Updated April 26, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – One of the best ways to beat summer’s oppressive heat is to drink lots of liquids like fruit shakes. Another good way is to check in at a pocket-friendly hotel and enjoy its amenities designed to refresh a tired soul.
Well, have it both ways with the Malayan Plaza Hotel’s “Juice Up Your Summer” package. Book until April 30 and avail yourself of the special rate of P3,999 net per night at a studio superior room and P4,499 net per night at a one-bedroom deluxe unit.
Also get free fruit shakes of your choice for two persons at Q Bistro. The package also includes daily buffet breakfast, bottled water, local newspaper, and free use of the Health Club facilities and swimming pool.
Managed by Quantum Hotels and Resorts, the Malayan Plaza Hotel, located along ADB Avenue corner Opal Road in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, offers furnished studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units that easily combine aesthetic values, comfort and functionality.
Apart from featuring stylish interiors, the Malayan Plaza Hotel units are also equipped with complete living, dining and kitchen facilities.
Other amenities include cable network television, NDD/IDD telephones, individually controlled air-conditioning, hot and cold water, in-room video intercom, broadband Internet access in the room, helipad, swimming pool, open-air whirlpool (with minimal charge for usage), children’s playroom, housekeeping, laundry and concierge services, private dining, and 24-hour security.
The “Juice Up Your Summer” package is available to all local residents and foreigners.
Updated April 26, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Premier lifestyle destination Shangri-La Plaza recently announced its certification from the globally recognized ISO Quality Management System ISO 9001:2000 and the Environmental Management System ISO 14001:2004.
By passing the ISO, the Shangri-La Plaza has been certified as a company that complies and upholds the required standards for the quality management system.
This has firmly established the company’s adherence to the ISO quality standards, enhancing customer satisfaction in supplier-customer relationships.
The Environmental Management System certification, which gives the requirements for environmental management systems, confirms Shang’s commitment to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner.
By Lester Gopela Hallig Updated April 24, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Since it opened its doors to a welcoming public, the Diamond Hotel has become a landmark in the Manila Bay area. Its imposing white 27-story structure, blindingly radiant in the daylight, is an impressive sight along Roxas Boulevard. But wait until you experience what’s inside — that’s where a treasure trove of delights unfolds.
Over a decade of service has brought to Diamond Hotel a wealth of experience and expertise. However, as what its general manager Vanessa Ledesma Suatengco tells us, they are taking Diamond Hotel’s polish to the next level of brilliance.
“That is what we are doing now, bringing the hotel to the next level and letting everyone know that we are here and up to the task,” Suatengco declares. “We are proudly a Filipino-owned hotel and are competitive on all facets.”
Those already familiar with the Diamond Hotel’s offerings know that the establishment is a reliable leisure and business partner. Fact is, its location is already a coveted spot — it faces the world-famous golden sunset of Manila Bay. It is also planted in the middle of happening places such as shops and malls, cultural and historical centers, convention and exhibit halls and, transportation hubs as well as the financial district and the jump-off points to even more exciting destinations around the country.
The Diamond Hotel’s 500 luxurious rooms are a treat. Forty-six are suites. Each one offers more than just a comfortable place to stay in. It is a home away from home, everything from the well-pressed sheets to the secure VingCard lock system, assuring guests of utmost comfort.
“We take pride in our freebies that we offer our stay-in guests,” Suatengco says. “We are the only hotel that has a free mini-bar. And yes, we replenish them every day. We also have free Wi-Fi and free local calls. All these all-inclusive conveniences are part of the Diamond Hotel experience.”
No experience is complete without visiting the hotel’s restaurants. For an international menu, there is the Palm Court Café. Japanese dining is at the Yurakuen while the Euro-continental fine dining happens at Restaurant Le Bellevue. For guests looking for a laid-back time over coffee and pastries, there is the Kohikan.
Nightly entertainment unfolds at the Sky Lounge Music Bar located at the 27th floor. Everything from bands to comedy acts is at the Sky Lounge. It even offers Latin nights wherein guests can indulge in their favorite dances.
Seasoned business travelers are also aware of the popularity of the Diamond Hotel’s exclusive Diamond Club at the 25th and 26th floors. There are 31 rooms and suites at the Club, which commands a majestic view of the cityscape and the Bay. Business people are pampered with complimentary breakfast, shoeshine services, and 24-hour coffee and tea services, among others.
