If a getaway with indulgent meals and breathtaking views sounds like your idea of an exquisite vacation, then Balesin Island Club in the Philippines is a great option. You can tour the entire island in a day, but a day isn’t enough to experience everything that it has to offer.
Why go? A destination of unmatched natural beauty located off the eastern coast of Luzon in the Philippines, Balesin Island Club is Alphaland Corporation’s flagship project. This 500-hectare tropical island paradise is only less than an hour away from Metro Manila by plane. Balesin Island Club features seven internationally-themed villages each having beautifully landscaped swimming pool and specialty restaurants that attract tourists not only with their yummy food, but also with their exclusive themes and design.
We stayed in the Regency Villa last weekend for three days and two nights and had a short stop in every village in Balesin. In this post, I’m sharing about the highlights and my personal take on the seven villages. 😉
Balesin Island Tour: 7 Themed Villages and More
Our flight was scheduled at 6:00am last Saturday. We boarded the plane on time and, without delay, we arrived in Balesin after 27 minutes! We checked in and snoozed off as we prepared for our island day tour and other activities afterwards.
Right after lunch, our tour guide took us from one villa to the next via a coaster. Balesin’s villages and amenities are nicely patterned after some of the most alluring cities in the world: Balesin, Bali, Phuket, Mykonos, St. Tropez, Costa del Sol, and Toscana. The villas are elegant, stylish, artistic, and well-equipped with premium entertainment rooms, bars, and other convenient amenities.
1. Balesin (Philippines)
Our first stop was Balesin. Only a walking distance from the welcome hall, it’s the first village we came across upon arrival at the island and it was also where we checked in. Balesin features beautiful Filipino architecture, craft, and design with a modern twist. What’s amazing is that the pieces of furniture here are all made in the island by the indigenous group. Every piece really looks unique and special.
The front of Balesin is the best beach on the island. It can be both a romantic and a family-friendly spot where guests can just hang out and relax or make use of the water sports available. With its long stretch of pristine white sand, you can take a serendipity walk leisurely. Another great privilege is a massage by the beach. There’s also an infinity pool where you can spend some time floating between the water and the sky. The main clubhouse provides easy access to the Balesin Spa, the Aquatic Sports Center, the Balesin Sala, and its surrounding villas. Everything is walking distance away.
2. Bali (Indonesia)
Drawing inspiration from Indonesia’s native hat or the “salakot,” Bali Village is a tranquil choice for families and couples. The center of attraction here is the secluded water villa located near Nusa Dua Bar, which has the the most captivating panoramic view on the island. The bar was closed when we got there but the ambiance was enough for us to appreciate its marvel. It almost looked floating as it’s set above the water. From Nusa Dua Bar, guests have a 360-degree view of Balesin’s sparkling waters and twinkling island lights at night.
3. St. Tropez (France)
One of my personal favorite locations in Balesin is St. Tropez. I haven’t been in France, so this was the closest opportunity I could get to experience French Riviera. Surrounded by lush lawns and gardens, Saint Tropez Village was inspired by the vibe of Côte d’Azur, offering luxury in a traditional setting. Outside, there’s a large tiled swimming pool with sun loungers and parasols that dot the terrace as well as the beach. Our main agenda here was to try the famous crêpes at Crêperie. It was lovely, indeed! ❤️
After dining, we took a respite in the Nirvana Lounge. It’s like an intimate and quiet “secret room” or a hideaway area located on the ground floor of St. Tropez. The interior design takes inspiration from the sophisticated French bar scene, but the amusingly, it’s Asian-themed.
4. Toscana (Italy)
Another one of my favorites is Toscana Village that’s inspired from Tuscany. In front of the building, I really felt like I was somewhere in Italy! There’s a fountain and a huge balcony overseeing lush gardens, all visually reminiscent of an Italian country estate. Other key pieces that remind of Italy are the arched doorways, terracotta accents, textured stone walls, tiled finishes, and the extensive use of natural wood throughout the complex.
The facade of the Toscana Village presents the rich variety of earth tones and deep sunset colors that Tuscany is known for. You’ll see different aspects of the Tuscan experience such as an indoor stone courtyard that suggests an ancient castello, a round terrace with a fountain, surrounded by a alley of arches, a series of sitting rooms with rich colors of fabric and tile, and textures of brick, wood and stone, a grand, moon-shaped dining room, an intimate vaulted cafe, like a tunnel in a catacomb, a rooftop terrace looking out over the gardens and the sea. The architecture and landscaping is an endless and varied feast for the senses.
