The hotel that welcomes your furry friends
The highlight of my 2016 was getting a dog. I named him Stardust, after one of my dad’s favorite songs.
Upon arriving in Manila from our farm in Mindoro, where I found him, we had our first breakfast together at Wildflour in Salcedo Village. At just one and a half months, he was tiny enough to fit in my tote bag so we were allowed to eat inside.
Since then, he has eaten at Pink’s Hotdog, Passion by Gerard Dubois and Grind Bistro at the Fort, Gringo’s on Palanca, Cafe Breton on Magallanes, as well as at Roadhouse and Farmer’s Daughter in Baguio.
To be honest, I wish I could bring him with me to every meal and on every trip.
Case in point, since I have been frequenting Baguio lately, I tried cajoling Tito Avanceña, head of Camp John Hay Leisure, to allow dogs in The Forest Lodge, a fairly new hotel beside The Manor at Camp John Hay. (Tip: if you are going to Baguio this Christmas, book at Forest Lodge instead of The Manor. It is cheaper and just as spacious.) He is now considering putting kennels for dog owners.
I explained to him that dog lovers, though, like myself, would want the dog in the room with them. The firm but kind gentleman replied, “Well, if you want, you can sleep in the kennel!” LOL!
I have been wondering where to celebrate Noche Buena, too, since our annual tradition has been to head over the Peninsula after Union Church service. The Peninsula does not allow dogs inside the hotel, as is the understandable policy of many hotels. We can celebrate at home but we need to give Santa an opening to sneak in his gifts this year for Stardust.
Oakwood Premier Joy Nostalg
So here’s the paw-some news: Oakwood Premier Joy Nostalg in Ortigas welcomes dogs.
I had the occasion to host a reunion there recently and found out the hotel is pet-friendly when I randomly whined about dogs not being allowed inside hotels. I was informed that, in fact, with a security deposit that will be given back anyway if there is no damage done by your beloved pet, you can bring your fur-kid to sleep with you in the hotel.
But with or without a pet, Oakwood Premier is a great venue to host a private dinner. The suites are designed to look like a private apartment, complete with dining area, living room and kitchen. (For Christmas packages covering function rooms and room reservations, visit oakwoodpremiermanila.com.)
The largest room is, of course, the presidential suite, a sprawling 270-square meter space that costs over P100,000 a night.
The largest room for mortals is the three-bedroom suite, with a dining space for eight. Like the other suites, it comes with a Gourmet Kitchen, as they call it, which is equipped with a 12-cu. ft. refrigerator, oven with burn-free vitroceramic cooktop and exhaust, microwave oven, dishwasher, coffee/teamaker, kettle and bread toaster, as well as a variety of cookware and utensils. You can totally show off your cooking skills.
Or, you can hire a chef. And if you wish, you can also coordinate with the hotel’s banquet team to set up your “dining table” and make it more festive or, as I did, extend it to become a table for 12 to host a bigger party.
Speaking of parties, the season of everyday partying has begun.
Beringer Wines is kicking off the season with a visit from their chief winemaker Mark Beringer, of the family that founded the brand, this November.
The brand is celebrating 140 years of winemaking and Mr. Beringer is especially keen on sharing the joys of their Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is a wine that would go well with a lot of the rich and savory Filipino food we love such as adobo, kaldereta, mechado, menudo and asado. I remember a wine pairing by Shang Makati where they paired the 2009 with lamb and braised beef.
For fish, Pinot Noir is recommended if you prefer red. For the ubiquitous lechon, Katherine Yao Santos of Beringer Wines recommends the Beringer Quantum Red and the Beringer Founders Estate Zinfandel.
I think it’s great that we are now developing a BYOB (bring your own bottle) culture for parties and dinners and pairing wine with all sorts of food, including everyday Pinoy dishes. I hope Mr. Beringer will have the chance to taste Filipino food with their fine reds as well.
Lastly, I want to shout out a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. The year 2016 has been quite nerve-wracking, hasn’t it? We deserve all this wine!
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