Work & Play: A Weekend @ Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

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Last week. I booked an overnight stay at Marco Polo Hotel to relax after my busy day at work.  Since our office is located also in the same building, it was very convenient for us to just head to the hotel room and rest.

THE CHECK-IN EXPERIENCE:  Miscommunication

 I inquired at the concierge area near their lobby and I was informed that check-in will be done at the 24th floor.  They accepted our luggages and informed us that those will just be delivered in the room.
Upon approaching the front desk officer named Adi, I was surprised that I had to pay the full amount there.  In other hotels like Fairways and Shangri-la, they take the full amount already one or two days before you check-in.  A night before, I called to check if I had to settle something in the hotel and I was informed that I only had to prepare incidental deposit of P2,000 and additional payment for the kid’s breakfast.  It was a wise decision for me to bring cash; otherwise, it will be a humiliating situation.  In my experience with Holiday Inn, they explained to me via email the total amount that they have taken in my credit card and the balance that I have to settle upon check-in.  Though Adi explained that the reservation was just guaranteed by credit card and that the full payment will be over the counter, they shouldn’t have confirmed to me over the phone that payment was already settled when the truth is they just blocked the amount.  If I was informed about that, I still had the option to cancel.  Adi is very polite and I was not stupid not to understand her explanation– so it was settled already.

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Just a secret-  Shhh!  In the photo above, the man at my right side was complaining about the deceiving rates in their website.
 I requested for an early check-in at 12nn and Adi asked for my mobile number– just in case there is already an available room, she will text me.  I actually wasn’t expecting that but I got a call from her around 12nn informing me that I can get the keycard in the frontdesk area.

CONVENIENCE

elevator attendants
After the quick registration in the 24th floor, we were ushered and greeted by elevator attendants (I don’t know if my term is correct, hehe!).  They will ask you if you will be going up or down and will assist you in entering the elevator.  Hmmm, I loved that kind of spoiling.

THE CONTINENTAL SUPERIOR ROOM

For P8,100 we got a small room with double beds and a spacious bathroom– actually not bad enough but for a five star hotel, it has to be almost perfect.

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There was a Nespresso machine and minibar.
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We had a city view in our room with complimentary fruits (three oranges).  I was thankful but I was about to burst into laughter when I saw those.  In other hotels like Shangri-la and Discovery Suites, we used to receive more freebies like assorted cakes, pastries and ASSORTED fruits.

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beds

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Our room was in the 43rd floor.  I chose the Continental room because of the benefits including three buffets (afternoon tea, cocktails and breakfast).  Aside from that, the guest can also use the boardroom for two hours, complimentary laundry and pressing service, use of the private library, packing and unpacking service, shoe shine service, business center services and daily newspaper.

 

We were able to use the boardroom from 3-5 pm for our tutor orientation at Smart Tutee.  The only downside was that because we were busy, we were not able to take advantage of the cakes and other pastries.

 

BREAKFAST @ THE CONTINENTAL LOUNGE

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Because we didn’t have a choice, we only had limited selection at the continental lounge.  We prefer to have our breakfast in the regular buffet that they have in regular rooms.  I am looking for variety of foods since I am a very picky eater.  They should have the option if the guest would like to have his/her breakfast served at the restaurant or at the Continental Club Lounge.

pastry station

 

I only had Chicken Afritada and scrambled egg for breakfast and sweets.

 

 Because there were sweets, I couldn’t complain anymore.

 

Before we proceed to the room to change and head to the pool area, we had our pictorial first 🙂

 

THE POOL & GYM @ the 22nd FLOOR

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Upon reaching the 22nd floor, there’s a lobby and reception area where you can get your locker keys and borrow towels in the pool area.

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I super LOVED the indoor pool.  The time when we went in the pool area, it wasn’t crowded yet.  We soaked ourselves in the jacuzzi– hubby and I decided not to swim because we might feel cold after.
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infused water

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While we were soaking in the jacuzzi, Junry (the pool attendant) approached us and gave us glasses of infused water even if we did not ask for it.

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After swimming, we went to the sauna, had a shower and just visited the gym.  We didn’t have the time to work out.  The staff didn’t tell us that it’s open for 24  hours.  Had we known about it, we could have visited a night before we check out.

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We also didn’t have the time to go to Flow Spa because we’re too exhausted and we didn’t want to waste our time.

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Like the Gold’s Gym Express @ the Holiday Inn, the gym in Marco Polo is also small.  What I didn’t like also is that the jacuzzi is in the pool area and not in the changing room like that of Discovery Suites and Edsa Shangri-la Manila.

