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

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.

Lenox Hotel

My working feet took me and my colleagues up north this time. For a change, I had some official business in the province of Pangasinan. Admittedly, it was not something I was looking forward to because I don’t like long road travels very much. But this trip ended up ok, in part due to the very nice hotel we stayed in – the Lenox Hotel in Dagupan City.

We stayed at one of their newly renovated rooms, and it was definitely a good choice. The room had two queen beds, and the size was considerably larger than most provincial hotels I’ve stayed in. Pristine white sheets and super comfy bed and pillows = two thumbs up. We almost didn’t want to get up, and let all the softness envelop us for a longer time. Bathroom was also nice with an overhead rainshower. Wish it had great toiletries though.

Cafe Feliz, the in-house restaurant, was also elegantly decorated. We had our breakfasts there, and their daing na bangus was certainly a hit.

Motel One

Before I completely forget, I have to write about Motel One. This chain of hotels has several branches all across Germany and Europe, and I stayed in two of them during my trip. I was ribbing my friend that she was a stockholder because she she spoke so highly of the establishment, and after Day 1, I could actually understand why.

It had me at blue.

But other than that, I would say that staying in these hotels are worth the price. It was actually not so hefty given the range of hotel rates in Europe. Both of them (Berlin and Essen) are very clean and sleek. The outside is very industrial, while the interiors are cool, really restful for an excited but weary traveller like me. Wifi is strong. And the wonderful part of Berlin was we got the best room (I think), which is on the topmost of a semicircular tower, giving us an unobstructed 180 degree view of the zoological garden nearby, as well as the distant Tiergarten. Really, really amazing, especially at night.

The room itself was on the tiny side, with a tiny bathroom, but the furniture and decors were very artsy and tasteful. I liked the organic soap and shampoo! Smart TV was huge, too bad it didn’t have English channels.

Didn’t get to taste food so I cannot judge. But they both have great lounges ideal for coffee or even dinner.

Also both strategically located–in Berlin near the Embassy where we had business and the shopping district of Kurfurstendamm, and Essen, near the central Haupftbanhof and still the shopping district. (Did not do any shopping at all haha)

Berlin Upper West

Essen

Definitely recommending to those travelling to Germany!

Acacia Hotel

This is our last hurrah for this summer vacation courtesy of good ol’ Mama. Thank you Mama! Our requirements this time were simple: Mischa and Maxine have to swim, and the place mustn’t be too far because we didn’t want to drive all the way. So I chose from among nearby hotels (from our place), and we ended up at Acacia Hotel.

I didn’t get to take a picture of the lobby but it looks a lot of awesome to me. With its veeeerrry high ceilings and wide expanse, it shouts of elegance and class. We got connecting rooms, and from check in to check out, everything was a breeze. We loved their attentive and accommodating staff. And we absolutely loved our room! It has a great view of the Alabang business district.

Included in the room package are welcome drinks, in which case you have a choice of sparkling wine or pandan juice. We also had vouchers for tablea ensaymada and unlimited coffee, which we sadly weren’t able to avail of.

Then it was down to swimming business for that afternoon and the next morning.

It was so cold and windy, but nothing will stop the kids haha! Not even Maxine’s lips which keep on turning blue after a few minutes in the water that we had to get her off and warm her up for a bit before getting her back in the water.

We mostly ate inside the hotel. We were supposed to go out for dinner Saturday night but it rained so we stayed in. Their buffet selection was also quite good-enough choices so that you don’t get too umay. It was not too pricey which was the best thing hehe. Morning called for room service because we were too lazy. The best was getting upgraded from buffet breakfast (supposedly included in the package) to buffet lunch. Wheeee, we didn’t have to hurry and wake up early so we can catch up on breakfast.

We had one of the best vacations here. I like that everything was unhurried, we were taken cared of very very well by Southern hospitality, and we were home in about 10 minutes!

Paragon Hotel and Suites

It’s been a month, I know, since our family holiday in Baguio City. And as I said in my last post, I have some sort of mental blockage that’s preventing me from writing about a devastating thing that happened last June. But ever so slowly, I am getting back in the thick of things because I truly aim to document most of our family life for the kids to read later on. Before I write about the details of our trip, I want to get this review of our hotel done with.

I booked the Paragon Hotel and Suites through booking.com. Since we were going on a long weekend, by the time we have decided to go, most of the better hotels were already fully booked. I chanced upon Paragon because it has good reviews, most especially on the location as it was a stone’s throw away from Burnham Park. Also, I was hooked on the promise of a good family room as there are 6 of us.

When we got there past noon, they were kind enough to let us check in early as it was not yet 2:00 p.m. True to its claim, it was about 300 meters away from Burnham Park. The site itself, however, was not very conducive, and kind of stressful, as it was fronting a market and a transportation terminal (jeepney, taxi and van). And during the two nights we stayed there, loud sounds coming from a videoke could be heard resonating from the area to the rooms. You could also hear all the goings-on from down there, of vehicles coming to and fro. On the whole, the rooms and the whole hotel were not sound proof.

The reception was located at the third floor of the hotel as the first and second floors were dedicated to restaurants and function rooms. Despite the seemingly unruliness on the outside, the inside was very charming and cozy. All the staff were also very pleasant and cheerful, and one could feel the homey vibe of the modern hotel.

I was also very impressed with the vastness of the Grand Suite, which we got. It has its own living room, a kitchen with ref, microwave and kettle, a dining area, the bedroom and a bathroom with a tub. We didn’t use the kitchen for much, just for washing the baby bottles, but it was good that they were there for guests who would opt to cook their own food. But roomy as it may be, the beds were narrow, so we cannot all share the room. Ma and Dad had to stay in the couch, which was comfortable enough. However, we were still charged for extra persons despite us not requesting for extra beds. We gathered that this covered breakfast, and extra pillows and blankets. It would have been really awesome if they didn’t charge this because we really liked the hotel. They even had separate TVs for the bedroom and the living room.

Breakfast was a good enough affair. I wished they had buffet but we made do with plated meals. It was just okay tasting though. The dining room’s decor, like the rest of the hotel, was artfully and tastefully done. Five stars for all decor!

All in all, we loved our stay here. I would even recommend it for families like us. However, I’ll probably be looking for another hotel the next time we go up here. Didn’t really like the vicinity at all.

Kamana Sanctuary

Over the weekend, the hubby joined our colleagues in our yearly teambuilding activity. This year, we had it in a resort-spa called Kamana Sanctuary. It is a cozy and secluded resort right on Subic Bay that is accessible only by private car so you can be sure that there will be no scalawags or unwanted personas around the area. As soon as we came in, especially inside the rooms, I regretted that we didn’t bring the kids (and the older folks too). I thought that it was perfect as the resort was not big that we could get lost, and the amenities are all within reach. But the rooms were huge and our family would fit right in, and the kids could burn off energy running around without us having to worry too much about it. They have a smallish pool and beach access, a playground, and volleyball and basketball area. And the food was awesome! We had to have a mad dash for the bacon in the morning, but worth it!