Sunday, October 27, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation

Before I start my really long entry about my fabulous time at the Marriott, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the wonderful ladies of Marriott Manila for treating me to a birthday staycation! I'm not the one to throw lavish parties, and would very well prefer to just go out to a nice dinner with close family and friends instead, and this was a nice way of spending my birthday indoors - kind of.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge
Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa
Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

Checking into the Marriott at 3pm, I admired the lovely hues deep, rich brown with flacks of gold around the front desk. I have to say, this modern Filipino design aesthetic is starting to grow on me. I was given a Guest Room with two double beds, that also came with complimentary breakfast for two at the Marriott Cafe. The elevator to the rooms can be a little hard to find being in a corner of the hotel hidden away next to the Java+ cafe.

Spending a night at the Marriott makes me automatically eligible for a Marriott Rewards Card. Seeing this just made the obsessive-compulsive in me wanted to book a few more night's just so I could accumulate points!

A bellhop came by my room with a fruity snack to kick off the staycation the healthy way! All my friends who visit this beautiful country keep raving about how they want to come back for the mangoes - so I guess this little treat is quite apt. It got me looking for more after a while!

I got a lovely note card from the PR ladies of Marriott slid under my door, wishing me a great stay and giving me access to the Executive Lounge (more about that on a later post!). On a normal day, I would need to pay an extra P2,000 to get access to the lounge per day, but this is good for two people and just has so many nice perks it's worth the P1,000 each if you really plan on just doing absolutely nothing but relax all day.

I found the Guest Room to be very cozy. It's a tad smaller than most swanky hotel suites I've been to, but what they lack in space they make up for with intelligent design. This suite has two double beds that are big enough to roll around in and disappear into the covers, but I think if I had gotten a room with a King-sized bed, the space would open up a lot more.

As is standard with hotel rooms, this has a nice desk for writing - or in my case, typing - and I was also given complimentary access to their super fast wi-fi, which I made the most of, downloading as many seasons of my favorite series that I could. Haha!

The bedroom also gives you clear view of the bathtub and shower - perfect for cheeky couples or if you just want to watch a bit of TV while you take a soak in the crowning glory of the Guest Room (at least in my opinion) - the free-standing soaking bath and walk-in shower complete with a big rain shower head! I spend a good part of my evening getting prune-y and just enjoying the peace and quiet. And enjoying the bath bubbles. Had I known I'd be in for such a luxurious treat, I would've dropped by Lush first and picked up a few bath salts!

The bathroom is nice and spacious, enough for two people to comfortably move around in, with all the usual toiletries you'd find in a hotel bathroom - toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand lotion, q-tips, etc.

The bathroom comes with your usual hotel amenities, all of them with the strong smell of lemongrass. Although I wonder why they only had shampoo and not conditioner?

I took a peek at the pool area, which was pretty bare when I got there. It was overcast that day, and aside from a family of balikbayans enjoying the pool, there was no one else there. It was overcast on the day I was there as well, so I decided to ixnay working on a tan by the pool and just discover what else the hotel had to offer.

After a spot of dinner, I was considered hanging out by the bar on the ground floor, but ended up enjoying a slice of cake and lots of white wine at the Executive Lounge before retiring to the tub, and then my super soft bed. I just have to say - the lights at the bar are absolutely beautiful!

Waking up earlier than usual, I went downstairs to check out the breakfast buffet spread at the Marriott Cafe. The spread is a bit smaller than the other hotel's, but they had all the essentials, like crisp strips of bacon, a nice assortment of bread, an omelette station, your Pinoy and Chinese breakfast staples, and fresh, bottled juice. A server also went around with complimentary energy boosters - all-natural shots of grapefruit juice and some other good stuff.

The cheese station had your basic favorites - Edam, Cheddar, and Brie - as well as a few jams in little bowls. There were some nuts and dried fruit at the table opposite it as well.

With bread being my carb load of choice, I was happy to see the Marriott Cafe had a wide variety to choose from. I mostly stuck to the wholegrain and sesame varieties, and then went back for some of the Danish pastries for dessert.

For those looking for Japanese breakfast sushi, they had that at one of the stations, too. I find sticky rice to be too heavy on the stomach so early in the morning, but whatever floats your boat, I say.

No hotel buffet would be complete without an omelette station, and while the others mixed and matched their omelette combinations, I preferred to enjoy my eggs poached. All that was missing was the Hollandaise at this point.

The Filipino station was irresistable, with cuts of tocino, longganisa, and tapa, as well as your corresponding sides, like wedges of fresh tomatoes, onions, and the like.

At the carving station sat a honey glazed ham, that was meaty and sweet.

For those looking for a bit more veg to go with their breakfast, there were boiled carrots and corn as well as baked baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant.

For those who want to enjoy breakfast right off the grill, you could choose your meat of choice and have one of the cooks grill or char it to your taste. They had everything from sausage links, spam, burger patties, and sirloin steaks ready, as well as an assortment of dips and salsas below.

I had a few fillets of marlin grilled. The fish was very fresh, juicy, and nice and flaky.

There was also a waffle and pancake station, but I was too stuffed to try some.

I like how Marriott Cafe makes the most of this tropical country's seasonal produce, and ended my meal with a fresh fruit bowl of melon, mangoes, oranges, papaya, pineapple and dragon fruit with a fruity yogurt from the fridge.

I think this is one of the most filling hotel breakfasts I've had in a while - and the most healthy, too! I kept going back to the fridge for bottles of fresh orange juice, yogurt, and muesli.

After breakfast, I took a sneak peek at the gym to see what kind of equipment they had. I'd have liked to have gotten a jog in before hitting the breakfast buffet, but I forgot to bring my sneakers. You can get your basic cardio and lifts done with the sun streaming in through the windows.

I checked out early at 12nn to get to a meeting later in the day. I was a bit saddened that my birthday staycation was over. I had such a relaxing time, I didn't want to leave by the end of it, let alone go home.

When mucking around Manila, treat yourself and your family to a staycation at the Marriott Hotel Manila every now and again! With the Guest Room rates starting at P6,885/night, it's an affordable luxury and such a nice birthday treat!

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Marriott Hotel Manila
+63 2 988 9999
No. 10 Newport Boulevard
Newport City Complex, Pasay City