Chilling in the urban oasis
With great dining facilities and efficient service, Edsa Shangri-La Manila is ideal for both the business and leisure traveller
After a three-hour flight from Bangkok, our media group arrives at Edsa Shangri-La Manila at 8pm, feeling a little stressed and more than ready to eat. With check-in formalities swiftly handled, we are taken to Senju, the hotel's Japanese restaurant for dinner with the PR staff. I fall in love with chef Ogawa's grilled eel on rice and end up eating a colleague's portion too, while she enjoys another Japanese delicacy. Wired by the sake and hot green tea, I'm surprised to find hot oolong in a bamboo caddy when I finally make it up to my room.
The king-sized bed in my Premier Tower Wing room is wonderfully comfortable and the décor is soothing, with brocade panelling and earth-toned furnishings. There's complimentary wired-internet and Wi-Fi access and I'm pleased to find that the spacious bathroom has both a separate shower and bathtub. There's a well-sized executive writing desk, a useful electronic safe and new coffee and tea making facility.
I'm not an early bird so rising for the 6am breakfast is a major effort. As I make my way to HEAT - it stands for Healthy Eating, Amazing Tastes - I'm greeted by at least 10 "good mornings" from smiling staff strategically positioned along the route to the restaurant.
The breakfast buffet at HEAT is of high quality. You can choose from 13 open theatre kitchens, offering Asian and continental specialities freshly prepared and cooked a la minute. I tuck into fresh fruits before trying to decide between pastries, various Asian delights, eggs, pancakes and Filipino dishes.
I'm impressed with its culinary ethics as well. Unlike some fine hotels, the Shangri-la does not serve shark fins, Chilean sea bass and bluefin tunas, as part of its sustainable seafood policy. This policy alone wins my heart and support.
After a day walking around Corregidor Island and the old city, we return to the hotel for an oil body massage at CHI the Spa. The treatment brings relief to both body and mind and I like the aromas of the Asian healing herbs and essential oil in the treatment room.
The next morning, ready to catch a flight to Bohol, I spend a little time in the lobby area, which is spacious and looks out over the large garden and pool area. During my short time there, I never have to press the call button for a lift. The staff are well trained and attentive and some even remember my name. As we check out, I learn that the hotel's limos offer Wi-Fi access. If you're on a business trip in the area, this is definitely the place to go.
At a glance
HIGH POINT: The food is terrific and of high quality. The hotel is perfect for business conferences. The staff is well trained.
LOW POINT: The service can be a little over the top. Back in the hotel after a hard and tiring day, business people may not enjoy encountering a deluge of good evenings from staff as they head to their rooms.
FIND IT: 1 Garden Way Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City 1650, Metro Manila, Philippines
PHONE IT: (63 2) 633 8888