The Luxe List 2009, Philippines: Abacá, Mactan Island

Chef Jason Hyatt has cleverly grown his three-year-old Mactan Island restaurant into this intimate beachfront retreat, just a 15-minute drive from Cebu’s international airport. Accommodations include three roomy villas, but the six ocean-view suites offer the best value for money, with plush beds, soaking tubs, and generously proportioned sundecks. Abacá’s staff exude genuine Filipino warmth; room butlers are particularly attentive, and are on call for everything from restocking your organic lemongrass bath amenities to arranging spa treatments, like the deep hilot massage with virgin coconut oil. When you’re not sprawled out in the spa, find a perch in one of the shaded cabanas by the seaside infinity pool. While the resort’s tiny strip of sand won’t thrill beachcombers, jet skis and boats are on hand to zip you to nearby strands. There’s also a bijou gym set alongside the restaurant for those who want to work off Hyatt’s addictive flatbread pizzas. For the diet-conscious, his menu also includes such healthful offerings as organic salads and a delightfully light bouillabaisse of prawns, shellfish, and sea bass (Punta Engano Rd., Lapu-Lapu City; 63-32/495-3461;; doubles from US$290).

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