Be aware, this is going to be long post as I share my experience at Conrad Manila. One of the best hotel experience I ever had or even the best. From interaction to service recovery as well as the property itself. A perfect hotel for a staycation. I arrived in Manila shortly after 4pm and immigration as well as bags collection were smooth. Manila International Airport is crowded but still alright, the only huge issue is the traffic here. Manila is known for it’s hideous traffic where simply a short drive could take ages. We took a grabhitch to the Conrad which cost 300 Peso, an alright 8.50 SGD. The hotel is actually nearby but traffic is a mess and it the drive took almost 30 mins. We waited ages for the car as well due to the heavy traffic around the airport. The Conrad is located by the Manila Bay around the SM Mall of Asia area. It is something like an integrated resort with the area full of hotels, restaurants and the huge mall. Surrounding the nearby area you can also find other casinos. The Conrad exterior is extremely striking and gorgeous. It is shaped like a cruise ship as well, fitting the white facade of the hotel. This is definitely the most unique and pretty hotel that I have ever been. The design is awarded winning as well. Although I have to say that it is very hard to get a picture of the place, I got this picture from the internet. Plenty more amazing stuff to come from this stay.
The whole idea of this trip is much of an “Overseas Staycation” there isn’t really a reason why I came to Manila besides the fact that I had a first class ticket to use up. I was surprised by the rates of accomodations coming in Manila. I did not expect it to be this expensive across the capital which certainly surprises me. I paid around 250 SGD per night for a basic room over here much more than I would love to. We pulled up to the ground floor reception area where we have to past airport style security bags. This is the norm across all malls and shopping centres over here. They were very strict and in fact my luggage was even held up because I had a swiss army knife in it. The bellboys immediately help us with our bags. Definitely a sign of great service. The main lobby is actually located on the third floor and this area is just a little waiting area and the driveway.
This is where I got the first WOW at Conrad Manila, immediately when the lift doors open, I was greeted with the amazing stunning lobby with sweeping views of the Manila Bay. The lobby is breathtaking, definitely the most amazing one that I have been to. Bright white marble, high ceilings and tons of natural light that came thru the ceiling to floor glass panels. This is spectacular. I almost let out a scream! The area also have a piano and some seating in the middle. It is definitely very classy. Now, that is a conrad view! Fresh and bright.
The reception is located to the right and despite it being rather crowded in the lobby, there is no wait. There is also a dedicated line for elite members. I was welcomed for being a Diamond member and I also got upgraded to a Bay View King Premier Suite in advance as well. This is a mid level suite, definitely awesome since I only paid for the basic room. The staff was very polite and courteous. I have plenty of good things to say about the staff here and this is only a start. I tried to get a terrace suite or diplomatic suite but sadly they are fully booked! The reception was also very nice to extend my lounge access for 3 person.
My suite was on the 6th floor but the lounge is on the 7th the highest level in the hotel. Service was really good, when I approached the set of elevators for the rooms. The staff always holds the lift for me. Never once did I had to do it myself. Since we were arriving just about the evening reception timing, we actually went straight to the lounge for some snacks and drinks, although I will share about the Executive Lounge later on. The suite is located on the 6th floor and it is quite a walk from the elevator especially for the rooms and the suites with the sea view as due to the design of the hotel, there is a lot of twist and turns. The common area look really nice with warm brown colors. The staff were also very polite and I was greeted every time I bump into them.
Now, check out my impressive suite. This is definitely another wow factor. I would say that I have stayed in many hotels around the world and this definitely rank up in the top 3. The Bay View King Premier Suite is 80 Sqm large facing directly at the bay of Manila. First tip, sunset gazing here is super awesome! Immediately after entering, the half bath is located to the right. As a suite it comes with a half bath in the living area.
Then we entered the main living area. The suite is rather squarish in size where by the side you have an gorgeous mini bar cabinet it is well placed and gorgeous. A showcase of wines and liquor as well as can drinks in the fridge. It is quite well stocked. You can also find some tea, a kettle as well as a Nespresso machine with 6 capsule which are replenished daily.
The living room is huge and consists of a long sofa and coffee table facing a huge 42 inch tv which is high quality. Towards the jaw dropping window you have a working desk that can sit 2 person! It is rather huge and well designed with outlets nicely places. The working desk is amazing and I set up here to do some work as well. Turndown service was already done at this hour and the blinds are drawn. The view is very amazing here. It is an actual lounge and very spacious.
