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It's no surprise that the upcoming Conrad Manila will share intimate relations with its neighbor, the sprawling Mall of Asia complex. Why? The manager of the upcoming hotel, which is set to open in 2015, is a company called SM Group. And as Wikipedia so eloquently points out, the Mall of Asia "is a shopping mall owned and developed by SM, the largest mall chain owner and developer in the Philippines."
So, yeah. Conrad's first property in the Philippines will be pretty much just a place for Hilton HHonors members to spend lots and lots o' dollars at the fourth largest shopping mall in the world, which gets a reported 200,00 visitors per day.
We're guessing Hilton is pretty stoked to get a piece of that pie. And after all, mall hotels can be kind of exciting (Minnesota's new Radisson Blu would likely agree). So...what else can we expect from Conrad Manila when it opens?
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Located in Makati City, the area of Manila known as the "Wall Street of Manila", the 30-story hotel will offer guests a choice of a short or long stay. No matter your length of stay, you'll sleep in the lap of luxury because this place only offers suites. In fact that's the smallest unit you can get, with 32 suites for short stays, 110 apartments and 127 residences for extended visits.
It's 'firsts' all around as this is the first hotel-residence for Manila and the first new hotel to open in the city in 20 years, so you can imagine how exciting the news is. Interestingly, the building will also house a Fairmont, another first.
We sometimes spend time talking about off-the-beaten-path locales, and we're positive you can relate to daydreaming about getaways that make it feel like you've actually, well, gone away. Call us crazy, but fighting for pool space with families and tanned singles doesn't scream "vacation" as much as it resembles the hotel version of a mall. For the more ambitious travelers wanting to go off-grid for a short while, the Philippines is a destination that may not immediately come to mind, but that doesn't make it any less worthwhile—the opposite, actually.
We discovered Sonya's Garden, a lush bed and breakfast, when a local led us into Tagaytay, a small city not far from Manila. The website uses descriptions that are too easily thrown around by most island hotels and resorts: "private paradise," "exotic," "idyllic." Yeah, we've heard it all before. Hyperbole or not, Sonya's is still a comfortable, clean, and actually quiet place to spend your holiday; if you've traveled to the traffic and business congested center of Makati City, you know how valuable this is.
This is the case with the newest addition to the Shangri-La hotel family, the Shangri-La Boracay in the Philippines. To reach the 219-room, 36-villa exotic wonderland with 3,800 feet of secluded beach, guests must first fly into Manila, then take a hopper flight 45 minutes south to Caticlan airport, from where another 30 minutes of land and sea transfers launch. Once you hit the sand, however, the Boracay enclave sets out to envelop you in 5-star luxury with one of the Philippines' largest free-form swimming pools, activity pavilions, and the peace of a surrounding nature preserve.
You may be removed from civilization, but get this: the in-room broadband internet is free! It better be too, as we looked into room rates for April and they're looking to start around 20,580 Philippine pesos, but don't let all those digits fool you; that's $428.58 USD. At least you'll still be able to check your bank account balance online and do currency conversions on Google.
[Photo: Shangri-La Boracay]