Staycation chronicles: Hitting the slots

If you're treating yourself to a weekend of pure pleasure – which may or may not include going to the spa, lounging by the pool, some retail therapy, lots of good food and perhaps trying your luck out at a casino at one in the morning – you have to complete the experience by staying at a five-star property, like the Marriott Hotel Manila.

The Gist was fortunate enough to be invited to spend a night at this topnotch hotel, giving us the opportunity to enjoy one of the best hospitality options in the metropolis. The room we were billeted at, located on the seventh floor, has the most arresting view of the Villamor Golf Course with the Makati and Bonifacio Global City skyline serving as the backdrop.

Each of the 342 guest rooms and suites are designed around the needs of the modern traveler, with such features as premium Wi-Fi capability, a 40-inch flatscreen TV with a full suite of input options, media player docks and an exclusive line of Thann aromatherapy bath and body amenities. The bathroom is luxuriously oversized, complete with bathtub and overhead shower, just how we like it.

View of Makati/BGC skyline from the seventh floor
The welcome snack platter is a point of interest, as it features all things mango: mango juice, dried mango, what seems to be a bar of mango-flavored white chocolate and of course, a mango fruit. We're assuming that this is a nod to the local culture, which foreign guests will thoroughly be intrigued by. Another nice touch is the personalized welcome message flashed on the TV screen.

Deluxe guest room
There are lots to do at the hotel alone; you don't even have to venture out to the rest of Resorts World Manila. There's an outdoor pool open till 9 p.m. and a 24-hour health club with sauna, steam room and hot whirlpools. The Quan Spa is a focal point, the hotel's “signature spa that promises to revive the body and soul with a multitude of services” and exquisite treatments, which you'll need after a whole day of shopping, movies and gaming.

Personalized welcome message on the TV screen
While there, also try one or all of the hotel's restaurants; our favorite is Cru Steakhouse. Dining at Marriott is a guaranteed delight as the property was named the overall champion at this year's Philippine Culinary Cup (Professional Division) on the strength of three gold, 11 silver and eight bronze medals won by its world-class chefs.

Each guest room has an oversized bathroom
Marriott Hotel Manila has been going though a series of improvements lately. It recently launched the 31,000 square-feet Marriott Grand Ballroom, pegged as the country's “grandest and biggest ballroom” that's made to accommodate 2,500 guests banquet-style and 3,800 guests theater-style. The hotel is also set to open its West Wing in January 2016, housing an additional 228 rooms.

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