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Me diving

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Philippines 2012: Atlantis Resort

We stayed at Atlantis Puerto Galera, and to cut to the chase, I would certainly recommend it and would return there.  We decided to go there based on the recommendation of a few different people.  Anywater Sports regularly runs trips there, and I had heard rave reviews about it from many people who had gone on their trips in the past.  They reported that you could basically spend all of your time diving (important to Rob) and that there are tons of cool little critters (important to me).  We considered joining an AWS trip there, but the dates didn’t work, so we decided to just go on our own instead.  The resort is pretty well-described on its website, so I will just add a few of my thoughts.  The only thing that was a bit of a surprise to me is that the resort is small, in the sense that I thought it would be more spread out.  This is not a negative comment, just a comment.  All of the room buildings are built into a hill, and in the center of the hill, there are short staircases zig-zagging up to all of the different levels… it sort of reminded me of Lombard street :)

I’ll discuss the resort’s dive operation in a later post.

Our Room

We reserved whatever the most basic room was, and we stayed in room #1.  It was not too far up the hill, which was good (especially since I was hobbling for the first couple of days).  I think we had to walk up about 12 or 15 steps, spread out over three staircases, to get to our room.  Outside of our room was a terrace overlooking the levels below ours (which in our case meant we were basically overlooking the spa and the pool area).  There was a table out there, which was a convenient place to compute when I woke up early and Rob was still asleep in the room.

Inside of the room, there was a queen bed and a twin bed.  It was the spitting image of the picture of the “twin deluxe” room on the resort’s site.  In fact, the picture could quite possibly have been taken in our room.  There was a TV with a good assortment of TV channels, plus it was modern enough that if we had thought to bring the cord thingy-ma-bob for the laptop/iPad, we could have watched movies on it. Ted always says that the most important properties of a hotel in the tropics is AC and wifi (I would argue these are the most important after being clean and bug-free).  The room met all of these criteria.  The AC was quite adequate, often a little too adequate for me!  They have wifi throughout the resort, which was slightly less awesome in our room than elsewhere.  It was adequate for reading email, but not great for surfing any websites with a lot of pictures.  Overall I found the room and terrace to be very comfortable.

Food and Beverage

Meals at the restaurant were included in our rate (which I didn’t consider not doing, because I didn’t realize that there were tons of other places to eat within a few minute walk).  The food was quite tasty, and the options were quite varied, the menu was “international”.  There was also plenty of food (ridiculously much food), which is sometimes a complaint of Rob’s.  For breakfast, they have a menu (which doesn’t change day-to-day) with standard breakfast fare plus a few interesting local dishes.  Nearly all of the breakfast dishes were served with a fruit plate and a breadbasket.  The breadbasket consists of freshly braked breads and a muffin, which were all really tasty.  All of the baked goods at the restaurant were super tasty.  I also highly recommend the mango juice with breakfast.  Mmm.  For lunch and dinner, there are blackboards where they write the chef’s recommendations for the day (consisting of a soup, several entrees, and a dessert), or you can order off of the menu.  They also have a Mongolian grill most nights, which we had a couple of nights.  We had something from the chef’s recommendations most of the time, but ordered off of the menu a few times too.  I had grilled fish a few times, pasta a few times, a curry dish, etc. 
--> In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also bring snacks over from the restaurant between the two morning dives and the two afternoon dives.

The staff at the restaurant were all very friendly and provided excellent service.  My only complaint was that there was quite a bit of variation in how long a meal took, which meant that sometimes we were in a rush to get to the after-lunch dive.

There was a bar in the restaurant and also one beachfront, by the dive operation.  They make a tasty pina colada.  The drink prices were really reasonable for a resort – in fact, they were cheaper than drinks at restaurants that we typically go to at home. 


The resort has a spa, which is in a pretty little building adjacent to the pool.  Spa treatments are cheap (by US standards), with an hour treatment running $25-30, though I am sure similar treatments could be had outside of the resort for quite a bit less.  But I stuck with the resort for convenience and quality control.  I had two spa treatments.  The first was the sea salt scrub and oatmeal wrap; I liked the scrub, but the oatmeal was a bit sticky for my taste.  Also, this treatment was performed in a room, not the spa building, which detracted from the ambience.  The second was an hour-long massage on the last day, which was awesome.  If I had been able to find more time in my busy dive schedule, I would have spent more time at the spa, but we must prioritize :)

Pool, etc.

There is also a pool, which we only used once, but was very nice.  Again, I would have spent more time there, but my days were filled with diving.  The pool doesn’t “open” until 8, which is unfortunate, since I would have liked to swim early in the morning before I adjusted to the time.  I understand why they do this though, since there are a couple of rooms right next to the pool.  There is also a sun deck on top of the spa building, which I liked in principle, but never actually used it. 

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