I had the pleasure of staying at Marco Polo Davao a few years ago, and was impressed by the high level of service and hospitality that made Marco Polo the internationally recognized name in hotels that it is today. However, despite the fact that I pass it on my way to work every day, I had yet to experience a stay in their renowned accommodations and facilities. That changed recently when Rina, Rain and I were invited to a family staycation by our friends from Marco Polo Manila!
Just a little over three years in operation, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila has already made a strong impact on the hotel scene in South East Asia. It has already garned acclaim garnering 5-stars by Forbes Travel Guide for its outstanding rooms, amenities and service. The hotel is referred to as a "celebration of artistry" by Forbes due to its unique and captivating architectural style. Apart from that, Marco Polo Ortigas was awarded the TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence and Travellers' Choice.
THE PREMIER ROOM
We were billeted in the stunning Premier Room, which at roughly around 61 square meters, was quite spacious and comfortable. The king sized bed was incredibly soft, and had I not have other activities throughout the day to attend to, I would probably have been knocked out cold as soon as my head hit the fluffy pillow.
Whether you're checking in for business of pleasure, the Premier Room is a logical choice for your stay, especially when you're not flying the staycation air solo.
Rina was elated to find a rather sophisticated Nesspresso Machine set up in the room, giving her the wake up call she needs at anytime she wanted.
My favorite part of the room was the undoubtedly the inviting daybed perfectly positioned by the window. allowing me to relax over Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" (I'm kidding, it was Archie Double Digest 😂).
I think the bathroom of the Premier Room is as big as the Masters Bedroom in my home. It's equipped with a bathtub, a separate shower and toilet area.
Rina loved how there were two sinks, perfect for couples, especially when one of them is obsessed with Korean beauty care products and spends a ridiculous amount of time in front of the mirror doing their nightly beauty regimen. (Hint: it's not me. Or is it...?)
If by chance you decide to explore more of the hotel, then I suggest you make your way to the 22nd floor. There you'll discover the gorgeous indoor swimming pool, that gives you a picturesque view of the bustling Ortigas Center.
Rina and Rain enjoyed a quick afternoon dip in the Swimming Pool, and after awhile, they made themselves right at home in the neighboring Hot Tub!
You can get your daily workout in as well at Marco Polo's Fitness Center, that is equipped with the latest exercise machines and weights.
If you're like me and prefer your afternoons more relaxing and less strenuous, then you may instead opt to head on over to the Flow Spa and avail one of their soothing massages or treatments. A couples room is also available, making it ideal for romantic dates and anniversaries.
DINING AT MARCO POLO ORTIGAS
DINING AT MARCO POLO ORTIGAS
For afternoon refreshments, you may drop by the Connect Lounge, located at the 24th floor. Again, the draw here is the breathtaking view of the metropolis, which you can gaze at while enjoying their Afternoon Tea Set (P788) which is available everyday from 2pm-6pm.
The three tier set consists of the days selection of in-house pastries and baked goods, delectable finger sandwiches, and a medley of the desserts. The kitchen revolves the entrees allowing the guests to feel like every tea set is a new experience whenever they order it.
Before digging in to the Tea Set items, you start off by cleansing your palate with an Amuse Bouche Mango and Raspberry Sorbet, encased in white chocolate. And of course, the star of the set is Connect Cafe's vast selection of premium teas.
I lucked out with the day's selection of baked goods, as we were served some delicious, buttery Scones, and flakey, juicy, Sausage rolls. The finger sandwiches consisted of a nice variety as well, as it included Smoked Salmon, Farmers Ham, and Salami.
From my experiences in Cucina, I knew that we were in for a treat with the desserts, and I was not mistaken, as everything they served was exceptional. The selection included cream based treats to go with some chocolate delights.
Lung Hin is in the upper echelon of Chinese Restaurants in Metro Manila. No doubt about it. I've been here twice before, but we were served set meals so I didn't get a chance to order what I wanted. This time, I was given free rein to order whatever my heart desired, and I can safely say that every dish I ordered blew me away.
We can't go to any Chinese restaurant without ordering Hakaw for Rina and Rain, and the Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Gold Leaf (P220) is perhaps the gold standard of Hakaw in the country today, no pun intended.
Another dish you must not miss is the Steamed Pork Siomai with Truffle Sauce (P220). Do not pass this up. The subtle essence of truffle turns this beloved meat dumpling into another win for Lung Hin.
I've said it time and time again, a Chinese restaurant worth its weight will have excellent Sweet and Sour Pork. It is the dish that I always judge a Chinese restaurant by. I look for the meat being juicy but with a crispy exterior. I need the sauce to glaze the meat, and not create a runny pool on the plate. And so much more. Lung Hin's Sweet and Sour Pork with Blueberries (P490) checks all those boxes and them some. The blueberries add a nice touch to the classic Chinese food staple, making this among the best you'll find in Metro Manila.
Yet another mind-blowingly delicious dish was the Deep Fried Boneless Fried Chicken with Sliced Almond in Lemon Sauce (P880). The cutlets of chicken were coated masterfully, giving out a light crunch with every bite you take. The sliced almonds give a nice dimension of texture and nuttiness, while the lemon sauce, has the perfect balance of zest, without overwhelming your palate with sweetness.