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The changing room is just fine, but not that impressive.  The vanity kit wasn’t complete– no comb.  I thought there was so I didn’t bring mine.  I ended up finger-combing my hair.

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There were lounge chairs inside the changing room where you can rest or take a nap.

 

LUNCH @ THE CONTINENTAL CLUB

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After swimming, we had another round of breakfast which actually served as our lunch because we had rice and other dishes.  Luckily, there was chicken afritada left 🙂

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TOUR AT THEIR EVENTS AREA AND FUNCTION ROOMS

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CHECK-OUT

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Check-out was a breeze but what i didn’t like is that they didn’t have a late option for club guests.  In Shangri-la you will be asked upon check-in what time do you prefer to check-out.  Their usual answer would be:  ” I apologize but due to high volume of guests we can only give you until 12nn.”  I think, they were lying.  The truth is they can give a late check-out if they want to.
Anyway, we have enjoyed our stay though it wasn’t perfect.  In the future, I might book a larger Continental room but I’m also considering Shangri-la since only the breakfast incident @ Heat ruined my day.
MARCO POLO ORTIGAS MANILA
Meralco and Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
(02) 720 7777

 

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Shane’s 11th Birthday-Staycation @ Edsa Shangri-la (TBIP’s Summer Diaries)

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I wanted to give my daughter something special for her birthday and instead of celebrating her birthday at home, I booked a family staycation at Edsa Shangri-la.  I wanted her birthday to be memorable and a one-day luxurious stay there was the perfect present I could give her since she wanted it that way also.
I booked a Garden Premier Suite in Edsa Shangri-la, with the room rate of P13,200 plus P3,012.24 for taxes and charges via Booking.com (I paid a total of P16,000).  So, what was my impression?  Since it’s a five-star hotel and the room rates are exorbitant, the service must be exceptional.

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The check-in time is 2 pm, but we were able to reach the hotel at around 3pm.  I did not experience any inconvenience in the check-in process because all the staff in the reception area from the usherettes to the front desk staff are very friendly and professional.

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I didn’t fill out any registration forms– the staff just asked for my ID.  The funny and partly embarrassing part was that my IDs were missing in my bag!  Oh, well!  I was confident that my IDs were in my bag because I just used those in the airport a day ago.  Since I couldn’t find my PRC ID and company ID, I just handed the Philhealth ID and thankfully, she just asked about the date of my birth to verify the information.   I was also asked to present the credit card that I used to settle the payment and after few minutes, she asked me to sign in the tablet and ta-da!  Everything was already set– I got 3 keycards and a piece of paper wherein our benefits as guests were written.
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Even without asking, we were offered a luggage assistance and were ushered into our suite in the 7th floor of the Garden Wing.  While we were following him, we thought that we might get lost and that we really had to explore the hotel that night.
Luggage assistance Shangri-la

luggage assistance

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We were able to get in the suite at past 3 pm.  Instead of having an afternoon swim,  we decided to rest for a while and unpack our things.  Though the hotel is kinda old, it has remained to be a favorite especially to business travelers because of its elegant furnishings and first-class amenities.  We were impressed with our assigned suite though I was expecting a bigger one with a dining table (a separate post will be written for the review of Edsa Shangri-la Hotel with an exclusive tour of our suite and a review of HEAT, where we had our breakfast buffet).
Living room and birthday treat
Upon entering, we had welcome treats such as native cakes,  a plate of fresh fruits and a slice of cake for Shane.
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When I have spoken to the customer service representative of the hotel when I called to confirm if they have received my payment, I mentioned that Shane will be spending her 11th birthday there.   They took note of that and prepared a slice of cake saying “Happy Birthday!” which we really appreciated.

Cake from Shangri-La

After the short inspection in our suite, I ordered pizza for Shane’s visitors so they won’t get bored.  Hubby, Shane and I went to the Horizon Club Lounge, which is located in the 14th floor because they serve free cocktails and canapes at 5-7 pm.

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Our stomachs were already full when we came back to the room, but we still managed of course to have a simple dinner with the visitors.  We brought spaghetti, chicken and cake with us when we checked in.
Family pic at Shangri-la

Family picture

By the way, Shane had only 3 visitors:  her two brothers Kyle and Bruce and her grandpa.   Before they leave, I called the concierge service and requested to borrow a board game and an X-Box so the kids won’t get bored.  Actually, the guests can borrow those without any charges.  Aside from that, I arranged to borrow a mermaid tail for Shane to fit and use for her morning swim the following day.
After we escorted them outside the hotel entrance to wait for their transpo service, we went to check out the gym at the Health Club and dipped in the jacuzzi.

