We’re not high maintenance people. Give us a hostel with an electric fan and we’ll take it. Hell, we’ll happily take a hammock with a mosquito net and call it a night. But when the opportunity to stay at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa comes up, we jump at the chance. Who wouldn’t?
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa has made a name for itself as one of the best luxury resorts in the Philippines, but does it really live up to expectations? Well, yeah actually, it does. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Atmosphere Resorts before adding this dreamy destination to your bucket list.
HOW TO GET TO ATMOSPHERE RESORTS
Atmosphere Resorts is located in Dauin, about 40 minutes from Dumaguete (Sibulan) Airport. The resort offers return airport/ferry shuttles included in your reservation if you book in advance, saving you the hassle of figuring out your own transport.
We’ve been living in Dumaguete for 6 months due to the pandemic, so for us it was a staycation. If you’re planning on being in Negros Oriental for a while, you’re better off renting your own transportation. You can rent a scooter or motorbike for $8 USD a day or a car for $40.
HOW MUCH IS ATMOSPHERE RESORTS
High-end luxury comes with high-end prices, but you get what you pay for at Atmosphere Resorts. Overnight accommodation for 2 pax starts at around $260 USD for a Deluxe Suite, and up to $450 for a Penthouse for 4 pax during peak season. We visited during the pandemic so rates were down by 50%, plus they introduced a day use pool package for $37 per adult consumable in the restaurant and spa, or $62 per person for a private pool suite for the day.
FIRST IMPRESSION OF ATMOSPHERE RESORTS
Driving into Atmosphere Resorts, we were welcomed with a feeling of exclusivity. The property has been carefully designed so that you walk through the immaculate grounds before you even reach reception. It sets the mood for a relaxing stay and by the time you get to the front desk, you’ve already left your worries behind.
All the rooms at Atmosphere Resorts are stunning, which is to be expected at any 5-star property, but the Premium Pool Suite puts Atmosphere a cut above the rest. The private plunge pool, thatched roof and outdoor ensuite gives off major Bali vibes, and is easily the most aesthetically pleasing room we’ve stayed at in the Philippines.
Private plunge pools aren’t common at resorts in the Philippines – unlike other similar destinations like Bali or Thailand – so to find a resort that does it (and does it well) right here in Negros Oriental was a pleasant surprise. There are 3 giant swimming pools by the beach, but there’s just something special about having your very own private pool on your doorstep.
Whenever we check into any hotel room the first thing we rush in to see is the bathroom. This ensuite was bigger than most hotel rooms we’ve stayed in, and comes complete with a tropical garden, double basin vanity and twin rain showers. If the entire Pool Suite was just the bathroom with a tent pitched in the corner, we would’ve been stoked. Zowie has taken a mental note to design our future home with an exact replica of this bathroom.
The bedroom is just as spacious with its California king sized bed topped with luxury linen and more cushions than you can count. The living area features a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a cosy loveseat and tea and coffee amenities, complemented by thoughtful touches of native furniture and decorative artwork. The whole suite is so comfortable it’s really, really difficult to leave, but there’s so much more to see and do at Atmosphere Resorts!
Atmosphere Resorts boasts 2 restaurants, a poolside bar, its very own bakery plus private dining spaces. We spent most of our meals at Breeze Restaurant for its all-day dining and casual ambience, and every single meal was impeccable. Breeze even features live cooking stations where you can watch the chefs prepare woodfired pizzas and Asian wok dishes.
At Atmosphere, breakfast is included in the reservation as either buffet or à la carte style, but since we stayed during the pandemic the buffet option was removed. Carson and his sweet tooth opted for cinnamon French toast with a side of tropical fruit, and he enjoyed every last bite. So much so that he forgot to let Zowie try any. Zowie ordered the American breakfast which comes with two eggs your way, bacon strips and herb crusted roast tomato. We were also given a basket of bread and a platter of fresh fruit to share.
The following day we enjoyed a light breakfast in bed consisting of fresh island fruit, bagels, cappuccinos and fresh mango juice. Like we said, the room is so good sometimes it’s just impossible to leave.
Lunch was a carb-loaded affair at Breeze, and we’re not even guilty because it was just that good. Carson being the carnivore he is went for the steak sandwich which came with a side of salad and fries. Good steak is hard to come by in the Philippines, and will often leave you chewing for hours. Not this one! It was tender and cooked to perfection with homemade garlic steak sauce for a little pizazz. Zowie’s crispy fish burger was just as delicious with beer battered snapper and coleslaw on a brioche bun. Our combined meal including two shakes came to around $37, which is typical of resort prices in the Philippines.
When it comes to date nights, we’re pretty casual, so the evening ambience at Breeze was just right. Carson’s a simple guy and a good spaghetti is all he needs, and Zowie decided to give the Asian wok a go. Both were hearty dishes and we ended up having leftovers (probably thanks to our carb-loaded lunch), and we spent less than $30 on the whole meal!
