Leap Year Birthday Staycation at Manila Marriott Hotel

As a leap year baby, celebrating my birthday on the actual date of my birthday (February 29) is a very rare phenomenon. After all, it only comes once in every 4 years! After a looong wait, there was (finally!) a February 29 this year, so I was hoping that I could have a more special celebration than just the usual lunch or dinner. Don’t get me wrong, having lunch or dinner with people I love on my birthday is extremely special in itself, but I just wanted something a little different this time around because I’ve been really looking forward to this and my next “real” birthday won’t happen until the year 2020!

I thought of possible activities to do for my once-in-a-blue-moon birthday. Travel? I was seriously considering it. I spent so much time “window shopping” for promo fares until it ended up to be just that: window shopping. Mike and I are planning for our honeymoon in April and it wouldn’t be practical to splurge for two overseas trips with dates so close to each other. Dinner at a fancy restaurant? It was a possibility, but then I thought, “I could use that money instead for expenses on our honeymoon.” A staycation at a charming little hotel? Hmm… let’s put that in the MAYBE file.

Thankfully, I got what I wanted. No, I got MORE than what I wanted because Mike and I did not just get to stay at a “charming little hotel.” Instead, we got to stay at a large and luxurious 5-star hotel: the Manila Marriott Hotel!

Photo from Manila Marriott Hotel's Official Website
Photo from Manila Marriott Hotel’s Official Website

I hosted the wedding of a hotelier couple, the groom Mr. JR Ferrer being the (newly promoted!) Front Office Manager at the Marriott. In exchange for my hosting services, he granted me an overnight stay at a Deluxe Room with buffet breakfast. And not only that, but he upgraded our booking so that we would have access to the very exclusive members-only Executive Lounge!

When Mike and I arrived at Marriott and went to the check-in counter at the main lobby, we were greeted by a pleasant lady from the front desk who assisted us at the Executive Lounge. (Sorry, I forgot her name!!! I’m terrible with names!) Instead of just telling us where to go, she personally accompanied us to the 8th floor. From the moment we arrived, we immediately felt like we were being taken care of. Having someone show us around was a real time-saver because if we were left on our own, it might have taken us some time to find our way around. Once we were at the Executive Lounge, she told us to have some snacks and refreshments as we wait for our room to be ready.

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The cozy and private Marriott Executive Lounge

This is where we waited while being checked in. Yes, someone was checking in for us as we lounged around in this comfortable space, snacking on their afternoon tea offerings! This certainly beats waiting and standing around in line at the front desk! I could get used to this VIP treatment! Haha!

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Guests can also relax, watch TV, and read magazines by the couch area at the Executive Lounge
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Grab some free cookies at the Executive Lounge!

Mike and I spent about 50% of our time here at the Executive Lounge. Really, we could stay here all day and we kind of did! We haven’t had lunch before going to the hotel so we were already thinking of where to eat around the area. Because of our Executive Lounge access, we never even needed to leave! They serve continental breakfast (from 6:00 AM – 10:30AM), daily snacks (from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM), afternoon tea (from 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM), hors d’oeuvres (from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM), and evening snacks (from 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM)! They’ve pretty much got your appetite covered. That’s how it was for me and Mike during our stay — we spent some time being lazy around the room, and when we were hungry, we just went up the lounge to eat and be lazy some more. It was like the Executive Lounge was our own fridge that we can just grab some food from to our heart’s content. What a bunch of pigs, right? But pigs in a 5-star hotel, nonetheless! Haha! I’ve been a hotelier before and I’ve never appreciated the Executive Lounge access until now! I used to think, “Why would I pay extra for access to a lounge and to have some snacks? Well, now I know. You’re paying for comfort, and if you utilize the complimentary benefits (the all-day food and drinks, internet access at the lounge, use of the workstations, etc.), you’re actually getting your money’s worth.

