With phrases like “world’s most exclusive” both Forbes and Robb Report are pegging Banwa Private Island as the next place to go when price is not an object. It just opened earlier this year, and if you are flying privately between North America and Southeast Asia, it could be a good place to stop off. It likely won’t be a place many of your friends have been to – yet, so bragging rights if that matters to you. It also isn’t likely too many people will ever visit, unless they are invited as a guest. You rent the entire island, and it’s $100,000 per night, although that covers everything and there is space for up to 48 folks. How many people you bring is at your discretion.
Banwa is a secluded island in the Northern Palawan region of the Philippines. Just 15 acres of lush landscaping, the island affords unique views of verdant mountains and untouched white sand beaches. At low-tide a natural pool forms where you can explore its reefs.
You can fly into San Vicente (5,288 ft. runway) or Puerto Princesa (8,350 ft. runway), both a 10-minute helicopter transfer to the island. From the latter, there are scheduled flights from Manila, Seoul and Taipei if you have guests coming in commercially.
Palawan is the Philippines’ final ecological frontier. It is surrounded by the clear waters of the Sulu Sea, a multitude of marine life and untouched coral reefs. Banwa Private Island offers contemporary accommodations that blends modern, residential design with the raw beauty of Palawan’s diverse and dramatic landscape.
There are just six beachfront villas for up to 22 guests with additional 12 garden rooms for up to 26 guests plus a residential suite (Details in the accommodations section below).
The all-inclusive experience includes a full staff of chefs, private concierges called rock stars, back of the house called superheroes, and adventure and marine specialists to cater to your whims. The island offers an array of activities including unlimited spa treatments, an extensive gym, tennis court, 9-hole short golf course, soccer pitch and helipad as well as scuba diving to top diving spots, various water-sports and immersive local experiences.
Sustainability is a pillar of Banwa where The Aquos Foundation support and protects the local environment and wild and marine life such as critically endangered species which is funded to support nature and protect the island’s delicate ecosystem through conservation research initiatives by world leading experts. Due to its location, November to May is the best time to visit with November through February getting cool summer Amihan winds. May through October brings the Habagat winds from the west and southwest where the weather is hotter, more humid and can frequently rain. Rochelle Kilgariff is the general manager having led the teams at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay – Oman, Karma Kandara in Bali and, Finolhu and Amilla, Maldives.
The island is divided by sections: North One, North Two, North East, South One, South Two and South West where each villa has its own special view whether it be of the sparkling sea and white sand beach or lush mountains in the distance. Designed by Manosa & Co, one of the Philippines most renowned architectural and interior design consultancies, together with MAP HK and Aquos Group. No expense was spared for the furniture, custom-designed and built by Manutti, a Belgian designer and manufacturer.
South Two Villa
The 4,198 sq. ft. South Two Villa will quite simply take your breath away with panoramic views of the turquoise waters punctuated by the lush greens of Pandan Trees and coconut Palms. Sleeping four, there’s 2,314 sq. ft. of outdoor space, a living room, dining room, and media room, plus 18 meter by 9 meter private pool, Jacuzzi and reading deck, and beach shower.
North Two Villa
With 4,198 sq. ft. of internal space and another 2,134 sq. ft. of external area, you have your own 18 meter by 9 meter private pool, plus read deck, Jacuzzi, and beach shower. Indoors there is a living and TV area, plus a dining room. The villa sleeps four.
South West Villa
The four-bedroom, 3,057 sq. ft. South West Villa is ideal for families with 3,434 sq. ft. of external space and a 17 meter by 7 meter private pool. There’s a living room, TV area, dining room, Jacuzzi and reading deck, plus a beach shower.
North East Villa
Sleeping two, the 2,745 sq. ft. North East Villa occupies an elevated location adjacent to the wildlife sanctuary. It’s also positioned to enjoy the sunrise while sipping your coffee in its 1,055 sq. ft. of outdoor living space. There is a 9 by 2 meter pool, reading deck and beach shower.
