Manila: love it or hate it, there’s nowhere quite like it. Fortunately for hotel aficionados, there are some truly extraordinary boltholes to hit up in the Philippine capital. From historic grand dames to sustainable boutique hotels and five-star stunners, here are the addresses you’ll want to call your own in Manila.
The Henry Manila, Pasay
A tranquil oasis in a busy city, The Henry Manila wins guests over with its photogenic, faintly European-style rooms and lovely lawns. Don’t be fooled by the rundown road outside; inside the walls of this 1940s residential compound, you’re bound to feel quite at home. The garden pool, contemporary art gallery and furniture boutique are all pluses.
2680 Compound, F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila T: +63 2 807 8888
The Manila Hotel
The reigning queen of the Philippines’ hospitality scene, The Manila Hotel gives some of the more established colonial hotels in a region a run for their money. The stately lobby is the first thing to make an impression. After that, the surprisingly good buffets and handsome in-house bar, Tap Room, will seal the deal. Ask for a free tour at the concierge desk to learn more about the hotel’s long and colorful history.
Bonifacio Dr, Ermita, Manila, 0913 Metro Manila T: +63 2 527 0011
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Situated in the middle of the capital’s most compelling attractions, the Sofitel is a solid choice for anyone planning to do some sight-seeing in Manila. But what most people come for is not the views or the location, but the epic food banquets. Spiral Restaurant boasts the biggest buffets in Asia, a virtual gastronomic extravaganza that’s not to be missed, especially for dedicated foodies.
Cocoon Boutique Hotel, Quezon
Tucked away along residential roads in Quezon City, Cocoon Boutique Hotel offers guests what must surely be the most eco-friendly accommodation in Manila. The owners managed to repurpose and refurbish wood and other natural materials to create a grounded, soothing abode – that still feels luxurious. When you want to head out, the restaurants and buzzy nightlife of Tomas Morato and Timog are just around the corner.
Sct. Rallos cor. Sct. Tobias, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila T: +63 2 921 2706
The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, Makati
Makati’s bright lights and buzzing malls are just around the corner from this contemporary, modern art-themed property. The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences is housed in an old structure that’s been reimagined by two Filipinos into a hotel and residences with distinct style.
The rooms are larger than most in Manila, and stocked with all the mod-cons millennials have come to expect. Each floor takes its theme from a period of Pablo Picasso’s life, so expect lots of vibrant colors and patterns. Restaurants, spas, coffee shops, and ATMs are all just a few steps away.
119 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila T: +63 2 828 4774
The Bayleaf, Intramuros
For a small, independent hotel, The Bayleaf is a tough contender to beat. Set inside the walls of historic Intramuros, the property occupies a one-time newspaper office. Many of the rooms overlook the Walled City’s ancient bulwarks and ramparts, underscoring the unique location. The rooftop bar is a stunner, serving up sweeping vistas of Manila Bay and the entire old district. Be sure to come up here for a sundowner at least once during your stay.
Muralla St, Intramuros, Manila, Metro Manila T: +63 2 318 5000
Shangri-La at the Fort, Taguig
The newest of the Shangri-La collection in the Philippines, Shangri-La at The Fort, Manila is off to an impressive start. The views from this eco-friendly building are a highlight, and guests can look forward to tastefully decorated rooms, luxe amenities, and uber-comfy beds. Gym bunnies will love the huge fitness center, and the pool has to be one of the best in Manila. There are a number of dining and drinking outlets to pick from, specializing in everything from dim sum to dry-aged steaks and artisan cocktails. Check out the marketplace concept at High Street Café for a refined take on local dishes.