Buena Vida Resort & Spa is a 3 star resort, but in our opinion it’s not far from a boutique resort, with a distinct character and high level of services. It is a hidden gem in Malapascua, as unlike most of the high level resorts which are located on the beach, Buena Vida is about 150m away from it. Therefore it’s easy to miss or overlook, but not rightly so.
Like a handful of other resorts in Malapascua, Buena Vida rises far above the mediocre level of accommodation on the island. Fabienne, the owner, has brought both her experience and personality into play when she opened her second resort on the island. The mindset behind Buena Vida is serenity and wellness.
[expert_review] First of all, upon check in you’ll be offered special lemongrass tea as a welcome drink in the 24 hours reception, before heading to the rooms. The resort itself is built around a very well maintained tropical garden, with the use of natural materials. Each room has a large wooden balcony that faces the garden, with sofas and a hammock. All of the 12 rooms in Buena Vida have a fan, air-conditioning, hot and cold shower, safety box and daily housekeeping. Most rooms have a king size bed and some are spacious enough to add another bed upon request for an extra guest, or for two single beds.
The resort is well suited to families. The family type rooms has another small room as an extension that can serve as a children room. There is also a nanny service for times the parents want to enjoy other activities, like diving, a romantic dinner date, or a revitalizing sap treatment. We rarely encounter resorts that put so much attention into customer satisfaction, especially in islands like Malapascua.
A unique feature to Buena Vida is a yoga hall with morning yoga classes (Vinyasa and Power yoga) free of charge for the resort’s guests. There is also a Jacuzzi pool good for 4, available for guests for complete relaxation. The spa is the best in all of Malapascua hands down, both in quality and variety. It offers the following treatments: Aloe Vera, body mask, face mask, reflexology, manicure and pedicure, Swedish massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy, couples massage and house specialties.
The spa is also open to outside guests if you’re not staying in Buena Vida, but you’ll need to book in advance as a priority is given to in house guests. The spa is a very good example to Fabienne’s pursuit of quality. Not only that it offers more treatments than most 5 star resorts in the Philippines, she also mentioned that all of the aromatic oils are imported from Italy.
For us, the greatest example of the guest being the most important person in the resort, is the bistro. First of all, the guest can choose between buffet breakfast or À la cart on his private balcony. The menu includes many vegetarian, vegan, and raw dishes. On top of that, provided that a guest has a special diet, the restaurant will adjust and make special dishes, if notified enough time in advance prior to arrival. There is also a full board option, but we don’t find it necessary (as there are several good restaurants in Malapascua), unless you’re on a strict diet that the bistro in Buena Vida can cater to.
The real downside of Buena Vida is its remoteness from the beach. It’s not really that far, but it does take away from the resort. Moreover the road to the resort, both from the main port (through the town’s Market), and from Bounty beach is narrow, unpaved, and not so nice. But if you don’t mind a short walk (less than 5 minutes) you wouldn’t mind it that much.
[pros_cons] Also, the rooms and their verandas are close to each other. Therefore if you’re looking for complete privacy, there are other places we can recommend to you. Though for the price of the privacy gained you will give up on some of Buena Vida’s unique features.
Buena Vida also offers diving through Sea Explorers, the dive club affiliated with Ocean Vida (Buena Vida’s older sister). To most it’s not a big deal, but most of the divers choose to stay in Ocean Vida. If spending time with the divers you’re going to dive with, even outside of the water, you might feel outside if you choose to stay in Buena Vida.
For conclusion, Buena Vida is a charming little resort, where you’ll get your money’s worth. It’s more suitable for couples or small families, or for people who are looking for complete relaxation, and will appreciate the wellness facilities of the resort. The location is also satisfactory, as despite of being away from the sea, it’s only 150 meters from the lively center of Bounty beach. To fully realize whether this is the place for you in Malapascua read the full review above.
The 8 garden rooms are located in one 2 story building. This room category is good for two adults, are roomy and spacious, with wooden floor and furniture, as well as a private veranda that goes directly into the garden. You can also book these rooms as fan rooms to save some money, but we think it’s not advised. Don’t let this little detail ruin your stay.
These rooms are situated in a 2 story building on the other side of the tropical garden. They are the same as the Garden Rooms, but they do have another small room connected to the main one. Thus it allows for ordering an additional single bed, and can accommodate up to 3 adults. Therefore it’s perfect for couples with a kid, or groups of 3.