I’m supposed to post to review this later.. but since I have been getting questions on how good my Conrad Manila stay was…here it is:) Post will be text and photo heavy so…
Conrad Manila is currently the epitome of modern luxury in Manila at the moment. Just a few months old, this hotel is the first Conrad in Manila among the Hilton portfolio of properties around the globe. Since H and I frequent the area during weekends, we were always looking forward to staying here when it opened and the long holiday weekend presented a good time for us to try it out.
From the outside, the hotel has a stunningly sleek architecture, evoking the lines of a cruise ship. Linear glass windows continuously flow along the building’s facade, terminated occasionally with playful bands of concrete ledges or slanted lines while the U-shaped building itself avoids corners, but rather curves to provide that streamlined effect.
The hotel actually starts from the 3rd floor all the way up to the 7th floor (with a soon-to-open rooftop deck/ bar on the 8th level). There is a welcome lobby on the ground level facing the bay, as well as two other driveways on either side of the building providing access to the two-level mall, S-Maison which has a bridge way connected to the huge SM Mall of Asia Complex.
We drove to the hotel and arrived around 2 pm, and proceeded to park at the hotel’s basement parking. From the basement, three banks of elevators whisked us up to the hotel’s main 3rd floor lobby. WOW! The expansive view of the waters of Manila Bay framed by the floor to ceiling glass windows of the hotel lobby greeted us once the elevator doors opened. Had this lobby been moving, I would actually think we are on a cruise ship!
Right at that moment, I know that I was in a special place…
I would say the lobby is minimalist-modern, the textured carpeting and the crystal chandeliers evoke the feeling of being right by the sea. It is stunning, without being overwhelming. My information was pulled up on check-in was welcomed as an Hhonors member. We had booked a deluxe bay view room, and were assigned a room on the 4th floor near the elevators. Oddly, on my Hhonors profile, I had stated that I preferred a higher floor, and away from the elevators, but for some reason, was designated a room that was the opposite. But I was gonna find out later why it was actually better…
We were proactively asked if we wanted assistance with our luggage, but since we were just bringing a bag each, we managed to get to our rooms. We were directed to the south elevator lobby, which is nearest our room. Key card tapped and floor pressed and in a few moments, we were on our floor.
We were assigned Room 4020, a non-smoking room, and a last-minute change from a King-sized room to a twin double since H was actually not feeling well, I figured he needed lots of rest and I didn’t want to bother him when I get out of bed 😉
Upon entering the room, I immediately noticed there was no key card slot, but that the room actually senses when occupants enter the room and immediately turns on the rooms electricity. It turns off when the occupants leave the room..sweet! The small hallway foyer has a line of three closet units on the left. The first closet is the wardrobe closet, where the complimentary slippers and robes are placed, followed by a luggage rack, then another closet which has the safety deposit box, a hairdryer,flashlight, ironing board, and a complimentary umbrella, the last cabinet is another storage closet.
What I love about the design of the cabinets is the way how the wood panel doors curve at the corners and the patterned recessed handles go all the way down to the floor which “flows” to become the recessed baseboard. (from a designers viewpoint haha!)
To the right of the room reveals a sliding mirrored panel which “hides” the bathroom. The sink on the center with the usual compliments, the lavatory on the right and the shower on the left (more on that later!) partitioned by a glass enclosure.
What (sort of) disappointed me was the lack of a bidet for washing, which is I think a requisite (LoL!) but anyhow…talk about the showers, it actually has three spouts, with the option to use either the ceiling-mount rainfall type shower or the handheld unit AND the body jet spout (which I love!). Toiletries are from Aromatherapy Associates of London.
The double beds feature a center console where the different controls are placed. There are individual plugs and usb ports (nice!), individual light controls which feature four preset moods (Work, Mood,Night Light,Master on or off) and controls for drawing the blackout roller blinds and the sheer curtains. The beds are actually comfortable and Conrad features a “Pillow Menu” which offers guests different types of pillows.
There is a daybed/lounging couch which spans the width of the window, and is the perfect setting for watching the sunset over the bay or watching the action by the poolside.
A modern console repeats the design of the storage closets and actually opens to become the fully stocked mini-bar. It features a cabernet sauvignon, mini bottles of Absolut Vodka, Remy Martin Cognac, Chivas Regal Whiskey, and Bombay Sapphire Gin. Canned Almonds, Chips, M&M’s, Haribo gummy bears, dried mangoes stock the bar.
The fridge contains an assortment of beers, bottled juice and soda. The electric kettle and my favorite part of any hotel…the complimentary Nespresso machine with six capsules (yay!) and Harney & Sons Tea selection.
A working desk with electric plugs and usb ports, a data port and stationary set is positioned beside the window and the flat screen digital TV is right at the center of the room opposite the beds.
Now, about the room being located on the fourth level and near the south elevator lobby actually has its perks, for one, it is very near the Conrad Spa and just one floor away from the amenities level. Although it is near the elevator lobby, it wasn’t as noisy as expected, although muffled sounds are heard from other rooms, but it wasn’t bothersome. It was mostly quiet actually, despite the hotel being fully, fully booked at that time as per the hotel staff.
