Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Just when I thought that nothing new and remarkable could come out of Manila these days, Rizal Park Hotel proved me wrong. It has so far managed to restore its historical relevance in Ermita as I've experienced staying there less than a month after it formally opened. The structure used to house the Army and Navy Club that started more than a century ago when Filipinos and Americans actively cultivated relations and, as a result, several important events were held to ascertain them. It was also the venue where Manila's social life thrived.

National Historical Landmark

Rizal Park Hotel is definitely a historically-inspired space. Declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on April 26, 1991, the structure is now a 110-room hotel that captures the opulent urban living in Manila. Whether you're a traveler who has a penchant for nostalgia or a diplomat who's in town for critical business meetings, it has enough grandeur that exudes elegance, luxury, sophistication, and comfort for any guest.

What I loved the most about my stay came as early as my GrabCar ride drove past the hotel premises' entrance. Having seen the row of century-old acacia trees that dot the property's iron fence, I immediately fell in love with the place upon arrival.

How It Was Back Then

The Army and Navy Club was an integral part of the thriving social life of Americans in Manila for several decades. As a matter of fact, the illustrious lineup of club presidents included Adm. George Dewey, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and his son Douglas MacArthur. The venue had banquet and social halls, dining and drinking facilities, rooms to accommodate guests, swimming pools and other entertainment facilities.

During World War II, it was used as a bomb shelter and evacuation center. It might have survived the war, but the site slowly transformed into a crumbling mansion that eventually became a city hall warehouse.

Having seen the row of century-old acacia trees that dot the property's iron fence, I immediately fell in love with the place upon arrival.

Filipino-Colonial Guest Room

Since the hotel is yet to open its infinity pool that will have guests get soaked with a view of the Manila Bay, I decided to just focus on its other amenities like the dreamy courtyard where I lingered in the afternoon. I also spent most of my stay at its Filipino-Colonial guest room that seems to be designed for comfort, luxury, and nostalgia. It was not an easy combo to pull off, but it worked even with the juxtaposed wallpaper and floor tile design. My booked Deluxe Room definitely felt all those things and more. If anything, it was a lavish living space. What's more, it offered me a spectacular view of the Manila Bay.

Complimentary Wi-Fi access was strong. The bed was plush. The mini-ref was adequately supplied with just about every basic beverage and snack I could think of. Plus, the bathroom was both spacious and functional, although I would have wanted the presence of a bath mat in the shower because I tend to be clumsy when I'm wet.

Book a room.

Extended Room Rate Promo

The hotel currently has an Introductory Offer for as low as Php4,800 per night for two guests, inclusive of buffet breakfast. The room rate promo is extended till September 30, 2017.

Topnotch Buffet Breakfast At Cafe Rizal

The buffet breakfast at the hotel's affiliate F&B, Cafe Rizal, was topnotch. There was a lot of buffet selections to try from dim sums, pastries, salads to a variety of viands, although I was not able to do so only because I just recovered from a headache a day prior and I was not in the mood to indulge on food. I did try the basic ones like the breakfast staples -- hashbrown, bacon, longganisa and fried rice -- just to get a sense of the food quality.

Just in case you're in the area for a cheat day, Cafe Rizal has an ongoing Introductory Buffet Offer: Breakfast at Php850 nett (6:00am-10:00am), Lunch at Php1,250 nett (11:30am-2:30pm) and Dinner at Php1,500 nett (6:00pm-10:00pm).

Restored to its former grandeur, the historical structure that is Rizal Park Hotel is truly iconic. It now beckons travelers like you to experience its 5-star boutique hotel service while you fantasize about how it was like walking the same floor surrounded by nothing but opulence more than a century ago.

Book a room.

Photography by Aubrey Gacer and Karl Acepcion

Rizal Park Hotel Manila

Address: South Road Drive, T.M. Kalaw Extension, Ermita, Manila, Philippines
Phone: (02) 804-8700

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