Donatela, a resort in Bohol, rejuvenates all of the five senses and even awakens a secret sense of imagination. Meandering through the 7.5-hectare property, one finds surprises like Paprika, a fine-dining restaurant located by a cliff near the sea. The restaurant has a varied menu of Filipino classics and grand international fare: don’t leave the restaurant without ordering the fresh seafood, or the Tomahawk, a grilled prime rib clocking in at 1.7 kilograms. Other surprises include the statuary that includes a four-ton reclining Buddha, found in Bali, displayed by a pond near the villas.


Birds chirp above the generous canopy of trees and tropical flowers planted along paths located near the sea. The scent of grass, flowers, and sea spray cleans away the smoke and smog of the city.

The resort, which reopened in 2018 following a rebranding (from Tarsier Botanika), is managed by Enderun Hospitality Management. In addition to all that nature offers is the relative absence of man-made noise, for the resort—equipped with a stable, a zoo, pools and a spa—will only have 31 guests at full capacity.

To maximize the Bohol experience, the hotel can organize activities such as whale-watching and a firefly-lit night cruise.

The resort accommodations boast of a numerical lock system, which opens with a password given to guests, ensuring complete and total privacy.

The Pool Villa

The Pool Villa—Donatela’s biggest, measuring 120 square meters—has, as its name suggests, its own pool along with its own balcony. It’s decorated in a style reminiscent of colonial Kenya, with paintings of lions and elephants, steamer trunks for furniture, and a bamboo headboard inspired by a Chippendale design. “I want you to miss your alarm,” said Herve Martin, the resort’s General Manager, of the utter relaxation guests should allow themselves while in Donatela.

High Life stayed in Donatela’s Garden Villa. From the outside, the villa appears like a luxurious hut, inspired by dwellings in the Cordillera mountains. Inside, the 56-square meter space has a terrace with table and chairs, a king-size bed, a sofa, a Bluetooth music system, and WiFi. The bathroom has a rainshower-head, and is attached to a walk-in closet and dressing room. One wakes up to the tittering of birds and the sight of wooden beams illuminated by the sun peeping through a small skylight. “This to them is like the Garden of Eden.” said Mr. Martin.

The Garden Villa

Rates range from Php16,000 per night for a Garden Villa, to Php37,500 per night for a Pool Villa. — Joseph L. Garcia