Any resort experience wouldn’t be complete without lounging by the pool bar, and we don’t even drink! The comfy sofas and big umbrellas make Atmosphere’s bar the perfect spot to relax in the shade or get a little sun while the friendly staff take care of you. We had lunch here on the second day, and you can either order from the bar’s snack menu or Breeze’s all-day dining menu.
The owners of Atmosphere Resorts are a British couple, so when Zowie saw their British Flag fish and chips, she had to try it. Her Aussie standards for fish and chips are pretty high, but for the first time in the Philippines these standards were met. God bless the British… even if they do have mushy peas.
One of the highlights of Atmosphere Resorts are the swimming pools. The property is so large they have space for not 1, not even 2, but 3 full size infinity pools, 2 of which sit side by side whilst the other is hidden away near reception.
The first pool is a safe haven for adults looking for calm and relaxation away from the excited splashes of children. It runs alongside Breeze restaurant and is lined with plenty of sun beds and optional umbrellas.
The second pool is directly in front of the bar and features a 3 metre deep end where novice divers can get a feel for scuba before taking to the ocean. This is where Carson first got familiar with diving, but more on that later.
The third pool is shallow throughout and is a shaded oasis for children and their parents to enjoy some privacy. When we visited, there were no children so it was a nice pool tucked away from the rest of the resort with plenty of trees and plenty more spots for Instagram photos. Guilty as charged.
Told you there’d be more on diving later! Dauin is known for its world class diving, so most resorts in the area offer courses and excursions to the nearby reefs. Atmosphere Resorts was co-founded by a dive instructor, so it features a well established PADI certified dive centre. We’ve never been diving before, so Carson took the opportunity to finally give it a go! Unfortunately, Zowie had to sit this one out all thanks to her asthma.
Since this was his very first time diving, Carson tried the Discover Scuba Diving experience just to get a feel for it. First up, a bit of light reading and a pop quiz before hitting the swimming pool to get familiar with the gear. Starting in the shallow end Carson practised clearing water from his mask then moved onto the deep end to practise equalising.
Comfortable with his progress, the boys headed to the ocean for the real deal. Atmosphere is blessed with a stunning reef right in front of the resort, home to an abundance of marine life, rare critters and healthy coral. During their dive, they spotted a school of barracuda, clownfish, eels and even a lonely turtle. The Discover Scuba Dive lasts up to an hour depending on your air consumption, and you’ll go as deep as 12 metres. The whole experience, from start to finish, is around 3 hours and costs $98 per person but due to the pandemic they have 25% off.
Wellness is a core focus at Atmosphere Resorts, and yoga is at the heart of this. Zowie started practising yoga during quarantine with the help of good old YouTube. This was her first time participating in an actual class, with an actual instructor, amongst actual people. 2020 is wild. There could not be a better place to have your first ever yoga class than in a treehouse overlooking the sea. It was so peaceful and the 60 minutes flew by like 20. We settled in for shavasana and Zowie was like, “wait, what? It’s over?”.
Yoga classes are led by Resort Manager and Yogi Rae who is a true professional whilst being fun and supportive. Classes are available for beginners all the way up to advanced level, and there’s even one-on-one yoga or kids classes for the littlest yogis. Overnight accommodation bookings include a 20 minute introduction to yoga, but if you’d like to explore beyond that you can book a 1 hour class for $16 per person.
The following day, the treehouse transformed from a yoga studio into a spa suite for two. Typically, Atmosphere Resorts has a beautiful outdoor spa garden, but due to the pandemic they’ve temporarily downsized and moved the spa services to the treehouse upon bookings. No complaints here though! We thought there was nothing better than yoga in the sea breeze, but a massage to the sound of gentle waves was unbeatable.
After all the hikes we’ve been on lately, we thought it especially pertinent to choose the Relaxation Massage. It was an hour of pure bliss, and at some point we dozed off. Always a sign of a good massage! Our Relaxation Massages in the treehouse were $20 each, but once the Sanctuary Spa opens back up you’ll be looking at $74 for all the additional perks.
ATMOSPHERE RESORTS FROM ABOVE
If you’re not already convinced you need to visit Atmosphere Resorts, then we’ll leave you with these aerial images to drive the point home. Atmosphere is even more magical from above, and it’s only by drone that you can really see the full expanse of the resort and the beauty of its surrounds. Lush coconuts, the vibrant blue water of Dauin and Mount Talinis standing tall in the background. What more could you want?
PIN IT FOR LATER
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Secret Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin
Baslay Hot Spring, Dauin
Baslay Highland Brew Coffee, Dauin
Swimming with Turtles, Apo Island
Rock Point View Deck, Apo Island
Turtle Island, Siaton
Hidden Beach, Siaton