Reviews

Review: Fairmont Makati hotel, Manila

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, June 19 2019
Fairmont Makati hotel, Manila
Country

Philippines

City

Manila

Hotel

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Rating

5-star

Room

Fairmont Gold

Notes
The Good
  • Spacious, modern rooms
  • Co-located with Raffles Makati, so many facilities are open to guests of both hotels
  • Great Fairmont Gold lounge
The Bad
  • You can hire bikes from the hotel, but cycling opportunities nearby are limited
The Unexpected
  • Make time for an Art Concierge Tour between Raffles, Fairmont
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

Offering 280 guestrooms and suites at the heart of Makati – the financial centre of the Philippines – the Fairmont Makati, Manila hotel mixes business with pleasure, offering an excellent Fairmont Gold lounge for eligible guests aside leisure amenities such as a pool, spa, and bicycles to borrow for exploring the local area.

Sharing the same complex as the all-suite Raffles Makati hotel, guests can also partake in an Art Concierge Tour with some 1,600 pieces of artwork on display between the two hotels.

Here’s what the Fairmont Makati has to offer, following a stay on the property's Fairmont Gold floor: described by the brand as “an exclusive hotel-within-a-hotel.”

Location & Impressions

As the name suggests, Fairmont Makati is situated in Manila’s Makati business district, being a 20-45-minute drive from the city’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport – served by Philippine Airlines from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as Qantas from Sydney.

As a Fairmont Gold guest, I’m quickly ushered from my arriving car up to the Fairmont Gold Lounge to check-in with a glass of wine in-hand…

… with the room itself handily located on the same floor as the lounge…

… and, as I notice when making the walk, if you’re meeting with any guests, they can await your arrival in the lift lobby, home to these harp-inspired chairs:

There’s plenty to explore in the local neighbourhood, whether you’re looking for shopping, museums or dining…

… and on your return, the hotel is easy to spot from a distance:

Room

Fairmont Gold rooms come well-appointed, and are both stylish and functional. There’s a personal sofa beside the bed, a working desk with a height-adjustable chair – along with a lamp and desk-level power…

… and in the evenings, there’s a turndown service where slippers make an appearance:

The HDTV comes loaded with channels including a satellite feed of ABC Australia, if you’re missing home or simply want to keep an eye on the news Down Under – and, if you’re in need of some caffeine, there’s a coffee machine within the minibar: naturally, there’s no charge for using it.

The bathroom offers a walk-in rainfall shower, ample vanity space, a shaving mirror and a separate bathtub: no ‘shower tubs’ here!

Finally, the view here is certainly worth drawing the curtains for.

Work

With a functional desk in the room along with access to the Fairmont Gold lounge, there was no shortage of space for getting things done – although I would have liked more power points for laptops in the lounge, as there were very few locations where you could plug into a vacant outlet: the alternative being to disconnect a lamp.

As you’d expect, complimentary WiFi is available throughout the hotel, with my tests clocking average upload and download speeds of around 14Mbps, which is perfectly usable.

Eat

With both Fairmont and Raffles sharing the same building and Accor affiliation, guests are free to visit the food and beverage outlets of either hotel, and charge their bills to their room from any outlet.

The day begins at Spectrum (on the Raffles side), which serves up your typical breads, pastries, cereals and salads…

… and continues with fresh fruits, yoghurts, juices, and a variety of themed culinary stations to satisfy all travellers and keep adventurous diners happy:

On the same level, you’ll also find Raffles’ iconic Long Bar (pictured left) – and over on the Fairmont side, Café Macaron is the go-to place for espresso coffee, and of course, those French treats:

Later in the day, head to the rooftop bar for cocktails with a view…

… or visit Mirèio, Raffles’ French restaurant. Wanting to sample more than one dish, I opted for the tasting menu here, beginning with a parmesan sable with truffle mascarpone, Iberico ham and crunchy vegetables – presented rather artfully – followed by blue crab ravioli served with lobster bisque, which was also flavourful:

To continue (among other dishes), a medium-rare duck breast with pan-seared foie gras served on a bed of spiced pumpkin sauce with roasted grapes, which all worked beautifully together, and to finish off, a plated desert mixing pistachio and olive oil cake, lemon and Grand Marnier mousse, and yoghurt ice cream, which was delightful to mix and match.

Guests staying on the Fairmont Gold floors have the added option of dining or snacking in the Fairmont Gold Lounge.

Breakfast here somewhat resembles what you’d get at Spectrum – just without the crowds – with a cafe latte and made-to-order pancakes hitting the spot: although you have plenty of other choices, including egg dishes…

… with the evening service offering your typical snacks, meats and cheeses, joined by fresh sushi and hot pizza: both of which were popular with guests…

… joined by complimentary wine (including Prosecco), beer and spirits, and sweet bites for dessert:

Just note, although Le Club Platinum cardholders usually receive access to hotel lounges at Accor properties, this benefit does not apply at Fairmont hotels.

The chain describes these as “private lounges” – and Fairmont Gold as a “hotel-within-a-hotel”, so unless you’re booked in an eligible Fairmont Gold room, a Platinum card won’t get you inside.

