Our personal reviews and recommendations on Manila and Makati hotels including those in the Greenbelt and Glorietta area. Our budget and our focus is on mid-range or lower priced Manila hotels so we can’t give guidance on the five-star hotels such as the Peninsula Manila, Makati Shangri-La or Mandarin Oriental. We also don’t usually stay in really, really budget or backpacker hotels although many of them may offer good economy accommodations.
One thing we have noticed is that there really is not such a big price gap between nicer rooms in modest hotels (for example Fersal Inns or El Cielito, Makati) and entry-level rooms in somewhat more upscale mid-range hotels such as Best Western Astor or Crown Regency. Generally we try to find relatively inexpensive rooms in mid-range hotels. Often you get better rooms and furnishings and other hotel amenities such as free breakfasts, fitness centers, wi-fi and common areas, by trying to get a bargain room at a more upscale hotel.
We almost always search, compare prices, look for bargains and make our reservations on-line. Formerly we liked www.asiatravel.com but now they no longer give meaningful room rates. They display a rate but it does not include taxes or service charges. We prefer asiarooms.com as the prices they display are actually what the rooms cost. Booking.com really is useful as they not only display the total price, not a ++ price, AND they tell you the size of the rooms. This is especially useful in a place like Hong Kong where you can end up with a room so small there’s no room for your suitcases!
Manila or Makati. There’s lots to see in the Ermita-Malate area and many hotels, but many foreign visitors prefer to stay in Makati. The Ayala-developed area of Makati is a little island of relative gentility in the madness of Manila. In Makati, there are avenues, trees, parks, wide sidewalks, shopping centers and restaurants. It’s actually fairly pleasant to be a pedestrian there, especially on weekends.
Don’t let us discourage you from visiting the Ermita-Malate area. Some of our favorite places (Fort Santiago), bookshops (Tradewinds Books) and restaurants are there. Further, hotel choices and prices are better in Ermita.
Speaking of the Malate area, we stayed two weeks at the Tropicana Apartment Hotel. It’s very conveniently located, just steps away from Robinson’s mall. It’s easy walking distance to the U.S. Embassy, Intramuros, Fort Santiago, Roxas Boulevard and the restaurants and entertainment opportunities of Remedios Circle and the rest of the Manila “tourist belt”. We had a roomy one-bedroom unit with a kitchen and a porch with a beautiful view over greenery to the skyscrapers of Manila. Rooms are variable so take the time to look at what they have available. We had room #702. It was high up and facing a quiet area so traffic noise was minimal. The Tropicana is on relatively quiet Luis M. Guerrero Street. The Tropicana also offers weekly and monthly rates. A good percentage of the rooms are rented on a monthly basis. Address is 1630 Luis Ma. Guerrero Street, Malate, Manila Philippines 1004. Kudos to the Tropicana which reads and replies to email inquiries. So many hotels have email links but never check or reply to email inquiries.
Website: http://tropicana-apt-hotel.com/ Phone: +63-2-525-5555
In the UN Avenue area the Hotel Soriente at 545 Bocobo Street offers spacious rooms for about P1,700. The hotel is well maintained, secure and in a quiet location for this part of Manila. 63-2- 525-7304 E-mail: email@example.com www.hotelsoriente.com Ask for a room at the third floor at the back of the hotel.
We are more familiar with Makati hotels so can offer a few more suggestions.
Berjaya Hotel (formerly Best Western Astor). http://www.berjayahotel.com/manila/index.asp
The Best Western Astor can be a solid budget pick if you can get a good rate. During our first stay there we got a good deal through asiatravel.com, about $50 per night. When we checked in we were given an upgrade to a large, quite nice room with a king size bed. The included breakfast buffet was pretty good. This hotel is on Makati Ave., not far from the P. Burgos “adult entertainment district” but not really in the heart of the district and is a relatively short and safe walk to the more refined parts of Makati. There’s lots of budget dining nearby, including North Park Noodles and all the fast food chains. More recently, rates have risen beyond our frugal budget to about $85. April 21, 2010 update – change of ownership for this hotel: http://business.inquirer.net/money/topstories/view/20100420-265448/Berjaya-unit-buys-RP-hotel We have not stayed there since the Berjaya takeover.
Fersal Makati http://www.fersalinn.com.ph/makati/
The Fersal Inn is quite near the Best Western Astor, on a quiet side street. This is a good budget place, but you can often stay at a more upscale place for not much more money. 107 Neptune St., Bel-Air Village, Makati. 897-9123
El Cielito http://www.elcielito-makati.com/
The El Cielto Inn has a good location on Pasay Road. It’s an economy hotel with upscale aspirations. A nice room there can cost as much as a room in a more upscale place. A good place to stay. A good location. 804 Arnaiz (Pasay) Ave., Makati City. 02-815-8951 to 54
St. Illian’s http://www.saintilliansinn.com/
St. Illian’s definitely has the feel of a budget place. It’s acceptable, but you may be able to go more upscale for not too much money. It’s on Santillian St. and is a bit hard to find. 893-0754
Crown Regency http://www.crownregencyhotels.com/makati.php
We splurged on the Crown Regency for several days in January of 2009. We were very disappointed. We paid $64 for our room through www.asiatravel.com. We are budget travelers. For us, $64 per night is a splurge. Our first room, #103, faced Arnaiz (Pasay) Road but we were not too much bothered by traffic noise. On our second night we transferred to very quiet room at the back which faced a concrete wall. We ended up preferring the room on the road because there was more light and we could feel a part of the activity of the city. The hotel has a fairly convenient location on Arnaiz (Pasay Road), across from Park Square One and not far from the uncertain pleasures of Glorietta and SM City malls. It’s a longer hike to the more refined Greenbelt area.
The Crown Regency is a small hotel, apparently aspiring to botique-hotel status. There’s lots of granite and marble and genuinely good design touches. This flash is undermined by very cramped standard rooms and the most disappointing breakfast buffet we’ve ever encountered.
The basic Pensionne Virgina has a convenient location on 816 Arnaiz (Pasay) Road. When we stopped by in Jan. of 2009 they offered a large, aircon room for P1105. The room seemed spacious compared to Crown Regency room which cost four times as much. This is an economy hotel in a good location. Phone: 63-2-844-5228 and 63-2-844-4626.
There are a couple of other mid-range hotels located in the Pasay Road near Greenbelt. The Tower Inn http://www.towerinnmakati.com/ and
One Roman Suites, 914 Arnaiz St. Phone: 63-2-752-9113. 2009 rates: suite P3200, deluxe P2888, standard P2288.
Friends recommend the Citadel Inn Makati http://www.citadel-inn-makati.com/ a big newish hotel which offers good rooms at good prices. You just have to be aware that it is at the epicenter of the P. Burgos Street adult entertainment district, one of the main bar girl neighborhoods in Manila. We tend to go to bed early and get up early. If you do the same you may not be especially aware that the streets are full of hookers and fake-Viagra sellers.