Sofitel Philippine Plaza

Beyond the Sam and Piolo allegations of a poolside tryst, I heard about The Sofitel Philippine Plaza's extensive renovations which were completed only last year. Since I'm staying the night in Manila before flying to Davao, I decided to try and see for myself how the room looks like. And see that famous pool of course.

Check In: I got out of the car from the airport and into the smiling face of a uniformed bellboy who immediately took my luggage: "Welcome to the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Sir!". Typical of luxury hotels in Manila now, guests have to go through metal detectors while a sniffing German shepherd looks for anything suspicious in the luggage. There's nothing fancy about the hotel lobby but the cavernous Spiral Restaurant just below overlooks the famous pool and the Manila Bay beyond. Lovely. Check-in was smooth as I was the only guest being served that time. When I told the hotel receptionist about my wish for a poolview room (more expensive), she immediately considered my request like the fairy godmother that she was.

it's Sam...it's Piolo...oh, it's a bald-headed, pot-bellied guest

The Room: It's quite a walk down the hallway from the elevator but as soon as I got inside Room 651, I sensed that everything here smells new. The new carpet though looks boring but the kingsized bed is a sleeper's paradise. Tablelamps made from capiz shell lay on top of the night tables. There's an executive desk in the other corner but I didn't like the way it was positioned. When I opened the sliding doors to my balcony, the view blew me away: directly below where I stood was this gorgeous lagoon-shaped pool while just nearby is the Manila Bay on one side and a distant view of Roxas Boulevard on the other. Hotel amenities in their standard deluxe rooms include toiletries, complimentary bottled water along with coffee and tea, a pair of sleepers and robes, and flat iron with ironing board. I requested a wake-up call as a back-up to my own alarm clock (just in case mine fails, which happened before) and I was even asked if I needed a follow-up call. True to its Accor brand name, The Sofitel Philippine Plaza has delivered its goods making your stay a money truly well spent. While it may not match the opulence of the Peninsula chain, there's no pretensions in trying to over-exert itself in wowing guests. I haven't had the chance to sample their version of hospitality when this hotel was still known as the Westin Philippine Plaza but my experience has been worthwhile.

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