Firstly, I would like to give props to my good friend Martin, who came up with the “Gal Not Home” moniker. I’m not always at home as my blog name suggests, and I don’t always write or post about home stuff, do I? So, from time to time, “gal not home” will be in session.
Just recently, I treated my family to a stay at The Henry Hotel Manila. I’ve stayed at The Henry Hotel Cebu and liked the experience—with its spacious, beautifully decorated suites, good service, and avant-garde art providing guests with, at the very least, great Instagram moments, what’s not to like?
So when I heard that they had opened a new hotel in Manila—in Pasay, to be exact, and in the same artists’ enclave where furniture showroom A11 and Avellana Art Gallery also resides—I knew it was worth checking out.
So far, it didn’t disappoint. While it’s not exactly kid-friendly—apart from the pool, there’s really not that many activities for small children—it’s a good place to really spend quiet time with loved ones. You can appreciate leisurely strolls around the compound, lounging around by the pool, enjoying a book in your own patio or the hotel’s common lanai or cafe. If you have kids and prefer to have lots of things to do, Roxas Boulevard and Macapagal Avenue are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. There’s Manila Ocean Park, Luneta Park, City of Dreams, Star City, National Museum, Intramuros….the list goes on. Manila is always an exciting place to visit with the family.
We were fortunate that our almost-two-year-old did not mind long afternoon strolls, as we didn’t really want to go out anymore and venture into Friday traffic. We kept her preoccupied by singing nursery rhymes in the garden, or playing the naming game while visiting the other sites (like the art gallery).
The hotel has one cafe in the premises, Apartment 1B. Yes, it’s the same Apartment 1B from Salcedo Village that we all know and love, so yes, it serves the same delicious comfort food the restaurant is known for. Since we didn’t want to leave the compound anymore, we ate our merienda, dinner, and breakfast there (forgot to take pics though!). We shared the grilled cheese and tomato sandwich for merienda, which was okay at best. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t roll-your-eyes-heavenward good either. Dinner was much better—three-cheese veggie lasagna and buffalo wings—but we ordered them to go so we could eat them in our room. According to the waitress, they didn’t have room service yet, but will offer it when they become fully operational in August.
The set breakfast, which was free with the booking, was actually pretty filling. It was composed of an assortment of breads, salad greens with strawberry vinaigrette, fresh fruits, and your choice of main dish (a choice of Pinoy ulam–adobo flakes, bangus, tocino, or longganisa, etc—with two eggs cooked in your preferred style; pancakes or french toast; or other vegetarian options), plus coffee or tea as well.
Here are more photos of what you can see in the compound. I think some of the houses are still privately owned.
As for the room, we are a small family of three, so the classic room was more than enough for us. It had beautiful midcentury modern furniture (by Eric Paras no less) but still influenced by Filipino post-war heritage, so some of the furniture were refurbished Pinoy antiques, like the butaka chair and the ubiquitous aparador.
There was a corporate event while we were there, so we just used the pool after breakfast on our second day.
It was a very short but much-deserved stay, as we had been dealing with some…stuff. At first we were thinking of canceling the booking, but it’s a good thing we decided to push through with it. The Henry Hotel Manila is right in the middle of bustling Pasay and nearby Manila, but as soon as you enter its gates, you kind of forget that you’re in the city. It’s quiet and relaxing, and offered us the respite we so badly needed. So yes, I do recommend it for you. If you’re coupled up, it’s perfect. If you have kids, it might not be the best place, but it’s still a good option.
Here’s their website, and go book your suite!