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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Of sapphire & silk roads

THE youngest of the brood is turning two and in this short span of time, this celebrant has etched its name in the hospitality industry as a hotel of choice in the Pasig Business District.

Marco Polo Ortigas, situated along Sapphire Street and Meralco Avenue, is proving the “terrible two” theory right, but in a very good way. It may be a business hotel but this leisure traveler spent four days in the first sky hotel in the Philippines and was pampered—terribly (again, in the positive way).

It was one of the most well spent “me time” I had.

How can anyone not bask every minute of this 5-star hotel’s silken loving? It was a staycation and I had everything I needed within the tower. I found no reason to step out the front door.

Warm welcome and beaming smiles. These marked the start of a pleasant stay. From the concierge desk to the elevator, from the check-in counter all the way to the room where I passed the housekeepers, the pleasantries from each of the hotel staff was extended with a genuine smile.

Sunset sweet. My room was expansive at 50-sqm. An aerie 33 floors high where none of the area’s bustle can be heard, and tinted with a fiery red-orange hue of the sunset at day’s end.

“The lead-in rooms (standard rooms) of the 316-room hotel start at 40sqm. Marco Polo has one of the biggest guest rooms in the city that guests think that they have been upgraded,” shared Judith Los Baños, the hotel’s Director for Marketing & Communication.

“The modern hotel is the newest in Ortigas. The big rooms is just one of the features that make our hotel unique and special.”

Continental Clubbing. From the break of day to moonrise, the Continental Club on the 24th floor is a private nook I enjoyed having my cups of freshly brewed coffee with breakfast, choice tea with sconces, and a glass of fine wine with hors d'oeuvres.

Sunrise bathes the room with its warm rays that brightens the rest of the metropolis and beyond, from the far mountains of the Sierra Madre to the bustling streets below. And at twilight, the same view lights up against the deepening color of the sky.

Vu’s with a view. What I kicked off at the Continental Club, I continued at Vu’s (pronounced as “views”), a first-of-its kind sky bar and lounge on the top 45th floor of the hotel tower. The al fresco section of the rooftop bar offered a commanding view of the East and West faces of the metropolis and beyond, serving as the perfect backdrops to the specialty cocktail, the Sapphire Road, and savoury Mediterranean tapas served before me.

A feast of Eastern delights. With so many good food listed on the menu of the specialty restaurant on the hotel’s 44th floor, I left it to the Lung Hin’s Executive Chef to deliver his specialties on the table.

What he served was nothing short of remarkable. It was a complete Cantonese meal from starter to dessert with each dish bursting with flavor with every bite. No wonder this restaurant is being lauded as one of the city’s best Chinese restaurants.

The kitchens of Cucina. In this all-day dining space, live show kitchens headed by a Spanish executive chef take center stage at lunch and dinner.

“The restaurant may not be as big as the other hotel’s, but here in Cucina we offer good food made from quality ingredients,” said the MarCom Director, and I believe her.

The offerings are well selected giving the diners a chance to taste a specialty from each station. The paella was good, but I say go for the Salted Caramel Ice Cream. It’s delicious!

Heat up or cool down at the Flow on 22F. Pump irons at the fitness center (fruits and citrus-infused water are on the house), loosen up at the steam room, cool down at the indoor infinity pool and end it with a relaxing massage at Asmara Spa. I just opted for the last.

*****

From the menu of Asmara, the two-hours indulgence “For Him”, which consisted of a Philippine Barako Coffee Body Scrub, sports massage and ending with Algotherm soothing facial, was the perfect therapy as finale of my staycation.

Retail therapy, just in case. I enjoyed my “solitary confinement” in the comforts of the hotel. But who am I to say you shouldn’t be heading out if you want to? After all retail therapy might just be part of your relaxation.

Within walking distance are SM Megamall, The Podium, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, and Robinson’s Galleria, while Greenhills Shopping Center, Tiendesitas and Eastwood City are short drives away.

A grand celebration. At a young age, this hotel won the Spirit of Marco Polo’s Best Guest Experience Award for 2015 and Travelers Choice 2016 Luxury and Best Service Awardee. Its sisters in Davao and Cebu couldn’t be any prouder.

With the Marco Polo hotels across the country achieving its individual milestones, the cluster is celebrating together with its first ever grand affair with Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner, at the Grand Ballroom of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila on April 18th, 2016.

The event focuses on Marco Polo’s 24-year journey along the Silk Road, which will be interpreted in music by Francisco Aseniero, Gerphil Flores and talents Philippine Opera Company; on cuisine by Luis Pesarrondona; and in fashion by Renee Salud.

Make your way to Sapphire Street and take the Silk Road journey.

I say, nothing could be more perfect than culminating my seven-day visit to Manila with a staycation at the Marco Polo Ortigas. The four days flew by too quickly.

For more information & booking, visit their website at http://www.marcopolohotels.com/en/marco_polo/hotels/philippines/manila/marco_polo_manila/index.html

*****

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com
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