 

After loosening up in the jacuzzi,  we checked the swimming pool and we went back to the suite to fetch Shane who was still playing with the X-box that we borrowed.

 

 

Coffee at horizon Lounge

One thing that I loved about our staycation is our Horizon Club priveleges and one of these is having coffee and having VIP treatment.  It’s open for 24 hours so you can drop by anytime to have coffee or soda.   Before we went back to the suite, we dropped by there for a drink then we had a good night sleep.

Extra bed Shangri-la

In the photo above, the photo shows the extra bed for Shane.  Actually, I didn’t expect that and I was very thankful that they included this.  I think we have made her feel special because she has her own space in the living room area and was very comfortable because it was airconditioned, has its own flat screen TV and has easy access to the bathroom.
The following day, we headed to HEAT, where the guests have their FREE buffet breakfast; unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding.  I will elaborate on this in my review about HEAT.  Anyway, we were able to have our FREE breakfast and after that we went back to our suite to get ready for Shane’s favorite- the morning swim!  We dropped by to the Health Club to remind about the mermaid tail that we would borrow for the swimming session and short pictorial.

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Shane mermaid1

 

After the morning swim, I decided to go to the Front desk because I was really confused with the information I was receiving from their staff and I had to clarify everything before we check out.  Fortunately, Ms. Len of the front desk was very accommodating and she apologized about what happened. (Details will be in the hotel and restaurant review).  I appreciated also when she agreed to have a late check-out at 3 pm which I believe was also part of our privelege as a Horizon Club guest if there is room availability.
After the clarification, we went back to the suite and started to pack our things.  At 2pm we went to the scheduled High Tea at the Horizon Club lounge.

Tea time

High tea

Overall, Shane’s birthday celebration was a blast.  It may not be perfect, but it is something that she can never forget.
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Shane2 Shangri-la

EDSA SHANGRI-LA MANILA
1 Garden Way, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City
Telephone:  633-8888

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Weekend Bonding: A Review of the Linden Suites

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I have modified my Valentine’s Day plan since we have a long weekend for the Chinese New Year on February 16, so I just decided to book for an overnight stay in a hotel.  In blogs and reviews that I have read, Discovery Shores Boracay is often compared to The Lind Boracay so I am quite curious about this property.  If DSB has Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, the Lind has the Linden Suites.  Last October, we have already spent our wedding anniversary in Discovery Suites, so for the Post Valentine Celebration, I have settled to the Linden Suites.  I booked a one-bedroom suite via Booking.com for about P5,00 inclusive of taxes.

My excitement was replaced with disappointment when we have reached the hotel’s lobby.  It wasn’t what I expected–I was visualizing the same large lobby as what they have in Discovery Suites.  There weren’t enough chairs for the people and while I was on queue for the check-in, my hubby and kids were standing and after about 20 minutes, they were able to find vacant seats.  It took me about 30 minutes or more to check in (which was another disappointment 😦 ) When finally it was my turn, I was pleased with the professionalism of the receptionist.  She asked for my ID and the credit card that I used in booking.  She has explained clearly why we need to give a security deposit of P2,000 which can be refunded upon check out.  She also explained about the rules of the hotel.

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Upon checking in, we got 2 keycards (for the elevator and room) , 1 power card, the WIFI password details good for 2 devices and 2 breakfast coupons.

When we got our keycards, we waited for few minutes AGAIN for the elevator.  Our one bedroom suite was located in Tower 2 and our assigned suite number was 2107.  When we opened the door, I was quite pleased because the room was spacious.

 

I liked the kitchen–it is already complete with almost everything that you need.  You can cook there- no need to bring pans and other utensils.  They have provided liquid soap and soap dish, but there is no sponge.

What I like about Linden Suites is that they permit the guests to hold parties inside the room/suite but the limit of the number of guests is only up to 15 and they need to leave before 11pm.

 

Our living room has a small sofa and working table ideal for small family.

 

In the dining area, we have a welcome fruit plate and a complimentary tumbler courtesy of the hotel.  I was appreciative and thankful, but I couldn’t help but to compare with Discovery Suites.  With the latter, we were able to feel at home and special because they have carefully done their research.  There was a welcome banner, dessert and more freebies.

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A hotel stay is not complete without COFFEE, so I was thankful enough for these basic freebies (but I was not impressed).

