The most beautiful eco-luxury resort in the Philippines, Atmosphere Resorts is a magical place with a green soul. Here you’ll find a full review of Atmosphere Resorts + what to do in Dumaguete and how to get to Dumaguete.
When I first started planning my trip to the Philippines, I came across Atmosphere Resorts, an eco luxury resort in Dumaguete that seemed the perfect destination for me. From awesome day trips to plenty of healthy living opportunities, combined with a special attention to their environmental and social impact, Atmosphere Resort had everything I was looking for. But… was it just too good to be true? Spoiler: it wasn’t.
These are the five reasons why my stay at Atmosphere Resorts was so special… and the 5 reasons why you should include it in your Dumaguete itinerary.
1| THE RESORT IS SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL
When my driver left me in front of the entrance gate, I was immediately impressed by the lush tropical gardens and a the infinity pool right by the beach. “Oh wow” – I thought – “I am going to like it here!”. I was later told by quite a few people that Atmosphere Resorts & Spa is the most beautiful of Dauin beach resorts, which is so not hard to believe. It took less than five minutes to check in, and as soon as I dropped my luggage I set out to explore more.
I wasn’t very lucky with the weather when I was in Dauin. It happens, it’s part of traveling. The sea was quite rough and swimming wasn’t the best idea. However, that didn’t stop me from having a great time and didn’t spoil my experience at all. For one, it’s always a good time for a cocktail by the pool. Also, one night a week the staff mingles with the guests at their cocktail night, and it’s a good way to meet other people. The first drink is on the house: try a lychee martini, it’s dee-lii-cious!
If you find the main pool too crowded, there’s a second one behind the dive center that will allow for some relaxing time.
The resort also hosts a bakery (mmmm that incredible smell of just made bread), the BLUE restaurant, a spa, and a diving center. Don’t expect a white sandy beach: the sand in Dumaguete is dark, but wake up early in the morning for some incredible sunrises. It’s worth it. You can tan on a beach chair or go snorkeling right in front of the resort. Dauin is indeed one of the best destination in the Philippines for divers and snorkelers.
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa organizes all kinds of activities and excursions. Among these, the most popular trip is to nearby Apo Island, a real paradise. I was lucky enough to take part in this excursion where I could swim with sea turtles. This was such an exciting experience that it deserves its own blog post. Coming up soon!
2| THE ROOMS ARE HUGE
They REALLY are. I stayed in one of the Deluxe Suite Rooms, which is the “smallest” type of room, but small is definitely not the right word when you have a 65m2 room all for yourself.
Other than a California King size bed and a front veranda with a hammock and a couch, the room features a big living space with a desk, wardrobe, and sink. In the back, the room opens into a garden with an outdoor shower. What do you need more? Here it’s a little tour of the room (pardon my voice, I was a little sick).
When staying at luxury hotels, for me it’s the little details that make the difference. From the tropical fruit that got replenished every day to having a big working desk to work at during my stay, without forgetting the cake that was left on my bed at night, Atmosphere Resorts does plenty to make their guests feel special.
3| MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO MUST BE ITS MOTTO
Or healthy mind in healthy body, if Latin isn’t your thing. Atmosphere Resorts is one of the few luxury resorts in the Philippines that put a special emphasis on wellness and healthy living.
We all know that wellness starts from the inside and a good way to start your day is practicing some yoga or meditation. I just recently started doing yoga and pilates here in Barcelona, and I can already see the benefits of it. The resort offers private or group yoga classes every day, and yoga retreats twice a year. No worries if you are a complete beginner, there are classes for everyone. You want to know the coolest part? Yoga classes are held on a real treehouse that overlooks the sea. No better place to feel recharged during your trip.
It doesn’t end here. I’m not a vegetarian, but after almost three weeks of different combinations of meat, rice, and eggs, I was
happy incredibly excited to discover that BLUE Restaurant has a healthy living menu. You can probably relate if you have ever traveled long term 🙂 The healthy living menu includes lean meats, good carbs such as quinoa, and lots of vegetarian and vegan options. The menu also includes healthy desserts, and everything I tried was delicious.
You can also find plenty of healthy options for breakfast. A complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast is included in the room rates, and wow! It was so hard to choose, but since you can order all the plates you want, well… I didn’t exactly stick to a diet 😉
If you want to opt for something more drastic, you can also sign up for a Detox Program that includes a special diet plan, yoga and meditation classes, workshops, and spa treatments. Speaking of which…
4| A SPA YOU CAN ONLY DREAM OF
When the massage therapist opens the door, I find myself in a secret garden. It’s dark, but the lanterns hanging from the trees light up the path. A few cabanas open up onto a central courtyard, and their linen curtains blowing in the wind. It’s beautiful. I close my eyes. I can feel the breath of the night breeze on my skin, the sound of the waterfalls hitting the pond, and a sweet music that I don’t know where it’s coming from is filling the air.
It’s a fairy tale world, but this fairy tale world is real. It’s called “The Sanctuary Spa”, it might well be the best spa in the Philippines, and it has received multiple nominations for the Asia Spa Awards. I’ve been to quite a few luxury spas in the past two years and I don’t get impressed very easily, but this time it was impossible not to. I mean, look at it.