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Afternoon tea at the lounge

One other thing that Mike and I absolutely enjoyed at the lounge was this coffee-making machine. It served the yummiest Chococino ever! I don’t know what that stuff is made of but it’s so delicious and creamy, that even days after our staycation, we still kept saying, “I miss Marriott’s Chococino!”

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Crazy for Chococino! This coffee-making machine at the lounge is a godsend!
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Relaxing like a boss!

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Here are just some of the other facilities that you can use if you are staying on the Club Floor:

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Use of work stations
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Private dining area
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Board room for small meetings

After our (pleasant) wait at the Executive Lounge, we were ready to go up to our room, which was Room 660. As if this birthday staycation wasn’t feeling special already, it was made even more special when one of the staff greeted me a “happy birthday” and presented me with a surprise birthday cake!

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A surprise birthday greeting from Manila Marriott!

I told JR (Marriott Front Office Manager) after his wedding that I plan to stay at Marriott on my birthday, but only in passing. I didn’t expect that he would have it noted down and that I would be given such a sweet welcome!

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Having my birthday cake and eating it too. Actually, Mike ate it.
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Thank you for this sweet surprise, Manila Marriott!
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Wow, this is like a prequel to our honeymoon!

We stayed in this lovely and spacious room overnight and found it so hard to leave it (except when it was time to eat). It was elegant but it still felt like home. I posted a photo of it on Instagram and my mom sent me a text message to tell me “It looks so nice there!” It is!

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And those sheets!!! We just DROWNED in those fluffy sheets! They’re so comfortable, it’s crazy! It’s a good thing we don’t have this kind of bed and these sheets at home because if we do, it will be very, VERY hard to get up. Mike and I decided on having a “power nap” in the afternoon and when I woke up, it was already evening! The power nap turned out to be a very delicious 3-hour sleep because of this exceptionally downy bed and its 300-thread count sheets!

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The room also has a nice work space in the corner, complete with a phone, an office chair, and desk drawers with office supplies inside. Mike said, “Imagine if you had a little home office like this.” I replied, “I’ll probably enjoy working then!” This is where I spent most of my time on my computer, thanking everyone on Facebook for their birthday greetings.

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Guests can also watch shows and movies from the 48 to 55-inch LED smart TVs inside the room. It’s so funny that Mike was watching an episode of Family Guy and the scene was at Marriott too! The cartoon of a bellman said, “How was your stay at the Marriott?” Haha! What a cute coincidence!

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Welcome fruits. There was also a little card with a description of the Philippine mango, as well as how to eat it. This was my midnight snack. Haha!

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I requested for a nice view from our room and luckily, my request was granted! (Perks of being a birthday girl!) This is the golf view.

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I was quite satisfied with our bathroom. For a deluxe room, it was actually bigger than some of the bathrooms I’ve seen in other 4- or 5-star hotels. Some bathrooms located in standard rooms feel cramped, with only a little space separating the toilet and the shower area. Some don’t even have bath tubs! Marriott’s marble bathrooms were pretty spacious and sophisticated.

The bathroom at Marriott has a long and large counter, perfect if you are putting a lot of things on it. In my case, my make-up, the hair dryer, my toiletry kit, my towel, etc. were all sprawled on the counter. There was so much room to put all of my stuff on! (As a girl, this is very important!) It made it easier for me to move around and do what I needed to do. I also liked the huge mirror, which was sparkling!

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The toilet was separated from the shower area by a glass door. And the toilet area is pretty big! Marriott puts “comfort” in “comfort room”!

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One of the things I wished for before coming to Marriott was “I wish our bathroom has a bath tub!” I am a little ball of stress and I need a very long and much-deserved hot bubble bath. So when I saw that our bathroom had a bath tub, I was so happy!

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Now all I need is a glass of wine!

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The shower area is right next to the tub. I’m glad to say that we had no problems here — there was hot water, the showers were working perfectly, and the toiletries provided were excellent.