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Anyway, we enjoyed our spacious bedroom.  The kids rested for a while while we have scrutinized every detail of the suite.

 

The floor was carpeted so even if our kids were super hyper, they were safe.

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This is our Post Valentine Date, so we just decided not to go out and just enjoy the room and other facilities.

 

There were two closets equipped with ironing board and iron (a plus for me!), but we were not able to use it during our stay.  We just noticed that there were only 1 bathrobe and 1 pair of slippers.  The one-bedroom suite is supposed to be for two people so they should have provided supplies for two.  I just let hubby used the slippers since we brought sandals with us.

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What I liked most about our stay is the spacious bathroom.  Literally, you can sleep inside! It was really convenient because there is enough room for you to change and there is even a vanity inside.  This is my ideal bathroom– so far, one of the best bathrooms alongside with Estacio Uno Boracay Seaside Suite.

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The free toiletries

 

 

 

Seeing the view made me realize that we shouln’t waste our time and we should enoy, enjoy and enjoy!

 

In my trips, most of the time, I bring my kids because BONDING with them is a very important moment that I have to treasure.  My daughter Shane loves to swim so she was looking forward to our swimming time.

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When i told her that we were going to swim, she immediately changed in her swimming outfit!

The indoor pool was located on the 9th floor inside the Health Club.  You need to sign first in the reception area and you will be given towels to use.  To my dismay, the pool was crowded with people 😦

 

 

 

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We went to the jacuzzi first since the pool was crowded with guests, but Shane immediately jumped to the pool.

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t swim in the swimming pool and just stayed in the jacuzzi.

 

 

After few minutes, hubby and Bruce tried the swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

It was bonding time for hubby and our four-year old son Bruce.  It was pretty obvious they have enjoyed the temperature-controlled swimming pool.

 

 

We didn’t notice that it was past 6pm already and we decided to just go back to our suite.  My plan was to head to the gym right after swimming, but since we wasted more or less 30 minutes waiting for the elevator, I just cancelled my plan.  I was planning also to go to their spa, but was disappointed because they do not offer body scrub. (Body scrub is what I was looking for to get ready for my summer-ready skin )

 

Out of desperation, we were about to use the stairs to reach the 21st floor but then the elevator door opened, and when we were able to reach our suite, we were already exhausted of standing and waiting.  We just opted to have room delivery service from the Happy Chef.

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While watching TV and waiting for the food, Shane offered me a mug of coffee. (How sweet!)

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We ordered Margarita pizza for P395 and Chicken a la Pobre for P355.  We loved the pizza but the chicken was too pricey.

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We slept early because we would like to enjoy more of the hotel.  I brought my lappy with me but I wasn’t able to use it– I had my beauty rest instead.

DAY 2

We woke up at 4:30am.  Hubby and I had coffee and planned how we are going to spend the rest of the morning in Linden Suites.

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I thought of going to the gym since I wasn’t able to go there the previous night due to the elevator problem.  Bruce was also sleeping at that time, so we just asked Shane to look after him while we were working out.

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And yes, we were ready to hit the gym!

 

At 6am, we were already in the gym and yay! We had the gym only to ourselves!  That’s what I really like–PRIVACY 🙂

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Well, it wasn’t big as the Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club.  I was looking forward to use the jacuzzi and the sauna in their female wet area right after working out.

 

Working out with sweetie 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After working out, I went to the restroom and asked if I can use the sauna.  UNFORTUNATELY, they haven’t prepared it yet 😦  There was no jacuzzi also in the female’s wet area.  The jacuzzi was in the indoor pool, so another X for me 😦

 

There were locker rooms and the shower area is quite old and worn out– it needs remodelling.  For a spa and beauty blogger like me, it would be a PLUS if the hotel has convenient and modern amenities like the gym and spa, but I wasn’t pleased with the female wet area and the spa services.

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We peeked in the indoor pool area and was tempted to have a dip in the pool while it was not crowded yet.

 

We decided to have our breakfast first becaise we have sensed that the restaurant will be crowded also at that time.  When we reached the suite, Bruce was still sleeping, so we took advantage of the time to enjoy the hot tub bath.

 

After the hot bath, we got ready for the breakfast buffet.

 

 

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The Happy Chef is located in the 2nd floor.  Our room rate includes the breakfast buffet already except for Shane. (We paid P275 for her.)

 

As what we were expecting, we waited for about 20 minutes outside and the reason for this is because they have small space for their restaurant and limited choices of food.  I didn’t bother to feature their food because there’s nothing much to show.

