Every time Jared and I visit the Philippines we always stay at our favourite hotels in Manila. Staying at a hotel for the first few nights does allow us to easily transition ourselves into Phil. time without having to worry about trying to fit into my siblings’ busy schedule. Also, it gives us the time to reminisce the good ol’days. It was after all, at the lobby of ‘a hotel’ where Jared first laid his eyes on me. 😉
On our recent trip we stayed at Manila Hotel for the first four nights. Jared and I have had the opportunity to stay there in the past. However, it was always with my family on occasions like a reunion, birthday or a special milestone of a family member. So in many ways Manila Hotel holds a very special place in our memory.
The massive and opulent lobby is one of the most striking features of the hotel. Its iconic architecture and classic interiors — the high ceiling with towering chandeliers, high arches in four corners of the lobby — exudes old-world charm. It is a sight to behold. Manila Peninsula and Shangri-la Hotel Makati (another two of my favourite hotels in the Philippines) both have a grand lobby but in my own humble opinion, no hotel lobby in the country could surpass Manila Hotel’s.
I’ve noticed a lot of significant changes around the hotel since our last visit. Photo below shows that the huge painting of Manila Hotel was taken down and an Amorsolo painting was added right behind the Guest Relations Officer’s desk.
This photo shows the old painting that’s been removed. I really did miss that old painting and this little corner because we’ve had some family photos taken here and this is where we’d usually wait for everyone to gather together.
Another big change is the key card which is needed to use the elevator. I appreciated the extra security measure that’s in place. We were given a room on the 12th floor facing Manila Bay. It was very spacious and very clean with the amenities and luxurious details you would expect from a five-star hotel.
The carpet isn’t new but very clean and the hallway has better lighting than what I remember.
The beautiful wood carving on the ceiling is quite noticeable as soon as you get out of the elevator.
Those tiny mother of pearls blocks or ‘capiz’ shells on the bed side wall and around all the mirrors in the room is very ‘Filipino’and I love it.
I was told by a Guest Relations Officer that each block of capiz shell cost a hundred pesos (US$2.40). I think it’s a unique feature of the room and has added a bit of authentic old world feel and elegance to the room. I simply love the dark wood and capiz shells.
Beautifully crafted wood carvings.I love those huge chandeliers in the lobby. It’s part of the original feature of the hotel. The light bulbs are wrapped with capiz shells.
I didn’t get to take photos of our room but found this picture that resembles the one we stayed in. Also, one interesting new feature is the flat screen high-definition TV so the guest can catch up on the news or watch a film while soaking up in the bath tub or enjoying an Asprey London bathroom amenities.
The gym isn’t too big and hasn’t changed much since our last visit except for the new state-of-the-art fitness equipments that were added. Jared and I were able to do some work out, twice or three times, during our five-days stay and we enjoyed the quiet and seemingly private and homey atmosphere. They offer free bottled water, towels, and other amenities. There’s also a jacuzzi and spa on the second floor right on top of the gym.
Another interesting new feature is the sunset viewing deck facing the swimming pool and Manila Bay where the guests can hang out in the afternoon.
Another big change around the poolside is this huge space, next photo, where a wedding ceremony was being held on the same day we arrived.
This new foot path to the poolside is a beautiful new installation we also like.
There is so much to say about the hotel, its history, customer service, etc. Will continue the review on the next post. But just to say that Jared and I really enjoyed our stay at Manila Hotel, and we especially loved the amenities and luxurious details. It certainly is one of our favourite hotels in the Philippines.
Here’s Part 2 of Manila Hotel review.
(Featured Image: Manila Hotel)