Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hotel Review: Hotel Jen Manila (Why Millennials Will Love It)

I booked a stay at Hotel Jen Manila last June for a staycation with my husband and daughter, and my nieces. My brother Che and sister-in-law Joy left for Palawan with two of their kids but had to leave behind Joanna who was going to summer school. Jenna opted to stay behind with her sister.

I chose Hotel Jen because we received an overnight stay there as a wedding gift from a dear friend who works at the hotel and her husband who’s our co-worker. I gave the deluxe room to my nieces and booked us an executive suite because we needed a bigger space for Jia’s crib and an extra bed for her nurse.

Hotel Jen is part of the Shangri-La Hotels and Resort Group so I knew it was professionally run. Our experience was even better than I had expected.

Check-in was prompt and friendly. Our suite came with lounge access; my nieces’ room did not. But at check-in I was informed that they could be given lounge access throughout our stay for just an additional Php1,500.00. Not a bad deal.

On our way to the elevators, we noticed a big map of Manila taking up an entire wall. The historic landmarks of the city were highlighted. On the map were different colored Post-It notes containing tips and remarks left behind by previous visitors. Guests are invited to scribble and post a note. Beside the map were an Instagram frame and a freestanding letter J accent piece where guests are encouraged to take photos for sharing in social media, with the promise of a prize (an overnight stay) to the best post.

Afternoon snacks were being served at the Club Lounge called Windows By The Bay when we arrived so that’s where we headed. We were famished! The lounge was cozy and cool, with a sweeping view of the bay area. The teenagers quickly parked themselves on the bar stools to soak in the view while we adults went straight to the buffet table.

When I saw our room, I was even more impressed! At 72 sqm., it was so spacious that we had our own walk-in closet and plenty of space for our toddler to practice her walking.

Later, we had a buffet dinner at Kitsho, the Japanese restaurant at the ground floor. The sashimi and sushi were served in a buffet spread while the hot selections were cooked as you order, based on your choices from the a la carte buffet menu. Buffet price was Php1,500.00 for two persons.

My husband loves listening to live bands so he stayed behind at the lobby lounge while the girls and I went back to the room. He was a bit turned off that smoking was allowed inside the lounge, even if it was closed off from the rest of the lobby. He was also a bit let down by the quality of the band. I’m sure this can be addressed because there are so many talented Pinoy bands out there.

We had breakfast the next day at Latitude. The selection was ample, and I noticed that, in one corner, there were to-go boxes and plastic cutleries that guests can use to pack away their breakfast in case they’re up for an early tour start. Very handy. Beside this was a mobile phone charging station.

We didn’t get to do much the rest of the day because it was raining hard. It’s a pity because there are plenty to see in that area and you need not go far. The hotel is right across CCP, which is popular for biking and picnics and some fantastic plays. It’s also a short distance from Luneta and Intramuros, which are always worth a visit.

As we were leaving, my husband said, “I’d like to come back here.” I concurred, pointing out that, for all the privileges we got, the suite was not expensive. And I got to earn Golden Circle points because it was a Shangri-La property. “Yeah,” he agreed. “And the beer is cheap,” he added.

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