Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Things I Love About Shangri-La at The Fort

Located in the heart of Bonifacio Global City, Shangri-La at The Fort is the newest 5-star hotel in this emerging and fastest growing hub of urban lifestyle in Metro Manila. I don't frequent BGC as much mainly because of the worsening traffic in the city but on those rare occasions that I do, I make it a point to do my research of the best places to go and new restaurants to try. When I was presented with an opportunity to stay in the BGC area, I knew I didn't have to look further as Shangri-La is the only hotel I wanted to book and the only place I wanted to spend an incredible weekend with CS. And the moment I stepped in, I knew I made the perfect choice!

A few days prior to our arrival, I sent the hotel an email asking for an early check-in which they granted. From the parking, it was a long 10-minute walk to the lobby. Parking is complimentary for hotel guests but after ticket validation, you are only given a 15-minute grace period to get out of the building or you'll be charged the minimum parking fee. It was a policy we think that the management must review as the parking area is not that close to the lobby.

Check-in was fast but quite a hassle as the staff was insistent on asking for a government-issued ID for the credit card we were using for the incidental guarantee. CS left all of his IDs in the car so we requested if we can just present it later as the room has been prepaid for anyways. But no, the male staff at the front desk was firm on not checking us in with no ID so we had no choice but to pay the guarantee in cash. It was the first time I have ever encountered such inconvenience and skepticism in any hotel here and abroad, no matter how many stars it has.

We did not want to make a big fuss out of the annoyance we encountered in the front desk as this is after all, an amazing weekend CS and I both promised to have.

Standing tall at 250 meters high, Shangri-La at The Fort is one of the tallest towers in the Philippines and is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building that is committed in maintaining the highest standard of sustainable design.

As I've stated before, staycations are what keep CS and I excited in between our travels. We've been to most hotels in the Quezon City and Pasay areas and this is the first time we've booked a room in BGC. Staying in Shangri-La at The Fort tops my list for the reasons such as:

Shangri-La at The Fort's well-appointed rooms with the comfiest bed. When we do stay in a hotel, the first thing we look for, budget aside, is the room's features. Requirements are it should be spacious enough to give us ample space to move around, a clear and decent-sized cable television for our binge-watching and the bed must be comfortable and should smell good!

Shangri-la Hotels are known for its luxurious rooms and their newest hotel at The Fort surely lives up to the brand. Recognizing that we are booking a 5-star hotel, CS and I agreed to book the cheapest room to save our travel fund for future bookings. Our corner deluxe room measures a spacious 45 to 47sqm of contemporary design in beige palettes that enhanced the room's sophisticated look. Other features include the comfiest king-size bed with 300-thread count linens, a pillow menu, a 48-inch smart TV with cable channels, a writing desk overlooking the outdoor pools, an IDD-ready phone, bedside lighting controls, complimentary high speed WiFi, a coffee and tea making facility and a mini bar with local and imported goods.

The marble bathroom was equally impressive with a separate deluxe tub and shower cubicle. Plush bathrobes and soft towels were neatly folded and kept close to the shower for easy reach.

Shangri-La's signature L'Occitane toiletries was proudly displayed on the marble counter top. 

Shangri-La at The Fort's modern and state-of-the-art facilities. The hotel is home to Kerry Sports Manila, the most comprehensive sports and leisure club you can ever find in the city. Just imagine a massive 8,000sqm of fitness facility with over 90 professional equipment you can think of in one place, it was indeed a paradise for heath and fitness enthusiasts. 

Located on levels 5 & 6 of the hotel, Kerry Sports boasts an NBA-grade indoor basketball court, an extensive state-of-the-art gym, 2 covered outdoor tennis courts, 2 squash courts, a 25-meter outdoor lap pool and hydrotherapy pool, exercise studios for Pilates, yoga, spinning, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and boxing classes, locker and changing rooms with sauna and steam rooms, a wellness spa and a 1,000sqm indoor playground for kids called Adventure Zone.

