Am very pleased and glad to be back at Raffles Hotel Makati again for the second time in less than 3 months. Stayed at this grand epic 5-star hotel again for a longer time last August 17 - 21, 2013 for 4 nights / 5 days.
Tropical Storm "Maring" (Codename: Trami) was blowing in as I entered the hotel and during the whole duration of my stay there but failed to dampen my incredible experience and even gave me a chance to try many of the hotel's facilities this time around.
Since I've been here before, generally, my current review is very similar to my previous review so due to space limitations, I will just mention the highlights in outline form so as not to sound redundant because if I'm going to be detailed, there won't be enough words to describe the excellence and opulence this fantastic hotel has to offer.
Item # 1: My Current Junior Suite: SUITE 912 on the 9th Floor
Initially, they booked me in Suite 1010 on the 10th Floor during my reservation 2 weeks prior to my stay. But they must've later discovered that Suite 1010 is a Smoking Room and placed me in this suite because I requested for a non-smoking room. Good call though I wish they'd informed me sooner as the 10th Floor generally has a better view.
My Junior Suite had the same amenities as my last Junior Suite except for a few changes. The huge bathroom had only 1 window as opposed to 2 panoramic windows I had in my previous suite, thereby making this one look smaller. There's now a very bright reading light located on the ceiling directly above my study table, thereby making it easier for me to read without much eye strain. The new study table had no scratches on it and the surface was very smooth and the style classical. The bed now faces in the other direction, and the best improvement of all is my new butler took the time and the effort to tie thick towels over the 2 bedposts as I often had a knack for bumping and bruising my knee in my previous suite as I would often underestimate the exact distance as the bedposts jut out and are not in the same length as the bed itself. This time, am very glad that they took the effort to correct it. =) No more accidents.
The soundproofing material in my Suite is excellent! Even during the blowing windstorm and rain, it felt absolutely quiet inside my suite and I didn't realize the rain outside was so bad until I looked outside my window. My Suite was indeed very quiet, offering me seclusion from the noise of the storm and a good night's sleep every night!
Item # 2: Writer's Bar
Very classical, stylish, cozy, quiet and elegant bar whether day or night. Great place to relax and read a book or have Afternoon Tea as its complimentary. The deliciously sweet Earl Grey Tea is a must-try here at Raffles Hotel Makati. I drank the whole pot at Writer's Bar. Great tea! The afternoon tea snack tray is 6 levels high piled with macarons, cakes, muffins, breads, assorted finger foods and other sweet stuff. There's no way I could finish all of this but better to have too much food than to have too little, I always say. The Indian guy at the table next to mine probably saw my tray piled so high with so much food that he asked the waitress if he could take a raincheck, probably realizing he couldn't possibly finish the food and just settled for the warm calming tea.
Item # 3: Spectrum Restaurant
The main official dining jewel of Raffles Hotel Makati where everything from breakfast to lunch to snacks to liquor to dinner is being served almost at all hours of the day or night. As I mentioned in my previous column, breakfast at Spectrum offers a wide selection of foods to die for. Just by looking at the daily selection, you'd wish you had 10 stomachs to swallow all this great food! Everything from pancakes, waffles, bacon, garlic rice, dimsum, bread, cereal, honey, juices, etc. they're all here! But they scrimped on the apple juice on the buffet table this time though. You have to order it from the waiter or waitress at no charge and they'll give you either green apple juice or the tetra pack apple juice. The glass case of bees decorating the one wall of the Spectrum serves all kinds of honey, also a great place to take pictures, which I did. A nice touch. =)
This time, I tried the dinner buffet at Spectrum. Unlike breakfast, dinner is not complimentary but the price is not so bad considering the equally gigantic selection of food available for dinner. It's PhP 1,700 per person during my stay in August 2013. For this amount (which many people consider great value compared to other 5-star hotels), you get prime roast beef, turkey, rib-eye steaks, beef pot roast, dimsum, veggies, chicken, bread, several flavors of ice cream, etc. I could go on and on. For drinks, sodas are not included in this price. Separate price of PhP 180 per soda. A shame because I'm a big fan of sodas. But coffee and tea and are included in the buffet price, including my favorite Earl Grey Tea. =) Drank another whole pot! Kudos to Raffles for the breakfast and dinner buffet!