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Toiletries. Can I just say, the shampoo and conditioner smell so good! And my hair felt so soft after using them!
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More toiletries, tucked in a very sleek and convenient drawer, which looks quite manly, in my opinion

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You also have the option to open or close the blinds from inside the bathroom. You can watch the TV in the room while you’re relaxing in the tub. At the same time, the person in the room can watch you while you lather, rinse, repeat. Haha!

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Wa-hey! Free show! Haha!

At around 6:30 in the evening, we went back to the Executive Lounge for hors d’oeuvres. There were more food choices at that time than there were during afternoon tea, and most of them were amazing!

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Cold cuts and sushi station
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Smoked Salmon and Boston Maki
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Salami, Black Forest Ham, and Mushroom Lyoner
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Toasted breads with dips and toppings
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Mediterranean Salsa, Pineapple Salsa, and Portobello Mushroom and Shrimp Salsa (this one was the best!)
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Soup, salad, cheeses, and breads

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Squid Bicol Express (Spicy Squid in Coconut Cream), Beef Picadillo, and Tori Katsu
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Desserts. (The tiny one on the right was really yummy! It’s the Dark Cherry Tart)
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Blueberry Cheesecake, Mocha Cheesecake, Fudge Covered Brownies, and Chocolate Ganache Cake

Those staying at the Club Floor will be happy to know that the drinks are overflowing at the lounge in the evening! No need to hit the bar! Just go to the Executive Lounge and pick your poison.

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I guess I didn’t have to hit the club and buy drinks for my birthday!
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More drinks, with some non-alcoholic ones

Mike wanted a White Russian but they didn’t have it, so we asked the attendant if they could whip one up. She said she will ask their chef if he can make one, and a few seconds later, she came back and said they can make one for us! The staff at the Marriott really go above and beyond!

With all the complimentary free-flowing food and drinks, I’d say this would be a pretty awesome place to be stuck in in the event of a zombie apocalypse!

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Mike drinking free beer and White Russian, eating free food, and sapping free Wi-Fi. This is the life!
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Make mine a Baileys!
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All red and tipsy after HALF a glass of Baileys. Oh my god, I really AM getting old!

After our little food trip at the lounge, we decided to walk around and explore the hotel.

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View from the top of the lobby lounge

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Teas and cookies
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An acoustic duo performing on a Sunday night

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The bar at the lobby

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Lounge area at the back, if you want more privacy
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Wall decoration at the lobby
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The fancy front desk area
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Lobby
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Outer deck
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It was fun watching the colors of the trees change at the outer deck

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Hallway connected and leading to the casinos and Resorts World
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Entry to the Quan Spa, which we didn’t go to because the massages were waaay beyond our budget. Instead of being relaxed, I might be even more stressed if I splurge on a PHP 4,000 massage!
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The hallway leading to the spa. We were intrigued by the ornament at the end of the hall. It looked like a little shrine of some sort.

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A lounge fronting the area where all the board rooms are. There are so many places in this hotel to just sit and relax!

After exploring, we finally retired into our bedroom for a shower and a good night’s sleep. Our sleep was pretty peaceful, except that we could hear some of the housekeeping staff talking from outside and Mike said that in the morning, someone was knocking and asking if we needed anything, and that that person actually came in the room! I didn’t hear anything because I was sleeping so soundly. I guess we should have put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign outside our door!

Our second day at the Marriott was the day of my actual birthday! And to start the day right and to celebrate my 8th / 32nd birthday in a grand way, we had our complimentary breakfast at the Marriott Cafe at the Ground Floor. This was the 4th and last buffet I’ve had in 4 consecutive days. (From February 26 to 29, we had a buffet literally every single day! I was so close to getting a girdle for my gut!).

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With its seating capacity of 8-10 persons, the cafe was sizable and wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be during breakfast. As you will see in the photos below, there were still plenty of vacant tables during this time. It also has 3 private rooms good for 8-10 persons.