The Diamond Hotel is practically a one-stop shop for business, as evidenced by its advanced selection of services built for this purpose. There are nine function rooms for meetings and social gatherings. A boardroom, two conference rooms, and four meeting rooms provide ideal venues for companies.
Event organizers must take note of the hotel’s Galaxias, the 27th-floor ballroom, and the Diamond Ballroom, which can be divided into three spacious halls.
Its business center is likewise fully furnished with the latest equipment: facsimile machines, photocopiers, word processors, computers, printers, mobile phones, and DVD players. It even offers translation and interpretation services and express courier service.
Pleasure is not far behind either. In-house guests can enjoy a few laps or so at the hotel’s photogenic pool or a dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi, or a few hits at the tennis court. Health buffs can trust the Diamond Spa with its state-of-the-art exercise machines, sauna, Jacuzzi, and massage room.
Fact is, the hotel is taking big strides in offering newer, more thrilling twists to the usual.
“We want to break out from the traditional stuff and instead pursue more innovative and contemporary products and services. People want fresh ideas and even fresher twists to the ordinary,” Suatengco, the hotel’s first female general manager, says.
“Our recent Easter celebration was anything but ordinary. Instead of the standard egg hunts, we had live musical performances, costume contests, magic shows, origami making, and glitter tattoos. That event was the perfect start of an even more creative year for us,” she says.
For summer, treats include water activities, beverage mixers, foot reflexology and massages, and the hotel’s cool super-sized ice cream.
“Just as our services are personalized, so are our packages. So if you are planning an event or a milestone, you can approach us and we will help you customize an affair around your budget. It is a personal touch that we know our clients will appreciate,” she concludes.
With good value on offer, it is just as good an idea to discover the gem that is the Diamond Hotel.
* * *
The Diamond Hotel is located along Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila. For more information, log on to www.diamondhotel.com, call (632) 528-3000 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Updated April 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – We love going to Bangkok for three main reasons: shopping, shopping and more shopping. Of course we can name two more reasons: eating and relaxing.
Bangkok is the place for great finds at amazingly low prices. Good buys include fashion creations by local Thai designers and modern accessories for the home. It is also a food lover’s paradise. Oh-so-delicious Thai food is oh-so-affordable and consistent in taste everywhere you dine — be it a fastfood stand or a five-star restaurant.As for relaxing, Bangkok is one big spa, where good massage services are just around the corner — whether from a shopping mall or a ritzy resort.
One hotel that makes shopping, eating and relaxing so easily within reach is the five-star Amari Watergate Hotel which is centrally located adjacent to Bangkok’s bustling shopping and business district in Pratunam, with easy access to two Airport Expressways.
Just across Amari is Platinum Fashion Mall, a shopaholic’s paradise where you pay the wholesale price when you purchase three items from a shop. Also within walking distance are other malls: Isetan, Central World Plaza, Pratunam Centre and Pratunam Market. The Siam Paragon, Siam Shopping Center, Siam Square Shopping Mall and Mar Boon Krong Shopping Center are just around the corner. The famous Jatujak weekend market is just 20 minutes via one train ride.
For food tripping, Amari offers nine restaurants/ bars and an excellent 24-hour room service menu — Promenade, Heichinrou, Thai on 4, Grappino, Henry J. Bean’s Bar & Grill, Headlines Lobby Bar, Pool Bar, Amari Bakery, and the Executive Lounge.
Relaxation begins in 569 well-appointed rooms and suites featuring broadband Internet access and Wi-fi. There is a Clark Hatch fitness center, a swimming pool with jacuzzi and sundeck, the Sivara Spa and Sivara Salon, and a shopping arcade.
Amari general manager Pierre-Andre Pelletier proudly offers business travellers three executive floors with a private reception, 24-hour butler service and an executive lounge. Amari is also a favorite choice for banquets and conventions, with its well-equipped business center, offices for rent, parking for up to 700 cars and its facilities for an international convention for over 1,000 people.