Sunday Brunch is also served at Spectrum although I often eat so much at the breakfast, I'm still so too full to eat any lunch. Sunday Brunch is divided into 2 categories: The one with free-flowing Champagne and the one without. The one without will set you back PhP 2,777 per head and the one with free Champagne will cost you a staggering PhP 3,888 per head. (For more details, check out my pic of the Sunday Brunch advertisement.)
Item # 4: The Long Bar
As I previously mentioned, named after Singapore's famous Long Bar, this one seats 20 people at the bar. Also a great place to relax and unwind with band playing almost every night and Charlie Chaplin movies showing on the widescreen TV at the bar and a sports game showing on the other side of the bar. There's again that classical feel. Bartenders are all male except for Jenny Lopez, the only female bartender in the group.
For those of you who like chatting while relaxing at the Long Bar, look for Von or Jenny. They make great conversationalists and are friendly enough to explain to you in detail about the Long Bar features.
This time around, the Long Bar has a lunch promo menu. The Long Bar Burger accompanied by Caesar's Salad for PhP 995 exclusive of taxes and other charges. A bit pricey considering it's only a burger. Long Bar also serves steak fritties, sandwiches and the like from 12 Noon to 3 PM daily. Check out my picture of the Long Bar advertisement.
I tried the Long Bar during my first visit to Raffles. Was tempted to try it again this time but didn't as I felt the food selection is not that wide as other restaurants. But if you wanna have a drink and just listen to some music, then the Long Bar is certainly the best place!
Item # 5: The Willow Stream Spa
First and foremost, if you're staying in ANY of the Suites of Raffles Hotel Makati, use of the hot bath jacuzzi is FREE OF CHARGE as long as the Spa is open. Another great perk of being in the suites! =) Didn't try this on my first stay and was happy I got to try it this time around.
The Willow Stream Spa is the probably the biggest and most fully-equipped Spa I have ever been to in my life. With friendly staff at the reception desk, numerous individual massage rooms, separate area for males and females, grand locker room with secure lockers, countless shower rooms, a steam room and of course, the great jacuzzi, this Spa is a must-try for those of you who are addicted to jacuzzi or to massage.
Water in the jacuzzi is around a little higher than 4 feet deep for me standing up and when I'm sitting down, the water is up to my lower neck. Very hot, water at 40 degrees Celcius with new fresh water being jettisoned from several holes in the tub. Ask the attendant to cut the fresh water temporarily to give the water time to cool a bit before plunging in. Go in slowly, feet first, then legs, then the rest of your body in order to gradually adjust your body temperature to the heat. Very relaxing and soothing to my body! Felt my tense muscles loosen and relax after the jacuzzi. =)
Read the rules posted on the wall before going into the jacuzzi. Shower first, don't stay in the hot water for more than 20 minutes or you'll feel numb and blood will rush to your head. People with sickness shouldn't even go near the jacuzzi. Luckily, I'm generally healthy I enjoyed the jacuzzi thoroughly - TWICE!
I also took the time to try out the Relaxation Massage for 60 minutes for a whopping price of PhP 3,200 per massage. The female therapist was very good and she readily agreed to use only light pressure upon my request. Massage was relaxing but nothing special compared to other massages I've tried. Methinks 90 percent of the price goes to the upkeep and maintenance of this very posh and elegant Spa.
Locker room for men is fantastic. Inside each individual locker you have your own bathrobe, rubber slippers, clothes hangers, a bottle of water. Very well equipped and complete. Protecting your personal belongings in your locker is an electronic lock with 4-digit combination.