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Their breakfast buffet, though not the biggest I’ve seen, was ample and gratifying. Here are the food and dishes that were available at the cafe during our stay last February 29:

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A lavish spread of breads and pastries
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Load up on the carbs with these freshly baked croissants, Danish pastries, rice cakes, and tarts
cheeses and cold cuts
While the variety of cold cuts and cheeses on the breakfast menu wasn’t as diverse (they only had Edam, Emmental, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Mushroom Lyoner and Salami for the cold cuts), what they did have was nice and flavorful. Sometimes, it’s not always about the quantity but the quality!
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There are plenty of drinks to choose from — juices, teas, milks, and even fresh coconut juice! We didn’t get our drink from here though because as soon as we were seated, a server asked us what drink we wanted and he just served it to us.
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The Griddle Station. What’s breakfast without Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, Crepes, French Toasts, and Oatmeals?
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At the Griddle Station, you can choose from any of the following toppings: Maple Syrup, Chocolate/ Strawberry/ Raspberry / Caramel/ Mango Sauce, Strawberry/ Raspberry/ Blueberry/ Peach/ Dark Cherry Compote, Almonds, and Walnuts. Additional toppings are: Dark and White Chocolate Chips, Dried Pineapple or Apricot, Prunes, Powdered or Cinnamon Sugar, Raisins, or Ripe Banana or Mango.
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At the Japanese station, the serve 6 kinds of maki and an Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake)
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You can ask someone to make an omelette for you. I chose the one with goat cheese but was informed that it wasn’t available that time. There were also no scrambled eggs on display, but maybe if you request for it, they can make it for you.
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Salad Bar. This is where the Smoked Salmon was.
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Spinach Ravioli. I liked these ones but were already cold when I had them. I’m sure they would have tasted much better if they were reheated but it’s fine, they were still good.
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More food! Vegetables, cherry tomatoes, potato wedges, and bacon strips
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Ham, best eaten with mint jelly and the different kinds of mustards
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For those who want a Filipino breakfast, they have Pork Binagoongan, Crispy Squid, Garlic Rice, Chicken Adobo, Red Eggs, Tocino, and Longanisa. There’s also Sliced Spam, Hungarian Sausages, and Bratwursts. I don’t know why they were mixed with the Filipino viands though, because they’re obviously not Filipino dishes!
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For health nuts, fresh fruits are also available
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For more healthy options, guests can also have cereals with their fruits
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Different kinds of breads with spreads and jams. If I could change anything here, I would probably clean up the edges of some of the jars to make them look cleaner. It’s also cute that they also have simple spreads like Nutella and Lady’s Choice Peanut Butter (a local brand) for those who just like something simple for breakfast
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Ice cream for breakfast? Why not?! Yes, ice cream and gelato are part of the complimentary breakfast buffet! It’s a good thing the waiter told me about this.

The items in the next photos are no longer part of the complimentary breakfast buffet, but these sections are part of the Marriott Cafe. You can order breads, pastries, wines, chocolates, and other snacks a la carte.

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pastries

bread area

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Marriott Cafe Operational Hours:

  • Breakfast: Daily 6:30am-10:30am
  • Lunch: Daily 12:00nn-2:30pm
  • Dinner: Daily 6:00pm-10:30pm
  • Brunch:     Sunday   11:30am-3:00pm
  • All day a la carte menu available from 6:00am-11:00pm

Pricing/ Rates:

  • Breakfast Buffet: P1,450 nett
  • Lunch Buffet: P1,900 nett
  • Dinner (Sunday-Thursday) P2,100 nett

Our breakfast was so hearty and I was so full that the button of my dress came undone! Haha! After breakfast, Mike and I were so sleepy that we went back up to the room to catch some zzz’s — again! The original plan was to go swimming in the pool but sleep just sounded more appealing to us. In the end, we didn’t get to do any other activities because we were too busy sleeping (“Too busy sleeping”?! That just made us sound like total sloths!) The Marriott staff were kind enough to grant us a late check-out of 3:00 PM instead of 12:00 NN. 3 extra hours for siesta! We really needed that!

