Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A hotel with a whiz-bang of a welcome

Jahan Khan checked into the Conrad Manila Seaside Boulevard in the Philippine capital and found the evening firework display wasn't the only wow factor.

First impressions: This is an imposing hotel, created in the shape of a cruise ship, sitting at the top of a high-end retail complex, it has stunning views across Manila Bay. Some might be put off by the intense security checks on arrival, although you do get used to it. Check-in is on the third floor and the service from the moment you arrive is second to none.

Inside, the hotel prides itself in showcasing art by Filipino artists joined by masters including Impy Pilapil, Jon and Tessy Pettyjon. The Lobby is visually striking with good use of natural light and materials that create a calm and peaceful vibe.

Location: Ideal for business travellers, the hotel is only a 15 to 20-minute drive from the Ninoy Aquino international airport. It is linked via pedestrian bridges to the SMX Convention Centre, the country's largest convention space, and it is only a few hundred yards from the Mall of Asia Arena, a 16,000-seater indoor stadium where international shows, concerts and major sporting events are held.

Bedrooms: Our Deluxe Room with a bay view included a 42" TV, espresso machine, a hydrotherapy shower in the spacious and bathroom and a super-comfortable double bed. From the window, we were able to watch the regular Saturday evening firework display in the bay, which is organised by the Mall of Asia every Friday and Saturday.

We ordered from the 24-hour room service menu but as we weren't very hungry and it offered only a limited choice of snacks we chose from the children's selection. The pizza was fine, but I didn't like the chicken cooked in coconut oil.

Facilities: The hotel has a luxury spa with six treatment rooms and a variety of therapies, including locally-inspired treatments like the Kalinga detoxifier, a two-hour treatment where the body is wrapped in Moringa and turmeric, and an ancient Filipino Hilot massage. Most treatments use top of the range products including ESPA. We chose the Purify facial, which lasted an hour and cost at about £80 for the two of us. I'm still feeling the beneficial effects two weeks later.

There is a 24-hour Fitness Centre, with state of the art equipment.
The pool is situated with views across the bay and is suitable for kids.

Wining and dining: The hotel has six restaurants and lounges including a coffee bar and pool bar. We chose to eat in the Taiwanese restaurant where I opted for Goyosa dumplings and Beef Ramen served in a rich sauce served with fried bread, which was delicious. My daughter opted for vegetable Ramen, which was less of a hit!

Breakfast is buffet style and we found the staff would go out of their way to fulfil most requests, such as omelettes cooked longer, as we didn't like that ours were served still runny.

Leisure time: The C Lounge serves locally-inspired cocktails such as Halo-Halo made with blends of purple yam and jackfruit, but I stuck to the familiar and had the best Mojito I've enjoyed in a long time. Prices were reasonable, I thought, at about £6 each.

We explored the hotel's own S Maison Mall and were pleasantly surprised at the selection of familiar high-end retail stores. There are a range of beauty treatments offered in the various salons, and if you have the time there is even a medical diagnostic centre.

For business/events and special occasions: The hotel generates the majority of its business from conference, meetings, events and weddings. It has four event halls and two ballrooms which span more than 4000 square metres

Highs: The proximity to the airport, the artwork, the outstanding facilities and the attentive staff.

Lows: If you are a smoker, you have to be prepared to go through security and practically smoke in the street. If you are at the other side of the hotel to the mall and the exit closest to you is not open, be prepared for a long walk.

Verdict: This is one of the best luxury hotels that I have stayed in.

King Deluxe Bay View for stays in April start at £139 per room per night, including breakfast.

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