5. Mykonos (Greece)
Outstanding highlights are the villa’s whitewashed walls, blue windows and doors, and winding cobblestone roads. Mykonos Village is truly a great recreation of the world-famous Greek isle. Named after the gods of Greek mythology, the villas here are ideal for families and large groups who want to stay together. What I also liked most about Mykonos is that it features a dreamy infinity swimming pool that transitions from indoors to outdoors.
We had lunch at Thanassis Taverna in Mykonos Village. This restaurant serves and specializes in gyros, moussaka, grilled lamb ribs, and souvlaki. After our meal, we went down to the Cove Deck where guests usually go to enjoy the cool sea breeze with a drink in hand. It was daytime and there’s no special event so it was hard to picture this place as a party sport. Nevertheless, the Mykonos Cove Deck is an ideal venue for large gatherings.
6. Costa Del Sol (Spain)
Costa del Sol, which literally translates to “Coast of the Sun,” features Spanish colonial architecture with arched thresholds, stucco walls and manicured courtyards. This village draws inspiration from the quaint, coastal towns of Southern Spain. Muted and formal colors dominate the area, exhibiting the characteristic Spanish play of light and shade. Each of the suites and rooms in the six ‘Casas’ – Estepona, Fuengirola, Malaga, Marbella, Ronda and Torremolinos – opens up to a picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean.
Costa del Sol is home to two beautiful swimming pools that bookend each other. One, a saltwater pool, is black-tiled while the other is a blue-tiled freshwater pool. Surrounding both pools are sun loungers and parasols.
Our tour guide also brought us down to see the Alhambra Lounge. It’s like the place to be for after-dinner drinks. With a warm mystique, this Moroccan-inspired sanctum will allow your mind to drift away while you relax with a glass of fine Spanish brandy. Further downstairs, the building also has a Music Lounge which is an excellent night spot in Balesin. It was empty when we got there but we could imagine the vibe and the energy when it’s packed with people dancing the night away to their favorite club tunes.
7. Phuket (Thailand)
Last but not least, Phuket Village is tucked away in the southern part of Balesin Island and it’s probably the most private. Each Phuket villa is characterized by multiple roof tiers, undulating serpentine shapes and blade-like roof projections which are hallmarks of the rich Thai heritage. Phuket villas are similar in layout to Bali and Balesin villas, with an outdoor deck, daybed, and lounge chairs and tables for relaxing.
Their restaurant is called the Salathip, and it’s filled with an awe-inspiring structure, with Buddha statues, scaled roofs, and authentic Thai artifacts. House specialty dishes include tom yum goong, pad Thai, and keng deng gai.
Aside from the indoor seating area, the restaurant opens up to a generous outdoor verandah for al fresco dining. Also fronting Salathip is a black-tiled 25-meter swimming pool, as well as a row of lounge recliners and parasols along the beach. The black tiles in Phuket Village’s swimming pool is not only for aesthetics but also for function. These tiles retain the sun’s heat to warm the pool to a comfortable temperature
More areas to explore in Balesin:
- Balesin Spa
- Balesin Chapel
- Ifugao Camp
- Sports Center
- Rico’s Hideaway
- Seafood Shack Aquaculture Farms
- Aegle Wellness Center
- Flower Farm
- Exotic Fruit Orchard
- Organic Vegetable Gardens
- West Jetty Port (where Alphaland’s cargo ship docks to unload people, supplies, and vehicles)
- Aquatic Sports Center
In Balesin, each village has evolved to something more than just a copy of the original destination. Comfort and luxury are two best words to describe every experience. Staying in a resort or a townhouse like Deca Clark might have similar feel, just when you’re away from the city but still having a good time and the convenience you need. Balesin is still a work in progress since there will be more private villas to be constructed soon. The current buildings, while already large in scale, occupy only less than 9% of the total land area. This means that majority of the island consists of beach and grassy fields in their natural state.
The island club’s well-kept grounds, bright and breezy rooms, and effortlessly chic decor fulfill its impression as a place of unpretentious luxury. With private villas, gorgeous swimming pools, themed restaurant/s in each villa, and tons of daily activities, there is little guests can’t do on-site. The only drawback is that it’s a members-only resort. If you have friends or family who are members, Balesin is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. 😉