It’s a shame that in the 20 years that I’ve been living and visiting Metro Manila, it was my first and only time to visit the grand Manila Hotel last month. And when I did enter it’s historic halls, I was in awe. Such opulence, such history and such beauty. If not for the invitation of Lloyd, I would’ve totally missed this!
The lobby is grand! It’s one of the best ones that I’ve seen: beautiful arcade at its flanks, those massive chandeliers, the wooden paneling of the ceiling. And over a chat and snacks of their famous bibingka (traditional rice cake), I can’t still help but gaze at the lobby surroundings from time to time. It’s massive, beautifully massive and it has been witness to many historic events since it was built in 1909 and opened in 1912.
The Manila Hotel is a five star hotel standing on reclaimed land just across the walls of Intramuros. The penthouse suite was the residence of General Douglas McArthur from 1935-1941. Various foreign celebrities like the Beatles, Ernest Hemingway and Michael Jackson, heads of state like JFK and other dignitaries has made the Manila Hotel their home when they were in the country. Other than the original building, the Hotel Tower was built in 1975-1977.
We toured the hotel and its various rooms. The Club room is quite interesting and spacious. The club lounge cozy. One thing that you will readily notice about these rooms is how the interior was meticulously designed and furnished. There are various touches and pieces that are really Filipino and done in good taste. The views, both seaside and Intramuros side are scenic. At the old section, I was even in awe of the beautiful staircase that exuded clearly old world style.
But nothing prepared me for the McArthur Suite. Perhaps, it is the most expensive penthouse suite there is in Manila, even more expensive than the Imperial Residence of the Sofitel Manila. Although already renovated, it still exudes its historicity. Various McArthur memorabilia and press clippings and art make probably make it as one of the country’s important rooms. It’s quite spacious and luxurious.
The Champagne Room for fine dining is regal and opulent. I never expected that there’s one such designed here in Metro Manila. The Tap Room Bar is also stunning, richly decorated and have that old luxury feel.
Lunch was at Cafe Ilang-ilang and I never expected that there was just so many people. In fact, even at the lobby, it was teeming with guests. The food is good and there are several selections too and dessert, especially the home made ice cream is highly recommended.
My visit to the Manila Hotel was unexpected. Although we were supposed to be there during the tree lighting ceremony but wasn’t able to make it due to prior commitments, the impromptu meet up was good, at least, I was still able to go there. And I do hope to visit again, this time, to photograph the spaces and rooms within to feature in my TenZeroFour blog. Soon.
The Manila Hotel this Christmas season has various offers and promotions! There are room and dining specials, plus a Christmas Village for the kids with Willy the Bear. Willy’s Emporium is also offering items from Hamleys and Page, Turner and Co. Adarna House is also offering books.
Check their Holiday offerings here: www.manila-hotel.com.ph/promotions.