We celebrated our son Aidan’s birthday in Donatela, one of the best resorts in Panglao Island, Bohol. Donatela is a 7.5-hectare sprawling green resort integrated into a botanical garden with a cliff house view of Bohol Sea. The blog started as a love letter to our would-be offsprings when our first son, Aidan, was born 14 years ago. https://youtu.be/zWUuKfMunSA Here is a travel guide for those deciding to go on a destination birthday celebration in Bohol. DONATELA HOTEL Address: Km. 16 Hoyohoy Tawala, Panglao Bohol Telephone: +63 38 510-8472 Mobile: +63 917 526-6001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Donatela Hotel Instagram: @donatela.hotel Website: https://www.donatelahotel.com/
First Things First The resort is only 30 minutes away from the new Panglao International Airport. It’s located in the heart of Panglao Island, 5 minutes away from Alona Beach by car. The resort development is surrounded by a botanical garden ideal for those looking for an oasis in Bohol. The interior design features elements of Filipino Culture and exposed beams and floors made from sustainable mahogany wood. You’ll feel welcome throughout the stay because of the high ratio of service personnel to guests. I loved the luxury of space for the kids to run around and for walking before and after meals.
Donatela Villas There are only 12 villas under 4 categories: 6 Garden Villas, 4 Family Villas, 2 Pool Villas and 1 Honeymoon Villa. Only the latter two categories have a private swimming pool. Pool Villa We stayed in the pool villa with our family of 4 boys. It has a private pool where the birthday boy could go for a swim. It’s a one-bedroom suite villa with lots of space. We asked for three extra beds so that we could all stay in one room. The bathroom is spacious with a separate shower and toilet… …and washbasins so that the family could use it all at the same time. I loved the big living room area where the boys could dance and do a lot of family activities. You can also work in a quiet corner and be inspired on your stylish Prizmic & Brill study table. A suitcase-inspired cabinet that opens into a minibar. For the audiophile, enjoy music from Harman Kardon Soundstick Wireless 2.1 Bluetooth speaker system. We always looked forward to the turndown treats of the best of Bohol delicacies like this Biko and Dukot. The pool is a bit deep for the little ones so you have to make sure to always be within arms reach.
Garden Villa The Garden Villas are inspired by the Northern Ifugao Huts tradition. You immediately feel at home, with the bed calling you to rest your weary soul. The bathroom is spacious with a big mirror centerpiece adorned with seashells from the Bohol seashore. The best thing would be to simply relax with a view of the garden while you sip your coffee or drink the night away.
Amenities There’s a big outdoor pool in the middle of the garden where you can have a family gathering. Because of the low density of guests, you can enjoy the pool all to yourself to play water battles with the kids. Make sure to make the family pose with the alligator. You can leave the kids in the villa, and you can head on to the spa for some me-time relaxation. You can do your massage in the couples room during the day or in the villa at night, which we preferred. Yes, there is a salon inside the resort so that you can complete your makeover. You can spend time with resistance or endurance training at the gym enclosed with floor-to-ceiling walls.
Paprika Paprika is the best fine dining restaurant in Bohol that serves international cuisine with a cliffside view. They have an extensive menu suited for the discerning foodies and the little ones.
Zoo Make sure to visit the zoo to meet the cuticle-cleaning-Monkey with a naughty smile. They also have the usual farm animals like the ducks quacking around their area. The aviary was a hit with the boys. Make sure to book a guide to explain each species. Watch the movie Rio first with the kids then introduce them to the actual birds featured in the movie. Social Peacocking? Make sure to say hi to the parrots and listen to what they will say.
Horse Back Riding For us, the most distinct part of the experience was the horseback riding tour of the stables and the resort. The black horses were gorgeous up close and personal. The boys had fun feeding them with leaves all throughout our stay. The horses were so big for Raphael. Make sure to use a helmet and warn the kids not to stay behind the horses. The kids felt like equestrians going around the alfresco riding hall. Fourteen years old and counting. Aidan is now taller than us, playing for his school’s basketball team. Joshua is not a kid anymore but not yet a teenager. Yugi decided to go off and do a horseback riding tour of the entire resort.
Island Hopping For island hopping, you have to wake up as early as 5.00am to catch the dolphin watching sessions. Good thing, the boat can pick you up directly from the resort. The resort can arrange a private island hopping tour with a boat guide. My precious! So awesome to watch the dolphins in the wild but the boatmen should be trained not to cut through them. We went on a snorkeling session at the edge of the reef of Balicasag Island. It was getting crowded.
Donatela Breakfast Each morning we would wake up and walk to Paprika for breakfast. Breakfast buffet was well-curated with the health-conscious, tourists and the little ones in mind. The morning view from the restaurant was quite stunning and very relaxing when you stare at it for a while. I loved how the breakfast buffet was surrounded by the garden, like eating inside an air-conditioned green house. Bread was made from their on-site bakery and the vegetables and herbs came from their own garden. It was worth waking up to, an enjoyable, long lazy breakfast.
Final Thoughts Overall, this is the best family resort for us in Bohol! We love the pool villa, the gardens, the zoo, the horse-back riding and, most specially, the food. It’s a great birthday destination specially for celebrating big milestones. This is a place where you would just like to spend a lazy time in the resort without the need to go out. Thank you to GM Herve Steve Martin and the Donatela team for an awesome Bohol experience! DONATELA HOTEL Address: Km. 16 Hoyohoy Tawala, Panglao Bohol Telephone: +63 38 510-8472 Mobile: +63 917 526-6001 Email: email@example.com Facebook: Donatela Hotel Instagram: @donatela.hotel Website: https://www.donatelahotel.com/ Check out lowest Donatela Hotel rates and availability. Live an Awesome Life, Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Enderun Hotels. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights. P.S. No need to go out to hunt for the best pasalubongs because they already know the best delicacies in Bohol. You can ask them to buy for you and prepare a basket of pasalubongs when you checkout.