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Reviewed February 19, 2011

Our stay started out nicely. Richard the owner was quite friendly and went out of his way to make our stay comfortable. But our stay soon soured.

Guests have their meals together on one dining table, so you're pressured to socialize with complete strangers, make conversation and be nice. My wife, being a very private person, wasn't happy about this and avoided having meals unless they were served in our unit.

The meals were hit-and-miss - 40% hits and 60% misses. It was as if the meals were experimental. A couple of times, the soup was inedible. To Helena the chef's credit, the cookies were to die for. On checkout, we ordered some of these heavenly cookies for the road.

My biggest peeve was this: when we stayed one extra night, the hotel, without advising us, charged the extra night at DOUBLE our booking rate.

Also on the bill was the return boat trip to the island: an unexpected $75 fee. This is rich, considering we could have arranged the same trip independently for maybe $20.

Anyone going to this hotel should ask for all fees prior to booking. There are far too many hidden charges. And be warned: service fees and government taxes adds 22% to your subtotal! Your final bill will floor you. What you pay for at this resort will put you in a luxury resort elsewhere, e.g., El Nido, where you can enjoy more bang for your buck.

Another frustration we had - although this is about Agoda rather than the hotel - is that there is no way to contact Agoda other than via the form on their web site. They publish a phone number - which to our surprise was a Thailand number (a long distance call from the Philippines!) - but if you call it, you only get a recording instructing you to use the web form. On an emergency, such as when my wife contracted dengue and was hospitalized for 3 days prior to our arrival, we had no way of knowing whether rearranging our trip was acceptable until 2 days AFTER filling out the form. During this whole time, we could not rearrange our flights.

In conclusion: we won't be back at this hotel, we won't recommend it to others and we warn others about booking thru Agoda.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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29  Thank tru3north
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
elf001, Owner at Mangenguey Island, responded to this reviewResponded March 7, 2011

No matter how hard we try there is always people we cannot seam to please! I encourage everyone to visit our website before making a decision to visit Utopia. Mangenguey is wonderful but not for everyone! Regarding charges this gentleman had move dates two ice, the first time we waive the charges but the second time we apply the Cancelation Policies clearly written in both the Agoda page and in our website. 100% charges for cancelation 20 days to arrival date, and yes we do charge 12%vat and 10% service charge on top of your bill. Is not true we charge double in this case, we charge our regular full board cost. By the way he extended his stay by one night, I wonder why? If he was clearly unhappy and dissatisfied. I also want to point out we did room service every meal to his wife without extra charge and try very hard to accommodate her. Regarding my food and culinary skills I guess you can read the other reviews and make your own conclusion!
We are proud of our ratings and we work very hard to make Mangenguey a perfect experience and will continue to do so hoping to share Utopia with you.
Mangenguey is an adult destination and guests must be 16 years or older.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 16, 2011

I've never come back from a place more rested, refreshed, and relaxed than I have from Mangenguey. The only thing missing from the place is a white-suited Ricardo Mantalban speaking his line from the TV show. I found the island to be:

Beautiful
Quiet
Relaxing
Still (not the same as quiet)
Clean
Inviting

I say these things knowing full well that my fiancee and I are probably not typical visitors to the island. The property is geared towards high end tastes, while being set among rustic simplicity. The food, particularly, is an Epicurean extravaganza. You could easily see many of the dishes come out of the CIA or Cordon Bleu, and the bottom line is that this overshot our palettes. Since we were lucky enough to be the only guests on the island during 3 of our 4 nights, we were able to communicate this to our hosts, and they tweaked the menu to accommodate us - which to me showed a great degree of flexibility and hospitality.

Among the strongest impressions I came away with was the incredible attention to detail that Richard and Helena have shown in crafting the island. Seashells leading up the steps to our cottage (alternated left side and right side) were just an example. One of the evenings they set our dinner up out on the beach, with hurricane lanterns scattered all around - just for us.

The swimming and snorkeling are beautiful, and the island itself is breathtaking. There will always be things that a person could complain about - but as long as folks are apprised of the fact that the cottages aren't set up with AC, that the power is on from 6 PM to 6 AM (although it was on more often than that when we were there), and that the food is driven by the hosts, rather than picked from a menu - I can't imagine anyone would come away from there with anything but good memories, and a recharged personal battery!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank MichiganTed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 18, 2011

Great stay at a very small boutique resort that is well throughout and in good
taste with influences of fashion detail. We stayed there from October 31 until
Nov 5.

