Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel: Over Rated French Tropical Paradise by the Bay

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel 
Over Rated French Tropical Paradise by the Bay 

We have been to Sofitel Philippine Plaza for
a quite number of times even way back when
this was known as the Westin Philippine Plaza.

The kids grew up loving and longing for the hotel’s huge,
lake- size swimming pool which they tremendously enjoy.

^^taken eight years ago

We again returned for a three day stay and intend
to do nothing but to eat, laze, swim, rest and sleep.

We arrived at the hotel after a short flight from 
Naga City,  the check- in was fast and easy,

…and we were in our room in a breeze.


We were booked to a Superior Room,

…that had a beautiful view of the city
and of the Manila Bay by the balcony.


The view could be depressing at daytime
when thick smog obscures the horizon,

…but becomes alive and breathtaking
 the city lights up at night time.

According to their webpage, the room had “the air
of elegant simplicity” and was apparently  designed
by the renowned Hong- kong based HOK designers.

Source: Sofitel Web Page

It was pretty spacious and had warm touches
of exquisite Filipino flair like capiz shells,

…coconut inlay, 

…and dark hardwood. 

I remember the room being this way even when the hotel was
still a Westin property, before it was taken over by Sofitel.
Sofitel did not update the rooms, during the renovation
and still  had the laid back feel of  70’s and 80’s era.

I suspect “the air of elegant simplicity” that they described their rooms
in their webpage, is just a subliminal way of mind setting their guests
to make them believe it was worth its ridiculously expensive a tariff,

…and to cover up the sloppy renovation job done
by their apparently Hong- kong based designer.

The room had a massive, comfortable King sized bed
bearing Sofitel’s voguish and classy signature MyBed,
big enough to fit four of us snugly and still feel relaxed.

It had a nice sitting area,

…a study and working table,

…a wide flat screen TV.

…and a well stocked mini- bar
with coffee/tea making facilities,

…that they never refilled on succeeding days.

It had a spacious closet filled with things
that would make our stay safe comfortable,

…the room had a very spacious
and luxurious toilet and bathroom,

…provided with signature toiletries,

…which, just like the mini- bar, were also not been
refilled on succeeding days, something that never
happen in other hotels of the same class and  category.

The bathroom had fabulous rain shower with poor water- heating 
capacity as the water heater nver really worked during our stay,
and though this wasn’t a premier room, , it did not have a bath 
tub, a usual amenity of hotels of similar class and standard.

Connectivity was not a problem as the room had
three landline phones, the first was on the bedside,

…the second on the working table,

...and the third at the toilet.

It also had a fast and free
Wi- Fi internet connection.


Sofitel Philippine Plaza is ideal for families wanting to get
away from the urban hustle and bustle without leaving the city.

The resort hotel is a serene tropical sanctuary and would
make one feel that guests are in an isolated island paradise, 
but comfortably close enough to urban convenience. 

It is located just a block away from
Star City, an indoor theme park,
…few blocks away from the Mall of Asia, where it is visible from
our balcony, and the hotel offers a free shuttle to the mall.

It is also about thirty minutes drive
away from  the Manila Ocean Park.

Source: The Manila Ocean Park Nifty Guide

The beautiful Rizal Park, historic Intramuros and the old Manila
district are also located nearby, but I would recommend visiting them
at the peak of  summer due to the awful heat the dreadful humidity and
the horrible urban blight at the old city capital could be disappointing.

Source: Rizal Park

There is really no need to stray out of the
hotel, as there is a seaside garden lounge 

…where guests could watch beautiful
the famous Manila Bay sunset,

...and laze some more at night gazing at the moon
and the stars lying flat on the giant lawn pillows,


...or catch the breeze on a hammock,

...or even just comfortably read a book by the poolside. 


Sofitel Philippine Plaza is a kiddie paradise right in the
middle massive of the urban jungle that is Metro- Manila.

They have a massive lake- size swimming pool,

which the kids tremendously enjoyed.

They grew up swimming and this pool and I decided
to take photos of them on this two boulders on the pool, 

...so I could and compare them to a photo taken 
on exactly the same site about eight years ago.

^^taken eight years ago

The hotel also had an  outdoor kiddie playground,

… an indoor playground,.

…and a Kid’s Club Room as well.

They have a 9 and 18 hole golf courses,
a putting green, and a mini golf course.

The hotel also had a well- equipped fitness 
center and an upscale sauna and spa,

…several tennis courts,
and a foot ball/soccer field.

There were just so many things to do for guests
of any age at the  Sofitel Philippine Plaza, making
it a awesome resort playground for the whole family.


The Sofitel Philippine Plaza is unbeatable when it comes
feasting and definitely the best dining destination in Manila.

The Spiral

Spiral is where the hotel’s complimentary 
sumptuous buffet breakfast is served,

…and also offers a massive dinner buffet, probably
the best in Manila or even the entire Philippines.

It has 21 dining ateliers offering the best
of the world's cuisines in one destination.

Each atelier is a showcase kitchen workshop, where
the best of world cuisine are masterfully prepared
by seasoned chefs right before the diners’ eyes.


I believe this is a smaller but more upscale version of
the iconic Rio’s World Carnival Buffet in Las Vegas.

There was a  roomful of cheeses, 
special sausages, hams and cold cuts, 

They were all kept in a temperature controlled room   something 
that I have never seen in any buffet any where else in the world.

For the Spiral dinner buffet alone, Sofitel Philippine Plaza is worth
visiting as I believe it is the best culinary destination in the country,

Le Bar

Le Bar is located at the lobby and a
three-in-one combination of bistro,

…music  lounge, 

…and Galette - patisserie and chocolaterie.

Sunset bar

The Sunset Bar is open every weekend, and
features poolside barbecue of fresh seafood, 

…marinated meats and an array of salads,
tropical fruits and native  desserts.

There are also colorful cultural dance
and live band performances are slated.

Pool Side and Garden Lounge

Pool side garden  is one of the best places to laze   
around all day or just relax and do nothing at all.

They have comfortable outdoor sofa beds,


...and even giant lawn pillows.

  There are also numerous water stations located on strategic places 
in the garden to keep guests hydrated during the hot summer day,

...or you can order food and drinks
 from attendants  just a buzzer  away.


In Room Dining

Sofitel's in- room dining was excellent ,

...and the choices at the room service menu was superb. 


My family had already stayed for quite a number of times in this hotel
in the past, and during my pre blogging days, and I still clearly remember  
the glass walled bathroom on the newly renovated in hotel luxury room,

…but the Superior Room where we stayed
this time was a disappointment though.

It was newly renovated the room but it was not updated,
and I believe their Hong- kong based  designer made a
sloppy job in doing so as it still looked the same when
the hotel was still known as Westin Philippines Plaza.

Just what I have earlier stated in this blog, “the air of elegant simplicity” that
they described this room in their webpage, is a way to mind set their guests
into thinking that the room was worth its ridiculously expensive tariff and to
cover  up the sloppy renovation job done by their Hong- kong based designer.

 Source: Sofitel Web Page

Sofitel prides itself as a five star hotel, I agree
facility wise, but I would disagree service wise. 

 Source: Sofitel Web Page

They failed to refill the toiletries in the bathroom,
and they also failed to refill the coffee and tea
at mini- bar during our 3 day stay in the hotel.

The bathroom water heater also
never worked during our stay.

The hotel’s resort like facility was otherwise unbeatable and hard
to match by any hotel in Metro Manila of similar class and standard.

The best feature of the hotel is the Spiral as the food was
excellent and there was a massive spread of international
and local dishes on the buffet and the service was superb.

Despite the service flaws, Sofitel Philippine Plaza
is still one of the best hotels in the Philippines-

... but if one would consider a value for money category,
guests would be better off in any Shangri- la Hotel.

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