Paskong Pinoy: Christmas Wonderland In Old Town Manila
"As we go along, singing a song, walking in a Manila Wonderland.” The Ayala Lights are charming, the Meralco Liwanag Park impressive and the Pasig Paskotitap remarkable, but this year I found new magic in the old soul of Manila. During a weekend stay last month in Manila we happened upon a Christmas wonderland as we dined in the historic Rizal Park Hotel and capped our night off at the time-less Manila Hotel.
Rizal Park Hotel|
There’s a unique beauty that lies in old buildings when given a breath of new life and the Rizal Park Hotel is no exception. The high ceilings and marbled art deco floors really bring a treat to the visit. We hit it just right visiting The Rizal Park Hotel at Christmas because the oversized immaculate Christmas tree stands front and center in the lobby demanding your attention. It’s pretty much a scene out of any Christmas movie with a busy metropolitan as the backdrop. So dreamy!
the restored entrance of what was formerly the Army Navy Club and is now known as the Rizal Park Hotel
The experience of Rizal Park Hotel MUST be accompanied by a night visit to the speak-easy inspired roof top bar, The Penthouse By The Bay. You don’t want to miss out on a theme so dress the part please and pull out the Gatsby attire please! The views are stunning and the design impeccable so take these photos with a grain of salt and visit the Penthouse yourself.
the penthouse by the bay glowing
seeing Manila in a new light is refreshing for the perspective
The Manila Hotel|
A little history in their own words to pique your interest…
“City planner Daniel Burnham planned most of Manila, including a long boulevard that would end in a hotel. That road became Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard), with The Manila Hotel at its very tip. Countless personalities—from Ernest Hemingway to Michael Jackson—have graced its rooms through the years, with General Douglas MacArthur as arguably its most famous guest (there is a suite there named after him). The original hotel was designed with “California Missionary look,” the hotel was damaged during the Battle of Manila in WW2, but has consistently been renovated, from the 1970s onwards.” - manila-hotel.com.ph
the Manila Hotel in all its Christmas glory
The Manila Hotel really goes all out with the glitz and glam of Christmas but with all things Filipino, it is quite remarkable and must be experienced around the holidays. The Manila Hotel is so wonderful around Christmas that I am apprehensive another time of the year could produce such a magical visit.
from floor to ceiling, no details are spared
the lobby is adorned in Paskong Pinoy deco
the Christmas Tree was adorned with bilaos, woven stars an other uniquely filipino items
this front desk reminded me of Gringotts Bank in Harry Potter
the perfect touch, live music
what would a visit be without bibingka and tsokolate
The Champagne Room|
The Champagne Room is an iconic Manila establishment and could be dubbed, ‘Manila’s Palace of Versailles.’ I have yet to actually visit the lavish restaurant but it is on my list. A dinner here during the holidays or even a New Year afternoon tea would be quite the experience.
a live violinist is the cherry on top
We may not have snow but we have classic hotels decked out from floor to ceiling that bring a Christmas wonderland to the heart of Manila. Visiting Old Soul Manila during the holidays will surely be a yearly tradition from here on out. Manila, I love you forever.