Item # 6: Business Center
Fast reliable internet connection here on the 2nd Floor of Fairmont Hotel as Raffles and Fairmont share the same Business Center. Just mention your room number to the girl on duty and you get to use the internet free of charge during your stay at either hotel. Not many people visit this place as it's located at the extreme end side of Fairmont Hotel beside the huge ballrooms. I don't use laptops so I found the business center internet connection to be very fast and secure for checking my accounts online.
Item # 7: Security at Raffles
Most people overlook this but I'm very perceptive so I realize many things that most people often overlook.
Although security at Raffles Hotel Makati is laudable, but I noticed one night when I was out and the guard greeted me that the security guard was completely protected from the pouring rain by his long raincoat and hat but his bomb-sniffing dog (a black Labrador) was soaking wet in the dredging rain standing dutifully beside him while waiting to examine incoming vehicles. Being an animal lover, I felt very sorry for the poor dog. Security is good but it shouldn't come at the expense of our furry friends in the animal kingdom. Don't you agree? Please address this!
Item # 8: Parking at Raffles
Exceptionally huge and well-lighted and secure parking area that offers plenty of space to park your vehicle even with plenty of cars this time around. I parked in Slot R-53, just a couple of steps from where I parked the last time.
Finally, what's Raffles without the people who work so hard to make my stay enjoyable?
The Gorgeous Raffles Ladies, led by the lovely and statuesque Assistant Front Desk Manager Patricia "Patty" Bautista, the ever beautiful Liezl "Lizzie" Tianco, Joyce Bernal, Agatha Valera, Cindy Pimentel, Kristine Bautista, Carmen Ortiz, Shiela (of Spectrum) and Supervisor Jehziel Uy (of Spectrum).
Patty: For handling my booking and making sure my suite was okay and for the box of macarons.
Lizzie: For being of great service to me with minor requests thru Housekeeping and for handling my check-out so quickly and efficiently as always.
Joyce: For giving me and my guests at the hotel extended period of visit even if they arrived past 12 Midnight and left at 2 AM without hesitation.
Agatha: For helping Patty with my booking 2 weeks prior to my stay and for taking the energy to count the stack of money I laid on the Front Desk when I was paying in full for my reservation. =)
Kristine: I don't know her too well although she gave me a beautiful smile during one of my encounters with her at the Front Desk. Cute girl.
Cindy: She wasn't my butler this time around but took the time to chat with me while waiting for me at the elevator banks during my first night. Hope she can be my butler again for Raffles Part 3!
Shiela (of Spectrum): Deserves 5-star rating for being so friendly with me and took the time to chat with me and explain to me in detail about the dinner buffet at Spectrum. Gave me quick and excellent service, bringing me my favorite Earl Grey Tea and assorted dimsum with a ready smile and an easy candor about her. Saw her again at breakfast the next day. She's so efficient and really so dedicated to her work! Double Cheers to this lady! =)
Jehziel Uy: I don't know if I got her first name right but unlike other supervisors of other hotels who act all high-and-mighty, this lovely lady even took the time and the effort to serve me the dimsum that I had requested for right at my table without any frills. She had a ready smile and easy demeanor, discovered she was part-Chinese and chatted with her for quite awhile during my dinner buffet. She was constantly inspecting the buffet spread and going to and from the kitchen so I knew she must be very hard-working and busy. So efficient and dedicated! A shame I couldn't remember her exact first name but she truly deserves 5-star rating here! Kudos to you! Wow!
A Big Thanks to my butler Dennis this time around for exerting the extra effort to cushion the bedposts of my suite and preparing my suite with the help of 4 hotel engineers who cleared the air ducts and fixed the aircon to make it so cool in my suite!
Last but not least, A Big Thanks to the Hotel General Manager, Mr. James Bevans, for keeping all of us guests updated and informed during the storm by sending letters to our rooms! It shows that your hotel is very concerned for the safety of all your guests. Cheers to you!
Once again, another experience at Raffles Hotel Makati worth remembering! Kudos!
See You All In Raffles Part 3!
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