All hotel guests are entitled to complimentary use of the 24-hour club but they are also open for non-hotel guests with an individual membership fee of Php96,000 per annum.

Shangri-La at The Fort's staff who treat you like royalty. I love how the staff calls you by your name rather than just Sir or Ma'am as it makes the experience more special and the service more personalised. Majority of the employees were professional but it was the Guest Service Center and Housekeeping that made our stay truly remarkable with little favors and special attention they directed towards us. When I called to ask for an extra conditioner for my long hair, not only did they sent a bottle but a whole set of toiletries delivered to us right away. We also received a complimentary plate of fresh fruits and another bag of dried pineapple the next day as we did not include the buffet breakfast on our booking to cut down on the room rate.

Moreover, Oliver from Guest Service Center sent me an email immediately after check-in stating the things that we can request through email such as but not limited to restaurant bookings, wake up call, concierge services and housekeeping request. We also received random calls from them twice to check if we needed anything. It may sound annoying for other people but I know that its their way of making sure that we were greatly taken cared of and all of our needs were met. In short, they treated us like royalties and never once did I had to follow up on our requests as everything has been thoroughly arranged and delivered to our room the soonest possible time.

It was not an easy decision to spend a little over Php12,500 for a night in any hotel as the rate could already get us 2 tickets to Hongkong via Cebu Pacific or book us 3 nights in a beachfront resort in Boracay or Cebu. But for experience sake, we allowed ourselves for an occasional extravagance and spent a weekend in BGC's newest 5-star hotel. And now after enumerating all the things we loved about Shangri-La at The Fort, it was a splurge we had no regrets at all!


Shangri-La at The Fort
30th Street corner 5th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 820-0888

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cafe de Coral: Hongkong Fast Food at its Finest

Ever since CS introduced Cafe de Coral to my all-rice diet plan years back, I instantly became a fan. In fact, its the first thing I look for upon arrival in Hongkong and the last meal I eat at HKIA before I fly home. When my friend A told me to choose where to eat on our first day, I brought her to CdC only to find out that she haven't tried it yet! She obviously liked it as much as I do because every time I ask her if she likes to try something else, we always end up lining up at CdC.

Founded in 1968, Cafe de Coral's first restaurant was established at Causeway Bay a year later. Since then, it now operates over 580 stores all over the world and is considered as the largest fast food group in Hongkong along with other brands such as The Spaghetti House, Super Super Congee and Noodles, Oliver's Super Sandwiches and many others.

What we ordered

Barbecued Pork with Rice

Fried Pork Chop and Minced Pork with Rice

Baked Porkchop Rice

Soy Chicken and Barbecued Pork with Rice

White Chicken & Roast Duck with Rice

If you're on a budget (price range is between Php200.00 - Php400.00 per rice meal) but looking for tasty and value for money dishes in Hongkong, Cafe de Coral is the perfect dining spot for you. With a vast menu that changes from time to time, you'll never run out of new dishes to try even if you're staying in the city for days. Just look for the distinctive logo, check out the menu and take a photo of the dish you wish to order so you can just show it to the staff at the counter, pay in cash or use your Octopus card, queue in the pick up area to claim your order and enjoy your meal!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cebu Favorites: The Upscale Orange Carenderia

I don't consider myself picky when it comes to food. I eat squid balls from the vendor outside our office, buy taho from the Manong at the bus stop and I love the binatog from the guy on a bike who pass by our house. As long as I see that the food is prepared alright, I have no problem eating street food. So when our friend from Cebu told us that he's meeting us in Orange Carenderia, I did not expect to be brought to a popular and renowned restaurant in the Cebu City with an air-conditioned dining area, an industrial-chic design and an open kitchen. 

On the table

We left the ordering to our friend since he's obviously a suki at Orange Carenderia having known the menu by heart and calling the staff by their first names.