I checked on the Conrad Spa, which features a “hidden” door, which I hesitated to open at first, if not for the sign with a pointed arrow “Conrad Spa”. Guests can open it with a tap of the key card. The reason for the discreet entrance is while it features direct access to guests from the rooms, the actual Spa entry is on the hotel’s mezzanine level, which is reached via the hotel elevators or from the pool deck located on the same level. I decided to check on the services but the reception apologized that they are already fully booked for the day and that they will just inform me if something opens up. I managed to take a photo of the spa reception instead. They also advised that I check on the gym located one level below by taking the elevator or stairs.
A bit later, we decided to have some Japanese lunch at Chibo Okonomiyaki which is located just downstairs at the S-Maison Mall. H rested afterwards back at the bedroom after taking some meds for flu while I did some work, then we went out for dinner at the Mall of Asia then decided to call it a night since H wasn’t feeling too well and I had to do some more work.
We got up early the next morning (5:30a.m. actually) when I decided to do some work, however, we were informed that the hotel had wifi connection problems that morning, they had published a notice for all rooms, which sucked but I give them a thumbs up for the advance information to all the guests 😉
Since we decided to have a really early breakfast at around 6:30 a.m. I called the reception before heading down and asked if it would be possible to have a “late check-out” by 2 p.m. I was called back by the reception a few minutes after to confirm that we could..(yay!)
Breakfast was served buffet-style at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, Brasserie on 3. At the reception, there was newspaper available and welcome “shots” of freshly squeezed fruits. It was still not as busy yet so we chose to sit near the window which had excellent views of Manila bay.
Buffet choices was really extensive, as in other hotels. One station had an assortment of breads, a waffle and pancake station.
There was an Asian Section which featured an assortment of dimsum, noodle dishes and congee.
Another station for the cold cuts/ salads, cereals, main entrees, an egg station, a carving station, and a section for Filipino dishes.
The last station had natural yogurt, muesli, an assortment of seeds, nuts, dried and fresh fruits, as well as carafes of fresh fruit juices and detox water. I asked for their recommendation and suggested I try the yogurt with lychee and berry jam which I topped with Chia and Flax seeds . It was delicious 😉
Aside form the buffet, they also have a menu card with breakfast selections not on the buffet, so we ordered the free-range egg omelette and the eggs benedict with serrano ham, which I thought was plated well and also really good:)
Our server Recy was enthusiastic and proactively refilled our water and asked if we needed more brewed coffee or if there was anything else we needed. I just asked her how the busy the hotel was for the weekend and she just smiled and said that the hotel was almost fully booked. I don’t know if its just how we timed our activities but we never felt the hotel getting really crowded or busy..or maybe everyone just wanted to stay in their rooms 🙂 After the very heavy breakfast we decided to go back to the room and take a dip in the pool.
The “pool deck”–just like how you would have it on a ship, sits in the middle of the property, surrounded by the bedroom wings. It features a good sized wood deck with sun loungers and canopied daybeds facing the swimming pool. There is a center “island” lounging deck and also a poolside bar offering drinks and food, but we were too full to try anything at that point.
I love how the pool was designed, it had clean lines and was about four feet deep at the most. It had a good area for doing laps, it was easily around 30 to 40 meters long I think, but there is also a shallow area where kids could hang out. I decided to do some laps to burn off all the calories consumed during breakfast and we stayed in the pool for a couple of hours then I decided to go back to the room to change into gym clothes to burn more by doing a bit of a workout in the gym while H stayed behind to just lounge by the pool.
The gym is a good sized facility, I got to use the cardio machines overlooking the pool deck. There was free weights and workout machines, punching bags. I did some pushups by the freestyle area for floor workouts.The gym is open 24-hours for the use of guests, with the key card providing access when the trainors are already out for the day. The gym also features a good sized locker room with shower and dressing rooms, sauna and steam rooms.
With about an hour left before checkout, we decided to fix up and pack away our stuff. By this time, the lobby was not busy anymore..I figured either other families were checking out later than we were or if most of them had already checked out a couple of hours before. It was a quick check and was told that everything was fine and was the receptionist smiled and thanked us for having stayed at Conrad Manila.
Just for the Heck of It? A definite Yes…H would always ask me to rate the things we just did, and I told him I’d give the hotel a 9 out of 10. All the positive points go for the hotel’s design and detail, everything was modern and sleek, and well thought of. Its the “responsive technology”—none of the bothersome “insert the key card to activate room electricity” but actually senses when someone steps in or out of the room, or the bedside lights that turn on when pulled out of its position and turns off when pushed “closed”. The electronically operated blinds and curtains–which is not actually new–but is not yet common even in most luxury hotels in Manila, and basically all the details that is there–just because you need it, without overwhelmingly alien to the end user. And the staff, who are enthusiastic to serve and are just there when you need them, but stays behind the scene when you don’t.
I would recommend the Conrad Manila to discerning travelers not wanting the vibe of the numerous resort-casino hotels which are just nearby, who are design savvy and would want a convenient connection to one of the world’s largest shopping malls (and still getting bigger) the SM Mall of Asia. Perhaps on my next stay-cation here, I could bring along my nieces and/or probably check out the C lobby lounge which offers a stunning view of the bay while sipping on a good cocktail, or have dinner at the China Blue by Jereme Leung..;)