By Peter Ellegard
If ever a resort was aptly named, it is Fairways & Bluewater. Located in the north west of Philippines tropical holiday island Boracay, it boasts its own private, white-sand beach lapped by the cobalt blue waters of the western Pacific’s Sibuyan Sea as well as having the island’s only 18-hole golf course.
Boracay’s largest hotel, Fairways & Bluewater offers 850 rooms. However, with its accommodation spread over several low-rise blocks, a multitude of swimming pools, bars and dining outlets across the property’s expansive 200-acre site and a range of outdoor activities on offer, you never feel shoehorned in with the masses.
During the global pandemic personal space is all-important, and Fairways & Bluewater offers it in spades – and buckets.
Environment is key for the eco-friendly resort. A partner of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) promoting sustainable and responsible tourism and addressing plastic management concerns in the Philippines, it has its own water treatment plant and has earned accolades from various organisations for its eco-credentials.
Its pristine Paradise Cove beach lies on the opposite side of the island to the lively bars and restaurants that line the public White Beach. Untreated sewage polluting the waters there led the Philippines government to shut Boracay to tourists for six months in 2018 while a huge clean-up operation coupled with work to remedy that and tackle unregulated construction was undertaken.
Getting to Fairways & Bluewater involves an hour’s flight from Manila to a neighbouring island followed by a transfer with your luggage in one of the resort’s speedboats and a 40-minute minibus journey on bustling, narrow roads chockablock with motorised tricycle taxis that make frequent stops and hold up traffic. A refreshing welcome drink quickly relaxes you and after checking in to your room you feel cocooned in tropical serenity.
There are 16 different room and suite types, all of them spacious and overlooking either the resort’s garden or the golf course. Each one features amenities that include free Wi-Fi, cable TV, mini-bar and fridge, coffee and tea maker, free drinking water, air-conditioning, en-suite toilet and bath, hair dryer and in-room safe.
My room looks out over the garden and one of the resort’s seven pools.
Several of the room and suite options have balconies or terraces with views over the golf course. Bathrobes are also included with some room types. For families, there are interconnecting rooms and suites with two bedrooms and a separate living and dining area.
Restaurants and Bar
Guests have 10 dining venues to choose from, the food a fusion of Filipino fare and cuisines from around the world. There are also 10 bars and lounges, some of them open from morning to midnight.
The new Kudetah Italiano Ristorante and Tapas Bar is set in an entertainment hub giving spectacular views of the beach and sea. Other new dining and drinking additions are the We Chill Gastropub, a laid-back restaurant serving Greek and classic Filipino dishes, the Skydeck Bar, with sea views from on high, the Fiesta Patio festive al fresco zone, the Glass Lounge that has a glass floor, and the Hideaway Jacuzzi Bar featuring Boracay’s largest outdoor Jacuzzi tub.
There are also six poolside bars, three of them swim-up, and a beachfront bar along with cafes and al fresco and fine dining restaurants.
Spa and Wellness
Enjoy a massage on the beach or in the two full-service spas that offer services such as deep-tissue, hot stone, Thai and Swedish massages besides body scrubs and therapies including aromatherapy and reflexology.
Spa users can chill out in a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi, while the resort also has a gym.
If you enjoy an action-packed holiday, you’ll be kept busy at Fairways & Bluewater. Quite apart from its Graham Marsh-designed golf course, there’s a whole range of activities you can throw yourself into.
One of them you literally do just that, plunging head first down a double zip line and soaring high overhead the green of the golf course’s 1st hole, much to the bemusement of golfers below. A cable car runs alongside, taking zip line riders or those who just want to go along for the views.
You can also ride a Segway along the beach, go horse-riding, biking, enjoy water sports or simply laze on the soft sands of Paradise Cove.
In addition, there’s virtual golf, a sports bar and children’s play lounge and game room to keep the little ones occupied.
A 24-hour shuttle service operates within the resort, using electric buggies, buses and E-jeepneys – eco-friendly versions of the brightly-decorated Filipino truck buses.
Shuttles also take guests to White Beach, where you can sail in an outrigger and bar hop.
l Note – not all activities and amenities may be available due to the coronavirus situation.
The recipient of numerous awards for excellence from global organisations, review websites and booking platforms, Fairways & Bluewater completed a total renovation at the end of 2020. For holidaymakers itching to travel once again, it offers an untypically tropical paradise experience.
You’d have to go a fair way to find anywhere that even comes close to matching it.
Fairways & Bluewater Boracay
Station 1, Barangay Balabag and Yapak
T: +63 36 288 5587