April 23, 2014

My Manila Hotel Tour: A Walk Down History Lane

Many say that the past isn’t always a good place to stay and linger on.  But if the past were Manila Hotel, then it must be an exemption.

As I set foot inside the Grand Dame, I can only imagine how lavish its grand opening night on July 4, 1912, which coincided on the commemoration of the American Independence. It may be over a hundred years ago but the echo of laughter and cacophony of four hundred handsomely groomed and elegantly dressed guests from the alta sociedad enjoying  American roast, Philippine lobster, and French champagne, I could almost faintly hear.

That was only the beginning. I know there is so much more history to unravel, even the furniture, painting or chandelier has their own piece of story to tell.

The Manila Hotel is a historic landmark and five-star hotel, with over 500 guest rooms, located along Manila Bay. It is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines built under the supervision of William Parsons in 1909 and completed after four years, to rival the grandeur of Malacañan Palace. Now a member of Prestige Hotels of the World, it has hosted dignitaries and celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Neil Armstrong, Michael Jackson and The Beatles, and US President John F. Kennedy.

Perhaps no hotel lobby in the Philippines could surpass Manila Hotel’s. Its iconic architecture and classic interiors are simply a sight to behold.

Graduation theme

The not so usual comfort room

The Manila Hotel’s secret chamber, best part, crème de la crème (pardon me for my adjectives) is its most sought General Douglas MacArthur Suite, which costs a whooping $3,000 a night. Upon the invitation of then President Manuel Quezon, MacArthur made Manila Hotel his home during his tenure as the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines from 1935-1941.

The living room

Medals and decorations of MacArthur

The dining room

The study room

The master bedroom

A portrait sketch of MacArthur

The MacArthur Club Lounge is a luxurious VIP area fully furnished with first-class amenities, and offers breathtaking views of Manila Bay and Intramuros.

A romantic dining spot

Though other rooms may pale in comparison to the MacArthur Suite, they all still look lovely and exquisite.

The Intramuros Suite

Superior de luxe room

Sunrise Suite

Intimate and fine dining is also an unforgettable experience in the hotel. Recognized by Philippine Tatler, their in-house restaurants serve authentic Italian, French and Cantonese-Chinese cuisine.

Mabuhay Palace

Tap Room

Champagne Room

Café Ilang-Ilang

Assorted bread

Italian cheese

Would you believe I made this Manila Hotel signature pizza?


The Archive Room is the repository of the Who’s Who among the guests of the hotel since the Commonwealth Period.

The outdoor, sunset viewing deck and pool area look more relaxed and refreshing.

The tour was visually orgasmic, definitely one of a kind, exceeding all my expectations. It should be part of the syllabus for Philippine history or Humanities class so every Filipino could appreciate the heritage and historical significance of the hotel.

Thanks to Kristine and Maki for being such wonderful hosts and tour guides.

Manila Hotel
One Rizal Park, 0913, Manila
Tel. No.: 527-0011
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