I had a quick overnight in Manila and decided to stay at the Makati Shangri-La. The hotel is iconic in Manila, and while it may not be the most modern hotel, it is arguably one of the best known, together with the Peninsula. A host of new, more modern hotels have opened, including the Fairmont, the Raffles, the Shangri-La BGC, and the Conrad (which I recently reviewed) though the Makati Shangri-La remains well-regarded. I wanted to check it out for myself.
The hotel is in Makati which is one of the premier business districts of Manila. It is located close to the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls.
I arrived at around 11 PM on a flight from Singapore. Traffic was heavy so I did not end up getting to the hotel until around midnight. There was strict security before getting to the lobby, with guards opening all of the doors and searching under the car. Dogs were brought around too. The exterior was impressive with a grand fountain.
The hotel was remarkably busy for a weeknight at midnight. While there were a lot of people, there was no one outside assisting with luggage. The lobby area is impressive.
I made my way to the front desk. I was assisted immediately by a less-than-interested associate. She simply said “passport” when I walked up to the desk. She then proceeded to talk with her colleague in Tagalog. They were laughing hysterically while she processed my check-in. The whole situation was bizarre. I really do not think it is too much to ask to have the associate’s attention for the 2 minutes it took to check-in at any hotel, let alone the Shangri-La.
She then proceeded to tell me the benefits that I would receive as I had booked the hotel with a Luxury Circle rate. I was informed that I had been upgraded to a junior suite and that I had a US$100 hotel credit. She also asked me what time I planned to checkout the next day. I told her 4:00 PM, to which she said “not possible, we are very busy.” She offered me 2 PM, which I accepted, but I will get back to this later.
I made my way to my room, room 1201 which was a corner room. The hallways were beyond dated and sort of reminded me of a cruise ship? Perhaps it is the colours used and the lighting fixtures.
The theme of light wood continues into the main room. The room was considered a “junior suite” though I have found this room category to vary greatly from hotel to hotel. Some, as Shangri-La does, refers to a larger room with a small sitting area as this, others refer to a junior suite as a regular suite with perhaps a smaller sitting area, though still in a different room than the bedroom.
The room had a king-size bed as well as a loveseat. In the corner, there was a makeup table.
The room had a long entryway, to the left of which was a series of closets, to the right was the bathroom. Again, light wood is the theme here.
The room had a colourful minibar and truly did exude the early 1990’s.
The desk was large and was well stocked.
The bathroom was quite large with a separate toilette and bidet. It also features two sinks, a separate tub and shower.
The toiletries were Shangri-La branded and were fine, though not particularly memorable.
So, as is clear by the pictures, the room was old. It felt directly out of the 1990’s and like no one had touched it since. It was not in the best state either. For example, when I arrived at the room, I saw this:
While the room was old, I did like some of the “old world” design features. For example, while it is not to everyone’s taste, I liked the ceiling:
Since I had booked a luxury circle rate, I had US$100 to spend by the next day when I was checking out. It was late, but I decided to order in-room dining. I called at about 12:00 AM and by 1:00 AM, nothing had arrived. I called and she apologised profusely and said it would be right there. By 1:30 AM, I called again to cancel the food, to which there was no answer. At 1:40 AM, the food arrived. It was brought (and possibly prepared?) by the same associate who was answering the calls. I ordered the burger and she included fruit as a way of apologising for the long wait time. To be fair to her, I think she was just really overwhelmed. It really did seem like she was the only one working in-room dining for the hotel.
It was fine, though I have had far better at what are considered inferior hotels. I mean, that salad looked like something I made when I was 5. The burger is not particularly great looking either.
The next day I checked out the public facilities, namely the gym and pool. The gym was a very pleasant surprise as it was far more updated than most of the rest of the hotel was. It seems that a lot of locals who are not staying at the hotel have memberships to the gym.
In addition, the pool was beautiful and completely empty when I was there.
As I mentioned, the front desk associate gave me a 2 PM checkout and refused to budge until 4 PM, despite that being a privilege of the Luxury Circle program and being a Jade member, which includes a 4 PM checkout as a benefit. I understand the benefit is based on availability, but decided to give it another shot as I did not have a flight until 9 PM that night. I went up to the front desk and without mentioning the check-in experience asked about a 4 PM checkout. The front desk associate this time was lovely and after typing a few things, happily confirmed a 4 PM checkout. Why does this have to be such a struggle?
Right before checkout, I attempted to use more of my US$100 credit on an afternoon tea service. The afternoon tea at the Shangri-La Makati is famous and very well attended. There is a large orchestra that plays every afternoon. I am happy to report that the tea was of much better quality than the in-room dining the night before.
Overall, I was not impressed with the Shangri-La. I don’t mind old hotels as I usually find there to be a certain charm about them. I am not particularly “techie” and therefore do not need everything to be controlled by one touch screen device. That being said, service was severely lacking at this hotel. There were some standouts, though the majority of staff could not be bothered. Especially compared to its neighbour across the street, the Peninsula, the Shangri-La Makati really fell short of delivering on the expectations of a Shangri-La brand. Have you stayed here? If so, what were you thoughts?