If you are attending a convention at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, are planning to see the historical sights of Intramuros or just need a luxurious treat on a “staycation”, the Sofitel Manila is a good place to go! It’s a favorite of the wealthy locals and of repeat visitors to Manila and offers outstanding service and great amenities to separte itself from other luxury hotels in Manila. Find out more why I liked it!
Location: The Sofitel Manila is located right on the Manila Bay and next to the Philippine International Convention Center. It’s also close to the historic sights of Intramuros as well as the new casinos along the Bay and the gigantic Mall of Asia. The ride to the airport is 30-90 minutes, depending on the time of day and the terminal you are using. There is little you can walk to, so check my tips How to get around Manila.
Service/Rewards: Service on our visit to the Sofitel was outstanding and is one of the differentiators for the Sofitel among many hotels with great service in Manila. The front desk was able to check us in without any wait, although the paperwork took a little longer than it should. They were friendly and thorough in answering our questions and providing an overview of the hotel. Show tickets we had emailed to the hotel were delivered to our room later. Housekeeping had done a thorough job and prepared our room well. Staff throughout the hotel, including the gym, pool, pool bar and spa were friendly and attentive, going out of their way to make us welcome. The staff at Spiral’s restaurant and at the Executive Lounge stood out – they were going well beyond the call of duty in their efforts to make our stay memorable.
As a Accor LeClub Platinum member, we were offered a one-category room upgrade (higher floor, Bay view), a substantial welcome gift of fruit, cakes and a bottle of wine, as well as Executive Lounge access. We also were able to check in 2h early and check out late at 4pm. While the Executive Lounge offers a full breakfast, the Sofitel also gives the option to enjoy the breakfast buffet at Spiral – one of the best breakfast buffets you’ll find anywhere and my favorite in Manila!
Room: The rooms at the Sofitel show the age of the hotel and are disappointing compared to the new Hyatt City of Dreams or other newer luxury hotels. Our Deluxe room had a nice view from the balcony over the pool and bay. The bedroom is large with a very comfortable king-size bed, a chair in the corner, a large work desk and large closet. There is also a small bar area with a fridge and coffee/tea facilities. The furniture is held in chocolate color wood, nice but very late 90s. There are a large TV and a laptop size safe. The bathroom has a narrow peekaboo window with shutters to the bedroom. It has a large walk-in shower with glass door, a single vanity and a toilet – but there is no bathtub or separate toilet cubicle. The amenities are standard Sofitel – very nice!
The room could use a renovation to keep up with newer competition. It is not nearly as stylish as other Sofitel hotels and is missing amenities like a single pod coffee maker or artwork.
The free wifi was reliable and fast at an average speed of 3.7Mbps – enough for work or streaming video throughout our stay.
Restaurant/Amenities: The resort style amenities are another winning factor for the Sofitel. The grounds of the hotel are large and have a prime spot right on Manila Bay. You’ll find a resort-style pool with plenty of loungers as well as a kiddie pool with slides and play area. There are seating alternatives along the waterfront (a seawall, no beach) on a grassy area. You can get a workout at the full gym with cardio and weight equipment or on the tennis court. You can relax in the steam room or at the luxurious LeSpa with massages and a wide variety of treatments. Make an appointment for weekend visits – the spa books up regularly!
While I usually avoid hotel restaurants, I have visited the Sofitel restaurants a few times without even staying there. Spiral, the main restaurant, has the best breakfast and (champagne) brunch buffet in town and is worth a visit on its own. The lobby bar has live music on weekends and makes for a relaxing end to the evening.
The Executive Lounge is one of the best lounges I have been to anywhere. It is a large space that is nicely separated into a living-room style area, a bistro area and a library area. The seating is varied from bistro tables to high bar tables and lounge sofas, as well as balcony outdoor seating. The lounge serves food and drinks throughout the day. The breakfast has a continental buffet with excellent croissants and pastries, fresh fruit and yogurt, as well as made-to-order hot dishes of a large menu. During the day, there are fruits and snacks and in the evening you’ll find a cocktail hour with wine and drinks as well as a buffet of cold and hot snacks that can easily make a whole dinner. It’s a wonderful benefit for Accor Platinum members – or is worth the extra price for an Executive Lounge room, as you can pretty much have all your meals at the lounge, if you so choose! The breakfast at Spiral is worth about $50 per person, putting the higher room price into perspective! I also liked the fact that the lounge is making an effort to keep an exclusive feel to it. They offer a kids club, giving kids their very own “lounge” while keeping the main lounge quiet and peaceful, especially during the evening.
Conclusion: If you are visiting Manila for a convention at the PICC, the Sofitel is your best bet right next door. It also is a favorite with locals for a “staycation” – the wonderful pool, great service, full spa and amazing restaurant and bar make for a great weekend getaway to be truly pampered. While the rooms are past their “best by” date, the outstanding service, best-in-industry lounge, restaurant and amenities make up for it, keeping the Sofitel competitive and a great place to stay!