 

 

 

I just had garlic rice, chicken adobo, chicken hotdogs, chocolate cupcake, pancake with choco syrup, choco flake cereals and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert.  I had a cup of hot choco but I didn’t like the taste 😦

 

After the breakfast, we went to the 14th floor, so we used the bridgeway to Tower 2.

 

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It was time to go back to the suite and get ready to check out.   While we were preparing our things, Bruce was having his hot bath in the tub.

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So, there…  my final selfies before we go.

 

I got a call from the reception 30 minutes before the check out time, reminding me about their standard time of check out which is 12nn.  We left the suite before 12nn and as usual, the same scenario… crowded lobby.

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Hehehe, I realized I couldn’t compare it to Discovery Suites because they are NOT comparable– with the personalized service, professionalism, and the modern facilities/amenities.  Well, at least, we wouldn;t know if we haven’t experienced to stay there.

Would I recommend this to a friend who is also very particular with quality service like me? NO.

The Linden Suites

37 SAN MIGUEL AVENUE, ORTIGAS CENTER,
PASIG CITY 1600, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES
TEL: (632) 638 7878

Priceless Stay at Discovery Suites (Day 2)

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If you have read my previous post about Day 1 in Discovery Suites, I wasn’t that really satisfied.  I can say that it was because of our supposedly “romantic dinner”– it didn’t turn out that way:-(   I appreciated the effort of the hotel though that they get to know more about their guests and because it was our 15th wedding anniversary, they have prepared a welcome banner, anniversary cake and the bath tub with rose petals for us.  I just decided to sleep early so I can fuel up for the following day.

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We had coffee when we woke up and started getting ready for the breakfast.  Yup, Restaurant 5 opens at 6am and we were late 😦  I was supposed to go there 10 minutes before the time so I can take photos of their food while there were no guests yet, but then because I have enjoyed my morning stay inside our suite, I didn’t want to leave yet.  By the way, I took a video of myself inside the bathroom.

 

 

One thing I like is the hot and refreshing bath– hehe, that’s pleasure for me 🙂  After taking a bath, we already have prepared ourselves for the breakfast buffet @ Restaurant 5.  They were strict with the dress code– they only allow smart casual attire inside.  There were variety of choices for breakfast and I was very pleased with this experience.  (A separate review will be posted about our breakfast buffet experience @ Restaurant 5).

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After satisfying my tummy, we went back to the room to get ready.  We were supposed to leave my 10 year old daughter at the Kid’s playroom but unfortunately they were still closed at 8am, so we just left her and the other kid inside our suite.  We headed to the Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club at the 4th floor; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring my rubber shoes so I wasn’t able to use their equipments.  Luckily, they have the female area where you can use the jacuzzi, steamroom and sauna.  I will be writing  about my experience here in a separate post.  Special thanks to Hannah and Joyce for assisting me 🙂

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Hannah and Joyce of Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club

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at the jacuzzi

Before 10 am we were already in the Serendipity Lounge for the photoshoot.  The ambiance was perfect and romantic.

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It was fun and I would like to thank the management for assisting us.  Too bad, we were not able to taste the food because we were in a hurry to check out.  We were about to check at at 1pm and I was told that if the suite is still available after 1pm, we could extend for another hour.  We had to leave at 12:30 because we had to to go home for our 3 year old kid.

It was such an unforgettable experience and YES, we will come back some other time.

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4-stars

Discovery Suites Manila

 25 ADB Ave, Ortigas Center, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila

 

 

A Luxurious Stay at Discovery Suites (Day 1)

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Because it was our 15th wedding anniversary and it’s something very special, I opted to have our staycation in one of the best hotels.  Though the facade looks old, Discovery Hotels are known for their five-star class and VIP treatment for their guests– that’s actually the reason why I decided to give it a try.  Discovery Suites is stationed in the heart of the Ortigas Center, along ADB Avenue (opposite The Podium).

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The Check in Process

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As we enter, we were astounded by the elegant, well-maintained and clean lobby.  It was a hassle-free check-in experience.  I was asked to present my valid ID and the front desk officer explained to me everything.  A deposit amounting to P2,000 should be made as well, but it will be refunded upon check-out.  Instantly, we were given two keycards and then we went to our two-bedroom suite on the 10th floor.

