The Mansfield

My home for five days in Manhattan is a beautiful gem right at the heart of the ‘city that never sleeps’. Upon stepping outside the car that picked me up from the airport, the hotel took my breath away. Being a tourist, I was immediately taken by its old world charm, which I have only read in novels and seen on television or the silver screen. It was one of those establishments that have stood the times and has witnessed how history unfolded itself. I will not attempt to pretend to know its architectural details, but this description in The Mansfield‘s website says it all:

Constructed in the popular Beaux Arts style, and influenced by neoclassical Roman and Greek architecture, the Mansfield was originally built as a hostelry for well-heeled bachelors and socialites. Notables such as painter John Butler Yeats, father of the poet William Butler Yeats, stayed to experience a thriving New York following his immigration from Ireland. During the 1950s, the Mansfield was home to Max von Gerlach, who was believed to be the inspiration for Jay Gatsby, from F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

The photos I took on my iPhone do not do justice to its elegance. And its strategic location is not bad at all. Given the limited time I had, it was lucky that a lot of the places of interests are within walking distance that I was able to see as much as I could squeeze in my free time.

And of all the foreign travels I have had in the last ten years, I only had one night of jetlag, maybe because of super comfortable beddings. Despite the oldness of the whole building, the amenities of the rooms are ultra modern, and wifi was not so bad (a must nowadays especially if you’re travelling alone).

Continental breakfast was a bit sad, though. If you are a Filipino like me, who considers breakfast the ultimate meal of the day, you would be disappointed, too. lol

But I love, love,love this hotel!

Facade

Lobby

Library

M bar

Breakfast

The Junior Suite

Business class

I just got back from the Big Apple a few days ago. As always, I will blog about it in the days to come, but this one here deserves a separate post. Yay! For the first ever, I got an upgrade from Cathay Pacific to Business class! I wished that I got the upgrade during the long haul flight from New York to Hongkong so that I got to travel more comfortably, but I will take this any day. I was really so giddy the whole time. Who wouldn’t enjoy the pre-flight champagne, 18-inch LCD screen, huge legroom (though I have short legs, lol), upgraded menu, and much much more personalized service.

I could get used to this. I loooove Cathay Pacific, and have travelled with them on my first international flight to London, then to Canada, then to Cambodia (through Cathay Dragon), and now to New York. If at all possible, I will always use them for all my trips abroad. It can also be said that I totally dig transiting in the Hongkong airport, absolutely one of my favorite airports in the world!

Torimomo Japanese Barbecue

We grabbed a quick bite at Torimomo Japanese Barbecue one time. Because we were in a hurry, and it was the first restaurant that has empty table, that we decided to go here. When we looked at the menu, we were a little surprised that the prices were cheaper than the average Japanese restaurants. Their specialties, as the name implies, are barbecue. But they also offer some of our regular Japanese favorites that’s why we ordered them. We had: tempura, shoyu ramen and pork belly barbecue.

And because food is cheap, serving is also small. lol. We got what we paid for, somehow, and every bite was tinged with disappointment. Aside from the pork barbecue, they also offer salmon, squid, shrimp, bacon-wrapped mushrooms, beef and chicken. Maybe we’ll try those next time. Or maybe not. Oh, and if you have other plans after here, make sure you bring extra clothes and some perfume. The smell of the smoke sticks like crazy.

Yayoi

Because we’re suckers for Japanese food, we decided to try Yayoi, which serves teishoku or full meals (rice, viand, soup, dessert, side dish). The good thing though is they have an ala carte menu too, so we didn’t have to endure the big servings. Lately, in a bid to lose weight (there’s a Biggest Loser contest in the office), we’ve been trying to cut down on our (or at least mine. lol) food intake. But I really couldn’t stay away too long from two things: noodles (ramen, pasta, pansit, pad thai, jap chae, etc.) and Japanese food.

Yayoi has a different dining experience such that you don’t have to call out your server all the time. On each table sits a touch screen pad where you can just press for whatever you need. Starting from your order, asking for utensils, having your water refilled, and so on, it is literally service at your fingertips. I wonder though how the technologically-challenged would fare on this. I guess the wait staff are still around to get you through.

The hubby had chicken jyu or chicken over rice with a special sauce and I had, guess what, niku udon. Both are quite good. Mine had sukiyaki beef in the soup, and an egg that seems to have been braised in something (sorry couldn’t really figure it out). His chicken was perfectly crispy despite the sauce on top. But I would still go for ramen anyday.

Chikos

Peruvian roast chicken is love!

We stumbled upon Chikos in the mall, which is newly opened we think as we haven’t seen it before. Good thing too as we now have a new option (sometimes this noodle freak gets tired of anything noodles too!), and quite affordable too. The restaurant is fairly small, the only have about five tables. This gives the crew more time and attention to its diners! Love it!

The Oriental Legazpi

This is a very late post as we have stayed at the Oriental Legazpi over two months ago. Maybe because I have mixed feelings about staying here, hence, my lukewarm reception to it. Why mixed? Because I was happy when I first set foot in the hotel because of its warm and elegant design, which slowly dissipated as we went up to the rooms. Plus, we had a bad experience overall because of delayed flights, which ended up with us taking a 14-hour bus ride, so it wasn’t the best trip at all.

Anyhoo, as I said, I was quite impressed with the decor as you go in the hotel. Both the lobby and the restaurant just off it are visual feasts. I especially like the purple theme.

But oh the room! The room is the biggest disappointment of all. Websites do lie! The photos posted that led us to the decision of getting them is quite a farce. The beds are the saving grace but everything else in the room (I didn’t even have the heart to take photos) is forgettable. Literally like they were forgotten since the 1980s. The cabinets, desks and chairs’ wood are old and chipped. The bathroom is horrible. They didn’t even have bidets, no tissue holders (toilet papers are just propped on the toilet tank), water tap is broken, you get the drift. Just plain horrible. I wanted to run as fast as I could. But knowing we were staying just overnight, we endured it like saints.

Food was also just okay. Couldn’t say anything bad about them, we’re just neutral.

Going back? Not in a million years. Not worth the price.

Jose (Restaurant)

We tried a new restaurant called Jose. They said they specialize in unlimited wagyu and sizzling seafood. Seemed like a good come on but hey, I was (am) on a diet so it didn’t do anything for me (yay!). We decided to give it a try anyway because it was past 1:00 p.m. and we haven’t had lunch, and everywhere else is full.

For a fairly new restaurant, the place reeked of old. An old establishment must have sat there at one time (though we couldn’t recall which, and we frequent the place) and they didn’t change the interiors much, especially the flooring. They did put up new chandeliers and furniture, but the chairs were a letdown. It was not friendly to small people like me because my feet couldn’t quite reach the floor (go on and laugh!). But the area was huge so it was not stuff inside despite all the grilling.

The service though was a total disappointment! The servers and wait staff were attentive enough, but the food took soooooo long to arrive. We were starving! And the main point of eating there – grilled tuna belly – came when we finished eating all the other food we ordered. So that’s like, an hour, including the waiting time. Of course, we cancelled it.

Taste itself was a little so-so. And expensive. Not worth it. We are 98% not going back.

Calamares

Fried chicken

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