A bright four-storey structure tucked between mango, santol and acacia trees, Canvas Boutique Hotel truly makes a statement right along the Puerto Princesa North Road in Barangay San Miguel, just north of Junction 1. Currently on its soft opening phase, the 49-room hotel opened only last November 15. As the first blogger invited to stay in Canvas, I was excited to experience this avant-garde art accommodation that took three years to materialize. Don’t be put off by the word “avant-garde”, however, because this hotel is far from pretentious. Its design, while fresh and forward-thinking, is friendly, practical and, most importantly, relevant to the locality. Inside and out, Canvas is an artistic ode to everything Palawan with the aim of “inspiring adventures” in what has been heralded the world’s best island.
The curvilinear facade is inspired by the balayong (Cassia nodosa), a tree native to Java but believed to have been brought to Palawan during prehistoric times. The balayong’s graceful branches also inspired the wall decor and light fixtures of the hotel restaurant, Painted Table. A wooden sculpture of giant spoons and forks made by prisoners from the historic Iwahig Prison and Penal Colony, divides the restaurant from the reception area. Walking into the lobby, one will immediately notice the oddly-shaped black and neon-green chandeliers, which artistically represent the stalactites of the Puerto Princesa Underground River – complete with cave-dwelling critters!
True to its name, its interior walls and 49 rooms serve as canvases for contemporary up-and-coming Filipino artists like AG Saño, Electrolychee, Tof Zapanta and Hannah Liongoren. The colorful and whimsical artworks are inspired by the island’s natural landscapes, wildlife and the mythology of its indigenous people like the Tagbanua.
The largest mural, designed by Electrolychee, runs the length of a hallway next the function room, representing the Tagbanua underworld ruled a giant purple crab deity and flanked by insect spirits, flying foxes and stalactites. The murals on the second-floor and pool bathrooms are inspired by marine life and the third-level murals feature cashew nuts and endemic pitcher plants around a betel nut-chewing babaylan (tribal healer). Every room as well is made festive with artworks by Tof Zapanta and Hannah Liongoren, taking inspiration from Palawan’s well-known natural attractions such as Coron’s Banol Beach, El Nido’s Twin Lagoons and the World Heritage-listed Tubbataha Reefs. AG Sano’s work, on the other hand, graces the eponymous center table of Painted Table restaurant, featuring an indigenous girl playing a leaf whistle, surrounded by a variety of marine and bird life. The restaurant plans to commission a new artist to paint their centerpiece table every year.
With vision of being the arts and culture hub of the city, the hotel plans to construct an adjacent art park and lifestyle hub down the line, which makes Canvas Boutique Hotel not only a quirky jump-off point for your island adventures, but a destination in Puerto Princesa in itself.
Colorful and quirky, their 49 spacious and well-designed rooms have separated shower, toilet and washing areas, so there’s no need to fight for your turn in the bathroom! This is a perfect room layout for families and barkadas (group of friends). Lay out your stuff on the luggage bench and hang your clothes in the open closet, designed so you won’t forget anything when you leave.
Need to charge your gadgets? There’s a wonderful abundance of power outlets (I counted 18 in my deluxe room!). The only thing disappointing with the rooms though was the weak and spotty wifi – an essential for flashpackers and tech-savvy millennial travelers these days.
Adjacent to the function room, there’s a 20-meter outdoor lap pool, exclusively for the use of hotel guests only, flanked by dry and wet lounge pods where visitors can relax and enjoy a cocktail or two – or even more. After all, “happy hour” here lasts all day from 10 AM to 10 PM with unlimited Cuba Libre or Brandy Sour at only PHP 400! By the way, check out the pool showers designed like giant water pipes and the Electrolychee mussel and sea cucumber murals (note the sexual symbolism) in the poolside toilets!
If you get the munchies outside restaurant hours, they conveniently sell snacks and canned drinks at the lobby (I could not resist the Cheetos, by the way) next to a nook selling hotel-branded souvenir items. In the unlikely incident that you get sick from all the junk food, don’t worry, there’s a clinic manned by staff trained by the Philippine Red Cross and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Introductory room rates start at PHP 3,500 for a 28 sq m superior room for two. Their 32 sq m deluxe rooms are PHP 4,000, good for up to four persons, and their 35 sq m premier rooms are PHP 5,000, good for up to three persons.
Find discounted rates here!
Rooms come with plated breakfast set for two served at the ground floor restaurant, Painted Table, which also welcomes walk-in diners. Their breakfast sets (PHP 250) are cleverly titled to cater t0 specific diet preferences; there’s “Make It Wholesome”, “Make It Awesome”, “Make It Perky” and “Make It Local”. Discover your favorite during your stay!
The lunch and dinner menu is a medley of Filipino and Western, whipped up by young and dynamic head chef Gian Lamar who has a passion for sourcing local ingredients like lamayo (dried fish), cashew nuts and wild honey. Painted Table Signature Salad (PHP 270) with crispy lamayo is their most recommended dish. Although I love fish roe, the Bihud Pasta (PHP 260) did not impress me as much as the Cashew Pesto Spaghetti (PHP 260), which I also felt needed more flavor or texture from the cashews. My favorite dishes, however, were the Soy Fried Chicken with Palawan Honey Glaze (PHP 365, 1/2 chicken) – which was finger lickin’ good! – and Chicken Pesto Wrap (PHP 240) with potato wedges on the side, paired with a tall glass of Watermelon Shake (PHP 100). Besides fruit shakes and generous cocktails, the restaurant also serves local Ayahay craft beers (PHP 180) from Palaweño Brewery!
How to Get There
Canvas Boutique Hotel is conveniently located right along the Puerto Princesa North Road in Barangay San Miguel – the road that leads to Robinsons Palawan and the San Jose Terminal. Charter a tricycle or take a jeepney plying the route between the city proper and San Jose or Santa Monica.
Canvas Boutique Hotel
Puerto Princesa North Road, Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Contact Number: +63 9173070555
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