Arnold and Mel are terrific hosts. Their son Tommy also helps out and he was great too. Sharing this property is definitely a passion of theirs and they made us all feel extremely welcome. Mel is a fantastic cook and supervises the staff which are very kind and attentive. The food is delicious and Mel included us with their Christmas dinner which was terrific. The property is on Busuanga Island (Coron) and is a little over an hour from the airport. Arnold took care of arranging the pick up at the airport which cost about 3000 pesos. Keep in mind that the airport doesn’t have night flights (no runway lights) so if you have a late afternoon flight that gets delayed after 1730, it will likely be cancelled to until the next day. There aren’t any taxis that run from the airport to the property which is by BBL (Busuanga Bay Lodge).
The rental portion of the house is two master bed rooms each with a bathroom. One of the master bedrooms as a kitchen too. Arnold and Mel live upstairs, but each room has a separate entrance and privacy was never an issue. (I think some of the pictures on the website may be of the upstairs area) We traveled with our two kids (ages 9 and 12) and my sister’s family who also had two kids (2 and 4) and spent 3 nights here. The rooms each had a large queen or king bed and a comfortable pull out couch.
The house is on the top of a hill with stairs that lead to an incredibly beautiful infinity pool, eating area, sandy area, and of course the beautiful bay. The view is breath taking and it is an incredibly experience to awaken to that view each morning. Our kids spent hours upon hours in the pool each day. They have kayaks which can be used freely to explore the bay and the mangroves. There are jet skis for rent as well. Next door at BBL, you can also pay to rent bikes, paddle boards, water skis. BBL offer massages as well that aren’t too expensive.
Arnold arranged for some diving trips for us as well. The dive boat can pick up and drop you off from the dock at the house. There are a couple of Japanese shipwrecks from WWII which are just a few minutes away in the. There are a total of 11 Japanese wrecks which were sunk by the US in WWII around the island.
Arnold also set up an island hopping tour which was a fun way to spend the day and see some nearly deserted islands (there are some caretakers that look after the islands, but that is about it).
Mel and Arnold will tailor your needs to help plan days filled with scuba diving and island hopping, or simply lounging by the pool sipping cocktails. In fact, the only thing you need to do is show up.
Mel runs an open air kitchen by the infinity pool, and she and her staff will cook a variety of reasonably priced and delicious meals. They offer fresh, local catch, and the kitchen is stocked with excellent wines, organic fruits, and just about anything else.
The house overlooks a semi private bay. It is quiet, off the beaten path, yet luxurious. The wifi is good and the cable TV options are great too.
Our families loved staying here and it was the highlight of our Philippines trip (way better than Boracay). Highly recommend visiting here… it is a unique, peaceful, and relaxing destination. Great place to rejuvenate and enjoy the beauty of the Philippines.
We spent the week after Christmas at Ekhaya and it was one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever had as a family. Our young children had so many things to do at the home - play in the 2 pools, sandbox, the 2 gazebos on the water, and spot fish and marine life. We did some limited island hopping and the beaches were beautiful and well kept. The best part of the trip was the hospitality of the owners, Arnie and Mel. Not only were they there to help and answer any question we had, but Mel is an amazing cook and served as our private chef for the week. We did not have to go out to the store at all - everything was taken care of and Mel would make things that our kids would like. When we come back to Coron, we will absolutely stay at Ekhaya - we cannot wait until our next trip there :)
There's not enough time or space to describe how amazing this place is. Ekhaya is a stunning property in one of the most beautiful, tranquil off the beaten path places there is. The home is clearly a labor of love for Arnold, Nell and their son Tommy - there are personal details in everything from the housing unit to the stairs and stone inlays around the property down to the dock and hammocks and organic gardens they are cultivating. We were there with 2 families, we had a 2 yo and 4 yo who woke up excited everyday to go down the stairs and greet the wonderful friendly dog Tula (or "tula rula" as my 2 yo called her) and go to the area of sand to play or the infinity pool. The food was amazing and cooked fresh to order every time. The nutella banana pancakes, lamb samosas, fresh made pizza, were all amazing. We were there for Christmas and Nell et al put up a tree for us so the kids could wake up to it. They shared a homemade Christmas feast with amazing turkey, stuffing, roasted vegetables as well as sparkling wine. It definitely felt like home. You can watch heartbreakingly beautiful sunrises and sunsets every day. Arnold can arrange wonderful local boat tours to surrounding islands as well as wreck diving leaving from a neighboring dock, there is a ton to do but you'll just want to spend plenty of time sitting by the pool or in the pool and watching the sky and bay as well. VERY relaxing (even with small children). The lodging is very comfortable high ceilings, AC if you want it that works well (good for our kids for sleeping) the bathrooms are beautiful with great rain showers, there is a queen bed and a pull out queen sofa in each room perfect for 2 families. Kitchenette was well stocked but honestly with the quality of food they provide you won't want to cook. The only difficulty is the travel part. I would recommend staying away from Cebu airlines. Our flight was cancelled on both ends going to and from Palawan which was the only downside - we lost 2 days of our vacation!!! . Definitely get trip insurance. Arnold, Nell, Tommy and staff are fantastic hosts. You will not be disappointed.
|Overall condition of the property||Bedding & mattresses|
|Kitchen & utensils||Bathroom cleanliness|
|Other facilities & amenities||Service|
|Friends getaway||People with disabilities|
|Older travelers||Families with young children|
|Check-in / front desk||Service|
|A romantic getaway||Luxury-minded travelers|
|Check-in / front desk||Service|
|A romantic getaway|