Arrival Experience: This gorgeous hotel nestled between two of the city’s most respectable shopping malls is considered a resort in the heart of the city…and for good reason. The moment one steps into the hotel, the greetings of sincerity begin in typical Shangri-La fashion. In fact, even the way the doors are swung open by two friendly staffmembers in simultaneous fashion is impressive. Reception is a swift affair with friendly service and name recognition from as many people as possible.
Dining: Manila residents recognize that the Shangri-La has some of the city’s finest dining options in town and make a point to eat here as much as possible. One popular option is Paparazzi, the hotel’s acclaimed Italian dining room. The chef, who hails from Italy, suggests a variety of delicious fare including sumptuous degustation menus with wine pairings or an amazing rack of lamb drizzled in homemade sauces. Try his delicious al dente pasta (he offers some of the only shell pasta in the city) or his signature mozzarella and fresh tomato salad appetizer marinated in vinegar and olive oil. The hotel’s Chinese restaurant Summer Palace is a hugely celebrated establishment in the city and also one of the most popular in the Shangri-La system. Other outlets include a fancy Japanese restaurant and one of the guests’ most favorite: HEAT. It showcases a variety of live kitchens that allow diners to be a part of their entrees. The breakfast buffet is especially exciting thanks to everything from fresh smoothies to noodle bowls to Filipino delicacies.
Accommodations: Guest rooms are awash in elegance with warm-colored fabrics and fine furnishings that the modern traveler (whether on business or leisure) would appreciate. Large beds are covered in plump duvets and firm mattresses. Turndown service brings bottled water, slippers, and draws the curtains for guests. Views are of the surrounding cityscape or the central swimming pool (the hotel’s resort vista). The Garden Wing, which features more tropical décor than the original tower, features wireless high speed Internet in addition to the wired Internet that the rest of the guest rooms have. Internet here, unlike other similarly priced high-end hotels, is complimentart. Baths feature lavender-scented toiletries, heated mirrors, power showers, enormous bath sheets, scales, robes, and hairdryers.
Conclusion: The fully equipped health club complements one of the hotel’s most popular features: its central, freeform swimming pool. Locals even book their own staycations here because of the resort-like surroundings in the heart of town. CHI Spa is an elaborate affair demonstrating Nepalese and Tibetan traditions and aromatherapy treatments. Be sure to try the Barako black coffee glow scrub treatment, which uses local coffee beans plus the hilot massage which is a Filipino deep tissue massage style. From start to finish, this hotel does everything right. Every single staffperson makes a point to greet guests no matter what they are doing; there is no better definition of hospitality than that!