It's easier to arrive in heaven than you think
If you’re staying in Singapore for the summer holidays but hankering for a quick getaway, whisk the kids away to a sublime beach destination that bypasses the usual options and delivers so much more: fill up on fun in the Philippines. Same flight distance as the Maldives, but much more affordable. Where to go? Lightfoot Travel lets us in on their top choices and why – all you need do is choose one. Beach bliss beckons.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa
Whether you travel in the company of toddlers or teenagers, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa will cater to everyone’s needs. Tucked away from the general party crowd of Boracay’s White Beach, kick back in 350 metres of immaculate beachfront and 12 hectares of abundant gardens. The stunning turquoise waters are ideal for sea activities for the entire family: kayaking, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, jetskiing, wakeboarding and wind surfing.
Best room for families: Premier Family Seaview Rooms not only have calming ocean views, but their double queen beds are able to accommodate a maximum of 3 adults and 2 children under 12 years old. Alternatively, take two interconnecting Deluxe Rooms for a little quiet time after tucking the kids in.
For kids: Babysitting services are available for infants and toddlers while children under 12 are supervised by trained nannies at the Adventure Zone. The Entertainment Centre (which includes video and arcade games), keeps those teenagers well occupied while you sip on a cocktail by the pool.
For mum & dad: Head out to CHI, the resort’s spa located on a peninsula overlooking a private bay. In this tranquil environment, take your pick of treatments. We have to say ‘Palina Hilot Massage – Two Therapists, Four Healing Hands’is sublime relaxation.
Getting there: Silk Air and Tiger Air have started flying to Kalibo from Singapore, it is then a 2 hour drive to the private Caticlan jetty and then a 15 minute transfer by speed boat.
As a private island resort, Amanpulo has it all: pristine beaches, turquoise oceans and accommodation fit for a family of kings. Holiday in the right season, from March until October, and you’ll be able to catch baby turtles hatching and scuttling into the sea. The kids will love this nature show.
Best room for families: One, two and four bedroom private villas just steps from the surf, each come with a private swimming pool, separate bedrooms, living and dining pavilions, outdoor lounge, fully equipped kitchen, private chef and housekeeper.
For kids: An excellent children’s club with indoor and outdoor activities including arts and crafts, movie nights, tree planting and organic gardening.
For mum & dad: Pamper yourself at the spa, followed by a romantic private island dinner once the kids are in bed.
Getting there: A one hour flight from Manila on Amanpulo’s chartered planes, lands you right on to Amanpulo’s private airstrip.
We really wanted to keep this our secret, but it’s too unfair not to share. This is the epitome of barefoot paradise. Dedon is a small slice of heaven nestled between ancient mangroves and crystal blue waters with only 9 villas. It’s all hands on deck to cater to the needs of you and your children. Dedon operates on a fully-inclusive basis, so feast your heart out! House alcoholic beverages and sumptuous three-course meals are on the menu twice a day, every day.
Best room for families: The one Deluxe Family Villa, two storeys of comfortable living with full ocean views.
For kids: A kids’ village with trampoline, foosball table and board games is on offer for the younger ones. There are table tennis, volleyball and badminton courts for those who want to remain dry on land, but water-lovers can take their pick from: island hopping, surfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, donut rides, kayaking, hobbiecat, sailing and paddle boarding.
For mum & dad: Deep sea fishing is even more rewarding when you return to cook your catch under the personal guidance of the head chef. A spa treatment is a must after an excursion like this, expecially when they’re included in the rate!. Surfers can take on the fabled Cloud9 surf break, which was the inception for the areas tourist trade.
Getting there: Fly from Singapore on Cebu Airlines to Siargao Island, via Cebu. Singapore to Cebu is around 4 hours and thereafter Siargao Island is a short 45 minute flight.
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu is set amidst 13 hectares of lush tropical greenery in Lapu-Lapu City. As it’s connected to the main island of Cebu by several bridges, if you ever need to see a shopping mall during your beach break, they’re not far away. Just like its sister hotel in Boracay, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu is great for families.
Best room for families: Deluxe Family Room, with two comfortably sized queen beds facing expansive views of tropical gardens and the main swimming pool
For kids: Children aged 3 and below have a special area of their own in the Toddler Zone, a rarity in most large resorts, but they must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Also on offer is a big children’s water playground AND a multi-level indoor playground with big slides and ball pools. Teenagers can mingle at the E-zone which includes a video arcade zone and foosball.
For mum & dad: Mum can sign up for the yoga and fitness sessions while dad takes a practice swing at the six-hole golf park. It certainly is worth taking the kids to the Marine Sanctuary for an afternoon to learn about the underwater eco-system and conservation efforts.
Getting there: Singapore flies direct to Cebu, then the resort is a short half hour from the airport.
In an archipelago of countless islands, visions of being castaway in style must surely come to mind. If that’s your dream, look no further than Ariara Island. Be a modern-day Robinson Crusoe as you master the lush jungle and try your hand at the numerous activities on offer: windsurfing, jetskis, snorkelling on the private reef, waterskiing, wakeboarding, island hopping and heading out for deep-sea fishing or diving.
Best room for families: Jungle Villa, a master bedroom and children’s room a mere 7 metres from the beach.
For kids: An entire island to run around. Enough said.
For mum & dad: A staff of 30 to answer to your every whim and watch over your kids as you go explore the underwater world.
Getting there: A one hour flight from Manila to Busuanga, followed by a 1.5 hour drive to the pier and then a relaxing 2.5 hour cruise on the Karen Joy, Ariara’s private yacht, with gourmet lunch and beverages served on board.
This article was brought to you by Lightfoot Travel, a Singapore-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice & inspiration, tailor-made itineraries & full booking services.
All Images: Lightfoot Travel
Top Image: Ariara Island