Amari Watergate Hotel is located at 847 Petchburi Road, Bangkok 10400 with telephone +66(0)2653-9000 and telefax +66(0)2653-9045. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit its website www.amari.com. — Raya M. Mananquil
MANILA, Philippines — I beg you to send me a list of your recommended dining places in Metro Manila. If you could, I hope you could specify which ones serve good Japanese Wagyu steaks. I would also like to know if you have your own restaurant. Thank you very much.
Your friend and admirer,
Miriam Defensor- Santiago
It is a privilege to be read by you, Madame Senator.
I no longer have a restaurant. The last was at Shangri-La many moons ago, where, I recall, you were once our guest.
On places to enjoy Wagyu (a term referring to all Japanese beef/cattle, from “Wa,” meaning “Japanese/Japanese-style,” and “Gyu,” meaning “cattle”), I indulge myself only in two places. I haven’t done the Wagyu rounds since I’m extremely satisfied with these two places.
It is a matter of whether I’m loaded or broke; I remain a purist on the subject. If I cannot have the real deal, I will settle for an excellent US prime steak which is no less delicious or satisfying.
But since you want a range of options, I asked my colleagues for a well-sorted list of restaurants that serve Wagyu.
My thanks to chefs James Antolin, Sau del Rosario, J. Gamboa, and Ed Quimson for their inputs.
Tsukiji’s Wagyu Ohmi Beef
It is unanimous! Tsukiji is the place for honest-to-goodness Ohmi Wagyu.
Ohmi is the official beef of the Japanese Imperial household. Whether as shabu-shabu or yakiniku, either way, it’s delicious! I would go for the sirloin over the rib eye for true heart-clogging, mouth-watering satisfaction. (Call 843-4285/812-2913.)
Tokujyou-Karubi at Urameshiya
Urameshiya is another personal favorite for Wagyu. My pocket loves it and so do my taste buds. This is a sulit Wagyu experience. I suggest you call and reserve. They run out of Tokujyou-Karubi sometimes. (Call 813-2210.)
Umu at Dusit offers an array of Wagyu in different grades, cooked in a multitude of ways. Gyu no Tataki-Wagyu Carpaccio Japanese-style (A3 level from Tochigi, Japan), Teppanyaki: Kuroge Wagyu (A3 level from Tochigi, Japan) and Kuroge Wagyu Beef (A4 level from Ibaragi, Japan). From the Robata Section, there’s Gyuniku Kushiyaki, skewered Wagyu Beef (A3 level from Tochigi, Japan). (Call 867-3333.)
Other places and ways to enjoy Wagyu:
145 Degrees Fahrenheit serves Wagyu from US corn-fed herd, 300 g of premium chuck steak, grade 7-8, pan-seared to medium with roasted beef bone marrow served with haricot vert and a choice of mashed potato or creamed corn. (Call 703-2725/332-1955.)
Wagyu Ox Tongue
Restaurant Ciçou offers Wagyu Ox Tongue braised in court bouillon and seared with butter with confit baby potatoes and sauce ravigote. (Call 889-6728.)
Tivoli at Mandarin
Order grilled or char-grilled Australian 9A-grade Wagyu rib eye, 700 g good for two to three persons, served with Caesar Salad, sauces and garnishes (spinach puree, mushroom fricassee, pommes pont neuf with garlic caramel, bone marrow sauce) for P12,880. (Call 750-8888.)
Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano
To open Mother’s Day, they will serve Wagyu Carpaccio. Order one day in advance. (Call 843-7286 and 867-3764.)
I’m Angus Steakhouse
They grill US Wagyu Rib eye upon request with your choice of sidings and sauces. Their Baby Back Ribs are good and rather reasonably priced, and so are their US Chilled Angus Prime Steaks. Their bread is delicious! (Call 893-1573.)
Pinoy Wagyu Burgers at Malcolm’s
For those who crave for hearty burgers, there’s Malcolm’s Deli and Malcolm’s Place. These burgers are from Wagyu raised right at the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon. (Call 844-0000.)
They offer Wagyu Rib eye, Rib eye and Prawns, 24-ounce Cowboy Cut, Tenderloin, Striploin, 18-ounce T-Bone and 24-ounce Porterhouse, served with your choice of sauce. I’ve had friends who’ve tried Melo’s Wagyu and were quite pleased. (Call 899-2456, 924-9194 and 7712288.)
