The first stop on our honeymoon was Manila. It was our first time here, and we decided to go for a classical hotel. We decided on the Manila Hotel. This hotel, founded in 1912, used to be one of the top hotels in Asia, and it is still quite impressive. But the service… We arrived around 10 PM due to a several hour flight delay and quickly checked in. We walked to our room, but were surprised that the key did not open the door. Then the bell boy arrived with our luggage and he also gave it a try. No luck either. At that moment the door is opened from the inside and a half-naked man is asking us what we are trying to do. The hotel assigned us an occupied room!
Then they wanted to give us room 1413, but Qi did not like the number very much for the first night of our honeymoon (for the same reason that many Chinese buildings do not have a 13th and 14th floor). So then we got room 1425. After we unpacked everything we find out that the safe is not working and the airconditioning temperature cannot be controlled. So a worker comes up to work on this, but cannot fix it. The result: the manager comes up with the message ‘you get another room sir!’ Because we had just unpacked everything and it was now 11 PM we were not very happy with this, and I told him so. He then made some phonecalls and upgraded us to a suite. That was very nice. At least here everything worked.
So then we ordered some room service. A ceasar salad for me and tuna bruschetta for Qi. When it finally arrives we find out that the tuna bruschetta is a tuna steak. This is strange, as the bill says tuna bruschetta and the menu does not have a tuna steak on it. The waiter comes back to the room and tells us he has no clue what a bruschetta is, and it is not ordered often so maybe the kitchen does not know it either. Sounds like China!
But the best thing was the internet connection: after arriving I called housekeeping for a cable (there was no wifi). A few minutes later I get a call that I have to wait until 6 AM because there is noone who can plug in the cable. I tell her that I can plug it in myself, and don’t need help. But no, I have to wait until the next morning. OK, I am tired anyway, so forget it. Next morning 10:30 I call housekeeping again. Shortly after a worker arrives. He starts unplugging the telephone cable and gives that to me. I tell him that I was more looking for a broadband cable. Well, he has no clue what that is and talks to the IT manager over the phone. He then hands me the phone and I talk to the IT manager myself. He tells me someone will install the cable. So I wait 30 minutes, still noone. I call housekeeping again, and they promise to call back right away. After 15 min. still no call, so I decide to go out. In the lobby I tell the story to the assistant manager, who promises me that when I come back broadband will be available. Well, coming back at 14:00, but still no broadband. Another call to housekeeping, but that does not help. So I go down to the lobby again, and this time the manager himself goes with me to oversee that I will receive a cable. Indeed 10 minutes later someone arrives with a 20 meter long cable. I wonder why, but find that out quickly: there is no broadband plug in our room, and he has to plug it into the wall in the corridor. So now the Manila Hotel has a broadban line accross the hallway, under my door, to my laptop. At least it works.
Except for these service problems the Manila Hotel is a very nice hotel, although a bit old or old-fashioned. Our wing was built in 1977 and had not been renovated since. But it has a nice feeling to it. And the location is great. From our room we looked directly at Manila Harbour and on the other side of the hotel was the old city Intramuros. A good place for first-time Manila goers, and a good place to start our honeymoon.