Manila is the vibrant capital of the Philippines and the cultural and economic heart of the country. In the Malate and Ermita districts, you’ll discover electrifying nightlife, trendy shopping and gratifying restaurants. Or you could simply chill in the historic Rizal or Paco parks or sip a cold San Miguel while admiring the city. Manila caters for every kind of traveller, so whether you’re looking for a luxe suite or a boutique base, there’s something for you here.
Located in the delightful area of Intramuros, The Bayleaf resides in the historic core of the city. Enjoying a commanding position in the religious, cultural and sightseeing hub of Manila, the hotel also enjoys an exclusive view of the three-mile-long circuit of massive stone walls that surround historic Intramuros. Launched in November 2011, The Bayleaf has received many accolades for its exceptional service: including Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award for 2013 and Agoda’s prestigious 2012 Gold Circle Award. This boutique hotel promises an unforgettable stay with a penthouse restaurant offering all day dining and panoramic views of the city.
The grand and opulent Peninsula Manila features 497 rooms and suites in their two Ayala and Makati towers respectively, including the 372 square meter Peninsula Suite. Home to five restaurants, two bars and their iconic lobby area simply called The Lobby. The hotel features some of Manila’s top restaurants and offers a wide choice of fine dining options that include Italian, modern European and a number of different Asian cuisines. Designed with the business traveller in mind, use of an Exclusive Club Lounge offers complimentary continental breakfasts, afternoon tea, cocktails as well as a boardroom and Business Centre. To let off some steam, the hotel’s strategically placed location on the corners of Ayala and Makati Avenues means that the premier shopping facilities of Manila are easily accessible.
A true oasis in the midst of chaotic Manila, the Edsa Shangri-La is surrounded with lush tropical gardens and tranquil greenery. Modelled after the mythical land of Shangri-La, this sleek and luxurious hotel is furnished to the highest standard, with all suites decorated in rich teak, mahogany and burgundy accents. The dining is world-class and you can take your choice from the extensive range of cuisines on offer. For dessert, the indulgence continues in the Bakeshop, famous for its exquisite hand-made chocolates infused with unique and unusual tropical flavours. The attention to relaxation is paramount at the Edsa Shangri-La Manila with a fantastic spa with a full range of treatments and a free-form swimming pool.
The Fairmont Makati opened in November 2012 and has impressed tourists and travellers alike since its debut. Towering over the epicentre of Makati, the Fairmont occupies the same plot as its sister hotel Raffles, meaning guests can sashay between the two hotels seamlessly. Raffles’ Long Bar offers the Manila take on the famous Singapore sling, the Makati luxury sling coated in pure 24-carat gold flakes. Priding them on the fusion element of Filipino food with Malay, Asian and Spanish influences, Fairmont’s restaurant Spectrum offers food that blends the best of these flavours right in front of your eyes. Fairmont’s signature Willow Stream Spa is among the city’s most luxurious retreats, with 1,200sqm (110sqm) of soothing surroundings featuring five fully equipped treatment rooms, a hair salon, full-service nail studio, a mineral pool and an outdoor swimming pool.
The location of the Diamond Hotel in Manila is second to none for making the most out of your time in the city. Offering 485 luxury rooms with large bay windows, each view illustrates the scenic Manila Bay or sprawling Manila landscape. The hotel is 10 minutes away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and within walking distance of the city’s major landmarks, shopping centres, business districts, museums and parks. The Diamond is located within easy reach of the USA Embassy, as well as the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
Situated in the heart of the Philippines’ financial district, Dusit Thani Manila hotel treasures 538 luxury hotel rooms and suites individually equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, especially designed to create an experience of timeless guest satisfaction in line with unique Thai traditions. Elegant decor is reflected throughout each room in this Manila hotel, including the 21 extra-spacious Landmark Suites, two Ambassador Suites, and one Presidential Suite, offering the utmost in comfort. Each tastefully furnished guest room or suite offers fabulous panoramic views of Makati’s premier business area skyline. The Dusit Thani Manila features a fine selection of restaurants, including Benkay, one of Manila’s best Japanese restaurants, Thai food at the Benjarong Royal Restaurant, Vietnamese delicacies at Thien Dong and Filipino specialties at The Cafe.
The most astounding aspect of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila is the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Spiral. The eatery boasts a staggering 21 dining ateliers that serve expert dishes prepared masterfully in the presence of the guests — an ideal opportunity to feast on a variety of cuisines during your stay in Manila. Le Bar is an innovative three-in-one concept of a bistro, library, and patisserie that offers an a la carte French menu. If you fancy a more casual setting, the 24-hour Snaps Sports Bar provides beer and pool tables. Located approximately 2km (1.2mi) from the Mall of Asia, this hotel is a little out of the way, but it provides a perfect environment in which to relax away from the business of the city.
Helen Brady contributed additional reporting to this article.