When it was finally time to check out (nooooo!!!), we went back to the Executive Lounge. Since we were upgraded to the Executive Floor, one of our privileges was to check out at the lounge instead of the front desk at the main lobby. As soon as we came in the lounge, Avie Balba, the staff at the Executive Lounge greeted me, “Happy birthday, Mrs. Smith!” Aww… it was nice of her to remember – not just my birthday but also my name! I just didn’t expect her to remember it since she talks to so many people everyday!

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Having our last Iced Chococino before we go!

Mike and I stayed for another 30 minutes at the Executive Lounge after checking in just because we didn’t want to leave yet. “Isn’t this nice?” I asked Mike. “We can just stay here for hours, talking… or not talking, doing nothing, just sipping our Chococinos and relaxing?” It’s so easy to lose track of time at the lounge, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a quiet and chill day or night.

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The calming view from our spot at the lounge

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Having a quick bite before leaving the hotel

Before heading home, we checked out the pool that we never got to use.

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The Pool Bar where you can have some snacks and drinks by the pool
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The pool at the Marriott

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The view from the pool area
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A very happy and relaxed 8-year old!
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I feel so refreshed! That’s what sleeping all day and doing nothing does to you!

Mike and I really had a blissful staycation at the Marriott! I’m so glad I chose to spend my leap year birthday here. The service was excellent and everyone was friendly and ready to help. The food was delicious and abundant. Our room was elegant and comfortable at the same time. We had a hangover for a few days after coming home, telling each other that we miss staying at the Marriott!

Thank you so much to the Marriott staff (especially the staff at the Executive Lounge) for the 5-star service, for pampering us and attending to our needs, and for making our stay more pleasurable and enjoyable. To Ms. Acel Crisostomo, thank you for connecting me to JR and recommending me to him. And to Mr. JR Ferrer, thank you for making sure that all our needs are met and for letting us experience this fabulous staycation! I know you were on your marriage leave at the time we stayed but you still made sure we were well taken care of. Thank you also to Mrs. Inna Isaac-Ferrer (JR’s wife) for the birthday greeting and for wishing us a great stay!

My husband and I have been working so hard and this short but sweet getaway was really what we needed to recharge. We are grateful for this little break and I have to say that this is one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had!

Manila Marriott Hotel
Address: No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City, Manila, 1309
Phone: (02) 988 9999
Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mnlap-manila-marriott-hotel/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marriotthotelmanila
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marriottmanila
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manilamarriott/

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8 Comment

  1. There is both an advantage and a disadvantage for being born on a leap year. Since it only comes once in every 4 years, you indeed have an excuse not to treat your friends on a non-leap year day and save that amount of money to splurge when your actual day comes. Meanwhile, the disadvantage could be being greeted once in every 4 years for your actual birthday. People have to greet you advance or belated. Anyway, setting that aside, it is really refreshing to have a staycation. How I wish I could be on the path towards latter adulthood so I can enjoy the same.

    Marriott did a great job of extending hospitality and making sure you have peaceful birthday celebration.

    I know this is a bit late. Belated happy birthday 🙂

    1. Thanks for the greeting! The only disadvantage, at least for me, is being asked the same question over and over and over again (“So when do you celebrate your birthday?”)
      Yes, Marriott made my birthday a very memorable one! I’ll never forget it 🙂

  2. This is a wonderful birthday gift to you. It’s extra special because we have a leap year this year and you get to enjoy a staycation at a luxury hotel.

    1. Yup! Totally special! 🙂 I loved every minute of it.

  3. Wow. The place is definitely a go-to place!!!

    1. Time to book a room!

  4. Belated Happy Birthday to you! May God bless you and your family more!
    My family and I would love to stay in that grand hotel if it is alright to ask, how much will it cost us per night?
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I’m not sure how much it would cost to stay there, as my stay was complimentary. And I think rates vary depending on the occupancy, season, etc. Best to check their rates at their official website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mnlap-manila-marriott-hotel/

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