Makati City, Manila

Hotels in Manila, Philippines

Metropolitan Manila, the capital and largest city of the Philippines, is often written up as an amorphous mass of discombobulating traffic, sky-piercing condominiums and hotels in Manila, Philippines, and competing street vendors peddling everything from knockoff sunglasses to copyright-infringing DVDs to dirty ice cream to 18-day-old boiled duck fetus. It's true that Manila could smack you right in the face if you are not used to arbitrary ways with which Filipinos run their affairs, but their adaptability speaks volumes about how they make do with the lemons life has thrown at them, whether in dry weather or high water.

Understanding Manila

The City of Manila, which is officially the Philippine capital, is part of the larger conurbation of 16 cities and one town colloquially known as the National Capital Region. This land the size of less than 250 square miles holds about 12 million people and institutions of national significance. The seat of power, Malacanang Palace, is in the City of Manila, while the financial centre is in Makati, the national headquarters of civilian and military institutions in Quezon City, and the best hotels in Manila tend to cluster in the modern business districts. The entire NCR is the political, economic, cultural and educational centre of the Philippines.

To make sense of its geography, you may want to start where the Pasig River meets Manila Bay, the very site with which the ancient Tagalog (a contraction of “taga-ilog” literally meaning “from the river”) conducted trade with the Chinese as early as the time of Ming Dynasty.

When the Spanish came in 16th century, they overran the native “rajah” or chieftain and built their own fortifications on the river bank which today stand as the Walled City of Intramuros. Past presidents and their entourage would stay at the Manila Hotel at the northwest end of Rizal Park opposite Intramuros to be within striking distance of Quirino Grandstand where most events of national importance are held. Outside the walls is Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world and the Philippines’ hub for bargain shopping.

Where to Stay in Manila

When deciding where to stay in Manila, you could arrange to stay in affordable hotels in Manila for a few days to experience it in bite-sized portions. Manila hotel rates range from the very affordable cheap hotels in Manila or hostel variety to really luxury hotels like the five-star Sofitel Manila hotel.

On clear days, Roxas Boulevard, which runs along the shores of Manila Bay, is the perfect place to watch crimson sunsets. This is the metro’s lifestyle hotspot filled with yachts, restaurants, bars, cafes and 5 star hotels in Manila. The southern terminus of the boulevard leads to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay where Heritage Hotel Manila is located.

In addition to Makati where sparkling office towers dominate and the smell of crisp ‘peso’ bills is in the air, the expat-oriented Bonifacio Global City in Taguig has been attracting high society as well. Apart from the top-tier accommodation in Manila that cater to expatriates, 3 star hotels in Manila are within walking distance of each other in and around these districts.

The closest resorts in Manila are in Pampanga to the north and Batangas and Cavite to the south. Fifty five kilometers south is Tagaytay, a famous weekend escape for city dwellers thanks to its cool climate and viewing points to Taal of the volcano-in-an-island-in-a-volcano fame.