What makes the Marriott Hotel Manila a refreshing welcome from the mayhem at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport? Discover the mouthwatering cuisines that keep diners craving for more…
The tropical April heat had soared to the mid-nineties. The surroundings were parch and dusty. On the bleak columned concourse flooded with relatives and hosts, vendors hustled travellers with prepaid telephone card deals and transportation services.
Security was tight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Only passengers holding same-day-travel flight tickets were permitted through any airport doors. Luggage screening was done at curbside. With less than desirable traveller experiences and sparse amenities, Ninoy Aquino was a vast contrast from the world’s top rated airports: Incheon and Singapore, where I visited a few weeks earlier.
Hauling my carry-on, I weaved through the chaotic crowd to find the Marriott kiosk. The free shuttle queue was starting to grow. The friendly and helpful attendant made sure I got on my ride to the Marriott Hotel Manila, located across from Terminal 3.
Lush and Serene
The hotel was an escape from the airport mayhem. Lush landscaped gardens and tranquility welcome visitors on arrival. The Marriott Hotel Manila takes their guest safety seriously, providing 24-hour security. Screening is mandatory prior to entering the lobby.
High tea was served in the elegant Greatroom Lounge as soft music flowed through the speakers. For about $12 US, one can indulge in a selection of gourmet teas, scrumptious scones, sweet, and savoury delights. Craving for a cocktail? Try the stylish lobby bar. Food critics claimed the Marriott’s signature Cru Steakhouse cooks up the city’s best steaks.
Delicious and Authentic
The Marriott Cafe serves a delectable range of Asian, Western and local fares throughout the day. Hope Velasco, my host recommended sampling the dinner buffet especially the fresh seafood and local flavours. The tempting Filipino cuisine made my eyes grew larger than my belly.
The Cafe is undoubtedly the place to go for an exquisite buffet that presents a true taste of Filipino cuisine with a great selection of Asian and Western fares.
Click here for a video review of the hotel and tasty dishes served at the Marriott Cafe. A video of the Marriott Cafe and the people behind the food can also be viewed at the end of this article.
People Behind the Food
“Our signature dishes are crispy pata, kare kare (oxtail and beef cooked in peanut sauce served with fish paste), and bulalo,” said Bryan Salarzon, Marriott Café sous chef.
Salarzon began his career with the hotel as a demi chef seven years ago. What motivates him in his work? The daily surprises, thriving under pressure and attaining a sense of accomplishment when it’s over. He credited the Marriott with developing his skills and propelling his career forward with new challenges and opportunities.
The kitchen team’s mission is to delight guests through Marriott food experiences, continued Salarzon. Through his cooking, he hoped to share the flavours of the Philippines, and inspire people to visit his country.
He added that the hotel engages in farm-to-table sourcing and food sustainability. Ingredients for the Cru Steakhouse menu are sourced from organic farmers in Baguio. Fundraising activities support local producers like fishermen in need of funding to repair their boats. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Marriott Cafe offers freshly-caught sustainable seafood cooked to diners’ taste. Their buffet is very popular with the local weekender crowd.
Room, Spa and Pool
The spacious and luxurious room come with a free-standing bathtub and rain shower. Natural light filter through a glass wall that separates the bedroom and washroom. The design may be ideal for a single or couple, but not roommates. Adjacent to the pool is the Quan Spa rendering a range of massages and beauty therapies. Other leisure features include a fitness centre, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.
Bridge Linking Hotel to Airport
A bridge connecting the Marriott Hotel Manila to Terminal 3 is in the plan. Construction of the bridge will reduce commuting time and avoid the crazy Manila traffic. The direct connection is expected to further boost the hotel as a culinary hub, and a relaxing oasis for layovers and short stays.
Free shuttle services are available 24/7 to and from all three airport terminals. Services for Terminal 1 and 2 operate on the hour. Services between Terminal 3 run every 30 minutes. For airport pick-up, call the hotel directly or for passengers arriving at Terminal 3, go to the Marriott kiosk situated at the concourse.
- Travel Time: Allow extra time when travelling to the airport. Manila is known for its horrendous traffic congestion. Airport security and check-in counter line-ups are often very long, and chaotic.
- Departure Time Allowance:Travellers are advised to arrive at the airport at least three to four hours prior to flight departure.
- Transportation: If hotel shuttle service is unavailable, do your homework and only use reputable taxi cab services. Car rental companies like Avis-Rent-A-Car provides chauffeur driven car service for a reasonable price.
- Luggage Security: For added security, check-in luggage can be encased in multiple layers of Saran Wrap-like plastic at the curbside wrapping service station prior to luggage screening.