 

Wedding Anniversary Banner

The living room area with the Wedding Anniversary Greetings

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their welcome treats

Free Anniversary Cake

the complimentary Wedding Anniversary Cake

Because we were kinda hungry at that time, we feasted on the chocolate cake.  Yummy!  All of us really enjoyed it.  Thank you for that, Discovery Suites 🙂

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the complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea

Upon entering our suite, we were greeted by the wedding anniversary banner and the welcome treats on the table.  I really appreciate it that they get to know more about their guests and try their very best to please them.  Well, I  was impressed with our suite– contrary to what I have in mind, it has modern furnishings and you have almost everything that you can ask for.  The only thing that we were looking for during our stay was the outlets inside the master’s bedroom.  I always use my phone to take photos and to connect in my social media accounts, so I need to charge often.  It could have been more convenient if there were outlets in the room, so I can use my phone while resting.

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beverages in the ref

There are bottled waters and refreshments inside the refrigerator (with a charge of course!), but you can just walk across the Podium @ the marketplace to buy groceries.

 

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the queen-sized bed with rose petals

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the bath tub with rose petals

Our bathroom has a bathtub and shower enclosure with toiletries and hair dryer.  I liked the shampoo and the shower gel, but I didn’t like the conditioner.  I appreciated the flower petals, but they should have asked when is the perfect time for them to clean.  It stains the floor and the towels as well.

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our closet

The iron was a BIG help because we got to press the clothes first before the photoshoot.  We just had to carry the ironing board in the living room because there is no outlet inside our bedroom,

While we were having a tour in our suite, I got a phone call from Mr. Albert Fernandez (the F&B manager in 22 Prime).  He confirmed about the table set-up and delivery time of our dinner.  The phones are available in the living room, the two bedrooms and even in the bathroom– so convenient that if you need anything from the staff, it’s just one phone call away.

We brought the kids to the swimming pool– we didn’t have any plans of swimming, but since we had the area all to ourselves, we decided to have an afternoon swim! Towels are also provided so you don’t have to bring your towel from the room.  The water was cold and I was shivering–good thing, they have the jacuzzi 🙂

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the swimming pool

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in their swimming pool/jacuzzi area

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our dinner

I have arranged to have our dinner in the suite instead because I knew that 22Prime was jampacked with guests at that time and we would like to use the dinner set-up for the photoshoot.  The dinner was served at 7:30 pm (Thank you to Sir Albert!)   Though, I couldn’t say anything negative to the service,  I wasn’t really that happy with the food– I think it was overpriced.   A separate review will be posted about 22Prime and Restaurant 5.   After dinner, we had our photoshoot (winks).

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the photoshoot 🙂

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After the photoshoot, I almost forgot that we had a complimentary pizza.  I called the front desk and after few minutes, it was delivered to us.  I really loved the pizzzzaaah- it was heavenly!

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complimentary pizza

We have enjoyed Day 1 but I thought of having my beauty rest early.  I am really particular with having a quality sleep everytime I go for a staycation and with my night spent at Discovery Suites, I really had a peaceful sleep and I was able to rest well to fuel up my body for the activities lined up the following day.

Note:  Another review will be posted about my experience in Day 2 🙂

Long Weekend Thoughts

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Yay!  And so, we got this loooooong weekend because of the two-day transport strike, but to tell you honestly, a part of me is quite unhappy with it because we have a lot of catching up to do in school.  That is the reason why I didn’t take advantage of this to travel or bond with my family.  My idea of a perfect staycation or holiday is when you don’t think about work when you are already there; otherwise, your day will be totally spoiled.

We still have until Friday to have our performance task in my English 8 classes.  Aside from that, we also have to review for the upcoming 2nd Quarter Examinations and I haven’t given the students their summative test yet.  I still don’t have any idea if there will be changes with the activities and schedule– whatever they will come up with, I am just here to guide and support the kids in school.  Next week, we will be having our inset and I am looking forward to finish all of my tasks so I can finally take a break and enjoy.  

This coming October 30, 2017, my hubby and I, together with my two kids, will be having a staycation is Discovery Suites Ortigas.   Every 30th of October, we celebrate our wedding annivesary in a nearby hotel to unwind and celebrate the number of years that we are together as a couple.    This year though will be a bit different and I am hoping that everything will go perfectly as planned with the help of the Discovery Suites staff.  Our 15th wedding anniversary special will be posted in my Intagram, Twitter and Facebook account.  This is just the beginning because a lot of surprises is still in store for TBIP in 2018.  Watch out for my review of Discovery Suites here and in Tripadvisor 🙂

 

