Fairmont Gold Room resized

Like other cities in the Philippines, Manila has its challenges and drawbacks, not least the traffic snarls and pollution. Its best assets, in my view, are its unfailingly cheerful people and splendid hotels.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at a selection of really good Manila hotels, including the “Edsa” Shangri-la and Crowne Plaza in Ortigas. They have outstanding facilities in common, at a remarkably competitive price, usually less than half what you’d pay in a comparable property in, say, New York or Sydney and with vastly better service. Recently I checked in for three nights at one of Manila’s best and newest – the five-star Fairmont located in Makati, the city’s main business, shopping and leisure hub.

Girls croppedIt represents a step forward for tourism in the city and country, say its marketers, with the last luxury hotel in the area having been built way back in 1993-94.

The 280-room Fairmont is incorporated into a 30-storey tower that includes the 32 all-suite Raffles Makati hotel as well as the 237 one- to four-bedroom Raffles Residences, set up for short- or long-term stays. They’re all owned by the same parent company (FRHI). What makes it especially attractive for business and MICE visitors is that it’s been conceived by architects Arquitectonica and interior designer Bent Severin to ensure guests’ privacy, as far as possible, according to Monique Toda (pictured, left), Director of Communications.

“The design allows for exclusivity,” explains Monique, a 27-year veteran of the hotel business. Its lobby, for example, unlike the cavernous foyers of many hotels, has been created as an assembly of separate, partitioned spaces where people can get together and talk in relative solitude.

“We view ourselves as a kind of oasis in the city and place a high priority on people’s privacy,” explains Monique. “A lot of our conference guests or business travellers like that; they don’t want to be stared at, or to feel ‘out there’ in any way.”

In addition to “Fairmont Gold,” the executive room and lounge offer, the hotel has over 1,700 square meters of meeting and function space, including an 859-square-meter ballroom accommodating up to 600. Additional meeting rooms cater for 30 to 40.IMG_7900

“Having Raffles next door and part of the same complex allows us to attract leisure travellers,” says Marketing Communications Coordinator Bianca Rodriguez (pictured, right).

“The Fairmont is almost exclusively for business people, and we generally tend to offer better rates in July-August.” Another agreeable feature is the “Willow Stream” spa, a headily-scented facility covering 1,200 square meters and including a hair salon, nail studio, mineral as well as outdoor pool.

From around US$200 a day The rooms at the Fairmont start at around US$200 a day, and it offers a swag of conference packages.

Take the “Spectrum Buffet” full-day package for up to 30 people. It includes use of a meeting room for eight hours, morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, all the usual IT and wifi whistles and bells, free local phone calls, a conference “butler,” and complimentary car park tickets for 10% of the guests. That package is PHP2,280 per person, or just over $50.

Contact the hotel at makati@fairmont.com.

The Siteseer was a guest of Fairmont Hotel in Makati.