“Welcome to Paradise” Bollie’s deep voice boomed out as we clambered genteelly out of the seaplane and onto the very solid jetty at Huma Island Resort and Spa luxury, private island. Wilhelm Bolton, the highly experienced General Manager of the resort is “Bollie” to all his guests and “Mr Bollie” to his team. In truth, our feeling of heading to paradise had started in the skies over the islands of the Philippines.
The seaplane is not a cheap option to get to Huma Island, as you might expect, and you can save a great deal by taking a scheduled flight to Busuanga Airport and then a 1 hour land transfer and 40 minute boat transfer to the island. However, if you can fit it into your budget, the seaplane flight is a unique experience in itself as you pass over the islands of the Philippines from Manila Bay down to Palawan, island after island glistening with pristine, white sand beaches.
After a welcome drink, cooling towel and a short briefing from Bollie, we climbed into golf buggies to be taken to our villas, encountering, for the first time, the hand on heart greeting, which all of the team on the island use all of the time. Huma Island has 81 villas, of which 64 are over Water Villas and we had one each. The others are Beach Villas, Family Suites and the Presidential Suite. We had represented Huma Island for 6 months up to that point and had plenty of photos but nothing quite prepares you for the impact of walking into the villa for the first time. The colour scheme is bright and lively, the space inside the villa enormous and the luxury evident. Your eyes may be immediately drawn to the deck in total privacy outside with its private jacuzzi. A sideboard behind the bed has a coffee maker and a range of other facilities. The bathroom at the rear of the villa is similarly large and luxurious, with a modern, black and white scheme and separate bath tub and rain shower.
We walked along the solid walkway to the first of a series of excellent meals. At Huma Island you are spoilt for choice with no less than 7 restaurants and bars, most over water and each one different to the other. We started at On the Harbour, which has an excellent selection covering the freshest seafood, caught that day. In the evening, we dined on the deck at Al Dente, serving a superb range of Italian dishes, and experienced Waves, all day dining including breakfast, Al Fairuz with its wide range of choices of Middle Eastern and especially Lebanese cuisine, a wonderful private dinner in Rudis Wine and Cheese Bar and light snacks and drinks in the Blu Bar, alongside the infinity pool. Tagahuma, which serves an Asian fusion, was undergoing some refurbishment at the time.
The vast majority of the team come from the nearby main island of Busuanga and commute back and forth every day. Filipinos are noted as friendly people but the team go the extra mile and a half – both in friendliness and in the high standard of service. Nothing is too much trouble in helping you get the most out of your luxury, private island getaway.
We swam in the pool and the sea, stretched out on the beach, sailed in the hobie cat, made it to a neighbouring island in a kayak, jetskied around Huma Island, tried our hand at archery, explored the resort, checked out the boutique, made the 1 hour trip to Black Island, explored the vast caves and enjoyed the superb white sand beach, snorkeled and dived over shipwrecks, had lunch on the beach, found that we were not fit in the Fitness Centre, visited the Kids Club and relaxed in the library. In between so much activity, we unwound in our private jacuzzis with the wine left in our villas and experienced the amazing over-water glass floor spa treatment rooms and relaxing spa treatments.
Last, but far from least, we were stunned each time by the experience of striking sunsets – we are told sunrises are equally stunning but we are not early risers – and the night sky filled with an array of stars such that most city dwellers will never have seen.
Huma Island Resort and Spa is a luxury, private island experience where you are entirely free to do as much or as little as you want of the things we tried. You can enjoy relaxing on your own private deck, completely apart from other guests or seize every opportunity to participate in all of the activities that Huma Island offers. Whichever you choose, you will enjoy a wide range of food choices, excellent service and attention to your every need at the moment of asking. You will leave Huma Island Resort and Spa with regret and great memories that will remain with you for a very long time.