Steve Says: Yuken Mari Resort Review

Yuken Mari on Panglao Island - 7.5 out of 10

Our second stop for accommodations in Panglao was at the secluded resort of Yuken Mari. Secluded is an understatement in this case. Not sure where the resort was and how long or how much it cost to get there we asked several local tricycle and cab drivers. None knew of the resort or even where to begin finding it. Luckily with the aid of Google maps and the motorbike provided by Calypso I set out one afternoon in search of my bounty. Google maps indicated the resort was set on the beach at the end of an unnamed road you had to access via another unnamed road. Gifted with a great sense of direction coupled with years of learning how to read maps in the Boy Scouts aided in my expedition. After turning onto several roads in the general vicinity I finally arrived at my destination. The resort is set back from any type of main road and is right on White Beach. With my discovery and knowledge of nearby resorts and landmarks I felt confident in our decision to stay at Yuken Mari. The next day we arrived at the resort well before our check-in time. The staff, though very friendly and accommodating, did have an issue with our booking. We booked the hotel through agoda.com and apparently the resort management has had issues with Agoda forwarding them the information in a timely manner. This resulted in some confusion for us and another guest who was scheduled to checkout the day we left but wanted to stay longer in the same room. Yes there was availability, just not in his previous room - the room we had reserved. Tempers flared and some harsh words were said (though I do not speak the language, harsh words in any language can be deciphered) but in the end everything worked out for our booking. While we waited for our room to be made ready we enjoyed a beverage and the free wifi in the lobby/dining area. The drinks were priced very good. The best for any resort we’ve been to on our month long stay in the Philippines. The price for a liter of Red Horse beer was 85 pisos. If you purchase the liter in a store it typically runs 70-80 pisos plus the bottle deposit if you take it with you. Other places we’ve stayed at the same liter of Red Horse can cost you double that amount. The room we booked was a standard room able to accommodate two people with a twin bed and a futon. The room and bathroom were both clean and suited us perfectly. One thing the room had that we weren’t accustomed in other hotels and resorts was air conditioning. If we were to have shared a twin bed in another place without air conditioning we would’ve been miserable. Because of the secluded nature of the resort, they have to have their water shipped in via a large tanker truck. Unfortunately one of the days we were there was delivery day. The entire morning we were without water in our bathroom. The management offered to let us use their mineral water (drinking water) they have in five gallon containers for bathing and washing. We declined the gracious offer. Clean drinking water is a commodity all over the world and we did not want to waste such a resource to merely wash ourselves. We put away our pride and waited for the delivery. A minor inconvenience in an otherwise great place. As stated the resort is located right on White Beach. The name is very apropos considering the color and consistency of the sand. A beautiful shade of white for a fine grain of sand. The beach was also much less crowded than famous Alona Beach just several kilometers west. This feature was one of our favorite. You could sunbathe, run the beach, or swim and snorkel without having to worry about bumping into another visitor to the area. The dates we stayed at Yukon Mari coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year. Luckily, tourists to the area were few and far between - a stark contrast to Alona Beach. There were plenty of Filipino families who seemed to know the great places to visit to avoid obnoxious tourists. Watching the families picnic and enjoy the beach was amazing and made us long for our families back home in the States. The food at Yukon Mari did not disappoint. The traditional Filipino breakfast was great. They also offer a brewed coffee (really a coffee tea bag) for the same price as the Nescafe 3-in-1 instant stuff. Though we ate in Alona beach for the Lunar New Year dinner we did dine at Yukon Mari on our second and last night. We both enjoyed the fried squid with garlic rice and a mixed fresh vegetable salad. Delicious to say the least. A word of warning when visiting Yukon Mari however. If you leave you flip-flops outside of your room to keep dirt and sand out (this is typical at any place in the Philippines) be prepared to experience a theft. Yes, I was the victim of a thief. A four legged thief who decided my right flip-flop would may a wonderful chew toy. The resort dog found my flip-flop at the door step of our room and made off with it like a, well, like a thief in the night. I did find him and the evidence in the morning after a quick search. The look of guilt on the dog was very apparent and you could only forgive him while giving him a quick pat on the head for being extremely cute in his guilt. Thankfully the management had an extra pair of flip-flops that they were to give me for compensation. The pair they gave me were also superior to my previous pair. The staff as well as the management were the best part of our experience at Yukon Mari. Friendly, kind, and always quick to a smile and to please their guests. The manager even helped us secure a tricycle to take us to the port on the day we checked out. She made sure we didn’t over pay and reiterated the cost to us before we left. We felt welcome and at home during our entire stay. Because of our need for a good internet connection to blog our adventure and keep in touch with clients back home, the staff even gave us tips on how to improve our internet connection - sit near the common house rather than the lobby/dining area for better reception. It’s a wonder this place has not caught on to more travelers. It could be their proximity to Alona Beach or the difficulty in finding it, but we definitely recommend it. Cost: Our standard room booked via agoda.com at a reduced rate was extremely affordable considering we were on the beach and had the luxury of air conditioning. Any larger room not booked at a reduced rate would have been out of our price range. This is not your typical budget traveler option, but if you keep an eye out for deals (as agoda often does) it is a great place to stay that’s away from the craziness of Alona Beach. Accessibility: As mentioned in my review this place was difficult to find - even for locals. Other guests we met also had the same issues and several times we noticed other travelers pulling up on motorbikes exploring the area with reservations at Yukon Mari on a later date just trying to find the place. We found the trick getting to the resort was to mention another resort located just up the road - Chocolate Hills Beach Resort. It’s on the same road but not on the beach. You just have to tell the driver to go to end of the road then head right on the sand/gravel road. Activities: The resort is on White Beach which is a very secluded beach compared to Alona just down the road. Any activity you are able to book in Alona for the whole of Bohol also applies here - Chocolate Hills, Loboc Adventure Park, Tarsier Sanctuary, scuba diving on the myriad of reefs in the area are all here as well. Food: We were not disappointed with the food selection we had at Yukon Mari. The squid we had for dinner was amazing as was the breakfast we enjoyed both mornings. Alona Beach and all of the dining options it offers is a quick ride away as well.

Totally reminds us of the 'Denver Did You Do This?' video (see below).

#Philippines