Hysteria in Astoria

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         I booked Astoria Plaza in Ortigas Center, Pasig City last October for our 14th wedding anniversary because the rate seemed reasonable and I was curious as well because I’ve been offered for their club membership twice already when I was in Boracay.  Since the membership fee is sky-high, I was expecting something grand. I have done my research about this place through reading blogs and reviews. Some people were satisfied– some were not, but then since we are entitled to our own opinions, I have decided to at least give it a try and discover for myself.
       When we have arrived there, we were openmouthed  when the front desk officer asked us to deposit P3,000 in cash. I just brought 1k because my funds in the ATM are still in current and I couldn’t withdraw the money. All I have are my credit cards which I can use in case of emergency.  I was thankful because my hubby brought cash with him– if not, we couldn’t have stayed there.  I have booked through Agoda so I didn’t know that I should bring cash.  (I think information about this should be crystal clear in both the official website and other booking sites).  Of course, everybody prefers a hassle-free staycation and this incident really irked me, but I have tried to keep calm and just enjoy.

 

 

         We waited for less than 30 minutes for check-in and while we were waiting, we watched guests come and go.  Most of them are wearing shorts.  (I thought wearing of shorts is not allowed in all public areas)  Prior to our check-in, I have called the customer service hotline to confirm about their dress code.  I was informed that only smart casual attire is allowed in their cafe, but we can wear jeans in the public areas.  I asked if we can wear shorts, the answer is NO.  I didn’t know that time if I would burst into laughter or confront the receptionists because of anger and disappointment.  I just thought that probably, they have modified their dress code rules– well, if that’s the case, an updated information should be posted in their website.
         After more or less 30 minutes of waiting, I was given the keycard and the check-in info sheets  (info about the WIFI password  and schedule of shuttle services). We were expecting somebody to assist us and lead us into our room and help us with our luggages, but NOBODY approached us.  (In Fernandina Suites- a 3 star hotel, there was somebody who escorted us to our room and we were given welcome drinks).  So we had no choice but to head to the elevator and find the room on our own.   

       

            We booked for one bedroom suite which was just right for us (2 adults and a nine-year old kid. It was neat and very organized, but if you will examine the wall coverings, you can trace that the hotel is quite old. Though the wall cover needs an upgrade, as well as some of the furnishings, I like the concept about utilizing mirrors (to make the room look spacious).

 

               

        A clearbook with detailed information about their services and number of items in the room was there in the table found in the bedroom.  

 

 

 

 

     

          I also like the toilet design as well as the good quality of the linens and curtains. Airconditioning is okay 🙂  We were comfortable during our stay.  I just noticed that they don’t have a comforter. They have a closet with hangers, ironing board and iron and a hair dryer in their toilet.

 

 

                        The one-bedroom suite comes with a kitchen where you can cook your own food; however, if you bring a lot, you have to pay for a corkage fee.  This is good if you intend to have a small party for the family.  There are cookwares and kitchen utensils that you can use.  The dining room is also spacious and relaxing.

 

            

        We also like their bathroom.  Their design is really cool- such a space saver.   With regards to freebies, they just have a small shampoo and lotion, and 2 pcs. of dental kits. I have read in a review about the mystery of the missing towels, so I counted the towels when we arrived. It seems I knew that we would have a problem with the check-out process.    

 

       

       I didn’t want to spoil everything so have used the amenities such as the pool and the fitness center.  We went to the gym after inspecting the assigned room to us.  

 

         

 

           The pool was quite okay and the staff are consistent in implementing the rules and regulations. They take the details such as the registered guest and the number of persons in the room. Also, they advise the guests to take a shower first before swimming. Only swimming attires are allowed.

 

 

 The lap pool

Shane in the Kiddie Pool

                Mother and daughter in the lounge chairs

          Another thing that made us disappointed is that we were not able to avail of their FREE shuttle service because the time when I have texted them, they claimed, service was already full.  We spent P70 or more for the one-way fare from the hotel to Robinson’s Galleria.  Also, the free WIFI for 2 devices was useless.  We used our internet data just to update our FB status and upload photos. 

         One thing I had to commend them though, is their customer service staff.  I called when the television in our room wasn’t working and the customer service representative sent a guy to fix our unit.  After it was repaired, the customer service representative called to make sure that our television is working.  

 

 Our view from our window

             Before we went to the cafe for our free breakfast, I had called their front desk officer about the 9 year old child with us if she will pay half of the rate.  According to them, she has to pay the full amount.  Because we had a problem with cash at that time, I asked also if I can use credit card to pay for the bill.  I was relieved when they confirmed that they accept credit card as payment.  

