Monday, June 3, 2013

F1 Hotel Manila: The Ultimate Staycation in BGC

With the incredible growth of the Philippine economy, more and more Filipino families have taken to giving themselves a pat on the back and a well-deserved lifestyle upgrade. When three years ago, a staycation meant getting takeout at Andoks, buying a big tub of Selecta ice cream at the nearest 7-11, and sitting down to a Harry Potter movie marathon with the kids for the rest of the afternoon, today it means checking into a nice hotel, sleeping in while the kids amuse themselves by the pool, and piling your plate with more bacon than you can actually eat during the breakfast buffet before checking out.

Saying that I was ecstatic after getting invited to stay at F1 Manila Hotel for the weekend is an understatement. I was over the blippin' moon! Jericho and I were at the hotel bright and early on a Saturday morning the hotel is located along 32nd street at Bonifacio Global City, a walk away from St. Luke's Medical Center. It can be a bit bothersome to find by car - you need to be constantly looking up as the hotel's signage isn't that visible on the street. I like to think of it as a hideaway from the city, in the city.

I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before (I think I was just way too excited for the weekend staycation) that I sorely needed a strong cup of coffee while waiting for the others at F1's premium lounge. This weekend was going to be a celebration of sorts - a celebration of having celebrity chef, Sau del Rosario, come in as F1's new Executive Chef, a celebration of Filipino flavors with the month-long Luzviminda buffet happening at F All Day Dining, and our dear Hefy Foodie's birthday celebration!

We were warmly greeted by the very friendly staff as we registered for our overnight stay at the hotel, and were gifted with a generous box of freshly-baked cookies. The chocolate and white chocolate chunk cookies were so good! The crinkles are a close second, and Jericho ended up eating most of the white ones (I think they're made of coconut).

The chairman of F1 also had a lovely welcome gift for me - a simple silver necklace made of semi-precious stone. It was beautiful! These guys really know how to make you feel special - and we had only been there a little over five minutes!

Louie Peña, the General Manager, and Tony Co, the Director of Operations, gave us a very warm welcome and few remarks on what to expect during our stay. F1 Manila Hotel is now proudly 100% Filipino owned and operated, with a very talented team of Filipino directors and managers - yet another reason for us to stay and support this hotel!

They also introduced their new Executive Celebrity Chef, Sau del Rosario, and the rest of his team of culinary superstars which they plucked from all over the country, just so they can put together and present authentic dishes from around the Philippines. If that isn't an inkling of just how serious they are when it comes to delivering good eats, I don't know what is.

Jericho and I checked into our Deluxe Room, which we happily discovered upon entering, looked more like a cozy apartment than a hotel room.

Entertain friends or family that come to visit in the spacious living room or enjoy an intimate meal at the glass dining table.

The bedroom has the king-sized bed on display, which is a thing of beauty - the 12-inch mattress with a thick mattress topper is covered with 500-thread count sheets, plush king sized pillows, and a thick duvet that just envelops you in its warm embrace when you tuck yourself in for the night.

The bathroom was clean and cozy, with minimalist features like a big, square porcelain sink and the john. While the bathroom didn't come with a tub, it more than made up for it with a huge shower head.

Exploring the rest of the facilities, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the hotel had three types of swimming pools: a wade pool, an infinity pool, and a lap pool.

My only gripe is there are only two spots to lay down at to work on a tan, as the rest of the area is covered. It's great for kids who don't want to leave the water, but annoying for pasty hotel guests (like your truly) who want to work on getting a few shades darker.

After a swim, guests can also bond over barbecue or drinks at the Canary Lounge and enjoy the breeze at the veranda. Their brewed iced tea is a must try!

If you're not the type to voluntarily glue your butt to the sofa and would rather head out and werk what your yo' momma gave you, you can run off the extra bacon you'll be having for breakfast at the hotel gym. I find it amusing that most of the equipment you can find there are for burning calories, and conveniently located right next to the buffet restaurant.

They have a spa in the works that they're currently working on re-launching, but in the meantime you can call the lobby and have the masseuse come to your room to give you a massage.

I spent the rest of my day eating, chatting, napping, watching food demos by renowned Filipino chefs, and having such a great time with friends and making new ones! The next morning, we woke up looking forward to the breakfast buffet at the F All Day Dining Restaurant.

F1's breakfast spread is pretty straightforward - a mix of American and Filipino breakfast favorites like bacon and tapa, your usual breads, your omelette station, cornflakes, the pancake, waffle, and French toast corner, and a fruit platter to cleanse your palette.

A girl needs her bacon, and that's what I made a beeline for. Crisp strips of pork found its way to my plate, followed by a freshly made omelette as well as rich, buttery French croissants and Danish in lieu of your regular bread roll.

Jericho - the rice-ivore in this blogging duo - oped for the beef tapa and a spicy fish dish. It looked pretty good, and with the way his plate was practically licked clean, looked like he enjoyed his breakfast as much as I did.

When mucking around Manila and considering treating yourself or your loved ones to a staycation, consider spending it at the Filipino owned and run, F1 Hotel Manila. Have a lazy day and spend it in bed with the curtains drawn and the telly on, or walk over to Serendra, High Street, or Aura and get your shopping on. There's so much to do and see at Bonidacio Global City, and F1 is the only hotel in the area ready to show you real Filipino hospitality and a great time!

Just mucking around Manila,
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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel

F1 Hotels and Resorts
+63 2 928 9888
32nd St.,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig