Sofitel Manila prides itself of being one of the best rated luxury hotels in Manila and its appearance definitely backs that. Exteriorly Sofitel has the common box shaped architecture which any other hotel either exceeds or can replicate, however their front lobby gardens and entrance do give a mood of high class welcoming. Inside the hotel you can feel the expensive taste of this hotel, tiles, carpets, ornaments, chandeliers, glass, paintings, flowers and more are all of high quality and not just of basic standards. Furthermore to the prime taste of interior design, their huge attraction is its elegant beautifully designed and located spiral stairs, whilst I was there an enormous Christmas tree centred the staircase however normally I believe a huge centrepiece would be in place. The rooms are no shortfall of what is in the lobby either, all with a massive wooden work desk and smooth marble looking tiled bathroom are just some of the features of the hotel rooms. Other attributes the hotel has is their Lagoon shaped swimming pool overlooking Manila Bay. Overall Sofitel boasts luxury inside the hotel, the lighting and design definately had a high budget.
Situated by Manila Bay, Sofitel is near almost all the points of interests around Manila including Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The area which Sofitel is in is next to amusements such as the Manila Ocean Park, Star City, Philippine International Convention Centres, Mall of Asia, Resorts World and even more. Notably the location is also one of the more upper and safer area which is hugely used by tourists. Only down side to Sofitel’s Location is that although I have stated all the point of interests are near, it is however not walkable and a short means of transport is required.
As a large hotel which is popular and takes in a lot of guests, I would understand if it would be difficult to maintain cleanliness. However Sofitel Manila does well to keep its perimeter relatively clean. Not perfectly polished and sparkly clean but Sofitel does warrant a comfortable stay, outside, the lobby and inside the rooms.
Facilities & Amenities /10
Being a premium hotel takes looking after your guests with high class facilities and amenities for comfort and entertainment. Sofitel provides all that the common hotel and resorts provide whether the pool, salon, spa, restaurants, bars, taxi and concierge all at high end quality. Relaxing in the hotel is easy with the various wellness facilities with the spa, salon and gym all with high reputations. Enjoyment on the premises is also effortless whilst swimming in their iconic lagoon shaped pool, whilst some relax or dine, pool and bay side. Working or business guests are also catered for with the various meeting rooms. I have to also acknowledge their transport services as they do a brilliant chauffeur service, when I needed a ride quick, seconds after paying for a service the car just pulled over right in front of us whilst the concierge opened the door and said “here’s you ride sir,” purely first class service. Most facilities do however prove to be costly should there be a fee, but don’t be put off as you do get the quality for what you paid for.
Sofitel Manila is very expensive and whether good or bad, Sofitel will only be comfortable with those who are travelling as a single or couple, with a higher budget. Sofitel will also not be easy for those travelling as a larger group or families as the deluxe rooms are strictly for a maximum of three, two persons would be paid for which is already normally expensive and the third person would pay an extra persons fee on top of the room price. There are however larger rooms but the prices are more pricier and do not help those with lower or average budgets who want to experience a little higher holiday life. The restaurants and café are also very expensive, for a coffee you would pay php240 which is about £4 which is average to foreign eyes, but in Philippines it is 4x what you would normally pay in Philippines. The dinner Buffet is also expensive, although an impeccably amazing buffet the price is mostly way out of the average persons holiday budget Php3,800 which is more expensive than a buffet in London. Overall Sofitel Manila proves to be a pricey hotel for guests with higher budgets, a longer stint or larger groups would probably prove to hit the bank hard.
There are various bars, restaurants and cafes here in Sofitel under one roof. Spiral which is the main restaurant in Sofitel which is an award winning interactive buffet dining experience from around the world. The experience here was definitely superb, the setting was rich in style whether next to the spiral staircase, fountain or nearer the foods every setting is gorgeous. When full Sofitel does however open their function rooms for guests to dine in, which is very far but they still strive to give the same service as much as possible. Spiral has 21 different sections or ateliers including Filipino, Japanese, North Indian, Wood fired oven, La Patisserie, Thai, Chinese, Salads and Appetizers a Chocolaterie and 12 more sections. The food itself were premium, all the foods were cooked fresh and had all the extravagant ingredients they didn’t go cheap at all. My own experience was definitely good, however I ought to look for the more simpler dishes which they had none, I was looking for the more common curries such as Tikka, Balti, Thai green/ red curry or the Japanese katsu curry but there just wasn’t any, all foods were posh and different and I didn’t have a clue what most of them were. None the less I did try a lot of the dishes and they were fulfilling and tasty whilst draining the food down with the more common Ice tea or the free champagne served to us whilst sitting down. La Veranda was also gorgeous a upper class bar which branches out to the Lagoon shaped pool, we didn’t have food there but we did however have a few relaxing evening drinks to chill out. In terms of food Sofitel offers fine dining which follows the level of class as its whole hotel experience, although not cheap it is definitely an experience that must be taken.
Welcoming, friendly and professional are just some of the characteristics of the staff in this hotel. First of all the security at the entrance the first point of contact to staff in the hotel, although their job is to keep guest safe they also act as a welcoming face and do it very well, I didn’t feel any daunting feelings at the door even though they hardly smile they do answer any enquiries and are happy to help anyway possible as long as they don’t leave their post. Secondly the reception or checking in staff who are very diverse in nationality which is good for all purposes including language barriers. My impression of the check-in staff I encountered is the 100% professionalism, they looked after us and assured us even with a long wait, whilst checking our booking the staff who was looking after us even wholeheartedly conversed with us about our holiday, after he checked us in one of our rooms wasn’t ready and he assured us that we can come back at a specific time, where out check out time will be catered for. After many more queries from time to time, I never got a feeling I was being annoying the staff welcomed my queries and strived to help, and every time a staff passes you a simple good-evening, good-morning, good-day is greeted which just changes the atmosphere. Small downsides is that of the pool staff counting the number of people swimming, this could be deemed a little unwelcoming but I guess they have to do their jobs, the life guards are also not very interactive with guests. Restaurant guests are ok but I didn’t see anything greatly different than that of other average hotels, apart from the expensive uniforms I couldn’t say anything outstanding for them. All in all the staff in the entrance and lobby made the hotel and carried all other staff to a good impression.
Overall Sofitel is definitely that luxury upper class hotel that most strives to endeavour. It does however come at a cost but the money you pay for is not wasted as the hotel does guarantee an exceptional stay. Not known for being a hotel for large groups or very long stays and by the layouts of their rooms, mostly cater for business users. Sofitel is categorically one of the best hotels in Manila and that’s not an exaggeration, its staff and facilities are the integral part of their reputation.