 

 

        I wasn’t surprised when we had encountered a problem when we were about to check out. The front desk officer asked me where could I possibly placed a hand towel that was missing. I insisted that the towels were all in the bathroom. After few minutes of waiting, we were relieved that we were able to get our full refund of our deposit.  

   

      

             Should I recommend Astoria Plaza?  Why not, but be guided with my tips.

TIPS:

1.  Bring P3,000 for cash deposit in your check-in.

2.  Bring a pocket-WIFI because the FREE wifi is useless.  

3.  Count the towels and if possible, have somebody from their staff to count them.  

 4.  Call their front desk staff in advance to book for their shuttle service in advance.  

 5.  You may bring shorts and jeans.  They are not strict in the cafe.          

6.  Bring your ATM cards, credit cards and as much as possible EXTRA CASH in case of emergency.  

The Travel Blogger in Pink’s Rating:  

 

Note:  I have received a phone call on November 14, 2016 from their front office manager apologizing about the experience I had.  I appreciate that effort 🙂

 

A Budget Destination in QC

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   Every time my daughter celebrates her birthday, we do it in a resort. Here is the list of the places where she spent her birthday:

3rd- Ciudad Christia 9 Waves (San Mateo, Rizal)

4th- Loreland Resort (Antipolo City)

5th- Torresville Resort (Antipolo City)

6th- Trader Ric’s Resort (Subic, Zambales)

7th- La Solana Resort (Puerto Galera)

8th- Cattleya Resort (Antipolo City)

9th- Fernandina 88 Suites (Quezon City)

 

          I decided to book Fernandina 88 Suites because of its location (it is just in front of Alimall and near SM) and of course, the very affordable price. I booked a Deluxe 2 bedroom suite so it can accommodate all of us (3 adults and 3 kids). I was able to get a discount when I booked directly in their website. I requested for kitchen utensils because it is not inlcuded in the room. That costs P300 inclusive of frying pan, casserole, rice cooker, 6-pc. dinnerware and electric stove.

 

 

          I didn’t expect much because that’s the only rate I can afford right now. When we entered the lobby, it was too small that we just stand there while talking to the front desk officer.

         

     When we entered the room, nothing spectacular and elegant about the furnishings and design, but large enough to make our stay comfortable.

       

        It has a kitchenette with NO dinnerwares and cookwares, but it includes 2 pairs of cup and saucer. You have to request for utensils if you plan to cook and eat there.

 

 

      There are 2 bedrooms– a small one with 2 single beds and the bigger bedroom with a queen-sized bed.

 

       When we arrived, we were informed that the electric stove will be delivered in our room after one hour. I had to call for room service to check our dinnerwares. After that, their front desk staff called to make sure we already have everything that we need. He checked if we got our dinnerwares, welcome drinks, etc. I just asked for the WIFI username and password (Wifi is limited to 1 user only).

 

   

   The kids were excited to swim in the pool. I was quite disappointed when I saw the pool, though I know that it is small compared to the other pools we’ve enjoyed before. I think they are not maintaining the water daily. There is no enough space for guests to hang around– there are just two lounge chairs. You have to stand there and just watch your kiddos.

 

       We had a comfortable sleep– no insects, linens and other stuff are clean 🙂

 

Hubby and I headed to the roof deck at 6am to avail the FREE breakfast for two.

 

     

      As expected, I didn’t enjoy the buffet breakfast and I was right. I just had fried rice, scrambled egg, corned beef, banana and a cup of coffee.

 

 

       Day 2- I didn’t plan to swim because I was disappointed, but because there were no guests at that time and we just had the pool to ourselves, I changed my mind. I went to the pool for a quick dip 🙂

 

If you are on a tight budget and you prefer not to go too far, I would recommend this hotel, but if you want to experience more fun, I suggest that you better search for other hotels/resorts.

 SUGGESTIONS:

Welcome drinks should be given upon arrival.

Kitchen utensils should be included if the room has a kitchenette.

There should be more lounge chairs for the guests in the pool area.

Quality of food and prompt service should be observed in the restaurant.

It’s about time for a hotel makeover– purchase for new and modern furnishings, curtains and other room decor so the hotel won’t just be BASIC to everyone. The dinnerwares are also basic– they should have chosen modern and attractive designs.

There should be more chairs in the reception area.

Thanks for reading my blog.  If you would like to contact the hotel, here’s the info:

Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel

222 P. Tuazon Blvd., Araneta Shopping Center

Quezon City, Metro Manila, 1109

Philippines

 

Phone Number: +63-02-9113169

Email: inquire@fernandina88.com.ph