So, I was heading out of town with a special someone and wanted to give her a really nice long weekend vacation. The perfect simple solution was to visit Bohol, one of the most popular islands for tourism in the Philippines with its Chocolate Hills, nice beaches, and other splendid nature. Always trying to avoid long, hot bus rides and the choking traffic in cities here, Bohol was also a great option because we could get there with a quick and easy two-hour ferry ride with the Ocean Jet Fastcraft.
While getting there was easy, figuring out where to stay was a little more complicated. Last time I went to Bohol, I stayed at the Alona Swiss Resort. I actually really liked it, and it’s a great value. I would stay there again this time except for two things: 1) It is a significant 15-minute or so walk to Alona Beach, and 2) I didn’t want to stay at Alona Beach again. There’s nothing wrong with Alona Beach per se, as it does have white sand and plenty of bars and restaurants to keep your attention for a couple of days. But it has an overwhelmingly commercial feel—sort of like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—and is getting even busier with tourists now that Boracay has closed.
Instead, I wanted to stay right at Dumuluan Beach, which I stumbled across during that last stay in Bohol. The beach there is incredibly clean and pristine, and completely uncrowded if you get to the shoreline in front of the Bohol Beach Club or the South Palms Resort (where you can hang out as long as you eat or drink – a tremendous deal).
I knew that I couldn’t afford either of those resorts (about $175-$300/night, IF you can even get a booking!) so I choose the Dumuluan Beach Resort. On the map, it was the closest thing to that night beach area I love, yet still relatively affordable (and available).
The good news is that the weekend went great and my special someone and I had a wonderful time. The bad news is that the Dumuluan Beach Resort was a series of disappointments that left me with a terrible taste in my mouth. Here’s why:
First off, the resort isn’t even listed on the hotel aggregator sites like Hotels.com, Agoda.com, Booking.com, etc. To reserve it, you have to email them, hope to get a timely email back, and then go to the bank and transfer 50% of the total price just to book – a huge pain in the ass.
No worries—with that done, I looked forward to my stay. Upon arrival, they told me that check-in time wasn’t until 3 PM, which sounds inordinately late considering check out time was at 11 am. The room was decent, clean, and pretty big, although very simple and outdated. However, the staff was one of the big problems, as I found them unfriendly, uncaring, and even rude. For a resort that you pay $90 a night or so (which is a significant price here in the Philippines good for a great 3-star or even 4-star hotel), that was completely unacceptable.
In fact, they were downright unhelpful and acted like we were inconveniencing them. Can we get the free waters left in the room today? No, those are only for when you check in. (Really? No water?) We missed the free breakfast by a few minutes, but can we just get a simple meal? No—you have to pay for it. Can you please help us get transportation to Alona Beach for dinner since we’re out in the middle of nowhere? No—go walk way up the road and try to find it yourself.
In all, it was just their poor attitude that poisoned me on this place, as even the waiters and hostesses were scowling. Additionally, the beach in front of this resort is nothing special at all, and next door is the louder, crowded and sometimes littered barbecue beach area.
The best thing I can say about the Dumuluan Beach Resort is that our room wasn’t robbed and we could walk up the beach to hang out at the South Palms Resort every day and night!