This resort in Dumaguete is perfect for plantitos and plantitas

Without demolishing buildings or cutting down trees, the Henry in Dumaguete gives an old resort property a new lease on life – and the result is simply breathtaking

If there’s one thing we can agree on about this two-year (and going strong) pandemic, it’s how it has made all of us miss being outdoors in nature. No wonder so many of us ended up being plantitos and plantitas – bringing the outdoors in so we can have the satisfaction of watching another living thing grow right before our very eyes.

While Smile agrees that indoor gardening is a great tonic for the soul, we know deep in our hearts that nothing compares to being outside in nature, breathing fresh air, standing under the branches of majestic trees and being surrounded by lush vegetation.

That is the experience you will get at The Henry, a boutique resort with eight villas housing a total of 32 suites, that recently opened in Dumaguete. Occupying the 1ha grounds of what used to be South Sea Resort, The Henry Resort is a great example of architectural conservation.

Existing structures built by South Sea Resort were renovated to give it a fresh and modern look. Above is the facade of one of the eight villas, below is the commercial building that houses The Henry’s F&B establishments.

Instead of tearing down existing structures, The Henry’s innkeeper Hanky Lee decided to revamp the buildings of South Sea Resort and give them a modern Filipino touch, working closely with interior designer Eric Paras, who was also responsible for the iconic look of The Henry hotel in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

The Henry Resort didn’t preserve just buildings, though. Working with low-key landscape designer and antique dealer Alan Tan, the property also retained the existing talisay and botong trees, taking advantage of their massive trunks and wide canopies to give the resort a lush tropical atmosphere, evident as soon as guests enter the driveway.

The landscaping project took more than a year to complete, with many months spent taking out weeds, trimming side branches and reshaping the approximately 70-year-old trees. “It was in a dilapidated state and the trees were all overgrown, napabayaan na. We also had to take out a lot of overgrown plants and weeds – we cleared around 10 trucks full of them,” Tan recalls.

Once the existing trees were rehabilitated, Tan introduced smaller plants to enhance the pathways and cover the ground. “The owner also wanted to add new species so we planted pink bauhinia and champaca trees, but they still need years to mature,” Tan says. Some of the suites have views of this tropical garden.

The lush areas of the resort can be found further inside the property, closer to the coastline that overlooks the Tañon Strait. Massive trees hide behind the red gate that separates the side of the resort that is open to the public, from the villas and the swimming pool area that are exclusive to guests.

The Lounge Pool, a private space with lounge chairs surrounded by lush greenery; and the gate separating the guests-only section from the public area.

A pioneering Filipino boutique hotel brand, The Henry, offers a “like no other” hospitality experience with properties full of character and soul.

“Each property has its sense of place, through well thought out concept and design while having its own character and soul,” explains Lee. “We also celebrate the Philippines by harnessing local talents and industry partners while supporting social and local enterprises in all its properties to continuously deliver The Henry Branded Service of personal, familiar and sincere.”

The Fabian de la Rosa courtyard is by the coast and a great spot to have merienda or read a book.
The Amorsolo Conservatory, an open-air banquet hall ideal for sizeable events with an open lawn facing the sea.

Located along Flores Avenue in Bantayan, Dumaguete City, The Henry Resort is seven minutes away from Silliman University, 15 minutes away from Dumaguete Sibulan Airport, 10 minutes away from the port of Dumaguete and 45 minutes away from Dauin. making it a perfect jump off point for various adventure activities Negros Oriental has to offer.

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