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Hotel Review: Admiral Hotel manila – MGallery

Hotel Review: Admiral Hotel manila – MGallery

M Moment Golden Era Tour with Luxury Buick Car

Accor’s burgeoning MGallery branded properties stand apart for providing guests with meaningful and memorable experiences. The luxury 5-star Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery right on the shore of Manila Bay delivers in full, from tours via vintage car to private dinners in the Presidential suite. Bronwen Gora reveals.

Panoramic view
The Pool at the Admiral Hotel M Gallery Manila

Hotel Review: Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery

The refurbished Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery certainly makes the most of its lofty past. Built in 1939, the art deco structure was once Manila’s tallest building, a landmark for seafarers docking to Manila Bay and glittering golden-era hub for the Philippine capital’s elite. The hotel has endured through being overtaken by the Japanese in World War II, used as the US American High Command’s headquarters, and has welcomed such esteemed guests as US President Herbert Hoover and Lord Louis Mountbatten to name a few. Come the 21st century the Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery sports a sleek and stylish renovation that retains the art deco façade and finer features of yesteryear.

Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Superior Room
Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Superior Room

First look Stunning. I fall in love with the property on entering the elegant foyer. Here the ceiling soars the hotel’s full 9-storeys, and the first thing to catch my eye is the Pages of History art installation literally floating above. This leads my gaze to the ceiling, the whole of which is spectacularly emblazoned with a colourful mural depicting Philippine culture and tradition. I sink into one of the many lounges beside a vintage world globe, and enjoy the hotel’s welcome Golden Era refreshment of water infused with juice from the delightful Asian citrus fruit, calamansi.

Rooms with a view over Manila Bay

Panoramic view
The view from the pool

The Rooms are extra special. Outstanding attention to detail greets me inside my spacious executive room overlooking Manila Bay. The bathroom is resplendent with 1940s scalloped sink, gold taps and huge oval mirror, and partitioned from the main suite by a curved wall sporting timber and scallop shell-like panels reminiscent of windows in 19th century Filipino aristocratic homes. The room décor is equally sumptuous:  a cushioned headboard above my king size bed features arty detail of a Roman soldier and horse-drawn carriage; an impressive brass artwork on the wall depicts two women performing a folk dance; a dark blue chaise with yellow cushions sits by the floor-to-ceiling window. I’ve arrived late at night and am so happy to see the table beside the chaise laden with a truly delectable welcome platter of Filipino delicacies, bottled margarita cocktail and ice bucket. Along the opposite wall is a desk with all the right electrical and USB sockets, a large flat screen tv, a well-stocked mini bar and generous cupboard with ironing board, kettle and more. I immediately forget the rigours of the previous 10 hours of travel. I feel right at home.

Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Spanish Room
Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Spanish Room

What else? As befits a hotel as inspired as Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery, each floor is themed according to a Filipino tradition and each room doorbell sports a different artwork pertaining to said theme. Festivals, heroes, folk dances and more. My room is on the fifth floor which pays homage to folk dances, hence the aforementioned brass wall sculpture in my suite. Near the elevators is a vintage shoe shining machine.

The Presidential Suite

Fabulous experiences await. Top of the list is The Golden Era Tour. – a guided tour of Manila’s historical sites and more in a gleaming white (and wonderfully air-conditioned) 1951 Buick Super 8. This came about thanks to the keen eye of Admiral Hotel general manager Matthieu Busschaert who spotted the vintage vehicle getting around Manila and set about arranging its acquisition. Also top of the list is booking a banquet dinner in the Presidential Suite. This can be hired by guests for private events, with menus such as the one we experienced which included dishes like a gourmet version of the Filipino dessert Champorado, a moreish chocolate rice pudding made with Barako coffee Chantilly cream and molasses pearl. A special treat in between courses was the homemade calamancello, a limoncello made with calamansi (a tiny SE Asian lime) in place of lemon.

Presidential Suite Dining Area
Presidential Suite Dining Area

Ruby Wong’s speakeasy bar

Ruby Wong’s Go Down goes down as one of Southeast Asia’s best speakeasy bars. Why? Well, firstly, it’s hidden, entered via the ‘bookcase’ / door found just around the corner from the lobby. Down the stairs you go, past rows of Chinese lanterns, a dim sum bar and tables, to the main event behind a bamboo door. Inside you’ll find a dimly lit cocktail bar, all Shanghai-style décor with small tables and walls lined with private booths. At the bar master mixologists serve up signature cocktails like The Fiery Dragon, a powerful mix of mezcal, bell pepper, grapefruit and fire water tincture which is then heated in a glass dome so as to be served in a cloud of smoke; and the Green Opium Heaven, a concoction of jasmine-infused gin, gentian liqueur and homemade kaffir tincture pandan served with a sage cigarette.

The Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Spa

The Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Spa is also ridiculously impressive. The ebullient manager Mary Jhoan Farol presides over the high-ceilinged facility beyond the lobby and adjacent the well-equipped gym. Jhoan gives the best massages and is also a first class facialist who has trained in France. This is a Biologique Recherche spa too, and stocks virtually every product of the cult beauty brand sweeping the world.

Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Pool
Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Pool

Coconut Grove Bar & Rooftop Pool

Coconut Grove Bar & Rooftop Pool  There is scarcely a better place to be at the end of the day in this tropical mecca than at one of Coconut Grove’s outdoor tables, margarita or martini in hand, watching the sun sink below a glittering Manila Bay. Tear your eyes away from the sunset for a moment and take in the Admiral’s original art deco-patterned façade. Beside Coconut Grove lies an inviting infinity pool, wonderful for floating and swimming at any time of the day with Manila Bay views.

The Admiral’s Club restaurant

The Admiral’s Club restaurant overlooks the infinity pool and bay through floor to ceiling glass. Here we enjoy truly excellent buffet breakfasts and lunches – choices ranging from delicious soups to meats, cheeses, and Asian, Middle Eastern and Filipino/Spanish specialities.

El Atrio Lounge

El Atrio Lounge Atrium
El Atrio Lounge Atrium

El Atrio Lounge This tranquil lobby restaurant features a full menu, bakery cakes, and patisserie delights from renown Filipino chocolatier Kevin Ong who has a small outlet here. The Admiral Club Lounge – accessible to club members and those booked into executive suites and above – is a more intimate space at the lobby’s rear, where you’ll find a snack bar stocked with ube and pandan marshmallow, spiced nuts and more, a grand piano and cocktail/drinks cabinet.

But wait, there’s more… the hotel is close to: the SM Mall Of Asia, one of Asia’s largest with not only world class shopping but a full-size ice rink, games parlour offering everything from archery to bowling, and excellent food hall; National Museum of the Philippines; Cultural Centre of the Philippines, the Philippine International Convention Centre and the SMX Convention Centre. Manila’s historical heart is also nearby – Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Baluarte de San Diego and San Agustin Church & Monastery. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Ninoy Aquino Airport, and Manila’s bayside walkway is just across the road.  

Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Executive Bay Room Pet Friendly
Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery Executive Bay Room Pet Friendly

Admiral Hotel MGallery Manila  Luxury 5 Star Boutique MGallery Hotel in Manila|Admiral Hotel Manila

2138 Roxas Boulevard Malate, Manila 1004 Philippines

@ADMIRALHOTELMANILA

What’s On: If you’re quick you can take advantage of the MGallery World Cocktail Month. The global event kicked off at the Admiral Hotel Manila MGallery and is continuing at MGallery hotels around the world. The MGallery collection is part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group with more than 5500 properties throughout 110-plus countries MGallery – Boutique hotels with one-of-a-kind designs (accor.com)


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