Malate has always been known as the bohemian enclave of Manila with its many artsy cafes and galleries, bustling nightlife and irrepressible energy. The district was the place to go to socialize and a haven for artists and musicians. If you want culture and more, Malate was the place. But that was way before the establishments and happening places have moved to other quarters of Metro Manila. The Malate of old has lost its glory and its star has dimmed. Gritty and grimy, it has been overrun by clubs and KTV bars catering to foreign men coming in to have fun.
In the last few years, a sort of reawakening has happened in Malate. Old and new cafes and restaurants are in the buzz. Brave souls have opened businesses. The late Anthony Bourdain even dined in one of the Japanese restaurants in the area during his last visit to the country. There’s also a thriving and competitive hotel scene with new entrants catering to different budgets. And this is where Amelie Hotel Manila comes in.
Opened in 2015, Amelie Hotel Manila is a one of a kind boutique hotel that has been earning a loyal following locally and with its foreign guests with its great service, value for money and comfortable rooms. Inspired by the French film, Amelie, which was a great hit worldwide, it is actually named after the granddaughter of the owner, who was also named after the main character of that movie.
Comfort in the heart of Malate
It always happens that when I do go on a staycation, I just prefer to stay in the hotel room. It was no different when I was booked in Amelie Hotel’s spacious Executive room. At 31 square meters, it is the largest suite in the hotel. A comfortable queen-sized bed, sitting area with sofa and a mini bar where all the items inside are complementary consisting of local sweets and bites! The owner even told me that Boy Bawang is quite popular with the guests and often requests it.
Although it has a contemporary design, the exterior is modern and low key, its in the interior that one can really feel the vibe of Manila. It’s a marriage of the modern and the old. There’s a seeming familiarity of the accents and touches around the hotel, details that, according to Anton Barretto, who designed the interior, was inspired with Manila’s old splendor. Design elements from Manila’s Golden Age of Architecture, the Art Deco, were used and even a stylized street map of Manila innovatively utilized as decors in the room and as wall design at the elevator area. The hotel’s rather subdued palette of black, red and gray can be found from the lobby to the rooms and there are elements too that give the hotel a cohesive look.
The old and the new
Refurbished red ambassador chairs that were common during the mid-20th century serve as accents in the lobby. Birdcage seats draws the eye of the visitor ones he enters the property. The Machuca tiles used at the main lobby also harks back to a bygone era. Even in the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Braska, the wall is made from discarded wood from the old house that used to stand in the hotel’s current location is tastefully assembled and exudes rusticity. All these give Amelie Hotel its charm and character.
Jorge Bocobo Street was originally known as Nebraska during the American colonial period. The in-house restaurant’s name is a shortened form, thus Braska. It’s known for its good food, specializing in Filipino cuisine, a good marriage of the old reliables and new ones with a twist. Buffet breakfast, with a good selection of breakfast fare, is also served here for hotel guests. When I stayed here during a rainy week, I found comfort from their macaroni soup which was hearty and delectable. The next morning, I had their potato leek soup. I placed a dollop of butter, stirred and dipped a piece of bread!
One thing that I like about this hotel is its great location. It is where the original house of the owner used to stand along J Bocobo St. It’s central and convenient to everything in Malate. Robinsons Place is just a few minutes’ walk for shopping and dining. It’s another few minutes’ walk to Remedios Circle for interesting cafes and restaurants. The popular Manila Bay sunset is just a block away while jeepneys, the LRT and taxis provide easy transport. If you need spiritual solace, the Ermita Shrine as well as Malate Church are just walking distance. The hotel is also a good base for day tours in Intramuros, the National Museum, Rizal Park and even Binondo while the nightlife is just a few steps from here. Having partnered with Bambike, you can tour Manila in ecologically friendly bikes with bamboo bodies.
Service and value for money
Although privately owned, the hotel is managed by Paramount Hotel & Facilities Management Co. Inc., the ones who run the Microtel and Tryp brands of Wyndham under the Microtel Inns and Suites Inc. Philippine master franchise. Thus, warm and sincere service is assured. The two room types: Deluxe and Executive, are spacious and comfortable, good value for money.
Amelie Hotel Manila
1667 Jorge Bocobo St.