A Sustainable Paradise: Nay Palad Hideaway, Philippines – Review

By Lauren Ho

6 months ago

Lifestyle vacationing at its finest

Want something a little meaningful from your holiday? We might have just the ticket. Lauren Ho checks in to Nay Palad Hideaway in the Philippines, where founder Bobby Dekeyser tells her all about the lifestyle-driven resort.

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Review: Nay Palad Hideaway, Philippines

Bobby Dekeyser’s love affair with the Philippines started in the early 1990s, when he started his outdoor furniture company Dedon from the isle of Cebu. Over that period, a holiday to nearby Siargao captivated the entrepreneur so much, it prompted him to open Dedon Island, an intimate resort on the island’s idyllic southeast tip, in 2012. ‘Siargao had an unexplainable magic,’ reflects Dekeyser. ‘The nature, the people…It was like a different world.’

Nay Palad Hideaway, Philippines

Following the devastation from Super Typhoon Odette in 2021, the resort has been completely rebuilt as a more elevated version of its former self and is now called Nay Palad Hideaway, which means ‘mother’s hands’, in reference to their community project in Cebu, which helps give women with the skills to make products like handbags. Set amid 10-acres of verdant tropical gardens between a white sand beach on the Pacific Ocean and an ancient mangrove forest, the second iteration of the resort has once again been designed by architect Daniel Pouzet  to the highest sustainable standards. This means using local natural materials and Philippine artisans – most previous employees of Dedon – who were behind traditional techniques like the hand-weaving, wood carving, carpentry, and furniture, which was built on-site. The 10 villas, with their distinct pitched thatched roofs are spread amid the lushly landscaped grounds, either with garden or ocean views, and are all accessed by way of a spacious outdoor deck dressed with daybeds and loungers, while the larger Perlah and Coral Villas come with their own private pools. 

Anchoring the resort, the main swimming pool is surrounded by airy new public spaces from the Tree Lounge, which hangs from 300-year-old logs to the Dansuli Lounge, with its handwoven chimney. Surrounded by lily-filled water ponds, it is also the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail before heading to  the restaurant. Here, the two-storey open-air space looks out onto sea views, which create a peaceful backdrop for chef Père Massana’s farm-to-table food that uses organic ingredients either from the kitchen garden or from local suppliers. There is no menu, as the dishes depend on what ingredients are available on the day, but the expertly executed plates are a creative mix of local cuisine, sometimes with an international twist, such as chargrilled eggplant salad with cobia sashimi and pickled Chinese cucumber, or lumpia Shanghai, also known as Filipino spring rolls.

Outdoor restaurant by sea

On the sustainability front, Dekeyser says they are constantly evolving, continually looking for ways to reduce their footprint and increase their sustainability. Almost all of the staff are Filipino, while initiatives include – among others – regular coastal cleanings, conserving the mangrove with replanting, and educating local fishermen about the damage dynamite fishing does to the local marine life. ‘When you come to a foreign country like this, you have to listen and learn about what you can do to help the environment and the local community,’ he says. ‘I love that we are so close to the community around us. After the typhoon, many people lost their homes, which we helped to rebuild and we also have plans to open a school for young people to learn about sustainability and hospitality. For us, it’s not about the  money – we want to give back and make a difference.’

Like before, the resort has an all-inclusive concept, which means everything from the food and drink to the activities (like as many spa treatments as you desire) are built into your stay. Designed to make guests feel at home, Dekeyser explains: ‘We have had this concept from the beginning. At first people didn’t believe it, because they weren’t used to it, but I don’t want this to be a hotel, this is a big playground where guests decide what they want, even if it’s to eat breakfast all day long. I want people to be free.’

Woman receiving massage

Dekeyser is also keen for guests to experience the island he is so passionate about. From the resort’s new custom-designed Jeepney, sit back and relax in the giant hand-woven basket on its roof, as you pass acres of coconut trees and wild thickets of lush jungle. Stop by Maasin river for a swim with locals, go surfing at Cloud 9, or spend the day island hopping with a picnic lunch and finish off with a glass of prosecco on Naked Island, as the sunset turns the sky a glorious pastel hue. ‘I really want Nay Palade Hideaway to be more than a resort. I want to make something special – a way of life. It’s about the whole experience where guests can be themselves and do what they want,’ says Dekeyser.



Images courtesy of Nay Palad Hideaway

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