Discovery Samal Staycation Guide! (First Look)

Discovery Samal is a 5-star resort by the Discovery Hospitality group that has been eagerly anticipated in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte. After 10 years of planning and being delayed by the pandemic, Discovery Samal finally opened its doors on the weekend of July 21-23, 2023. It is located in the Samal Shores development beside Chemas resort on Samal Island. This will be the largest convention center in the area, with a capacity of up to 1,200 people.

We visited during the opening weekend and here are our tips for an amazing experience:

Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, 8119, Philippines

Manila Sales and Reservations Office
30F, U-3001, High Street South Corporate Plaza Tower 1,
26th Street, Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City, Philippines

Telephone: +63 084 308 2998
Facebook: Discovery Samal
Instagram: @discoverysamal


Photo by Martin San Diego / Discovery Hospitality

Conveniently located just 5 minutes from Davao City, Discovery Samal is a sprawling resort that features multiple levels of accommodations. From 9 private villas with their own dipping pools to 128 hotel suites, 15 executive suites, and the most spacious Grand Signature Suite, there is something for every type of traveler.

Designed by renowned architect Ed Ledesma and interior designer Manny Samson, these spaces are tastefully curated and developed with interiors where classic features meet modern accents. Whether you are traveling with family, friends, or simply want to unwind in a private space, comfort, privacy, and grandeur await you at Discovery Samal.

Photo by Martin San Diego / Discovery Hospitality

Discovery Samal is a resort that caters to adventure seekers of all levels. From the different levels of accommodation, guests can choose from a variety of activities, including:

Beach activities: Discovery Samal features the biggest stretch of resort beach in the whole of Samal Island. Guests can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.
Pool activities: There are three pools at Discovery Samal, each with its own unique features. The main pool is a large infinity pool with stunning views of the Davao Gulf and the city. The pool in the central villa area is exclusive to villa guests, while the pool in the hotel section is open to all guests.
Adventure activities: Discovery Samal offers a variety of adventure activities, such as hiking, biking, trekking, and island hopping. Guests can also go white-water rafting on the Taganito River or explore the Chocolate Hills.

The much-anticipated unveiling of Discovery Samal took place on July 21, 2023, officially opening its doors to guests. The resort and estate is the newest property under Discovery Hospitality Corporation’s redefined Discovery Resorts brand and has the most exceptional amenities and the largest convention facilities in Mindanao. With its stunning views, luxurious accommodations, and endless activities, Discovery Samal is sure to fulfill every traveler’s dreams.

Discovery Samal officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony event attended by esteemed guests, including prominent figures in the hospitality industry and government officials. The ceremony was led by Discovery Samal President Beatrice Gonzalez-Magallanes and General Manager Stanley Lau. They were joined by members of Discovery World Corporation, Island Garden City of Samal Mayor Al David Uy, and Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, D.D. of the Archdiocese of Davao.

How to get to Discovery Samal

Take the PAL Manila to Davao flight, which takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Discovery Samal will greet you at the airport and bring you to the Welcome Center to board the Catamaran boat, which takes you to the resort in 5 minutes. If you take the 9am flight, you will arrive in time for lunch while you wait for your suite room to be ready.


Hotel Junior Suite at Discovery Samal

We stayed in a Hotel Junior Suite with 2 queen beds, which was quite spacious for our family of 4. The rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable.

Since Discovery Samal is still on soft opening, it is important to check the following:

  • Make sure that the Nespresso capsules come with a Nespresso machine.
  • Check if the safety deposit box is working properly.
  • Make sure that you have a basic trash can in the room.
  • Ask if they have a pillow menu so you can choose from different types of pillows.

The bathroom is spacious and well-appointed.

The bathroom is spacious, with a separate shower and toilet area. The toiletries are all in sustainable packaging and are pleasant to use. As expected of a 5-star resort, the bathroom is well-equipped with all the amenities you need, including a hair dryer, bathrobes, and slippers.

The balcony overlooks the main pool, which is planked by the stone-colored building that blends well with nature. The pool is surrounded by lush greenery, and the view from the balcony is simply stunning.

All rooms have access to the pool and The Shoreline All Day Dining Restaurant is just a short walk away.


Morning Catch is the signature Southeast Asian restaurant by Thai Chef Alex Atthasarn Phaithoon. Chef Alex is known for his à la carte Thai specialties, and he previously worked at Discovery Palawan in Club Paradise, Palawan.

Morning Catch Menu: Soups and Appetizers, Salads, Homemade Curry by Chef Alex | Rice and Noodles, Market Specials, Wok Specials | Sweet Endings | Beverages

Ala Carte service is still slow, so make sure to order ahead of peak hours and allow 1 hour for your food to be served. They cook everything from scratch in their open kitchen with a new kitchen team, so it takes a bit longer.

Tom Yum Goong (₱700)
Spicy prawn soup with chili, lime and coriander
Seafood Laksa (₱500)
Rice noodles with prawn, squid and mussels in spicy Malaysian coconut broth

You’ll be invigorated by the flavors of Tom Yum, with a good spicy kick, lime acidity, and big chunks of shrimp. We also like their seafood laksa, with a milky coconut broth contrasted by splashes of kalamansi.

