Postcards from Boracay
Of all the reasons to travel, destination weddings have to be my favorite excuse to book an airline ticket. Over the years David and I have been invited to some beautiful places to witness our friends tie the knot. Last year we jetted off to Paris for a few days before watching my oldest friend say "I do" in the French countryside, and this year we flew to Hong Kong for the seaside nuptials of our fellow expat friend Kevin and his wife Chloe. With many of their wedding guests making the long trek to Hong Kong from the United States, Kevin and Chloe invited their friends to continue traveling through Asia with them after the wedding. For those interested in prolonging the fun (yes, please!), they booked a block of rooms at the Shangri-la's Boracay Resort & Spa in the Philippines - just a hop and a skip over the South China Sea from Hong Kong.
As this blog has detailed, I'm a bit of a hotel slut. I love them - from the one-of-a-kind boutique establishments to the sprawling resorts that require golf cart transport. Accommodations are a huge part of the travel experience for me; oftentimes they are the destination. The Shangri-La's property in Boracay is one such hotel - the kind you'll never want (or need) to leave. I knew it the second we arrived at Caticlan after an infuriatingly long day spent in the Manila airport as our connecting flight was delayed repeatedly and eventually cancelled. Due to nighttime flight restrictions into Boracay, we were instead flown to Kalibo and then bussed two hours to the Caticlan airport. My travel partners and I were nearly at our breaking point when we spotted a Shangri-La employee waiting for us at Caticlan. After presenting us with lavender-soaked cold towels and bottles of water, we were whisked into a speed boat that delivered us on the resort's dock after a short 10-minute ride - amidst beach fireworks exploding under a starry night sky. And in the light of day, it just kept getting better: the breakfast buffet was insane (I gorged on bibingka and garlic rice), the private beaches were breathtaking and the service was top notch.
Our group's motto for the trip was "do less." Floating around in the salty ocean water on an inflatable tube was the peak of our activity level during the 72 hours we spent on Boracay. We tore through our beach reads, indulged in 90-minute-long massages and toasted each glowing sunset with frosty cold beverages. Scroll on for postcards from our little slice of paradise in the Philippines!
P.S. After falling in love with Yunnan food on our earlier China travels, I'm adding the new Hylandia by Shangri-La to my hotel bucket list! Swoon.