Thursday, August 13, 2015

Experiencing Gracious Thai Hospitality at Dusit Thani Manila

Dusit Thani Manila is a 537-room luxury hotel located in the Makati Central Business District, the financial and retail capital of the Philippines, collocated with some of the biggest shopping malls and office buildings in the Ayala Center. Having its address at the corner of EDSA and Pasay Road, Dusit Thani Manila is easily accessible from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is just a few steps away from offices, restaurants and boutiques.

The hotel is housed in this iconic edifice built in 1976 which remains to be one of Manila's most recognizable buildings. Throughout the years, Dusit Thani Manila was able to maintain its status as one of the luxury hotels in Makati that caters to business travelers with a discerning taste to accommodation.

Entering the lobby, we were welcomed by the staff with the Thai greeting Sawasdee Krap. Walking on the black granite floor with towering golden pillars and furnishings clad with Thai accents and decors, plus the fragrant floral perfume diffused in the lobby, we felt as if we were transported to one of the royal audience chambers of the Grand Palace where guests are received by the Royal Family of Thailand. It was a weird feeling of being abroad without even leaving Manila.

During our stay at Dusit Thani Manila, we were billeted in a Club Executive Suite. Warren, the very polite and welcoming porter at the lobby, assisted us with our luggage and ushered us to the Club Lounge located on the 17th floor. We were greeted again with Sawasdee Ka at the Club Lounge. Welcoming us were Yvette and Gladys, the two beautiful Club Officers who handled our check-in. One of the things we enjoy the most about staying in a Club Room is the very efficient and hassle-free check-in process. Our registration form was already filled-out and we just had to verify the information and sign the document while comfortably seated.

It didn't take long for us to get our keycards. From the Club Lounge, Warren assisted us to our suite. While walking in the corridor, we noticed the excellent renovation works done. The walls are newly painted, we could smell the brand new carpets covering the floor, the woodwork also looked new without evident sight of scratches and marks.

When we entered our suite, the first thing we noticed was the luxurious space of the living area. It was already pre-cooled which adds more comfort to our arrival. We stayed in one of the newly renovated rooms of the hotel which is evident from the new condition of the wallpapers and paintwork. The floor is lined with brand new carpet while curtains of excellent quality hang by the windows. Brand new designer furniture in silver, grey and olive adds modern sophistication to the Thai inspired interior of the suite.

The area has excellent lighting. Natural light comes in from the window and can be adjusted by the sheer curtain and the blockout curtain. Light fittings and designer lamps are also installed which can be adjusted to set different moods inside the living area. There's also a 48-inch LCD TV with local and international cable channels to keep guests entertained and updated during their stay. Business travelers will surely enjoy the executive desk. Complimentary WiFi Internet access is also available inside the room.

The living area is also equipped with a mini-refrigerator with minibar service. In addition to canned soda, juices and beer, premium wine and liquors are also available at the minibar. There's an electric water kettle which guests can use to prepare coffee or tea. Thai branded beers like Singha and Chang may be good addition to the minibar selection.

Opening the sliding door leads to the bedroom which follows the same Thai inspired design. Boudoir pillows in gold and olive, a print of white lotus flowers in golden frame, designer lamps and a chic bed bench add touches of modern sophistication to the bedroom.

Highlight of our sleep experience was the king size bed made with a 12-inch thick mattress with the perfect firmness to support the body weight with a topper that adds extra comfort. 300 thread-count linens line the bed and the duvet filled with goose down feather. Four pillows stuffed with goose down feather are also provided, but if you have specific preference for pillows to suite your personal requirements for firmness, you can check the pillow menu and the hotel's housekeeping staff will gladly bring your pillow of choice.

The bedroom is also equipped with its own 48-inches LCD TV. Sliding glass doors on either side of the TV leads to the closet and the bathroom. The spacious wardrobe houses an iron and board. Two pairs of bed slippers are also provided. We wore the slippers the whole time we were inside the room. They are so far the best quality we ever tried. The sole were thick and provided excellent cushioning to the feet.

Two bathrobes were also provided as well as six pieces of wooden coat hangers. Included in the luxury room amenities are the three satin padded hangers which are ideal for delicate fabrics such as silk, lace, chiffon and barong. Also inside the wardrobe is a safe that is big enough to store my 14-inch Lenovo Flex 2 laptop.

The closet is connected to the bathroom which is furnished with a double basin. There's enough space on the marble countertop for personal toiletries. There's a wide mirror and a magnifying mirror with backlight. The basins are installed with Cotto designer tapware. Cotto is a Thai-brand that manufactures luxurious sanitary wares and fittings. Next to the wardrobe is a vanity table which stores a hairdryer. The bathroom is generously spacious where two guests can comfortably move around. The floor and the walls are lined with marbles of luxurious quality.

The free-standing bathtub stands in front of a wall mosaic made of tiles which adds to the lavish style of the bathroom. A walk-in shower is separate from the bathtub. It is installed with Cotto-branded hand and rainshower head. Water pressure was consistently excellent while temperature of the hot and cold shower was easy to regulate. Plush towels made of 100% cotton are also provided.

Highlight of our bath experience at Dusit Thani Manila has got to be the luxe bath and body amenities made by the British brand Aromatherapy Associates. The products are formulated with natural essential oils that does not only nourish the body but also offers a spa-like bathing experience thanks to the aroma-therapeutic properties of the ingredients.

