Chances are you haven’t heard of Donatela Hotel, a boutique resort hidden in the heart of a 7.5-hectare tropical sanctuary in Bohol.
Formerly known as Tarsier Botanika, and now under the care of Enderun Hospitality Management, the hotel has been designed with much thought, making sure to minimize interference with nature as much as possible. Most of the trees in the property have been preserved during construction, so it’s not surprising to find yourself under a thick canopy of trees wherever you go.
Privacy is the name of the game, as the boutique resort offers an unparalleled luxury experience: There are only 12 private villas, with several of them inspired by the architecture of native Ifugao houses, married with other elements like Balinese and colonial designs. The garden villas, for example, feature its own custom-weaved exterior and a thatched roof raised by dramatic mahogany beams.
“Some people don’t like to get in the mix of things. Some of them value privacy a lot,” says general manager Herve Martin on what sets the property apart as a luxury destination. “It’s a completely different concept from what you usually get here in the Philippines, where we’re accustomed to massive hotels, and a lot of people around them. But not everyone wants that. We’re catering to a different market where we offer privacy and space.”
And speaking of privacy, Donatela, which projects full capacity of only 31 guests, allows its patrons to rent the whole resort for private functions. Its picturesque views naturally conjure images of weddings, but according to Herve, guests can get a little more creative. “We’re also thinking that this would make a great place for a bachelor’s party, for example,” he notes. Come to think of it, a weekend spent with the guys tucked away from tourist-y sights should make for an interesting getaway.
Donatela reflects an aesthetic that is eclectic but refined. Many of the elements integrated into its design have been gathered from all over the country and crafted by local artisans. These include the seashell-framed mirrors in the villas, whose shells are handpicked on Bohol’s own shores. And then there’s a Buddha garden, channeling Bali with its a lotus pond and a reclining relic. The different design influences are so well curated that everything complements each other and nothing looks out of place.
The resort boasts of its own cove with a breathtaking cliffside view of the South Bohol Sea. Just by the cliff is Paprika, the hotel's restaurant, where you can enjoy an elegant meal with a selection of wines by the sea. And if that’s not enough, the sanctuary comes with additional amenities like its own wellness village, horse stables, and a zoo that is home to rescued domestic and exotic animals alike.
With only five hectares developed, there’s more than enough room for expansion without compromising its much-touted seclusion. According to Herve, additional accommodations are coming in the form of pods. These pods, which resemble a bird’s nest, will feature bamboo exterior weave and other natural elements with sustainable and eco-centric design.
The nests are yet to come, but in the meantime, you can drop by for a weekend of solitude, reflection, or indulgence set against the bliss of isolation.
Km 16, Barangay Hoyohoy, Tawala, Panglao, Bohol, +63917 526 6001, donatelahotel.com