The Manila Hotel stands imposingly on the mouth of the Manila Bay, looking over her subjects like a regal queen granting audience.
Ever since my days as a rookie lifestyle writer at The Manila Bulletin, it became a habit for me to gawk at the imposing structure, wondering the many secrets and mysteries hiding behind her walls. Consuming a vast number of books (both fiction and otherwise) retelling the glory days of Manila where the elite of Manila would dine under the three gigantic brass chandeliers.
The imposing and majestic chandeliers were the first to catch our attention, as my sister, husband and I catch up over afternoon tea. A self-confessed aficionado of the afternoon tea, I can’t help but rave on how Manila Hotel made liberties to make the tried and tested British tea tradition into distinctly Filipino.
Manila Hotel’s version has kesong puti, puti bumbong, bibingka and refillable tea or coffee, aside from the usual pastries. As we lounged on the lobby, we can’t help but steal glances on the large brass chandeliers hanging overhead – a quick search online showed stated that when the current management took over the hotel, the first order of business is to tore down the three chandeliers and replace it instead with five – in respect to fengshui.
We were assigned two twin rooms situated across each other. The halls were airy and bright, with a carpet muffling the sound of our footsteps.
We were surprised to find our rooms very spacious and roomy. Since the rooms are across from each other, we had a view of the Intramuros golf course and the Manila Bay on both sides.
True to its historical brand, the rooms use dark wood and rich fabric in all its furniture and drapes heavily. The beds are made of solid wood (we suspect it’s Narra), including the TV console which dominated the center of the room. Due to the use of dark wood and rich fabrics the room gave of an old world yet dated vibe.
But what my dad loved more than any other is the flatscreen TV inside the bathroom. Every one had an excuse to stay longer in the loo.
We spent the rest of the afternoon until the evening at the hotel pool, drinking cocktails and beer ordered straight from the hotel bar embedded on the pool. Our parents loved the sun beds and lounged like a boss until sunset drinking margaritas and eating chips.
The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at the buffet. Manila Hotel offers one of the most affordable breakfast sets and had the best rates for senior citizens. The selection is not as many and diverse as that of other hotels but it’s still an impressive spread, especially the wide variety of fruits available.
We spent about PHP15,000 for the rest of the StayCation – including two twin rooms, food trip galore courtesy of the Manila Hotel lobby cafe and pool and a sumptuous breakfast.
The nice price tag made all of us fans and converts of the idea of staycations. It was also a nice opportunity to get to know more the Grand Old Dame of Manila.
In spite its age, the Manila Hotel still commands attention and love to those who walk its halls. I was unable to tour the hotel extensively due to family activities so I wasn’t able to see the General McArthur Suite but this only gives me reason to go back.
As the Grand Old Dame of Manila, there were obvious signs of wear and age – nicks, bumps and scratches, little cracks of tiles and a crummy paint job on the elevator. But like a little old lady, nothing major that a good paint and maintenance check can’t fix.
These are my two favorites photos of our little staycation:
Book a StayCation at The Manila Hotel through their website or through Booking.com.
The Manila Hotel
One Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines
Nothing to disclose. We paid for our stay.