I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about The Bayleaf Hotel from friends who have stayed there, the highest praise being that it has the best views of Manila. When AsiaRooms.com offered two night’s stay at the hotel, I jumped on the opportunity. It was perfect, since I haven’t been to Bayleaf yet.
Easiest way to get there is to enter Intramuros through the gate along Victoria, which is right across the Manila City Hall
As it would turn out, I ended up there several times last week. The Saturday before my stay, I met with the two Ivans, which gave me a better idea about the hotel’s location and what’s nearby. They have both stayed there previously and gave me tips about where to buy food that would not break the bank (there’s a McDonald’s next door, and 7-11 one block away). We met at the Sky Deck View Bar, which really does have the best 360° views of Manila.
I returned to the hotel on Wednesday, just as people were flocking in droves out of Manila. In my work, we don’t take a holiday during Holy Week, so for years, I’ve only been spending the Lenten season in the metro. Still, I was glad to get out of the house and into a place with good air conditioning. It was the last work day of the week, and I had one more meeting to attend. I headed to Bayleaf early, hoping to check-in early. If they can’t accommodate me yet, at least I can leave my luggage with them while I head to my meeting across the Pasig river.
Luckily, my room was ready and I was able to head up. One of the tips Ivan gave me was to request for a room with a good view. A couple of days before my stay, I called the hotel to confirm my reservation and to request for a room with a view of the golf course. I was delighted that they granted my request, my excitement only dampened by the orange theme of the room.
Don’t get me wrong, the room is tastefully designed — I just have an aversion to the color orange. Nonetheless, the room has everything you’d expect to come in a hotel room: closet space (albeit rather small), a safe big enough to fit a large, clunky laptop, cable TV with over 40 channels, a very comfortable bed, plenty of pillows, a desk, coffee and tea-making things, two bottles of water (replenished everyday), and even a luggage rack.
Though the room is small, it isn’t too small that you bump into things when you’re going from one end to another. It might be a different story if you’re sharing a room with someone though. It has its advantages in the bathroom though, as it means a lot of things are within reach when you’re sitting down in the toilet.
I headed out for my meeting, and by the time I got back, the Sky Deck was opened. The roof deck only open from 4 o’clock in the afternoon and onward. It was just right, as opening earlier would be too hot, and you have just enough time to claim the best seat to wait for the sunset. This is definitely one of my favorite things about The Bayleaf.
Work starts promptly at 9pm, so I pried myself from my comfortable seat and headed down to my room. I set up my temporary work station and tried connecting to the Internet. There is complimentary Wi-fi access to Bayleaf guests, but it requires a unique log in, which only works for one device at a time. This can be quite a hassle if you connect using different devices, as you would have to manually log out from one gadget every time you want to connect using another. It’s a minor annoyance, but I’m quite happy I can still do what I needed to do.
When work ended at 6am, I headed up to 9 Spoons, the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast/dinner. The windows face east, so be prepared for a healthy dose of sunshine when you’re dining here. The buffet spread is small, but there is something for everybody. There are fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, oats, bread, pancakes, waffles, fish, chicken, pork, beef, rice, noodles/congee, and the ubiquitous egg station. Hot coffee or tea is offered, but if you want something cold, there is fresh juice available.
Breakfast comes with the accommodation, but if you’re dining at the restaurant or the Sky Deck, prepare to shell out some money. Appetizers and entrees range from Php 180 to Php 1,000+. One appetizer, one entree, and one drink can cost as much as Php 900+ with taxes. Serving sizes are big enough, but vary for each dish. For example, the Fried Hainanese Chicken Rice is good for one, the Callos Manileno can be shared by two, while the Bagnet Sinigang is big enough for three (just order extra rice). The food at 9 Spoons/Sky Deck is generally good, and the relaxed atmosphere at the Sky Deck really makes it more special.
My favorite place to eat at Bayleaf though, is Cioccolata, their churros cafe. I was unable to try it the first time I went there, so I made sure to eat there on Wednesday, before they close for the week. The churros are cooked upon order and served with the yummiest chocolate dip. When we went to Binondo for late lunch last Saturday, we headed to Cioccolata for another dose of churros, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be heading back there again when the craving strikes.
The Bayleaf Hotel serves as a training ground for hotel and restaurant management and culinary students of Lyceum. Manage expectations accordingly, but to be fair, my experience was mainly positive. There are rooms for improvement, of course, but for the location and the price they offer, it’s a good value hotel, specially if you have a limited time to spend in Manila.
View more photos of The Bayleaf Hotel over at the Just Wandering Facebook Page.
This stay was made possible by AsiaRooms.com. If you’re looking for accommodation in Asia, that’s the place to look. They only took care of the reservation and the payment for my stay. I formed my own opinion based on my experience at Bayleaf and wrote them here.