Relax

When business is taken care of, you’ll find plenty of ways to fill your spare time: whether that’s sitting by the pool, a visit to the hotel gym…

… a treatment at the Willow Stream Spa (I can recommend the relaxation massage)…

… or, perhaps even an Art Concierge Tour, organised via the Raffles concierge desk. On this experience, staff guide you through various paintings and sculptures on display at the hotel, including those in public areas: where you might recognise the Raffles logo in one of the artworks…

… and, pending availability, of art located in harder-to-reach places like the Raffles Residences:

Feeling a bit more adventurous? Members of the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program (all tiers) get free hire of BMW bicycles from the concierge desk…

… which I took for a spin, in favour of spending time on the more typical cross-trainer at the gym. It’s a nice amenity to have, although given the location of the hotel, cycling opportunities are somewhat limited here given the dense traffic passing by, so I did a few laps of the surrounding area (as traffic and pedestrians allowed), and returned.

Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Le Club AccorHotels can also take advantage of ‘Fairmont Fit’, where the hotel provides you with gym gear and shoes for your workout or bike ride: whether because you simply forgot to bring your own, or just want to save space in your bag.

To see how this worked, I requested shoes only, and was issued with a pair in my size, along with fresh socks. On check-out, these can simply be left in the room, and are cleaned before the next guest. While I usually travel with my own kit, not having to squeeze shoes into my carry-on bag was quite handy!

(Granted, some travellers may prefer to BYO…)

All things considered, the Fairmont Makati hotel made for a relaxing and productive stay, featuring all the amenities I was looking for when I needed them, while being close enough to cultural sights that there was also plenty of motivation to step out of the hotel and explore the neighbourhood, and the broader city.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to the Philippines as a guest of Fairmont Makati Manila, Philippine Airlines and Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

mjward555

mjward555

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Dec 2015

Total posts 10

Chris is absoutely correct, I am Accor PT and during a recent stay at this hotel I asked at check-in about lounge access and was stunned to be advised it is only available if you book the more expensive Gold rooms. This info was not transparent when I made the booking (it is buried on the Accor website). I actually went back and checked Accor's email Check out our new hotels re Fairmont Raffles Swissotels which states"you can also enjoy all your Le Club AccorHotels status-related benefits". So at some stage there was a change which was never advised to members.

Anyhow I mentioned to the check-in staff that I often travel to Manila and that I wanted to compare with Sofitel Manila, a long time favourite hotel of mine. They agreed for this time only.

The lounge is nice and the rooms are nice; but yes hard to take advantage of those nice bmw bikes.

Anyhow for an upcoming stay in Singapore, I thought I would get ahead of the curve and emailed Fairmont Singapore about lounge access, same story, you have to book the gold rooms otherwise they suggested I book the Swissotel their sister property. So that's exactly what I did. It felt like Chris Bowen telling us if you don't like it don't vote for us; outstanding salesmanship from Fairmont.

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Makati has heaps of good shopping including SM Department Store and Supermarket, and slightly more downmarket The Landmark dept store, plus Greenbelt restaurants and five mall buildings. There's even a Catholic Chapel in the middle, water features and if I recall, some fish.

 

Apart from hygiene issues, loaning shoes or gym gear to guests must be the classic items inadvertently or deliberately are packed into a suitcase when checking out, never to be again seen by the hotel. Preferable if one had to return these and have a form initialled by a staff member to save arguments about whether these were 'stolen' and hence charged to one's account after check out.

AlexTravAddict

AlexTravAddict

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 72

Interesting read, but also reinforces why I have given up on Accor, and increasingly prefer more basic hotels. Best hotel check I have ever had was Ibis Adelaide where I walked in the door, said my name, was given an envelop with my key and hotel details and was in my hotel room within 60 seconds of entering the hotel. Every five star hotel should aspire for a 1 minute check in. I hate these 'lounge' check-ins which take a process that should be so quick, simple, and easy and turn it into a bureaucratic gauntlet. It's typically these high end hotels that have the slowest and complicated check-in.

As for Accor Le Club, they took forever to integrate Fairmont into the program, and then when they did they restricted some of the benefits. Even after making Platinum quite difficult to achieve. I never quite understand these hotels that charge more but offer less. I agree with mjward555 - Accor have unclear information about their loyalty program and often send out rubbish advertising that either doesn't make sense or is wrong or misleading.

My partner and I were Platinum until the end of 2018 when we decided that the program just wasn't worth staying loyal to. In 2017 we stayed over 120 nights combined, but this year we will be lucky to reach 30 nights. As soon as we freed ourselves from the loyalty slave it just opened up so many more options.

Chris, you didn't mention if this hotel allows smoking. Last December I stayed at the Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila (managed by Accor) and had a spectacular room. However, the hotel restaurant (where breakfast served) was attached to a bar that allowed smoking and consequently the entire restaurant area stunk of cigarettes (which was still overt the following morning at breakfast). It was absolutely revolting and makes me sceptical of staying at any high end hotel in Manila ever again.

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

I've had brekky in Spectrum two or three years ago. Didn't notice anyone smoking but agree that in a fair bit of Asia (including Thailand and Philippines) hotels that permit smoking anywhere within premises are to be avoided like the bubonic plague.

Chris can't mention everything but with only 15 per cent of Australians now smokers, perhaps he'd be kind enough to include a mention of smoking policies in all hotel reviews. It is the pits to smell it on one's clothes or hair, but worst is when Europeans insist on smoking at breakfast.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2933

Hi both, smoking isn’t something we cover or that we’re looking to cover, except where smoking policies interfere with the enjoyment of other guests (eg in the Emirates first class and business class lounges in Dubai Concourse C). If there’s nothing to mention, we simply don’t mention it: and there was nothing to mention here (no smoking seen indoors).

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