Take the dog for a walk. Just like home - sort of... Welcome to the Philippines, 7,100 islands, white sand beaches and unbeatable diving. Yup, this archipelago nation is going to be big news in the coming few years. The wonderful Amanpulo has been the standout place to stay for the past few years, but now there's competition in the rather alluring private retreat guise of Ariara Island.

Your own private reef to dive

Ariara spans the entirety of a 125-acre tropical island with a 600 yard long white sand beach and protected private reef. In true desert island fashion the centre of the island is a peak, encircled by tropical forest itself fringed by beautiful and varied beaches. The island and the surrounding waters are a sanctuary for Palawan sea eagles, several species of turtles and the endangered dugong. There is an amazing variety of marine life and coral, and unexplored reefs and wrecks providing exceptional diving. In fact the island dive master even recently discovered the intact wreck of a US supply boat from WWII just two miles off-shore.

One island, max 18 guests

Famous Filipino architect Jorge Yulo designed the accommodation and all in all there is extremely comfortable and spacious accommodation for up to 18 guests as well as a central Lodge for dining and entertaining with a master bedroom suite above, an infinity pool and deck area, beach cottages, and a jungle villas on stilts. All the rooms are situated along the main beach and have wonderful and uninterrupted views out to sea.

All sounds pretty idyllic, doesn't it? Well it is, and the staff will bend over backwards to arrange whatever activities you want, but for us the nicest touch of all is the chance to take Bess, the island dog, for her morning walk.