2 newcomers to the luxury hotel marketBy Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Pop quiz: When was the last time a luxury hotel opened in Makati? Gosh, that’s a hard one. Seems like the last Makati five-star hotel opened just around the time when I had my wedding reception all of 19 years ago.
With tourism booming, it’s just the right time to open a new hotel in our country’s financial capital. In fact, the timing is so good that developer Ayala Land decided to go ahead and open two!
The Raffles and Fairmont Makati are the two newcomers to the luxury-hotel market in the financial district. Both hotels come from renowned and world-leading hotel brands.
Both properties share the same building, a 30-story tower located at the corner of Makati and Arnaiz avenues. The modernist structure was conceived by leading architects Arquitectonica.
All-suite, top-of-the-line hotel
The Raffles is an all-suite, top-of-the-line hotel, with 32 suites and 237 Raffles Residences. The suites are a mix of Executive and Junior Suites and include a Presidential Suite as well. The Residences range from one- to four-bedroom apartments and offer extended accommodations. The Residences are also available for private ownership.
The best part of the look, when I got to visit the Raffles, was the higher-than-normal ceilings, which truly brings added class to the impressive interiors. The interior designer company Bent Severin International brought a modern and sophisticated look, with striking accents and well-appointed furniture, to the entire hotel.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts is probably best known for its signature hotel, the Raffles Hotel, Singapore, with a history going back to 1887. Today the brand has nine properties in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, each having its own individual personality, with its own story and sense of place. For info, visit www.raffles.com/makati or call 5559777.
The 280-room Fairmont Makati is equally modern and yet distinctively different from its classy neighbor. The guest bedrooms are spacious, focused on plush bedding, elegant bathrooms, stunning views and excellent amenities.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has 60 properties around the world, including The Plaza in New York, the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and the Makkah Clock Royal Tower in the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. A community and environmental leader, Fairmont is also recognized internationally for its responsible tourism practices and award-winning Green Partnership program. For info, visit www.fairmont.com/makati or call 5559888.
Shared restaurants, lounges
Both hotel brands are owned by FRHI Holdings Limited, a global hotel company, which also owns the Swissôtel brand. As sister hotels and neighbors, the two hotels share seven different restaurants and lounges, 1,700 square meters of function space, half of which is an enormous ballroom, and a 1,200-sq m spa.
The lead dining outlet is Spectrum, already gaining a word-of-mouth cachet over its daily buffet. My particular fave in the restaurant is its sushi station, which serves such unique creations as sushi with suckling pig, salmon skin and even Peking Duck. There are four other “culinary theaters” that complete the spectrum of flavors.
Another fave is Café Macaron, which offers sandwiches, desserts, pralines and exquisite pastries.
I certainly couldn’t resist the queso de bola macaroon, along with other Pinoy-flavors like mango and ube.
The Long Bar was inspired by its namesake, the Long Bar in the Raffles Singapore, where the famous “Singapore Sling” was invented. For a more quiet atmosphere, there is Writers Bar, styled like a library and again inspired by its Singaporean counterpart.
The Willow Stream Spa deserves special mention. The facilities include a mineral pool and an outdoor swimming pool, with a beautiful terrace overlooking the city. Services include the full range of spa treatments, including a hair salon and a nail studio.
That’s all just a short introduction to the new twins in town, but I’m sure it won’t be long before so many social events start being held in either the Raffles or the Fairmont.
Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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