The Manila Hotel: The First and Still One of the Finest in Manila
THE Manila Hotel
There is no doubt that Manila has countless hotels which offer our signature hospitality, world-class cuisine and satisfying amenities for every budget class. We have personally experienced most of them through the features we’ve done this year and we are truly grateful for all these unbelievable experiences.
It was only recently though, when we realized something truly important was missing … something which was essential for inquisitive travel bugs like us. It was so obvious, yet took us a while to remember that when in Manila, it’s a MUST to stay at The Manila Hotel!
Here’s the story:
The two hyper shutter bugs took a quick “selfeet” at Kilometer Zero
I remember feeling too excited on the way to The Manila Hotel. There was a certain indescribable charm to the mere thought we were to spend the weekend at the Philippine’s first and most prestigious of all. It felt like destiny has prepared us for this day and we felt very honored to be there. We couldn’t wait to experience what it had to offer and hear the stories surrounding its halls.
The Manila Hotel is no doubt an icon with its rich history and because it has been visited by notable figures/celebrities/royalties which shaped the course of mankind! We’re talking big names such as Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Tyrone Power, Secretary John Foster Dulles, Senator Robert Kennedy, Sir Anthony Eden, Charlton Heston, Burgees Meredith, the Rockefeller brothers, John Wayne, Publisher Henry Luce, Vice President Richard Nixon, President Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson Gen. Douglas McArthur, Glenn Miller, Bill Clinton, The Beatles and Michael Jackson to name a few! Cool beans right?
The Manila Hotel just celebrated its centennial last year… yeah this is how old The Manila Hotel is and is also the FIRST HOTEL in the Philippines!
Here’s a photo of its original building:
found this in the secret archives! hihihi
It used to have only 5 floors and that 5th floor (The Penthouse) served as the home of Gen. Douglas McArthur and his family from 1935-1941. The Manila Hotel even became a command post during the Japanese invasion and was even occupied by the Japanese in 1942! The events which took place at The Manila Hotel during the 2nd World War is something which every Filipino should know and understand.
Anyways, let us show you around so you may see how the icon that is THE Manila Hotel is doing at present time.
The Grand Lobby
Stepping inside the grand lobby of The Manila Hotel felt such an honor. Imagine all those notable people being here at this very room… wooaaaahhh!!
From having only 40+ to now more than 500 rooms, The Manila Hotel has truly stood the test of time and was able to maintain its grandeur for our generation to enjoy. Ok, it may not look as modern as other 5 star hotels, but I think the rooms were really designed to have a vintage Filipino feel. It was during this stay, where I appreciated the beauty of each hotel room we’ve compared before. There is really no perfect hotel room as far as we know. I guess it really depends on the each person and also the kind of room you paid for. All of them would each possess unique special qualities that make all of them worth remembering. Our room may not have some of the features which we commonly see in other hotels, but I guess it isn’t really about the features, but the overall feel it gives you at the end of the stay….
The rooms may not be as modern as the others but wait til you see this……
Dinner at Cafe Ilang-Ilang of The Manila Hotel
Dinner time came, so after witnessing that majestic sunset from our room, we both marched down to Cafe Ilang-Ilang for dinner.
Time to explore the stations….
The Cafe Ilang-Ilang seemed to be one of the busiest buffet restaurants we’ve encountered so far. It may seem a bit chaotic with all the people around, but we fully understand why people were swarming the place… the food was simply SUPERB! Station after station was a discovery of culinary masterpieces awaiting to be picked.
By the time we settled at our table, we were both so eager to sink our teeth onto the highly aromatic baby back ribs which we both got from the carving station…
Honestly, our Cafe Ilang- Ilang buffet experience at The Manila Hotel was one of the best buffets we’ve tried. I remember Frank telling me over and over how happy he felt with the entire meal. “Nakakasaya ng damdamin.” Everything seemed perfect. This is a big deal for non-buffet lovers like us.
As much as we wanted to stay up the whole night, we just decided to have a quick tour to take photos and rest as I wasrunning a fever that day. Too bad we weren’t able to have drinks at the Tap Room as it seemed to be a really swell place for a night out.
A retro band was playing lively hits that night and the people were in the mood to swing!
By the time we got back to our room, we immediately gazed out the window and this was what we saw….. there was a certain feeling of tranquility that night as I watched this supposedly busy scene. Perhaps it’s because it’s my first ever time to see Manila, my own city like this. A different kind of calm surrounded the evening…it was so romantic!
More stories on the next page….