TRANSPORT
The resort will help arrange this. They will pick you up from Coron with their
own boat. Depending on the weather, it takes around 1.5 hours to reach
Mangenguey.

ROOMS and WEATHER
It has a small island feel. Basically there are 2 main buildings, the main
building has 2 suites, more modern and contemporary in feel (hot water, bathtub,
tv). The other buildings are bungalows, the style is more rustic with Asian
decoration details. One bungalow (yellow building) is a suite and the other is a
duplex with 2 rooms (red building). Our duplex room did not have hot water, just
showers and the bathroom is semi-outdoor.

We stayed in the duplex, upper level, we recommend this room if you plan to stay
at the bungalows as it has a very nice size terrace overlooking the sea and
gives more privacy. The terrace offers 2 lounge chairs and big outdoor cushions.
All very tastefully done. It has a great inside-outside feel. We used it a lot
for rainy days as we were not so lucky with the weather. In retrospect, I think
it wasn't the best time of the year to visit the island. Wished we had more
sunshine during our stay.

BEACHES
The island has 3 beaches but to reach the other 2 beaches requires a bite of
trekking through the jungle. The main beach is south-east facing.


OTHERS
Don't know if was the rain or being so close to the jungle but we found the
mosquitos to be a bit of a problem, especially in the evenings. So not to ruin
your stay, please bring lots of bug sprays and wear light long sleeve clothing
and shut your doors in the evening.

FOOD and SERVICE
Dinning is communal style. All hotel guests mingle and sit together at a long
dining table for all three meals at set times. The food was superb, done with a lot of thought and creativity. The quality of cooking is very high, western restaurant
standards. Everything is freshly made and prepared. For breakfast: fresh
juice, fruits, croissants and bagels. Lunch and dinner varies from steak to
rabbit to prawn salads. The cooking has heavy influences of Spain and America.
You will be well-fed, but if you're looking for local authentic Filipino
cuisine, this isn't. Drinking water are provided for the guests free of charge,
soft drinks and alcohol are charged separately.

The service was excellent. The staff are welcoming and friendly.

ACTIVITIES
You have the usual beach/water activities. Beside that, you can hike through the
jungle. There are also caves. There's no dive shop (as of yet during our stay
there), although they were building one. But diving can be arranged if booked
ahead of time.

Overall, Mangenguey is charming boutique hideaway with a unique touch. Please
keep in mind that the overall feel is more western and less local Filipino.

Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank GTLon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 15, 2011

excellent island getaway for a laid back or more adventurous holiday. had the beach to our selves and explored the islands coral reefs and jungle. food was amazing mostly spanish cuisine and all rooms have a stunning beach side view. not your typical hotel but more of a remote island utopia (but only 1.5/2hrs by boat from the mainland) couldn't recommend the experience enough!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank axelrose79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 13, 2011

My boyfriend and I went in search of a unique experience on our second trip together to the Philippines. After back packing through many destinations last year we wanted two things 1) to return to the beautiful islands of Palawan 2) to stay somewhere we could experience a bit of luxury as well as experience a place with a truly unique offering.

This place had everything we were looking for, we really felt like we were in paradise. The beach cottage where we stayed had a beautiful beach view with the sound of the ocean and the waves. I love the way these cottages are designed, while mostly made of bamboo the interiors are luxurious with a boutique hotel feel. We spent every night chatting in bed cuddled up while the sound of the water lulled us to sleep - it was a god send to have been without a TV and air con (much more romantic!!)

Helena and Richard have a strong vision of Utopia that my partner and I share and we really understand and support the romantic ideas of conservation and all the hard work that has gone into the creation of Mangenguey.

We couldn't have asked for a better experience, the food was amazing and their service is warm and friendly. We had three amazing meals a day and enjoyed the beauty of the island, which is indeed a tropical paradise. We spent our time snorkeling around the island, the reef is full of different kinds of tropical fish. We even got a chance to see Helena and Richard release a number of baby turtles that had hatched back into the wild.

There are also many great hiking trails through the jungle and forests of the island that lead onto beautiful vantage points from different areas. Great places to view the sunset if not from the bamboo dock leading off the beach.

We had a wonderful trip filled with romantic sunsets, amazing (no really, AMAZING) food, and fantastic company. I highly recommend a stay in Mangenguey to anyone looking for a different experience full of luxury, charm and personal touches. We loved it and hope more like minded people get a chance to experience Utopia!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank alesstinio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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