Avocado Shake - Php60.00

Pinakbet - Php135.00

Betsy's Garlic Chicken - Php135.00

Sizzling Squid Sisig - Php120.00

Crispy Tuna Buntot

Grilled Tuna Panga

No wonder Cebuanos love Orange Carenderia because everything's cheap and delicious! The servings were enough for sharing but you can definitely order more and its still easy on the pocket. My favorites were Betsy's Garlic Chicken with its garlicky skin that crackles on every bite and the grilled tuna panga with its delicious marinade for a unique and tasty gastronomic experience.

It really pays to have friends who know the best and affordable places that most locals try to keep for themselves. Orange Carenderia is an absolute must-try dining spot when in Cebu!


Orange Carenderia
Laguardia St., Salinas Drive
Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines
Tel.: (6332) 266-9129

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sunny Day Hotel: A Lucky Find in Hongkong

When in Hongkong, location is everything!

That's why I always stick to the hotels in the Tsim Sha Tsui area for its convenience and accessibility to food, transportation, shopping, money changer and majority of tourist spots. While Hotel Benito is still my number one choice, I am still on the lookout for new hotels to add in my roster of accommodations that I can recommend to family and friends who are planning a trip to Hongkong. As I was browsing Agoda, I was lucky to chance upon Sunny Day Hotel, a fairly new hotel along Nathan Road with positive reviews from Tripadvisor, on an irresistible promotional rate!

It was a no-brainer so I immediately booked a family room even if it was just myself and my good friend A going on the trip. With a very affordable rate, staying in a family room good for 3 adults in Hongkong standards is like sleeping in a basic 20sqm standard room size here in Manila.

I was delighted to see that all airport buses are now equipped with a TV screen indicating the famous landmarks/hotels on each bus stop. I don't know if its a new thing but it was the first time I've seen one. Great help for first timer travellers who are worried on missing their bus stop.

With our luggage in tow, my friend and I alighted in Kimbereley Road at bus stop no. 12 just outside Sunny Day Hotel. Same goes for your return trip as the A21 bus going back to the airport stops in front of the police station situated across the hotel. Now that's a convenient location!

The hotel lobby is located on the second floor of the building. Do take note that there's no elevator that services the hotel guests from the ground floor so you'll have to carry your luggage to the lobby by yourself. Our flight from Manila arrived in Hongkong early morning so we just dropped our bags at the hotel and headed out to have lunch at Cafe de Coral and exchange our Php to Hkd in Mirador Mansion where a good number of money changers offer decent exchange rates.

There are 2 elevators that service the entire hotel so waiting to get to your floor and back to the lobby is to be expected. Guests are also warned not to bring durian inside to avoid penalty.

For just Php3700/night for a family room, Sunny Day is probably one of the best value hotels I have ever booked in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. The 22sqm air-conditioned room has a double and a single bed, an LCD television with a few English channels, free internet access, complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea maker, a refrigerator, ironing facility and a spacious toilet and bath.

Pros: Affordable rates, clean and spacious family room, generous supply of bottled water and toiletries, towels are changed everyday, one of the best egg waffles in HK is sold just around the corner and of course, the hotel's excellent location! Just to give you an idea, here are various modes of transportation and their distance to the hotel that you can utilize during your stay:

  • 2-minute walk to/from Jordan Station (D Exit) - MTR
  • 5-minute walk to/from Tsim Sha Tsui Station (B Exit) - MTR
  • 15-minute walk to/from China Ferry Terminal if you're Macau bound
  • 8-minute drive to/from Hung Hom Railway Station
  • 50-minute bus ride to/from Hongkong International Airport

Cons: No lift from the ground floor to the lobby, internet connection kept dropping out, thin walls in between the rooms, elevator was slow and shaky and inflexible check-in and check-out time.


Sunny Day Hotel - Tsim Sha Tsui
182 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hongkong
Tel.: (852) 3760-8999
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...