The bedroom is separated by two sliding doors on both sides of the TV. The king size bed is located right in the middle of the room. I love hilton and conrad beds which are firm to my liking. The sheetings are also very comfortable. There is also a pillow menu on offer here so you can get one to your liking from the tons of choice. The bed is surrounded by 2 night stand. I love how outlets are nicely found around the bed as well. This is so important. On the bed is also a classic Conrad soft toy amenity unique to the brand. I love how certain location have special bears unique to their destination and it is a cute little Carey the Carabao from Conrad Manila. In front of the bed is also a full length ottoman and there is two welcome amenity along a note from the GM. There is a cake as well as some sweets placed for us. I love how the ottoman add so much vibes and glam to the whole decor.
Equally in the room you can find another 42 inch TV that faces the bed directly. I have to say we rarely use the TV. Wifi is very strong in the suite as well. Towards the side of the bed is another jaw dropping window. Here you can find a bay sofa which stretches along side the window facing the grand Manila Bay as well! Amazing place for a glass of bubbles and sunset gazing. I love that there are tons of natural light in the room. I definitely slept with the shades open. Waking up to the view everyday.
Towards the other side is the entrance to the walk in wardrobe as well as a luggage storage area! It is really spacious and huge. In the wardrobe you can also find tons of amenities from an ironing set to all sorts of shoe care kits. You can also find a safe here as well. Then you have a huge space to placed your bags. Suites guests also gets complimentary pressing service which is awesome.
It also links to the washroom which is another glam part of the room. The washroom comes with twin basin and a separate bathtub, shower and toilet. Toiletries are by Shanghai Tang which is awesome and the standard in Conrads! The shower is awesome! One of the best I ever had and the water pressure is great. The showering set consists of a handheld shower head, rainforest and even a jet body kind. Temperature control is excellent as well! I love this room so much.
The executive lounge is located on the 7th floor and it is open all day from 6.30am to 11pm. Breakfast is served till 10.30am on weekdays and till 11am on weekends. There is also afternoon tea from 2pm to 4pm and then evening cocktails from 5pm to 7pm. Coffee and other drinks are also served all day long. The lounge is an affair and amazing. I spend plenty of time here, gazing out of the window and grabbing a drink. I have to commend the Executive Lounge staff from the server to Alice the manager. They were so helpful and made my stay even more amazing.
Here are some pictures of the lounge. It is a beautiful area with view of the bay as well as the pool below. The lounge comes with drop dead windows and views of the bays that your eyes will be glued to. I visited all offerings of the lounge everyday. I arrived on the first night just in time for evening reception that start at 5pm. This is definitely the most crowded timing in the lounge. You definitely have to come early if you want one of those window side seats. Sunset is unbelievable amazing here. Seatings consists mostly of tables but you can also find some sofa seats along the corridor. Outlets can be easily found.
All the refreshments are located toward one small side of the lounge. I will say that the designed is not very good since people will be crowded around the area and it could be tough getting in or out. Lounge staff also doesn’t seem to be sufficient to handle the crowd but they are definitely nice and attentive.
Food wise there are alot of choice and I think it could be a mini dinner replacement. You have a couple of hot dishes which are individually plated and some fried snacks as well. The spring rolls here are to kill for. Then you have some soup. You can also find a mini salad bar and cheese offerings. There are also couple of sweets if you would like. Food is tasty and I love that the offerings change everyday and even sometimes throughout the night. Staff are fast in replenishing the items as well. I love the food.
Honestly a little underwhelming for a lounge in Asia but at least everything taste good and high quality. Drinks wise, you have some soft drinks, juices and 4 different type of San Miguel beers. There is sparkling water as well.
There is a small selections of hard liqueurs, 2 reds, 2 whites and 1 sparkling wine on offer. It is a little underwhelming that they do not have a cocktail menu. I love that they do not cut off right at 7pm and was still serving drinks and food even after the evening receptions timing!
I got back next day for breakfast in the lounge and it was a very different ambience. The tons of natural light coming in brighten up the entire place and the view is a great company to breakfast. Staff were attentive and drinks orders were immediately taken. It was fairly empty in the morning as well. It is a nice quiet, exclusive space to dine in comparison to the often crowded restaurant.
There was two alacarte station for breakfast with a chef manning up a egg station as well as a wanton noodles station. The noodles were amazing and freshly cooked to order. I love the dumplings so much.
There is also a small buffet lineup which seems to be a nice selective selection from the restaurant with both Asian and western options. You can find roughly about 4 dishes each. I am glad to see some local Philippines food as well and I could give it a try. The local beef dish is actually tasty. Then you also have the usual bacon and sausages.