South One Villa
The 2,099 sq. ft. South One Villa is located on the South Beach and surrounded by canopies of Bantingue Trees. There’s 1,099 sq. ft. of outdoor space and a 10 meter by 5 meter private pool, Jacuzzi deck and beach shower.
North One Villa
A one-bedroom villa with 2,099 sq. ft. of internal space and another 1,023 sq. ft. of outdoor living space, North One Villa sleeps two. It features views directly over to the Palawan mainland, and offers a 10 meter by 5 meter pool, a Jacuzzi deck and a beach shower.
Axis 360˚ Suite
Sitting above the two floors of the Axis Garden Rooms, this 377 sq. ft., one-bedroom suite enjoys unrivalled views of the island from its wrap around 269 sq. ft. treetops balcony, the highest point on the island.
Axis Garden Rooms (12)
The 12 Axis Garden Rooms occupy a central location on Banwa. Each of the 269 sq. ft. suite have views over golf course greens and garden island landscape. There’s a large first floor 75 sq. ft. terrace.
Dining and Bars
Latitude is the social hub of Banwa, the place to dine and relax all together. It has seating for 30 and 20 around its pool deck area. An open kitchen adds theatre to the dining experience while The Terrace Bar provides the perfect spot to savor sunset cocktails or for stargazing. Guests can also dine al fresco around the island at popular places such as Coconut Grove, Heliotrope Haven or Sunrise Sanctuary or underneath the Bantigue Canopy.
Healthy eating is an integral to Banwa. Much of the produce is grown locally on the Banwa’s own organic farm where it harvests honeycombs while hives are grown on the island and support natural pollination.
Banwa bottles its own water for guests from its own Artesian well that is just over 500 feet below the island’s surface and provides a naturally replenishing reservoir of fresh spring water. Algerian born Chef Nadedja Bouacha and her culinary team design a wonderful array of dining experiences and create locally sourced menu.
Bouacha, formally trained in nutrition and wellness, is a former private chef and nutritionist to the Qatar Royal Family. Nadedja has been recognized by the likes of Gordon Ramsay and has cooked for Paris Hilton, Leonardo Di Caprio, David and Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne.
Spa and Wellness
Banwa’s spa offers guests unlimited spa treatments in the massage suite or al fresco underneath the Bantique Canopy with the sound of crashing waves. Facilities include a gym, paddleboard yoga, tennis court and a short-game golf course. There is a fully equipped fitness center with TechnoGym Treadmill Recline Exercise Bike, Unica Multigym, and Pilates studio with Merrithew V2Max Reformer, Platform Extender, Reformer Box, Maple PoleLife Fitness G7 Home Gym Cable Motion System with GADJ Bench and juice bar to refresh. There is also a jogging track, beach volleyball, table tennis, pool and soccer. There are also hiking trails.
Banwa offers an extensive boat fleet and water sports equipment. There is a Wajer 38 tender, the first luxury guest tender of this quality in the Philippines. If you would like to discover remote island locations and spend a couple of nights on board, the Lagoon 630 Catamaran yacht provides the perfect, luxurious platform to do so.
Banwa’s dive team can take guests to the world-renowned Tubbataha Reef, which has been ranked one of the world’s top eight dive sites and a host of other dive sites which are easily accessible on the Wajer limousine tender. The fully equipped Dive Centre is complete with equipment for aqua lung diving, gear lists, tanks, masks, BCDs, regulators, weights, belts, fins dive computers and wetsuits. You can also charter a private helicopter to go on a photo safari and see El Nido famed for its spectacular limestone cliffs and pristine waters.
Farther afield, excursions to the Underground River near Puerto Princesa, one of UNESCO’s New 7 Wonders of Nature, the mangrove-lined shores of the Barbacan River and the undiscovered reefs of Araceli, which are a haven for many rare and varied species are also worth a visit. Other activities include, bird watching, Hobie Cat sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
The rate is $100,000.00 per night exclusive of taxes, and includes all-inclusive meals, except for exclusive wine list, restaurant and bar, spa, unlimited spa treatments, gym, tennis court, short-game golf, soccer, pitch, helipad, dive centre and water sports.