Whenever I book a hotel, the important factors I look for are safety and comfort. I took Bayleaf based on the reviews of people. I was in Manila for 3 days to attend a forum.
I had a great first impression of the hotel when the staff Francis Serrano replies to my emails efficiently on my requirements of the room. Basically I asked for an early check in as I will arrive at the hotel at 5am. They told me that they will prioritise my name to secure a room that will allow me to check in early. I like how flexible they are.
Check-in was a breeze but I was surprised at first when the receptionist told me that my check-in was at 2p.m and I started to worry that they might have not been informed about getting me an early check-in. It is 5a.m and I am extremely fatigued. Luckily they told me they found a room and I can check in at 7a.m. So they told me to have my breakfast first (it was swapped with my check out date of 28th July as i leave before breakfast time, that's great flexibility from them).
Breakfast is average. Croissants, Pandesal, rice, salad, fruits. At least it was a good variety and they try their best. The restaurant staff were very sincere with the way that they always serve with a smile.
The superior room with a view was very clean with a clean bathroom and the bed was comfortable. It makes you feel at ease and settled. I was happy with the fact that they have a hairdryer and basic toiletries as some hotels can be stingy with that. Unfortunately their pillows are way too soft for me and I will always wake up with a neck ache. I love the rain shower with warm water.
I was disappointed with the food that they serve in their restaurant. It is pricey by the way. Most of their food are fusion style. I have tried both their local dishes and fusion dishes. I had their bagnet dish for lunch and it was too salty. Later at night I invited a friend for dinner at the restaurant and we tried their fusion dishes. It was mostly Italian fusion. The risotto was way overcooked and their fish was clearly cooked from frozen. It was even more embarrassing when my friend, who is also a chef, felt offended that the restaurant did not put enough effort in ensuring that they serve good food and the fact that the chef of the restaurant actually graduated from a top culinary school in manila. I feel that the staff need to be trained more on the knowledge of wine as we asked for the house wine (white wine) and they only have Ice wine. Nevertheless, I am very impressed by the attentiveness of the staff and they are always joyful to serve you and you can feel the sincerity from them. This is something that not many hotels have or can achieve.
Fortunately, there is a Chorizo place at the bottom of the restaurant that serves delicious chorizos and sandwiches. A 24hour Macdonalds is right at the corner of the hotel. At least the location of the hotel is convenient to other options.
Basically the Bayleaf is an oasis to go to after a tiring day outside the city. I would warn those who have not been to Manila at all that although they say that the tourist places in Intramuros are walking distances from the hotel, just be prepared that some streets are lined with informal settlers and pedicabs who may tout you.
I guess the only thing for Bayleaf to improve is their airport transfer as I was not picked up by their appointed transport company "The Alamo" at the airport at all. I arrived in NAIA Terminal 1 at 4a.m and followed their email instructions to approach the desk of "The Alamo" outside the airport. It was not a desk but a dingy counter inside an old building across the terminal with lights that flicker and nobody around. I felt like I was in a horror film. Also since the hotel is new, many taxis do not know where it is. I hope they will find some way to get a permanent driver or a more efficient transport company.
All in all I'd give it a 3 and a half star as it was safe and comfortable but not memorable. Their concierge does a good job as they are efficient with booking a taxi for me regularly (as I always leave early from the hotel). However the desk had forgotten to give me a wake-up call on my check out date at 2a.m. The price for the hotel fits exactly to the service that they provide. At least they try their best and I appreciate the effort a lot because I know that they really want you to enjoy your stay.
Views from the hotel room is pretty.I would return to this hotel if I have another business meeting but not to stay for a holiday or honeymoon. The sky deck rooftop bar is a great place to drink and socialise as it has one of the best views of the city.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Bayleaf is the only boutique hotel in the heart of the country's premiere heritage site, the Intramuros -the seat of Spanish government more established than 400 years ago. Located inside massive walls, Intramuros is home to very old churches, museums, national parks and courtyards.With 57 rooms and suites, The Bayleaf also has 5 modern meetings rooms, a 280 capacity ballroom, an all day dining panoramic restaurant on the 9th floor, a roof deck al fresco lounge on the deck and a rustic Churros cafe on the ground floor. ... more less
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