Seen in Lobby: Weekend escape Asians and longer-stay Europeans in couplings and groups of friends. Including weddings.
There's a heat in the air and it's not just the weather. It may only be around 11am when TLTB trickles into Discovery Shores at Boracay, but already the resort is pumping to a bass beat of loungey house music. TLTB stares out to the blue of the ocean, then suddenly looks down and notices , one hip is jiggling to the house rhythm. Merde, so uncool. That's how easy it is to sync into Discovery Shore's beat. It carries an intoxication that spirits even the most weary of travellers up to party level.
The last time TLTB touched down on Boracay it was enshrined in the private enclave of Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spajust up around the mountain. Here, the energy is tuned to a whisper. Rarely, does the pace break beyond a quiet pad between your villa pool and the spa. If Shangri-La is grown-up sensual, then Discovery Shores, positioned at the end of Station 1, is its sexier little sister that dips you closer to the infamous Boracay beach nightclubs but cocoons your experience in luxe. Both resorts are rejuvenating, for somewhat different reasons.
Discovery Shores, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, was the first to bring a level of lavishness to the island. Today, it makes its point with a singular attention that begins with the in-room check-in and treats such as footbath and a platter of amuse bouche, at this time bearing a bright red, piped-on title 'Happy Summer'. The small treats keep coming throughout your stay. Turn-down brings another platter of sweet things and, improbably, a row of 'Angry Birds' on the sofa that have been origamied from towels in an obscure show of zen (have we mentioned, that, yes, you can bring the kids?).
There are 88 rooms at Discovery Shores. Coated in a crisp white exterior, they terrace up the property to max the views of the ocean. Inside, the no-nonsense white-tiled floors are warmed up with dark wood treatments, softened with neutral sofas and accented with either bright orange or royal blue silk highlights. Cylinder-shaped lamps, encased Chinese lantern-style, drop long from high ceilings or squat low on wooden benches. Rooms not facing the waterfront overlook a pool and mini-pool that flows into a sheer-rock waterfall. All together, they occupy the centre strip of the resort, ensuring a water view for all. The suite-style rooms range in size from 40 square metres (430 square feet) junior suites to the 2-level, 120 square metres (1292 square feet), 2-bedroom Suite Premier that comes with a terrace and Jacuzzi.
Today the sky is a shifting muddle of sun and storm. It streaks the ocean in 50 shades of turquoise - from clear to deep peacock blue. TLTB finds this complicated medley transfixing - more so than a straight blue, sunny day - and is soon lying front row on a beach lounge, Beach Butler at hand. Somehow the music, the mood, calls for mojito and TLTB temporarily forgets it prefers champagne. Sipping away, TLTB becomes appropriately absorbed by a nothing thought. According to lore Boracay, perennially locked into worlds best beaches lists, gets its name from Borac meaning cotton. The white sand is compared to white cotton, but TLTB declares it ecru. This isn't a spoiler.
Back to the blue: there are many ways to get in and on it at Discovery Shores. TLTB opts for a native outrigger and snorkelling. So many multi-coloured fish! There's also scuba-diving and paddle-boarding, trips to secluded islands for picnics or caves, right back down through to a simple swim.
Discovery Shores stealth style trick seems to centre around keeping everything you want to do beachfront. Looking back up from the water, there is a sign stumped into the sand - 'Terra Wellness Spa'. It lures sodden beach-dwellers up to its mezzanine level. Here, they can be both grounded and re-perked to partying inside what has been awarded No. 1 spa in Asia in 2012. It caters to anyone from couples to girls night outs, which is a pointer to Discovery Shores direction. Yes, we mentioned that the resort caters to kids (we'll get into that below), but there's a playfulness here that speaks more to grown-up groups.
At sunset, a kind-of pop-up restaurant appears in the form of Platitoes. Small tapas style platters are served beachfront - stand or sit at the bar, pull-up on a chair in the sand. It's your choice. Corporate Chef David Pardo de Ayala whose background swings from Columbia through David Bouley's New York 4 Michelin stars kitchen, has created an all-nations selection of dining tastes. At Sands restaurant, TLTB can't remember seeing a more diverse and cleverly constructed buffet at breakfast. A long aisle open to the beachfront and pool area, Sands also serves a la carte lunch and themed buffet dinners. Separated by a sheer blue curtain is Indigo, the resort's fine dining restaurant.
At night, the white cane furnished restaurant is lit with moody blues. They throw beautiful neon patterns, like ghostly jellyfish undulating through a tide, against the chocolate Perspex background. TLTB starts with the signature lobster bisque soup, then travels through Asia to a black and white sesame crusted tuna and back again with Pears Belle Helene -homemade chocolate brownie icecream and salted caramel sauce.
The night breeze is coated with the beats sounding out from nightclubs further down along the beach. They blend like a distant backbeat to Discovery Shores own mix. You can wander along the beach and see what you hear or take a few steps off Indigo's platform onto the sand and dance around like you just don' care. Do you remember?
Check in:Discovery Shores, Station 1, Balabag, Boracay, The Philippines. Tel: +63.2.720.8888 / +63.36.288.4500
Ultimate Luxury:Just a few steps to anywhere you need to be on a beach vacation
Most Indulgent Moment:Toss between small plates at sunset in the Jacuzzi and the spa
Insider Secrets:If you're stumped on how to propose, enlist their help. We're told they're good at it
The Little Things:Discovery Shores' speciality from beach butlers that will remember your favourite magazines to turn down surprises
Junior Luxies:Soft toys on arrival, beachfront activities from making friendship bracelets to camping on the beach and films. Babysitting on request