Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday, November 02, 2014


S T A Y 

I N   M A K A T I

To be in the middle of everything is one pursuit of travelers in the urban jungle that is Metro Manila. However, the fine line between good taste and convenience is as thin as one's dental floss. Fortunately, Makati City has one such location that exudes exceptional accommodation. Smack dab at the center of Makati Avenue's stretch of amusement establishments, Hotel Durban (HD) confidently stands as a foreigner-favorite crib.

Formerly called Durban Inn, Hotel Durban is still where it first became a reliable home-away-from-home for foreign tourists in the eclectic night life of the city. After necessary renovations, it's now newly-dressed up to appeal to the refined sensibilities of modern living sans the decadence of opulent decors and pretentious amenities.

Born In 1975

The '70s have long been gone but the heyday of the hotel's distinction can still be had in the corridors and walls of the 4-storey mid-rise. My recent stay at the Durban Street-based hotel afforded me the privilege of having a museum tour without having to pay a cent for such an experience.

High Art Identified

It started upon check-in. High art could be noticed to be literally seating guests with chairs that seem to sprout geometrical steel for backrest. The playful touch on the organic design at the lobby was just first of the many beautiful surprises that I had at the hotel.

Space Redefined

As I discovered inside, interesting glass and native sculptures adorn the maze-like hallways of the 42-room hotel. The center-piece, an indoor courtyard, serves as a cathedral-like oasis, in the bustling district where a floor of the building can be found to be palatial without using intricate ornaments. Designed to exude minimalism, the space refreshingly opens all the way to the hotel's topmost ceiling where natural light can shine on the pebble-oriented landscape design that's accentuated with an enormous wood-inspired ring.

Selected patches of flooring are also rendered with glass blocks which is popular in bathroom walls. The complexity of this sleek, modern look is felt from its ability to transmit light -- natural or otherwise -- while preserving privacy. The strong Zen theme is palpable but it's clear that contemporary is written in every nook and cranny of the establishment.

Penne All'Amatriciana

Even the seemingly narrow corridors that connect to the indoor courtyard from the surrounding guest rooms are given a modern approach with transparent chairs, redefining space in progressive Makati City. Treading the corridors was one of my best activities at the hotel actually. From rustic elegance to green design, HD allows its guests the affordable luxury of modern living that's devoid of the guilt of excess.

No Smoking Advocacy

At the front desk, I initially felt daunted that I had to sign a waiver that I do not smoke and will pay the necessary fine once determined to have done so within the premises of the hotel. I certainly don't smoke nor do I entertain visitors who do, but I still had to stare at the electronic waiver for a few seconds with fondness. I affixed my signature on the hotel's touch-screen tablet and gave my impressed but wily grin.

Room-Service Massage Test

It instantly came to me to test the security by scheduling a room-service massage from my trusted Makati City-based wellness partner -- White Palace Spa (WPS). As I found out, nothing is loose at the ends at Hotel Durban. My assigned massage therapist came in full WPS uniform -- charming white polo shirt and all -- but still had to check-in himself at the lobby which made me feel safe. After my relaxing WPS signature massage -- a perfect combination of Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai-Yoga, Pinoy Hilot, Hawaiian Lomi-lomi, Facial, Scalp Massage and Foot and Hand Reflexology, my therapist left but not without the front desk officer of the hotel making a courtesy call to my room to confirm the check-out of my visitor. This is probably why foreign patrons of HD prefer it over the new hotels in the area.

Bacon and Omelette Breakfast

Room Without A View

I was a bit annoyed that my booked room was windowless but I learned from a hotel staff that the rooms with a view are currently being renovated for new windows for less city noise. I guess I had to book myself anew to find that out soon. Thank goodness I adored my bathroom's floor layout, especially the short corridor created by the division between it and the bedroom. The inventive peek-a-boo flair is commendable.

Breakfast At Farfalla

My overnight accommodation (only at P2,000++) was inclusive of breakfast for two. I enjoyed my choice of Bacon and Onion Omelette order along with an additional order of Penne All'Amatriciana -- the hotel's bestseller via its F&B outlet called Farfalla.

Coolly Crafted

The borough-like location where Hotel Durban is can be had in many ways. Locals would frown upon it as a phenotype for infamous red light districts in the Philippines. Foreigners might see it otherwise. A traveler like me sees HD as a coolly crafted oasis that's stubborn to its artsy core. Like my wandering self, it refuses to be outdone by its surroundings by redefining its interiors. No matter how subtle the improvements, there's always one that oddly stands out in its folio. My revisit for a room with a view is in the offing.

Special thanks to JC Valdepenas of White Palace Spa; Contact information for a convenient hotel service massage further below...

Hotel Durban

Official website of Hotel Durban

Address: 4875 Durban Street, Makati Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
Phone: (02) 897-1866
Email: frontdesk@

White Palace Spa - Makati City

Address: G/F Royale Regent Bldg., Filmore St. corner Einthoven St., Brgy. Palanan, Makati City, Philippines
Phone: (02) 576-2975 (Landline); 0999-4978571 (Smart); 0905-2858317 (Globe)
Operating Hours: 1:00pm - 7:00am (the next day) daily

Reviews about White Palace Spa:

Cube News
White Palace Relaxes A Side of Makati City

New Self
The Generosity of A Good Massage At White Palace Spa

Lonely Travelogue

More Photos Below:


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