This catchy tagline greeted me when I checked in at the Forest Lodge at The Manor. I didn’t have to think deeper to fully comprehend what it means because my favorite images of Baguio immediately unraveled in my mind when I saw this phrase.
To me, Baguio means fresh, nippy air, the refreshing scent of pine trees, the peace and quiet that my weary self craves, and the friendly, smiling faces of the people I come in contact with. And I had all those where I was at that moment, blissfully contented at the Forest Lodge.
This deluxe property actually started with only eight suites, as part of The Manor. It was in 2012 when, after having added more rooms, it assumed a separate identity and became Forest Lodge. It now has 100 rooms, 45 of which have balconies. This design facility in a resort hotel makes a lot of difference when you’re checked in for rest and recreation.
My room’s spacious balcony tempted me to just sit there for hours, gazing at the mountain, relishing the calming view of lush foliage and colorful flowering shrubs that carpet its slopes. With the cool breeze caressing my face nonstop, such is the luxury I always look forward to in this mountain resort.
Since I had the rare privilege of chatting leisurely with the hotel’s resident manager Christine Marie Cua, executive assistant Cathleen Ann Romero, and management trainee Arvin Lance Buenaventura, I decided to satisfy my curiosity: What makes the hotel better than its next-door neighbor, The Manor?
First off, they proudly stated what I could easily attest to. The hotel has much bigger rooms than its neighbor. There was so much space around my king-size bed, enough for me to easily move about without bumping into any furniture. Add to that the balcony which could easily seat four around a square table, and still have so much space around them. The bathroom was huge, I could probably do cartwheels in there, if I had that skill.
What makes the hotel even more attractive, especially to millennials, are its easy-on-the-pocket rates. The younger office workers and students feel more at home at this hotel as their budgeted travel funds do not get depleted right away.
Another plus-factor that gives Forest Lodge an edge over The Manor is the availability of more in-house function rooms, of which the hotel has three. These facilities make it easier for companies to book their live-in conferences, giving the hotel the much-desired high-yield income because the event generates banquet and room revenues.
And the service is exemplary. Of course, with 115 smiling faces ready to jump on any of the guests’ needs, you can expect nothing less. Each of the employees I came in contact with, whether from Housekeeping or Food and Beverage or from the Front Office, made me feel like I was the only one they were serving. I guess I’m just spoiled but that’s the kind of personalized service I expect from any hotel I check-in to, and I had that during my entire stay at Forest Lodge.
No wonder the hotel posts a year-to-date “healthy” occupancy of 85 percent, with an enviable average room rate of P5,000. These figures certainly spell out a success story any which way you look at it, the reason why I’m not surprised that they’re adding 40 rooms next year to accommodate their continuously increasing loyal customers.
There was one more reason why I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at the Forest Lodge. The pianist at the Lobby Bar knew all my songs! Jaco Razon, a UP Conservatory of Music graduate, told me he was more “at home” playing the guitar, but he also played the piano beautifully, tempting me to sing along with him my favorite “oldies but goodies,” like As Time Goes By, Two For The Road, The Nearness Of You, The Way You Look Tonight, and many more. I enjoyed the musical reverie so much that I didn’t realize I had been singing for an hour!
With the hotel’s admirable offerings which I took delight in, and with a song in my heart, it definitely was BLISSFUL in Baguio…at the Forest Lodge.
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