When most people think of vacations, they usually imagine far-flung places where they can laze in the sun and be waited on hand and foot. Unfortunately, traveling to said far-flung place means time spent on the road and if you’ve only got the weekend to spare, that’s time you can’t afford to lose. The popularity of the “staycation” has increased over the years and there’s no better place to retreat to than The Peninsula Manila in Makati.
Opened in 1976 to coincide with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Conference in Manila, the Peninsula Manila is the first Peninsula hotel outside of Chinese territory. It’s located on the corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues in the heart of the Makati Central Business District, just across the street from the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls. This makes it perfect for both business and leisure travelers, as well as Manila residents looking for a quick and convenient escape. There are 497 rooms and suites in the two towers – the Ayala and Makati towers, respectively – including the 372 sq m Peninsula Suite (it’s bigger than my house!). The Peninsula Manila is home to five restaurants and two bars, including their iconic lobby area simply called The Lobby.
I entered the Pen’s lobby after a 15-minute walk from the bus stop across Glorietta. It was raining and my fold-up umbrella could only protect me for so long. Confession time: this was only my second time to visit the Pen, the first being years ago during my grandparents’ 50th anniversary reception in one of the function rooms. It was nerve-wracking to go inside knowing that I was only a couple of steps above “bedraggled”. The nervousness disappeared once I got a good look around the Pen’s famed lobby. The place really does deserve to be called The Lobby as no other hotel lobby I’ve been in so far can compare to it. I found the Front Desk quickly enough, where I met the friendly Rowi who escorted me to the elevators and took me up to the room. Nothing if not efficient!
The Deluxe Rooms are the room category above the Superior Rooms, measuring 41 sq m and with a view of the park. The king-sized bed and the heavy yet soft pillows are the perfect place to rest while watching movies on the 40″ LCD TV with cable TV. Just lying on the bed made me want to fall asleep right there and then, cuddling the pillows. I marveled at the bedside panel used to control practically everything in the room: the lights, air-conditioning, TV, radio, plus the “Do Not Disturb” on the door. You can also use it to call the Front Desk and Room Service! (Yes, I’m a newbie when it comes to stuff like this.) There’s also free wired and wireless Internet access (a must!) and a kick-ass executive work desk. There’s also a coffee and tea-making unit in the room. Then there’s the matter of the bathroom. It is possible to fall in love with a bathroom? A tub, separate toilet and shower stalls, a huge mirror, and large, white, and fluffy towels and bathrobes? I’m sold! The standard room amenities include a daily fruit platter and newspaper.
Have I mentioned how divine the food at the Peninsula is? Escolta is home to their delectable buffet breakfast (included in the standard room rate). I consider breakfast the most important meal of the day and Escolta’s spread did not disappoint. From miso soup, dumplings, and mini siopao to eggs, sausages, bacon, and waffles, to pastries, cereal, and fruit, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The food was so yummy that I filled up two plates. Not my finest moment to be sure, but I can’t the regret savoring those bites of blueberry danish as they melted in my mouth. One tip from me: leave room for their ice cream!
Walking around and exploring the pool area was a must after eating such a heavy breakfast. It was warm and humid – practically how yesterday was except that it wasn’t raining. Part of me envied the people lounging on their chairs and soaking up the sun but another part welcomed being in the shade. My bid to start digesting breakfast failed when the pool bar staff offered fresh fruit skewers. Curse the fruits for looking so good!
I left the Peninsula counting the days until I come back. There were so may other places to explore: Old Manila for modern European food, Spices for Asian cuisine, and The Peninsula Spa to reward myself after long days at work. Now I know where I’ll be spending my birthday!
Many, many thanks to Meet Manila and The Peninsula Manila for making this experience possible. As one of Meet Manila’s Empowered Travelers, The Peninsula Manila sponsored my Peninsula experience, including the room and breakfast buffet at Escolta. Please note that while my experience was sponsored, The Peninsula Manila had no editorial control over the content of this post. I raved because I was impressed by everything they had to offer, including excellent rooms, good service, and mouth-watering food.