This hotel should come with a warning. You will shop. You will eat. You will swim. Your children will be spoiled. And then you'll check out and have to return to a dull reality sorely lacking in the warmth of its friendly staff and breakfasts without taho.
Dates of stay: 07-10 September 2016
Check in: 3PM
Check out: 12NOON
The city of Makati is one of the major cultural and entertainment hubs of an already throbbing Metro Manila and The Holiday Inn and Suites Makati is at its heart.
With a door that opens from the hotel's ground floor into the renowned Glorietta Shopping Mall (which itself offers easy access to other shopping meccas), staying here is dangerous for those with even slight inklings to shop, eat or play.
On our stay, we had a couple of nights of heavy rain, but soon realised that we didn't need an umbrella as we could walk through the Glorietta precinct to the historic Landmark department store out to the lush Greenbelt or across to the SM mall with nary a hair blown out of place.
Whether you're a shopper or not, the sheer convenience of everything at your door (literally) is hard to beat. Well, maybe having so many wining and dining spots so close is a contender.
And all that stuff they tell you about traffic in Manila? We were at our hotel just 20 minutes after being picked up by a taxi from the airport. And with a fare of only Php150 (including tolls, a little over AU$4), there was little to complain about.
If you're not used to the humidity of Manila (though your skin and hair will thank you for it), the end of any outdoor activity will leave you (and those around you) inevitably sticky. The cool welcome of the hotel is thus a nice break, and better still is the freshness of your room.
It's that fresh clean scent that hits you first. We had a twin guest room on the 12th floor and it was impeccably clean.
Rooms include a flat screen TV, the biggest safe I've ever seen (because there's nothing worse than trying to cram a laptop into a safe more suited to housing your passport and phone only), robes, slippers, iron and ironing board, wonderful smelling amenities, mini fridge, complimentary water and tea and coffee, and built in universal outlets.
Beds were super comfy, but I'd suggest opting for the firm pillow as the soft pillow is way too soft. The shower was fantastic and though without all the bells and whistles of some of the newer hotels, did its job supremely well (which I choose over a rain shower that is only sometimes reliable).
For those looking to escape the heat, the rooftop pool is a blessing (though so too is the spa). For those who need to work, a business centre is available as is a fitness centre for those who need to work out.
We breakfasted at Flavors, where we ate almost too well. I recommend trying some of the local offerings: the sweet taho, a dessert-like drink usually sold on the street; garlic rice; champorado, a chocolate rice porridge; and any purple dessert which is usually taro based.
We also harassed a poor bar man while having a drink at Citron Lobby Bar, trying to plan a day trip from the city. If he tires of his job at the Holiday Inn, he should consider a career as a tour guide, so good were his suggestions!
Filipino hospitality is almost a redundant term. I have rarely met a people so inherently happy to please.
As soon as the door opened to our cab, we were greeted by big smiles and welcomes. Jovan took our luggage directly to our rooms (beating us even though there was no wait at check in). And the check in staff were super efficient and helpful to tired, hungry travellers.
But for me, it was the folk who manned the doors and the breakfast staff that made our stay. We would be greeted by name by people we'd met in the first hour of our arrival and who remembered our preferences at breakfast or where we liked to shop.
One returning Filipina staying at the hotel told me she was always impressed with the staff's ability to make a large 4 star hotel feel like a bed and breakfast. And that's exactly the case.
LEAST FAVOURITE THING
Our fridge was not the best at keeping drinks cool, which is a pain in hot weather.
I've waxed lyrical about the people, but it's hard to beat a staff who will actually help harried parents at breakfast or make a buffet an ala carte option for an elderly lady.
Traveltalk stayed as a guest of the Holiday Inn Makati.
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