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How to escape Manila without leaving the city: a review of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

When staying at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere else in the Philippines and not in the fast beating heart of its capital. Here, we give you the lowdown on what to do (and what to do twice) during your stay.

Manila is not for the faint-hearted. I love the place, but for those unwilling or unable to scratch its surface, it’s pretty chaotic. And in the middle of it all is the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. But unlike some of the other luxury hotels in the city, the Sofitel is a true haven tucked away from it all but right in the middle of the action.


Learning the art of buffet in Manila


The hotel has 609 guest rooms including the Imperial Residence, two Opera Suites, 32 Sofitel Suites, and 12 Junior Family Suites but it’s designed in such a way that even when fully booked, you’re not stumbling upon other guests.


The rooms themselves are both stylish and luxurious. A Sofitel Suite is a massive 84 square metres and comprises of separate sleep, living and work areas, a wrap-around balcony with bay or city views, and a luxe marble bathroom. Suite guests also have access to Club Millésime. 



For those travelling as a family, a connecting room is available with two twin beds. WiFi, cable TV, a fabulous mini bar and an in-room safe are also available. 


Children are spoiled here — which means adults can relax and let the Sofitel do all the hard work. Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s Le Petit Prince program pampers young ones, offering them an hour of complimentary access at the La Villas des Enfants kid’s tent (which would put some childcare centres back home to shame) a cookie-making lesson at Spiral’s Sunday brunch, and ice cream at the poolside. There’s also an outdoor playground and a selection of programs available such as Arts and Crafts by Kiddy’s Art Town or active and educational activities under Gymboree all on site. Gymboree’s music class is amazing and had us wondering if we should move to Manila to enrol our children here permanently!


A lagoon-shaped swimming pool overlooks the bay and includes a kiddie pool, waterslide and play area for the little ones. But adults can also enjoy the pool (and the newly transformed Sunset Bar) and the famed Manila Bay sunsets.



There’s also mini golf in an 18-hole putting green with some stunning bay views, an outdoor tennis court and a fitness and wellness programme that could easily turn this hotel into a celebrity rehab resort (as if it isn’t already).


Le Spa is a destination in itself and offers some amazing local treatments including the Aruga Massage which can be complemented by a beauty treatment at the Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle Institute. Here, you can further relax while getting a facial or a sneak in a non-invasive aesthetic procedure that will wow them back home!


There are two kinds of visitors to Manila: those who have eaten at Spiral and those who have not. While there are a number of impressive dining options on site, Sofitel’s Spiral is impossible to miss. You can read our review of it here, but know that this award winning buffet is surely the buffet to end all buffets. 



So whether you’re on a stopover until you can head to one of the country’s gorgeous islands or just needing some respite from the city’s charms, a stay in this five star hotel is like happening upon an oasis — complete with one of Asia’s best buffets. 

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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 28 January 2020

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