Should you want Wagyu at home, here are the numbers to call:
Mr. Tanaka—0917-2011716, by order and bulk sales only. (Thanks Maritess for sharing your source.)
American Wagyu Snake River Farms—Call Anna, 0922-8151750.
Philippine Wagyu, Umalag Farms—Call Allan Cueva, 0920-9192911 and 0920-9043410.
Wagyu Miyasakei Beef, Sakura—815-1274
My new class schedules are out, my Gourmet Cocinera Series for beginners and household cooks is ongoing, and a new series on the hows and whys of cooking for beginners is about to start. Dr. Francis Dimalanta and I are doing “The Well-nourished Child Series: A Behavioral and Nutritional Approach to Battling Childhood Food Issues.”
On May 23, I am conducting a “Food and History Trip Back in Time” in Taal, the grand lady of Batangas, with heritage preservation advocate Dindo Montenegro.
For inquiries, call 928-9296/927-3008. Look for Jane or Jhem at 647-4744/0908-2372346.
MANILA, Philippines – Long stretches of white sand, seaside suites and luxurious amenities awaits guests at 7STONES BORACAY SUITES. This brand new boutique hotel boasts of stunning roomy suites, tropical gardens, and breathtaking sights. Guests will get to enjoy its above-par facilities and superior service. The moment you set foot inside the plush hotel, a 25 meter lagoon type swimming pool with a Jacuzzi and a kiddy’s pool greets you. The swim-up pool bar offers a wide variety of refreshing cocktails, while the al fresco restaurant serves both local and international cuisine for those with distinctive palates. Located at the famous surfer’s paradise otherwise known as Bulabog beach, thrill-seekers and adventure lovers have an array of leisure activities to pick from. In 7Stones Boracay Suites, the possibilities are endless!
Also cradled under the umbrella of Fuego Hotels are: TAAL VISTA HOTEL in Tagaytay with its new suites and facilities. The recently opened East Wing features 133 new guestrooms and suites with views of the sprawling gardens and glimpses of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake; a Grand Ballroom ready for weddings and memorable get-togethers; multi-functional conference rooms and a breezy open terrace perfect for sipping freshly brewed coffee while basking in the cool mountain air of Tagaytay.
Up north in Clark, Pampanga, is the 8 months old HOTEL VIDA, the perfect antidote to the bustling nearby metropolis. Only an hour and half drive from Manila, this deluxe hotel is only 40 minutes drive to Subic via the Subic – Clark- Tarlac Expressway & 5 minutes from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. It is 5 minutes away from Mimosa Golf & Country Club & 3 mins away from duty free shops & casinos.
If you head out to Batangas, enjoy the energizing peninsula of CLUB PUNTA FUEGO, where unspoiled beaches and a vibrant summer culture produces a mind-boggling array of special events in the clubs many facilities from the Nelson Howard – designed executive golf course, the Punta Fuego Yacht Club to the white sands of Terrazas Beach Club. It should come as no surprise that diving, sailing, golf and water-sports are prime activities here.
Blessed with pristine white beaches and a picturesque island landscape, the world-renowned PEARL FARM BEACH RESORT is a haven where bliss calls. Experience a restful escape in its quaint guestrooms and villas perched on the water. Stretch out under the sun in the private white sand beach of Malipano Island or cool-off at the infinity pool. Go diving and discover hidden treasures under the waters around the island or have a soothing massage in the comfort of your own room.
For inquiries on the special summer offers and promotions please call Fuego Hotels at (632) 750-1999 or log on to www.fuegohotels.com
Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Witness the super fight between the number one pound-for-pound boxer, Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao, and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.
Watch the most awaited, and considered the biggest, boxing match of the year as two hard hitters try to knock each other down, broadcast live from the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila on Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.
For just P1,000 net, enjoy a larger-than-life experience and watch this unforgettable event on a large projector screen while enjoying appetizing snacks, free-flowing softdrinks and local beer.
Also receive 15 percent off your bill should you dine in any of the hotel’s innovative restaurants and bars on the same day.
You can also watch this anticipated boxing fest exclusively with family and friends in the stylish private pods of the newly opened Music Bar.
For inquiries on ticket sales, call the hotel’s Concierge at 245-1234.