On my travels, visiting different cities, there are cities where I can say, “I can definitely live here!” and cities where I can say otherwise. One of those cities that’s so difficult to like is sadly, my own birth country’s capital of Manila. And this situation hasn’t changed much when I was in the city just a couple of weeks ago.
We arrived at the airport from our already 2-hour delayed flight from my home town in the south still hopeful we can rest immediately once we get to the hotel. Our hotel is only in Makati area (a highly recommended hotel which I’ll discuss in a bit), a mere 3.5 kilometers from the airport but we spent more than an hour on the road due to crazy traffic brought about by road constructions and diversions in and around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport premises. Was it just a bad day to be on the road? Or a bad time?
Thankfully, we had airport pick up service, arranged by the hotel. In Manila, I always opt for a safer and more reliable way to get to the hotel from the airport by asking for pick up service rather than do the guess work or get on a bogus taxi. Our driver was so professional, the car clean and assured us that despite of the power play at the roads, he will get us to the hotel safely.
We were back at the Holiday Inn & Suites Makati last month when we were on our way back to Dubai and had to spend overnight in Manila. The kids and I first stayed at this hotel last year and this year, is the husband’s first time. Last year when we were here, I told myself, when the husband comes to the Philippines, we’ll definitely choose this again.
Why, because I felt very safe and secure in this hotel. Security is tight and they have trained dogs that work on shift to sniff luggage that enter the hotel. Rooms are spacious, staff are very friendly. Special shout out to Ms. Shari who had the most sparkling eyes of all the hotel staff I met ever. They also have this wonderful service to settle the check in process in the room itself. Or have they read my thoughts that I want to be taken to the room as soon as possible?
It was already getting dark and almost dinner time but when I asked them if dinner first or we’ll go out to see the pool, the answer was sure and quick.
It has been 13 years since he last visited the Philippines and I didn’t want to stress him out too much and wanted a hotel that conveniently located in the city center but you can still feel safe and confident to venture out. The hotel is connected to the Glorietta Mall in the commercial center of Makati City (Ayala Center) so it means everything is right at the doorstep. We had a little time to walk around the mall and buy stuffs to take home.
When we came back, we redeemed our drink vouchers given to us as IHG Rewards Club member at the Citron Lounge Bar.
Next day’s breakfast was superb at Flavors restaurant where the food was lovely, there were traditional Filipino food as well as international and mine and Benjamin’s absolute favorite: fresh mangoes you can request.
Our stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites Makati was short but faultless. I wish we could stay longer to try out the Oz bar at the pool but we have to leave early for the next leg of our flight back to Dubai.
I highly recommend this hotel when you are in Manila, one for the proximity to the airport, the good food, spacious and clean rooms and mostly,for the excellence of service and warmest welcomes.
You know I have stayed in a fair number of hotels in the past, some I have written about here. But what counts most is the courteousness of the staff addressing us like they know us personally – the kids were asking me, “Why do they know us, mom?”, genuine smile (don’t know how they do it when they have to do it everyday) and that little extra effort whether it’s a handwritten note or a piece of your favorite in your room or at breakfast.
We had a peaceful sleep and cannot hear anything from outside despite the central location of the hotel. Benjamin woke up early and opened the windows.
There are so many different hotels in the Makati area, with the same size and stars but probably cheaper than Holiday Inn & Suites Makati but I guess guests would really love to go back to this one because of the staff and people, hotel guests or otherwise – they won’t forget how you made them feel, no matter how brief the encounter.
And most of all, this ‘home away from home’ that the hotel gave made us forget of the horrible traffic in Manila. (The next day, when we left the hotel, the journey to the airport only took about 30 minutes or maybe less.)
We were guests at Holiday Inn & Suites Makati but all opinions are my own. Top photo from the Intercontinental Hotels Group website.