Hot on the heels of a group of New York journalists who came quietly to Dedon Island for an exclusive preview last April, Zee Lifestyle is the first local magazine to feature this latest addition to the list of luxury destinations. Eva Gullas reports on her visit to the island.
With several thousand islands in this country to choose from, what makes Siargao Island special? Most surfers have known Cloud 9 for some time, and at best that’s what the island is known for—world-class competitions held regularly on the white sand beaches that front a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. adding to this surfers’ paradise myth is its inaccessibility; as of press time, there are only three flights a week from Cebu to Siargao, although it is reachable daily through the more rigorous route of Surigao City. A decade or so ago, a brave Frenchman named Nicolas Rambeau made Siargao his home, creating an idyll that was soon followed by other europeans looking for Alex Garland’s beach paradise. this small foreign community is still around, and visitors would be surprised to find life’s little comforts, such as espresso and crisp linen sheets, in such a remote place. taking it a notch higher is the newly opened Dedon Island. after firmly establishing its manufacturing presence in Cebu, the company that made outdoor furniture eponymous with plastic weaves, at the urging of its jet- setting founder Bobby Dekeyser, took a plunge by setting up its first hospitality business through a beach resort that proudly proclaims its provenance. Dedon Island rose on the site of Rambeau’s Pansukian tropical Beach resort, and in true company fashion, the former tropical luxe resort was transformed with Dedon vibes. thatched roofs paired with sheer curtains meet glass walls and Philippe starck-designed chairs. Furniture and furnishings carry the trademark weave, while indigenous hardwood is spread out extensively.
There are only four detached family villas with lofts and five regular suites, making this one of the most intimate resorts around. “this is an all-inclusive destination,” the company’s CEO Herve Lampert explains. “Dedon created a travel agency just to service this requirement, and our ideal clients are those looking for a holiday without the fuss of credit cards. all bookings and payments are done thru the website or the travel office in Geneva, Switzerland.” the lucky guest may start his journey in Paris, and is jetted through several destinations including, if desired, a lunch stop at the Maldives, then dinner at Abaca on Mactan island before totally losing touch with civilization and cell phone coverage on their way to Siargao Island. initial rates are set at Us$1,200, which includes everything your heart desires within the confines of the four-hectare resort. have five- hour massages, or dine on champagne and lobster prepared by an on-site private chef that checks the day’s catch from nearby fishing villages early in the morning. Add to the itinerary an outrigger ride to nearby uninhabited islands and sandbars, deep-sea fishing, or a jaunt to nearby Cloud 9 or the local market in a Dedon-outfitted jeepney.
The clubhouse, if you can call it that, is a beachfront bar custom- wrapped in a cocoon-like weave, where fresh coconut water or a martini can be had any time in the day. It is a short hop to the sparkling pool or a dash to the soft waves. Dedon lounge chairs and the iconic Nestrest, hanging loungers shaped like Hershey’s Kisses, are placed in strategic areas, and with the right book, it’s easy to disappear in this tree-filled resort by the sea. Working with the designers at the company headquarters in Germany which included French designers Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Puozet, the Philippine team headed by Herve’s wife Tess Lampert and Vince Lampert, Dedon’s General Manager in Cebu, collaborated to come up with a resort not quite an Aman or Bulgari in Bali, but not Club Med either. The result is uniquely theirs, capturing the barefoot philosophy and nature sanctuary (the nearby mangroves have been adopted and local farmers are encouraged to go organic), which is what they set out to do from the very start. Or as Armand Limnander wrote about the resort in W magazine’s July 2012 travel pages, it’s “like visiting a magnanimous uncle’s fabulous tropical getaway.”
photography by Olivier Yoan