Floral scents of rosemary, ylang ylang and geranium keep the scalp and hair fragrant while the citrusy scents of bergamot, pink grapefruit and neroli keeps the body smelling fresh. Hints of lemongrass adds a distinctive South East Asian touch to the bathing experience that is relaxing both to the body and to the mind.  

Bath & Body Amenities by Aromatherapy Associates are now our favorite hotel amenities. We loved them so much, we brought home our half empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion so that we could relive at home our luxurious Dusit Thani Manila bathing experience. Other five-star hotel brands that provide Aromatherapy Associates amenities are JW Marriott as well as Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

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During our weekend stay at Dusit Thani Manila, we also got to experience the luxurious pampering and therapeutic treatments of Devarana Spa, the Thai-inspired spa of the Dusit International Group. Devarana, pronounced te-wa-run, is an ancient Thai-Sanskrit word which means Garden in Heaven.

We were treated with a 90-minute Devarana Signature Massage, a combination of five different massage techniques. We were asked to choose among the four scents of Devarana Spa's massage oils. The one that appealed to my smell was Cherish, a relaxing blend of sandalwood with a hint of vetiver and patchouli. The massage started with hot towels covering my back which helped relieve the stresses on my upper and lower back. I was facing down the massage bench and the delicate scent of lemon and pandan leaves helped relax my mind. I was asleep during the most part of the massage. I woke up feeling soothed and relieved of all the muscle pain I had.

To complete the Thai experience at Dusit Thani Manila, we dined at Benjarong Restaurant, the signature Thai restaurant of Dusit Thani hotels and resorts around the world. Benjarong features Royal Thai cuisine based on classic, centuries-old recipes straight from the kitchens of the palaces in Thailand.

Here at Benjarong, one can enjoy authentic Thai dining fit for the royalty, with dishes served in colorful Benjarongs, a type of porcelain with intricate hand-painted patterns glimmering with golden linings. Setting the mood inside the restaurant, Thai classical music with the distinctive sound of the Khim plays at the background.

Here's a preview of some of the Thai dishes we tried. We'll tell you more about our Thai dining experience at Benjarong in a separate article. Do watch for it.

READ: A Taste of Royal Thai Cuisine at Benjarong Restaurant of Dusit Thani Manila (SOON)

Our overnight stay at Dusit Thani Manila comes with complimentary buffet breakfast for two, either at the Club Lounge or at the Basix Restaurant. We chose to have ours at Basix since it has more choices of dishes, and there are food stations where some dishes are prepared fresh.

Located on the ground floor of the hotel, Basix is the all-day buffet and a la carte dining restaurant of Dusit Thani Manila which offers international and local cuisines. The restaurant is big enough to accommodate a sizable number of guests without feeling crowded or cramped. Getting a seat was pretty hassle-free.

The buffet spread was fairly expansive with the some of the major regional cuisines available in its stations. There's bread and pastries, salads, fruits, as well as cheeses and cold cuts. There's Japanese and Chinese stations as well. American and Filipino breakfast dishes are located next to each other. We've also seen some Indian dishes.

Edgar enjoyed the pancit which he combined with bacon, corned beef, garlic rice and hash browns. I had garlic rice with sausages, scrambled eggs, hash browns and extra crispy bacon. But what I enjoyed the most are the pastries such as chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls, blueberry cheese and peach Danish, all of which went perfectly with the equally good coffee served at Basix. Special thanks to Cecil, the very attentive staff of Basix who made sure that our cup of coffee never get empty.

If you enjoy continental breakfast and prefer a more relaxed and less crowded setting, then we recommend the executive breakfast at the Club Lounge which is served from 6:00am to 10:00am.

In addition to salad, breads, pastries, cheeses and cold cuts, there's a number of warm dishes as well. Complimentary premium coffee, specialty tea and chilled juices are also available, just approach the Club Lounge attendant.

An overnight stay at any Club room or suite entitles the guest with a complimentary use of the Club Boardroom for two hours. Free WiFi Internet access is available throughout the Club Lounge. For an intimate and less formal setting, guests can choose from the various sofas and couches at the Club Lounge. There's also a library where guests can enjoy a more quiet setting to read the newspaper, a book or browse the net through their gadgets.

I spent the rest of the morning at the Club Lounge working with my laptop to catch up on some emails and to finish off some pending blog articles I had on draft. Special thanks to MJ of the Club Lounge for preparing this super nice mug of layered latte. It kept me awake and productive that morning.

Overall, we had a very memorable stay at Dusit Thani Manila, definitely one of our best staycation experiences in Makati and Metro Manila. Touches of luxury and gracious elegance is evident around the hotel. With the renovation works slowly being completed in batches, and with the opening of new dining outlets within the hotel, Dusit Thani Manila will further position itself as a premier, five-star hotel in Makati. With the uniquely Thai hospitality being offered as part of the overall experience, Dusit Thani Manila is not only a hotel but also a destination worth visiting. Here at Dusit Thani Manila, you don't need to leave the Philippines to have a taste of authentic Thai cuisine, pampering and hospitality.

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Dusit Thani Manila
Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Contact Number: +63 (02) 238-8888

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