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outside.jpgPuerto Princesa, the capital of the Philippines’ most breathtaking ecological paradise, Palawan, was on the list of must-visits for my wife and me, and in September 2006, we stayed for three days and two nights at the cozy Hotel Fleuris, one of the more respected, ideally located hotels in the city. My wife and I had always wanted to go to Palawan (why travel abroad when the Philippines has 7,107 beautiful islands we could visit?), and this is the first trip we took with just the two of us outside of Manila, so we were obviously very excited.

The official website of the Hotel Fleuris offered a three-day, two-night stay package for locals titled “Explore Puerto Princesa” that is chockful of value: complimentary airport transfers; welcome drinks; two lunches, a dinner, and two breakfasts; a City Tour that includes the Crocodile Farm, Butterfly Garden, Mitra’s Ranccofishop.jpgh, Baker’s Hill, Plaza Cuartel, and the Cathedral; and, of course the highlight, the Underground River Tour, including a swimming stopover at Sabang Beach.

Reserving directly with the Fleuris was pleasant – thanks, specifically, to the services of staff on call, including Assistant Sales Manager Ms. Vivian Msungi, who coordinated with us via email – and despite the lack of instant confirmation online that we had with other hotels in the Philippines (the oh-so-plush Diamond Hotel in Manila and our favorite Manila hotel, Discovery Suites in Ortigas), it was otherwise a pleasant experience booking at Fleuris.

The Guest Room Suite at the Hotel Fleuris is larger, apparently, than their Deluxe Room, ned.jpgand was more than adequate in size and amenities for my wife and I, who don’t need a large place in which to stay. It had a receiving area, which included a comfy couch, a table and two chairs, where my wife and I sat and talked quite often during the course of our stay; a king-sized bed; and more-than-decent toilet-and-bath facilities. For a boutique hotel, definitely a pleaser.

As mentioned earlier, service was pleasant. It is a relatively small hotel, and service was warm and personalized. Three restaurants – the Coffee Shop, the Piano Lounge, and the We Be Sushi! Japanese restaurant – provided food that was simple, delicious, and more-than-affordable. We had a sushi platter that was simply delightful – I guess fish tastes better when it’s fresher. 😉

Location-wise, it would be hard to trump the Fleuris. It was about a five-minute walk from Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa’s major road, and easily accessible tomeindining.jpg the city’s largest supermarket/mall, NCCC. Popular Filipino fastfood restaurants near the area include Jollibee, Chowking, and Shakey’s (I love my pizza). It is a few more minutes away from the public market, where we enjoyed the cheapest, most delicious roasted cashews EVER!

On the downside (if you consider the following, downsides), the air-conditioning in the suite was off to the side of the bed, which meant uneven distribution of the cool air. Plus, the Fleuris isn’t that fancy. Well, so what? There are no five-stars in the Puerto Princesa city proper (the big resorts, which include the spectacular Amanpulo) are off the coast of the province.

What delighted us most about the Fleuris was the opportunity it presented us to really enjoy our stay. Puerto Princesa is a beautiful place, an ecological paradise, and it was a thrill being able to enjoy it, knowing everything was taken care of. Comfortable accommodations, a delightful tour package, pleasant service, and a breathtaking city all combined to make our Palawan stay a truly unforgettable one.

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