One of Collection, a group of four boutique properties in the Philippines. Sister property, Momo Beach House (which I did not visit) also occupies a beautiful spot on Panglau, Bohol.
Translated from Spanish, Amorita means “little darling”, and it’s clear that the resort has been built and is run with high levels of affection. I caught up with the property’s Head of Engineering, to hear all about how they were giving back to the environment and local community.
Accommodation (Rooms): Amorita has 96 Suites altogether, across 4 different room types. The entry level category is a Junior Suite (which I stayed in) which is open, spacious, comes with a rain shower, huge king or twin beds and sofa in the room. I loved the position of the sofa by the window which made it perfect for reading. Larger room types are 1 or 2 bedroom suites, some with sea view. Amorita is currently renovating the villa section of the resort, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Eco Credentials: At first glance you won’t notice things that particularly stand out at Amorita in terms of sustainability, but it’s when you look more closely that you start to notice the little details. Each room is equipped with a ‘Loud Basstard’ Bamboo speaker for your phone—a device I absolutely loved! No electricity required, just Filipino Bamboo from neighbouring Cebu, and you have a soundtrack for your rain-shower (to complement the organic bath amenities of course). Instead of putting plastic bottles of water in the room, Amorita provides glass bottles (and glasses) with filtered drinking water, which are refilled by housekeeping as needed.
But Amorita’s commitment to minimising their environmental impact goes far beyond the details in the rooms. When building Amorita, the management ensured that trees were not cut down, but that rather the property was built around nature. The hotel has a waste water treatment facility. They are the only hotel on Alona beach that has one, and there’s no municipal waste water treatment facility. That took a minute to sink in for me. At Amorita, the waste water is treated and used to irrigate the gardens. Amorita is lobbying amongst the local community and hotel owners to spread awareness and knowledge about waste water treatment and water supply which is currently the largest issue in Panglau (an island with very limited water supply).
The hotel has started to grow their own vegetables and herbs. The produce is currently served in the staff restaurant, but there are plans to expand this further and start producing on a larger scale for the guest restaurants too. The staff are also trained in energy conservation and all air conditioning units are set on 24 degrees C as opposed to lower in all offices.
Beyond the environmental commitments, Amorita’s staff are 80% from Bohol, and are challenged to think about new ways for the resort to give back to the environment and communities around. Amorita spend time training their staff and encouraging them to come up with ideas so that these best practices can be shared outside of the resort in their home communities.
Meals: Amorita has two restaurants on site—Saffron, which is next to the pool and open for breakfast lunch and dinner serves a mix of Filipino and international food—and Tomar which is open for dinner and specialises in Tapas. A few steps to Alona beach offers many more eateries. The fish offered in Saffron was excellent, and the Filipino banana fritters (Turon) were amazing…
Facilities at the Resort include a full Spa with an array of bliss-inducing treatments, Infinity Pool (a second one is coming with views over Alona beach once the renovation is complete), private beach access, private tours, snorkelling/diving trips and more.
Getting There: Amorita is about 40 minutes’ drive from the ferry terminal at Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital. Ferries and fast ferries run betweenTagbilaran and Cebu every hour or two hours. Journey time on the fast ferry is around one and a half to two hours. I’d definitely recommend the ‘open air’ seating option on the ferry unless you’re a fan of air conditioning—the view is much better. There is a small airport at Tagbilaran city which has flights to/from Manila if you are in a hurry or have to fly. An airport on Panglau for Alona Beach is unfortunately planned for 2018, and locals are (rightfully) concerned about the effect that that may have on the island.
Lasting Impressions of Amorita Resort
Amorita doesn’t officially position itself as an Eco Resort in Bohol, but I was impressed by their level of commitment to the environment and the lengths to which they were going to make Amorita a place that was positive for all. But for me, the bottom line is this: I’ve rarely experienced staying somewhere where the staff team made me feel so welcome. As well as genuinely caring about having a resort that has a positive impact on the island’s environments and nearby communities, the resort genuinely cares about its guests. And even in high-end travel, that is something that is hard to find these days.
This alone, would keep me coming back for more eco-love at Amorita.
Looking for more things to do during your travel in Bohol? Check out visit.org and I-like local.com, two leading platforms for responsible travel experiences that have plenty of options in the Philippines!
Have you been to Bohol or are you thinking of going? Would you add anything to the recommendations here? I’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the Philippines, you can get in touch with me via the comments form below.
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A Londoner by birth Ellie has lived in the UK, Netherlands, India and now Canada. Prior to blogging, she worked for 12 years in hospitality and online travel. Ellie started this blog during a sabbatical trip in 2015 around South Asia, to help conscious travellers find the best inspiration for their next sustainable trip. When not travelling, she is happiest with wine, pasta and a good (travel) book. Ellie is also Founder of Soul Travel Consulting which helps travel brands communicate their sustainability initiatives.