It’s the only luxury resort in the island, and for those expecting the usual Balinese-style or rustic aesthetic— just because we are in quiet, idyllic, rough-around-the-edges Camiguin—arriving at Nouveau Resort would be a pleasant, comforting surprise.
It’s all about polished marble tiles, beige walls, good wood, and glass windows here, with lacquered solihiya panels thrown in for that homegrown accent. Outside, there’s a sprawling infinity pool and a signage in gleaming silver. But all this poshness and gloss are effectively softened by nature—the view of the majestic Mount Timpoong in front, the endless blue ocean at the back, and the tall coconut trees that dot the resort’s expanse.
This five-hectare modern oasis was born out of the vision of Albino Limketkai whose family is famously from neighboring Cagayan de Oro—where they run a luxury hotel and a vast shopping mall (the Limketkais are also behind the cooking oil brand Marca Leon). Nouveau Resort, however, is a personal project of Albino who is now 82. “He saw Camiguin and he really liked it,” says his daughter-in-law Cindy Lim, president of Nouveau.
The resort is Limketkai’s tribute to the province’s beauty. He wanted to build a place that’s less for the usual backpacker visitor and more for family vacationers. The man has lived in CDO for most of his life, is attuned to the local culture, but it’s Camiguin that he saw as a good place to retire in. Cindy adds of her father-in-law: “He’s a very positive person, very energetic. Anybody who works with him loves him.” Which is likely how the Boston-based Cindy wound up helping to realize the old man’s vision.
Nouveau Resort is composed of two restaurants, a lobby cafe, and around a hundred rooms. Its beds are the kind you wouldn’t want to get up from (the mattress and pillows, we learn, were especially made for the resort); there’s a great breakfast buffet (which has a congee station that makes room for century egg slices and the best dried fish from Cebu); a gym; a videoke room; an automatic mahjong table (the tiles magically form your fortress!); and a steakhouse-bar with a gorgeous viewing deck (which just begs for a dramatic talikod-genic photo op!). If you’re an early riser, you don’t have to leave the premises to be rewarded with a magnificent sunrise view.
The resort is a great place to come back to after exploring the island—which is known for its volcanos, underwater cemetery, and waterfalls—or the island next to it called Mantigue, a 15-minute boat ride away (there’s a white sand beach and local divers can guide you snorkeling and spotting giant pawikans and other sea creatures).
Following a long day out in the sun, there’s nothing like coming back to the pleasures of modern life—a good bed, air conditioning, WiFi, a nice dinner. Camiguin can often feel like stepping back in time with its ruins, its heritage houses, its unhurried vibe. Nouveau gives you that comforting thought that you’re still in the here and now.
To book a stay at Nouveau, click on this link. For more information, visit Nouveau Resort’s website. To fly to Camiguin, visit Sunlight Air, the only aircraft with a direct flight to the island from Manila. Starting October, Sunlight will have twice weekly flights to Camiguin.