Pad Thai (₱450)
Sautéed rice noodles topped with shrimps, bean sprouts, chives and peanuts

The rice noodles have a nice bouncy bite when served wrapped in egg. Be sure to mix in the peanuts, chili, toge, and lime for a balanced flavor.

Chicken Red Curry (₱560)
Dried red paneng curry with coconut milk and Thai basil.
Prawns Green Curry (₱690)
Green curry in coconut milk with eggplant and Thai basil.

The curry sauces have a deep, rich, milky broth. You can order the green curry with chicken and the red curry with prawns. The red curry was a bit sweeter than I expected, so I would recommend asking the kitchen to lessen the sweetness.

Durian Sticky Rice (₱300)
Davao durian served on top of rice and coconut milk

Yes, if you are tired of the mango version, this durian version will put a smile on your face at the end of your meal.

After dinner, you can head to the Haribar Lounge for wine and their signature cocktails. The lounge is cozy and a bit chilly compared to the other restaurants.


The Shoreline Menu: Fresh and Light, To Share, Soups | Sandwich, Entree | Filipino Family Favorites, Side Dishes, Sweet Endings | Youngest Foodies, All-Day Dining | Signature Cocktails | Beverages

The Shoreline All Day Dining Restaurant serves a daily breakfast buffet and an all-day à la carte menu. You can eat indoors for a lounge-like, cool ambiance, or al fresco amidst the greens while swimming.

The restaurant has a beautiful view of the pool, Davao cityscape in the distance, and Mount Apo on a clear day.

Datu Budas (₱400). White rum with ginger and passionfruit syrup.

We tried all the cocktails in the resort, and this is the only one we would recommend. It’s perfect for a hot sunny day or as a great cocktail to perk you up and prepare your appetite.

The Shoreline Burger (₱550). All natural 200g Angus beef, bacon, crispy onions and sharp cheddar cheese in a charcoal bun.
Spanish Gambas (₱550). Butter-poached prawns with smoked pimento, chili flakes and garlic.
Sinuglaw (₱600). Grilled Pork Belly mixed with Mindanao tuna ceviche.
Kare Kare (₱980). A classic slow-cooked Filipino oxtail stew in savory peanut sauce and shrimp paste.

The restaurant serves comfort food, including Filipino favorites, burgers, sandwiches, and pica-pica for light snacking. The sinuglaw has potential if the pork belly is cooked properly and has the right smoky flavor. The burger is aesthetically pleasing, but the meat patty needs improvement.

I love how they designed the experience to provide a modern comfort food experience that is on par with Manila expectations, but also incorporates elements of Samal hospitality and ambiance.


We tried the half-day island hopping tour around Samal Island. It was just okay, and we spent more time on the boat than we did actually exploring the islands. I wasn’t interested in seeing their competitor, Pearl Farm Resort.

The highlight of the trip, if you decide to go, is the Taclobo Farm, which is home to 6 species of giant clams with over 2,000 individuals. The entrance fee of PHP 200 includes the guide and snorkel rental.

Note: They will try to upsell you an SD card with unlimited underwater photos taken by amateurs for PHP 700. It is best to bring your own GoPro and ask if you can rent flippers so that you can take proper underwater photos/videos.

Welcome to Diaz Island! Finally, we found our island. It is best to have a picnic lunch here to make the island hopping day trip worthwhile.

The Wishing Island is the last stop of the tour for this signature shot on the rock cliff.

The island is named Wishing Island because it is believed that if you make a wish while standing on the rock cliff, it will come true. The cliff is about 30 meters high and offers stunning views of the surrounding islands.

It would be nice to go on an island hopping tour where you can visit an isolated beach, enjoy a nice barbecue boodle fight meal, and enjoy the Samal waters in privacy. Otherwise, you can just hang out in the resort with its beautiful pool areas and views.


Overall, Discovery Samal is the best staycation experience of 2023 and the best resort to stay on your next Davao escape. You’ll feel at home with their suite rooms, and hopefully they can implement their signature personalized welcome, which Discovery is known for.

We recommend Chef Alex’s Thai food in their signature Morning Catch restaurant. Love hanging out in the Olympic-size pool with awesome views of the Davao cityscape. Make sure to allot time to buy pasalubong on your way back to the airport.

Best of all, despite the soft opening issues in the resort, the entire staff at Discovery Samal were hospitable and always greeted guests with a smile. Galing! And salamat for the Samal hospitality!

Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte, 8119, Philippines

Manila Sales and Reservations Office
30F, U-3001, High Street South Corporate Plaza Tower 1,
26th Street, Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City, Philippines

Telephone: +63 084 308 2998
Facebook: Discovery Samal
Instagram: @discoverysamal

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Thank you to Discovery Hospitality for the Discovery Samal Staycation. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Take advantage of up to 40% savings from Best Available Rates until July 31, 2023!
(Stay Period: August 1 to December 20, 2023)

Can’t wait for Chef Jayjay Sycip’s Bistro Restaurant concept to open in Discovery Samal!

The chapel, cafe and convention center are still in construction.

If it rains heavily, the catamaran can’t cross so make sure to allot travel time for crossing to Davao via RORO.

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