A boutique hotel in Manila’s Malate district makes an impressive first impression with a lovely lobby and stylish food and beverage outlets. But guest rooms seem well past their sell-by dates. Are they due for a makeover?
The Orchid Garden Suites Manila is a boutique hotel housed in a gracious bungalow built by a supreme court justice in 1935.
The building has served as the residence of many illustrious personalities over the years. On separate occasions in the past it served as the Russian and Indonesian embassies.
The building was converted into a hotel in 1995. An adjoining villa was acquired in 2014 and turned into a lovely coffee shop and restaurant.
Most of the hotel’s guest rooms are actually situated in a high-rise property behind the villa.
The hotel was undergoing renovation during my stay. Finishing touches were being put on the lobby, and a very attractive lobby bar opened while I was lodged at the hotel.
Considering the hotel’s very affordable room rates, I was very surprised upon arrival. With its lovely chandeliers and gorgeous period furniture, the lobby was drop dead gorgeous.
It did, in fact, far exceed my expectations.
My room, however, proved another story. It’s hard to believe the public spaces and the rooms belong to the same property.
Considering the very attractive public spaces, my room proved a huge disappointment.
The contrast between the public and private spaces was actually quite remarkable.
I think that including the word “suites” in the hotel’s name is a bit of a stretch. The standard rooms, such as the one I stayed in, measure just 16 square metres.
My room was a bit cramped, and the bathroom was about as small as they get.
My room had a queen sized bed. Rooms with two single beds are also available. There was a small refrigerator. Wi-fi was complimentary.
The white laminate furniture seemed right out of a do-it-yourself kit. I had a decent sized work space, but there were no electrical outlet nearby. As a result, I had to stretch an extension cord across the floor,
Apparently some of the rooms have kitchens, and that was definitely the case with the room next door to mine.
I could, in fact, smell and hear meals being prepared, which I found a bit off-putting.
Food and Beverage
The hotel has three lovely food and beverage outlets, each with its own distinct personality.
Lobby Bar – serves light snacks, tasty desserts, and gourmet coffee. I couldn’t resist trying a piece of yummy chocolate and cashew nut cake.
Café Alicia – located in an adjacent bungalow, the restaurant is full of colonial charm, with a gracious white and blue colour scheme.
The menu included both local dishes and international favourites. I enjoyed a very tasty chicken dinner.
Harrison Bar – a festive space that is reminiscent of an old fashioned soda fountain.
The hotel has a swimming pool set in a secluded garden, which wasn’t really large enough for a serious swimmer like me.
Some hotel guests have left comments on TripAdvisor complaining about the pool’s size and cleanliness.
Because the pool is in the shade most of the day, it would not be appropriate for guests wanting to work on their tan.
The hotel does not have a spa, but massages can be arranged in your room.
The hotel has a business centre with very helpful staff. I relied on them to book a flight.
There are six meeting rooms that can handle small to medium sized functions of up to 100 people.
This hotel offered a study in contrasts – very lovely public spaces and rooms that were short on comfort.
It was obvious that the public spaces had very recently been given a very tasteful makeover, and I assumed when I got to my room that they hadn’t gotten around to the rooms yet.
If I were in the neighborhood, I would definitely consider eating in the hotel’s charming restaurant or having a cup of coffee in the lobby bar – both were lovely.
But I’m not sure I would stay the hotel again unless the rooms are updated. I’m assuming that this is in the cards.
I was in town to attend TBEX Asia, a bloggers convention that was held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
It was about a 20 to 30 minute walk from the hotel to the center.
My stay at the hotel was entirely self-funded.
Orchid Garden Suites Manila, 620 Pablo Ocampo S. Street, Malate, Metro Manila, Philippines. Telephone: 516-0888.
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