Hofan is one of my favorite noodle dishes, and I was incredibly pleased with Lung Hin's Fried Beef Hofan (P880). The soft noodles were coated in the sauce, and the beef added a remarkable savoriness to the dish that made it satisfying as a meal in itself.
There seems to be two different schools when it comes to choosing what type of rice to choose when dining at a Chinese restaurant. Some people like plain rice so that the entrees would be best enjoyed, and their flavors allowed to shine through. Sorry, but i'm part of the group that enjoys Chinese fried rice when enjoying a Chinese meal. I feel that no meal at a Chinese Restaurant is complete without at the very least, Yang Chow Fried Rice (P480).
For dessert, we stuck to the more traditional offerings, and were not disappointed. Both the Hot Almond Milk with Red Beans Glutinous Rice Ball (P200) and the Chilled Mango Sago with Coconut Milk are must tries, and was the perfect way to cap a fantastic meal.
I'm sure you've noticed that Lung Hin's price points are a bit on the higher side, however when you take in to consideration its award winning pedigree, which includes winning the award for Most Outstanding Chinese Restaurant Outside of China, at the 16th China Hotel Industry Golden Horse Awards Gala, not to mention the quality of food and service, then it becomes understandable.
There are few places in the country that offer a more picturesque view of the cityscape than Viu Sky Bar and Lounge. Perched high on top of the 45th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas,
But Viu offers More than just nice scenery. From 5pm to 8pm daily, guests may enjoy the Apertivo Buffet Spread. Inspired by the Anti Pasi Misto Buffet, guests may feast on an unlimited access to a wide selection of Cold Cuts, Cheeses, Pizza, , Croquettes, as well as free flowing local beers and house wines.
Rina and her sister, Chaika and her cousin Nina had an incredible evening at Viu,
BREAKFAST AT CUCINA
I've mentioned time and time again that Cucina at Marco Polo is easily among the best bang for your buck Hotel Buffets in the metro today. This was the first time for me to try their breakfast buffet, and all I can say was that it was dynamite. You can start your meal with eggs customized the way you like it, including a wide array of ingredients for an omelet, prepared for you on the spot.
The Healthy Station includes a selection of soups and salads, that you may dress to your liking.
Yeah, I skipped all that healthy stuff and made my way to the platter of sausages..
The Filipino food selection included favorites, such as Danggit, Tapa and Tocino, and in true Pinoy fashion (Not to mention to the delight of Rina), it even had red Hot Dogs!
For me, it is imperative that Breakfast buffets have bacon as part of the entrees, and thankfully for me, Marco Polo has two types of bacon.. Soft and Crispy.. Available for their guests.
NEW ALA CARTE DISHES
You know, if all salads were like the Parma Ham with Grilled Marinated Asparagus Spears, Shimeji Mushrooms and Porcini Vegetables, then I would have no problems eating it before my meals.
The White Onion Soup with Seared Scallops, Thyme Leaves and Truffle Oil, was one of the best meal starters I've had. And this is coming from someone who isn't usually fond of Scallops.
I couldn't help but appreciate how gorgeous the sear on the scallops were, as it was plump and juicy, further punctuated by the creaminess of the white onion soup and drizzling of truffle oil.
One of the new entrees that you most definitely shouldn't miss out on, is the Gratinated Fillet of Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Parsley Crust on Wilted Spinach Leaves, Mushrooms, Tomato and Pommery Mustard Cream.
A new addition to the dessert menu, is the stunning Chocolate Grand Marnier Slice with Candied Orange Peel and Vanilla Creme Brulee Sauce.
Before heading home, we decided to end our stay at Marco Polo with a quick bite at Cafe Pronto, the charming little cafe on the ground floor, which features a dazzling roster of sandwiches and pastries to choose from.
Rina felt that Cafe Pronto was he perfect place to enjoy a tall glass of Marco Polo's signature Early Grape Tea, that is served with some Turkish Delights as well.
I went straight for the Maple Walnut Kouign Amann (P135), and was pleased to find it flakey, and buttery, with just the right hint of sweetness, with the carmelized walnuts a wonderful touch.
Rain ordered the sweet and simple waffle, which was cooked to golden gorgeousness. The edges had a lovely crispiness to it, while the center maintained a delicate softness. When the butter melts into the waffle, it melds its creaminess into it, making it a perfect pair with the maple syrup.
Still a little full from Breakfast, Rina and I decided to share the Grilled Beef Tapa Wrap. Which turned out to be a huge mistake. This is one of those dishes that you DO NOT SHARE WITH ANYONE. No joke, after one bite into this, my marriage was on the line. Of course I HAD to share with piece I had promised, but it took me a while to hand it over to my wife.
The delicious Tapa was incredibly flavorful, and fused together with melted Mozzarella, and neatly tucked into a tortilla. It was spectacular.
As I mentioned earlier, based on my experience with Cucina, Marco Polo's Pastry team are excellent, so there's no doubt that whatever cake you decide to have at Cafe Pronto, will be phenomenal.
Since my office is also located there, I also spend a whole lot of time at the Ortigas Center, yet my experience at Marco Polo made me see the area in a whole different light. All of a sudden, I wasn't in a bustling business district anymore. Suddenly, I was home.
And that's the magic of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
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