Welcome to the Philippines! This is the farthest I have traveled away from home and exactly half way around the world for me. I had been dreaming of visiting Southeast Asia for so long and it has been a spectacular trip.
I had about a 21 hour travel day before I arrived in Manila. Since I was staying at the Fairmont, a ride was arranged for me and there was a lovely man waiting for me with my name on a sign outside by the baggage claim area. This made my transition out of the airport very smooth. The Fairmont has a waiting room right outside the airport for you to sit in while you wait for your car – it including plush seating, air conditioning, magazines, and was very modern.
On the walk up I was introduced to the hotel with warm hospitality. The Fairmont Gold Level is a hotel within a hotel. They have their own private check-in, a lounge that serves breakfast, snacks, drinks, and comes with a personalized service you won’t get anywhere else. One thing I really appreciated here was that everyone knew me by face and name. Even staff I had not yet met, they knew my name. That’s a nice touch to remember all the guests and their situations/needs.
During my stay, I stayed in a Fairmont Gold room, complete with a king bed, a tub fit for a queen, luxurious bath amenities, and a bed so comfortable I never wanted to leave it. The bathroom was complete in marble and gorgeous. I loved that they offered a modern shower fit with a rain shower head.
One of my favorite things to do in new cities is to get room service, relax and enjoy the room I am staying in. I put on the bathrobe, order something delicious and then veg out.
Yes, I ordered Pad Thai and fries. I was so hungry from such long travel and I was not feeling adventurous at that moment. I don’t regret my food choice either – it was perfection. The bad news is that I found my new favorite Pad Thai and it is half way around the world from me… I guess that means I will have to return.
I love to swim and I am a sucker for a good pool. Typically when I go to pools that are more secluded or out in nature – not this one. This one is 4 floors above the city with a view of the surrounding area. It was actually a wonderful experience. The sun sets directly across from the pool behind the buildings and lights up the sky.
One thing you must try when you visit is the “Singapore Sling.” It was adopted in Singapore over 100 years ago at the Raffles Luxury Hotel. Today it has become a drink of the hotel and one worth having. With flavors of gin, pineapple, grenadine, and more – it definitely does not disappoint. It is the perfect lounge by the pool drink.
Overall I enjoyed my stay. It was a great introduction to my three week trip in the Philippines. The hospitality is unbelievable and the staff are friendly beyond words.
Things to do in the area:
- Luxury shopping is right outside the hotel – from Hermes to Burberry.
- Ayala Museum – 9 minutes walk
- The National Museum – 21 minutes drive without traffic
- Intramuros – famous walled city – about 40 minutes by car without traffic
- Traffic in Manila is extremely heavy during certain times of the day – rush hours. It can take you two hours in standstill traffic to go 3 kilometers. Plan in advance to get where you need to be based on traffic patterns.
- The hotel has a car service – they can arrange for you to be picked up/dropped off at the airport or for other needs.
- Across the street from the hotel is a supermarket that you can find just about anything in. If you forgot something at home, chances are you can get another here.
- Wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy.
- Do not drink the water unless it has been filtered.
- Book in advance – Fairmont is one of the only luxury hotels in the area.
Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Fairmont. As always, opinions are my own.