August 20, 2014

Weekend Getaway: Best Western La Corona Manila

I have only seen a handful of reviews about Best Western-La Corona Hotel Manila that’s why I am writing this review because like me months back someone might looking for a comprehensive review about this hotel.

We booked a room at Best Western-La Corona last April to use it as a place to prepare for our friends' wedding. It is because the venue was far from our house and I have to be at the venue as early as 8am to set it up. I don’t think it will be a good idea to go home after setting up the venue and drive all the way back to manila after freshening up. The couple also booked a room at Best Western-La Corona as their prep venue as well. I was the one who booked it for them after scouring the net for hotels near Manila Yacht Club. Most hotels near Manila Yacht Club  were kind pricey or looked like any typical hotel;  Best Western-La Corona’s rooms were modern and chic and would perfect for photo ops, so they agreed that this was the best place to do their preps.

Since their families were there and the two rooms that they booked were already crowded, I  was convinced that we get our own room to freshen up and where we can dress up before the wedding. We the couple’s friends with us also, who helped during the setting up of the venue, there were five of them and they also needed a place to freshen up and a place somewhere where Jason Delos Reyes can do our makeup.

The Hotel
The hotel’s location might turn off other people because it is located in Manila’s Red Light District. But it is very near the tourist spots in Manila and malls are just a couple of blocks away. Since it is owned by the Best Western chain of hotels, you could expect nothing less than great when it comes to amenities, service and rooms.

Best Western-La Corona was recently been renovated and the interiors including the lobby and restaurant us very hip and chic, it also has touches of vintage or retro design that are well thought of and are very appealing to the eye. What I noticed though about is that the hallways are kinda narrow for a hotel. So I asked the front desk the story behind this structure and she said that the building used to be an old apartment building. It was pretty creepy to know that (especially that the hallways are pretty dim all day through), and at the same time it was cool that they were able to renovate it to become this posh hotel in the heart of Manila’s red light district.

Their lobby is beautiful but it’s not so grand like other hotel lobbies. I don’t know with others but their lobby gives off a vintage 1920’s-1930’s vibe to me with a mix of little Filipiñana to some extent. The elevator on the other hand was very futuristic with its touch screen floor selector ( like that at Astoria Boracay) which is a stark contrast with the vintage/chic design of the hotel.

Looking for a parking slot can get a little tedious though, because their parking space at the side of the hotel can only accommodate a few vehicles and you have to look for somewhere to park along the street. With our experience, we got there and no parking slot was available, a man approached us and pointed us to a parking slot just a couple of steps away from the hotel. Then we thought we can give him any amount as a sign of gesture, he didn’t even had a parking ticket nor was he authorized by the city (or the hotel) to man the street parking, when he gave him money he was kinda upset and told us a couple of irritating words that really pissed me.

Unfortunately, since the hotel was once an old apartment building, there was no pool in the hotel and I guess the building’s structural design or whatever’s needed to build a pool was not feasible.

The Rooms
We booked the Superior Room because I saw from reviews that these deluxe rooms were newly renovated. And in fairness to Best Western-La Corona the rooms were pretty neat and stylish. The space was enough to move around. Basic hotel amenities were present: complimentary bottled water, PABX phone, wall mounted LCD TV, dresser with hair dryer and Bible, writing supplies, coffee table and chairs,  closet, mini ref and disposable slippers. There were also snacks and drinks available but they weren’t complimentary, and you know how hotel items can get pretty steep with their prices so we didn’t attempt to consume any of them but instead bought from the store just across the hotel.

The bed was a queen-size one and was firm enough to our liking and the pillows were not as fluffy as I would want them to be so I had to put one on top of the other because that’s how I  like to sleep.

The comfort room’s size was ok and will allow you to move freely and it was clean. Again, only the basic bathroom products were present, disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste, glasses, soap and shampoo. A water heater is existent and the shower head was the rainfall type which I love! Fresh towels were also available and you can request for new ones if you want to.

The couple on the other hand booked two rooms, a Deluxe Room (just like ours but had two beds and the same amenities) and a Suite King-sized Bed Room. The room was super spacious and had a sofa set where you can entertain guests and the bathroom was huge too and had a bath tub.

The Suite Room room had a very retro-modern design as well which was very helpful when they and their families were having their photos taken. The wedding day was super chaotic and thank goodness the room was big enough to pack their families in there. The best thing about the Suite Room is that this one had a king size bed.

What I only noticed that the airconditioner used in the rooms weren't that cold enough for the size of the rooms; I think they should have used a slit type aircon instead.

The In-House Restaurant
Our accommodation came with free buffet breakfast for two at the Cafe Arquiza, the in-house restaurant at the ground floor of the hotel. Well if a hotel is not of 5-star quality, it is usual to expect plain and conventional menu items. But we were all surprised on how good the food that were served for the breakfast buffet. There weren't much selections which was the only downside to it.

Bacon and coffee will be serve only upon request you just have to push a button to call the attention of one of the waiters. We agreed that our favorite among what was served during the breakfast buffet was the airy strawberry and blueberry Danish Pastries! Those were like heaven spread with butter!

The Service
I don’t have anything to complain about the staff or the service at Best Western-La Corona. Check-in was fast; requests were attended to immediately even if it's in the wee hours of the morning; and waiters are few but were attentive. The only thing that comes to mind is that it is indeed an excellent hotel (of course because it's an affiliate of Best Western chain of hotels) but it's in a somehow notorious neighborhood. However, if you'll ask me, will we stay there again? Well, it won't be our first option but there might be a slight chance.

Best Western Hotel - La Corona Manila
1166 M. H. Del Pilar St. cor. Arquiza St., Ermita,
Manila Philippines
Phone Numbers: (632) 524 2631 to 35
Fax Numbers: (632) 525 8268 to 35
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