There is a nice Continental selection of oatmeal, salad station as well as some cold cuts and smoked salmon. The pastry station and cheese looks good as well. Juices were fresh sadly no espresso made coffee.
Afternoon tea is served from 2-4pm. I check it a couple days when I did not travel out and came back from the mall to rest my legs. You have some scones and other sweet bites such as tarts, mini cakes and a couple of sandwiches. You can also find some vegetables bites and drips. The best are the freshly baked cookie that were still warm. I also appreciate that the offerings change every day as well! Drink wise it is is pretty limited! In fact nothing special that is not available the whole day as well. During one of the days the Director of Operations, Emile also came over to greet me and we have a very nice talk regarding the hotel as well as his experience in the Hilton Group. I commend him on the staff, Grace as well as how much I love the property. We both agreed that the upkeep of the windows could be done better and the challenges behind maintaining and cleaning it.
On the next day, I went down to the restaurant for breakfast. As a Hilton Diamond member I had access to the restaurant for breakfast as well. In fact there are 3 restaurant serving up breakfast, this is due to the crowding issue and I can definitely see why. There was a day where I went down at 9am to a snaking queue at the main restaurant, Brasserie On 3. In addition, the China Blue Chinese restaurant and the C Lounge is also used as overflow venue. I have to say that the offerings differ slightly and the main one have the biggest offerings. It is also a nice touch when they have staff in the morning that meets you at the lift to usher you to the restaurant. This is perhaps to help with the crowding issue. The first time, I dined at the China Blue restaurant, this is rather quiet especially in the morning. I luck out on an awesome table with a nice view. I wish they would reserve the nice tables for Diamond guests.
The restaurant had amazing service I was asked by the host ask for my room and from then onward I am constantly addressed by name! The restaurant is an absolute beauty! High ceilings, wooden and blue decor as well as the sickening sea view that you can constantly find over here. Elite members get access to the full breakfast offering. Drink orders was also taken and offered. The selection is so so much better than it is at the executive lounge. Food selection is a combination of Asian, local as well as western options. I really like the influences of local touches then furthermore the items changes day in day out which is even more awesome.
Check out these stations! There’s is an assortment of carbs nicely displayed as well which make it look even more yummy! Sadly it is a little stale despite me being here at such an early hour. You can also find some continental selection with fruits, cereals and yogurts. There is also an egg station as well as a noodle one! While selection is varied and huge, not the most awesome one in sea, but I have to say, everything taste fresh and delicious! It is such a nice benefit Hilton offers since the buffet cost 1450 per person normally! The only negative point is a lack of an actual espresso machine for coffee drinks! This should be there in the restaurant. It sure got a little loud later in the morning and the locals here come in huge groups! As such, this might be why the lounge is much better for ambience.
On the other day I tried the main restaurant, Brasserie On 3! It was so crowded and I had to wait for a bit to even get in. It is awfully crowded on a Mon morning. There is almost no way to dine there despite it being the most extensive restaurant. Here are some pictures of the place and offerings. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t too comfortable dining here and the service is definitely lacking too.
The hotel pool area is also another highlight! It is located just off the lobby and nicely decorated. Kind of designed like an “infinity” pool facing the bay through windows. It is lush and you can find daybeds and cabanas as well. There is also a poolside bar very nice way to laze off the day over here! The pool however is really the main design flaw of this whole place! It should be on the roof with an actual infinity pool! Such a waste!
The location is perfect and it is easy to get a grab if you would like to visit some other area in Manila. The hotel is also directly connected to the SM Mall of Asia, the the fourth largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the fourteenth in the world. There are more than 700 shops over here. Plenty of eateries and entertainment without even getting out.
Before I conclude the post I will also like to point out the amazing staff, especially Grace from the front desk which is such a lovely gem! We hit it off and she was really attentive for various of my request and help! Even my stupidity of me of having the habits of leaving my keys in the room! She was also sweet enough to send up at nice platter of sweets on my 3rd day. In the later part of the stay, I was lucky enough to be hit by the Taal Eruption and my flight was affected. She was the first one to come to me about this when I was still ignorant of the situation. she is nothing but amazing! On my departure day she even came back to send me off despite being on leave. Really going the extra mile and true hospitality. I hope to see you again Grace!
All in all I got nothing but good things to say about Conrad Manila! It is worth every penny that I pay for. On my last night, I even got a further upgrade to the Diplomatic Suite and I will share slightly on that in a separate post since this is already super long. The only slight feedback that I have for them is to spend a little more money on regular outdoor window cleaning! Market on their best highlight, the remarkable view of their property, room and suites! That would be a 100!