December 2, 2018

Smoki Moto at Clark Marriott Hotel

Who doesn’t crave a quick getaway every now and then? I love travelling to places I’ve never been to once in a while but you know how planning a major trip can get tedious: filing for a vacation leave, booking flights and accommodations, travelling back and forth the airport, half the excitement fizzles away just thinking of everything you have to go through. So it’s really nice to go on a staycation instead; you get to rest and rejuvenate without leaving your country. Plus you also get to rediscover local places and experience it like you’ve never done before.

Contrary to popular belief, staycations can be quite the experience. It’s more than just a few days spent in a hotel, staycations have the ability to alter moods, making you feel as if you’re at a different place and time. That’s why I got excited when my blogger friends Bettina and Princess invited me to join them on a weekend staycation at Marriott Hotel’s newest branch in Clark, Pampanga. Especially that it was my birthday weekend!

Marriott is on a journey to make your travels uncomplicated, unforgettable, brilliant. The beacon of hospitality, Marriott Group of Hotels welcomes Clark Marriott Hotel. Opened last September 2018 and is located at the central business district of the country's fast-rising megalopolis and Asia's next aerotropolis - Clark Freeport Zone in the Philippines. The first and only 5-star hotel in North of Manila is the most accessible destination for entrepreneurs and travelers with a short 5-minute drive from Clark International Airport.

It has 260 well-appointed rooms and suites with contemporary designs and local touches giving it a distinct and vibrant aesthetics. A noted aspect of Clark Marriott is that it embodies the culture and tradition of its home Pampanga. Local materials and suppliers from the province were employed for the construction, design and furnishings for the hotel. There are areas in the hotel made from the “lahar” or mudflow from Mt. Pinatubo.  

The ceiling light fixtures at the lobby was inspired by the falling ashes to when Mt. Pinatubo erupted back in 1991. In one of the halls leading to one of the hotel’s ballroom, one could find the ancient and modern writings of the famous Kapampangan song “Ati Cu Pung Singsing”. The carpets on halls of the hotel and the wall papers inside the rooms are outlines of the world famous “parols” or Christmas Giant Lanterns native to Pampanga. 

When you're doing a staycation whether it is in a hotel or in a resort it is rarely that you go out and eat out. You take full advantage of the place where you're staying at and seek what the place has to offer. Clark Marriott has 5 dining options so for our meals when we had our weekend staycation over there, we tried 4 of their in house restaurants. For our dinner we had a fab feast at Smoki Moto.

Smoki Moto is a lively Korean barbeque and Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant with a modern cosmopolitan feel. Located on the 17th Level of the hotel, it is a high-end Korean specialty restaurant that has two private dining rooms featuring Japanese teppanyaki where diners can grill their meal or have it done by chefs at built-in tabletop barbecues. Its beverage menu offers an array of premium wines, beers, sakes and crafted soju cocktails.

I love the whole elegant atmosphere at Smoki Moto. They have an al fresco dining area overlooking the golf course nearby and the mountains. Inside has a very cozy and up-scale atmosphere. A few of the tables have built in grills in them for if you want to go for the Korean BBQ. At the far end of the restaurant is a bar and a bar seating area that overhangs 17 floors high. At night you won’t really see much down. But in when there is ample light, the floor is opaquely transparent. And the view here is also extraordinary since the wall is made of glass. I also loved that lighting fixture over the communal table where vintage lights are like tangled on a worn out reclaimed wood.

As for the food, we didn’t have Korean BBQ, but instead we tried their best sellers! First we were served with banchans (side dishes/appetizers) and then the main dishes that are served in huge servings and can feed 2-3 people per dish:

Salad and Banchans - these served as our appetizers and side dishes. I can’t really put my finger in how the salad tasted but all I know is that it was good. The banchans are fun to eat as well.

Kimchi Stew - I love how they presented their stews and how they keep it warm the entire time. The kimchi stew is super spicy for my taste but then you could really taste the flavor in it. There were also so many ingredients in there that even the soup alone will fill you up fast.

Bulgogi Stew - this is probably my favorite of all the dishes that they served us at Smoki Moto. It contains generous amounts of beef strips, glass noodles, some veggies and a lot of varieties of mushrooms that I totally loved. I highly recommend this one! The soup is so flavorful too.

Japchae - one of my fave Korean dishes, most definitely! I loved that this has shrimps in it. But even without those, the glass noodles themselves are super tasty already.

Bibimbap - served in a hot stone pot. This comes with an egg on top, and arrives at the table with a head-turning sizzle; surprisingly attention-seeking for such a homely dish. This bibimbap has warmth and flavors that draw you in, deeper and deeper into good flavors.

Smoki Moto Cheesecake - these were a perfect ending to a very hearty and filling dinner that we had at Smoki Moto. I love how the cheesecake had the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. The outside so soft, smooth and silky while the inside had a very soft spongy cake and filling.

Service here at Smoki Moto was exemplary. From staff, to the manager and the chef, they were all very attentive, helpful, welcoming. We were personally assisted by Smoki Moto’s manager who’s Korean and so as their head chef. They both told us that they had to adjust or tone down the spiciness level of the dishes that they serve to cater to the Filipino palate. Almost the entire staff also surprised me with those cheesecakes for my birthday. The manager also sang to me Happy Birthday in Korean. That was really heart-warming and I really did appreciate all that they did for us that night. Besides the hands-down great food, that was truly a memorable dinner!

17/F Clark Marriott Hotel
5400 Manuel A Roxas Highway, 
Clark Freeport Zone, Mabalacat  
Pampanga, Philippines   
Contact No: +63 45 598 5000 / +63.45.5985001

Read more of my staycation at Clark Marriott Hotel:
A 5-Star Weekend Staycation at the New Clark Marriott Hotel
Goji Kitchen + Bar and Noodle Inc. at Clark Marriott Hotel
Smoki Moto at Clark Marriott Hotel

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