And then it came the time for my massage. I usually opt for a relaxing massage, and I love the traditional Filipino Hilot massage as well, but this time my back was a little stiff so I chose the Stress Reliever massage. This massage focuses on the back, neck, and shoulders and relieves any tension from the muscles. I can say in all honesty that this was one of the best massages I have ever received. The massage therapist was so good that I even fell asleep by the end of the massage, which never happens to me. I just wished I could have tried all the treatments on the menu. If you are in Dauin for a while, start from day 1, trust me!
After the treatment ended, the therapist told I could take a shower in the back of the cabana. “There is no rush”- I was told – “Take your time”. And so I did. Each cabana features a huge bathroom with an external shower and tub, and there are all kind of products for you to use.
A super cool thing about the Sanctuary Spa is that doesn’t exclusively cater to adults. If you are traveling with kids or teenagers, you’ll be excited to know that there’s a special Spa menu for kids! How awesome is that? I would have loved to do something like that when I was a kid!
5| ATMOSPHERE RESORTS HAS A GREEN SOUL
Atmosphere Resorts is definitely one of the best beach resorts in the Philippines. But this wasn’t the reason why the resort struck a chord with me. Atmosphere Resorts really does care about the environment and the local communities, and it’s one of the best eco friendly resorts in the Philippines.
For example, you will find soap refillable bottles instead of the usual toiletry miniatures, as the resort tries and limits the consumption of plastic in all possible ways. The same goes with water. In your room you can find a container for drinking water that is refilled daily.
Water is heated by solar panels and much more. Read here for more information on the resort’s sustainability.
Bu Atmosphere Resorts doesn’t only care about the environment. Other than using a few fair trade products in the restaurant, the resort is involved in a few projects to give back to the community.
In 2011, the hotel opened a program called ASK (Atmosphere Soup Kitchen). The project aims to feed 80 school kids with a balanced meal once a day, 5 days a week. This is important because the program takes place in a poor area of Dumaguete where the school dropout rate is very high. A good meal helps these kids to get an education.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit the program as I was in Dauin just for two nights, but any guest interested in visiting the kitchen and spending some time with the kids can ask to the front desk and they’ll be happy to arrange a visit for you.
DUMAGUETE TOURIST SPOTS
It might be tempting to just stay all the time at the resort, but if you are wondering what to do in Dumaguete, well, good news! There are plenty of tourist spots in Dumaguete, and many opportunities for day-trips. So, what to do in Negros Oriental? This is my top 4 (after of course a trip to Apo Island).
Take a stroll through Dumaguete City
Dumaguete City is a university town, so it’s quite lively especially in the weekends. Go for a beer at night time, or stroll around Rizal Boulevard, which goes along the ocean. You can walk through the grounds of the historical Silliman University, or feel like a local at the Public Market. For locally handcrafted souvenirs, head to Handumanan Souvenir Shop in downtown. Here I bought a fantastic colorful bamboo carpet that now sits in my living room and reminds me of the Philippines every day!
Trek to the gorgeous Casaroro Falls
Chasing waterfalls is one of the best things to do in the Philippines. And Casaroro Falls near Valencia are simply beautiful. Be ready for a challenging trek to get down by the narrow waterfall, but it’s worth it.
Head to the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao
The Dumaguete beach isn’t a great one, but this doesn’t mean you need to give up on some water fun. The Twin Lakes are special because they are surrounded by tropical lush greenery, and they are a perfect spot for a day trip immersed in nature. It helps that you won’t find many tourists here! You can hike around the lakes or rent a kayak for some fun in the sun.
Dumaguete to Siquijor: the Perfect Day Trip
Siquijor is a magical island! Imagine white sandy beaches fringed by palms, lush forests, caves, and waterfalls. Discover the ancient witchcraft traditions that made this island famous, or just relax and let it all go. Here you can find the schedule for the ferry Dumaguete to Siquijor, and this is how to go to Dumaguete from Siquijor.
A FEW USEFUL INFO
How to get to Dumaguete from Cebu
If you are wondering how to go from Dumaguete from Cebu, worry not. It’s very easy and cheap!
Here you can find the schedule for the Cebu to Dumaguete boat, while this is the schedule for the Dumaguete to Cebu ferry to go back. There are verious companies that operate the Cebu Dumaguete ferry, which takes 3 to 6 hours depending on the boat. I recommend Ocean Jet Fast Ferries, I had a smooth ride and an overall good experience with them.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for a faster option, you can look at Cebu Pacific direct flights from Cebu to Dumaguete. There are often promos for flights costing about $40, and the trip takes only 40 minutes.
From the seaport/airport to Dauin Dumaguete it’s about 30 minutes by car. All Atmosphere Resorts bookings include the transit to the resort.
How to go from Bohol to Dumaguete
A special thanks to Ulrika and the rest of the staff at Atmosphere Resorts who took great care of me. Although I received a two-night complimentary stay, this post is only based on my amazing experience at the most gorgeous of Dumaguete resorts and my personal opinions.