The Holiday Inn Brand has been around for several decades already and has been one of the largest, most successful and highly recognizable mid-priced hotel chain in the whole world. Together with its siblings: Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental they form one of the biggest global hotel group – the InterContinental Hotels Group or commonly known as IHG.
Here in the Philippines the group is composed of Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Intercontinental Manila and the Soon to Open Holiday Inns and Suites in Makati.
Ok, Enough with the History… I had the chance to stay at the Holiday Inn Galleria few weeks back and it was quite an interesting experience.
Why interesting? Hmmm, let’s put it this way. I heard that the hotel has aged but I was not expecting it to be “that old”. I welcome the contemporary upgrades on the rooms and the hotel facility but it was not enough to hide the fact that most parts of the hotel were already outdated. I have been to older hotels like the Manila Hotel, Sofitel Manila and The Peninsula Manila which were way older than the Holiday Inn but their modernization was totally awesome that they were able to transform the “oldness” of the hotel into its character and charm rather than be an imperfection. But don’t get me wrong, it was not all that bad… I still had a great night sleep and an awesome buffet breakfast. I will save my ultimate conclusion later, I’ll show you around first.
The Check in was smooth. I was even able to check in earlier than scheduled. The staff were very friendly, accommodating and attentive. The moment I stepped in the elevator the time travel began. I could actually feel the stops on each floor – the brakes were not smooth at all. The moment I arrived at the lobby of my floor, the initial impression was the place was stuffy, this was probably because of the thick super hardwood walls, furniture and the carpet. The smell was ok but there’s really a hint of “aged” aroma on it. It probably emanates from the old fixtures and carpets. The lighting was also too dim emphasizing the gloominess of the hallway. To be fair the wooden panels has a lot of character and great pattern on it. If only they upgraded the lighting and changed the carpet to something light then there would have been a dramatic change in the ambiance.
Upon check in, you will be given the keys to your room, a couple of welcome drink stubs (Iced tea, Cola, Beer) which you can claim on the 4th floor lounge. Surprise! The Wi-Fi was not complimentary, I think it costs around 300/Hour. I know!! I could just buy a broadband stick and use it out of the box for that amount. BUT – According to a source from IHG, they will be offering Free Wi-Fi in all IHG Hotels Soon! Well, It’s about time!
A few minutes after I entered my room, I got a call from guest services. The lady asked me if my check in went smoothly and if I have other needs or special requests. I told her that the check in was ok and I need a firmer pillow (Foam Type) for my neck. She said ok and she will ask someone from housekeeping to bring it shortly*. This is the first time that I encountered this after check-in call-in service. I like it, very proactive.
So similar to dining, before using the room I had to take a couple of shots.
Like the the hallway, the rooms feels a bit stuff because of the thick wooden panels and hardwood furniture. Thank goodness the TV was already LCD and the Air-conditioning Unit was quiet and powerful. Like the hallways, the carpet needs some updating and the curtains! OMG! The curtains was dusty and the design was super outdated – although I must say it matches the overall feel of the room. But they must do something about the curtains. The bed was super comfortable as well as the sheets and pillows. There was a super old looking bedside control panel but as expected from how it looks, it was not working.. The hotel room being mostly used by corporate people was equipped with flat iron and ironing board, robes, slippers, shoe shine service, and a safe. Although for a businessman’s hotel there wasn’t much accessible sockets for your charging needs. A table or two must be pulled out to access sockets.
The toilet and bath was – you guessed it – Old. The Marble tiles and the shower/tub area looks very outdated. Good Thing it was very clean. So clean that I could sleep on the floor! Hahaha! :) I am not a fan of the shower/tub in one thing, I find it weird and dirty (its just me) but it was ok. There was no bidet on the toilet. The exhaust systems works fine as well. The hot and cold water runs throughout the day but during the morning the hot water takes a while to get to your shower but once it is there, there’s no more problem. The bath towels were not that fluffy.
The view was great. Since the hotel is located right beside the mall, I sometimes hear the sound of the rooftop air-conditioning units below - But it was tolerable. The hotel is connected to Crowne Regency and Robinsons Galleria Mall. No need to go down the streets to shop.
Watching TV was a challenge. The remote control was buggy and the labels were already erased. As you can see, this remote control went through a lot already.
*After 5 hours, my requested pillow was not delivered. I had to call again only to find out that they don’t have a foam pillow available.
Despite of all the “oldness” that I keep on saying. I really had a good night sleep. Like I said, the bed was very comfortable and the air-conditioning unit was consistently quiet. I asked for a wake up call and to my surprise there were two. The first one was an automated wake up call few minutes earlier than you requested and the second one was from the front desk. A welcomed feature for Heavy sleeper like me! :)
Holiday Inn Manila Galleria also has a Pool and a Gym which guests can use complimentary.
Time for Breakfast – It was awesome! (Will Review it Separately)
I will be checking out late since it was a Sunday. I was too lazy to go out for lunch so I decided to eat some left over from last night. The problem was, the food was freezing inside the minibar. I called room service and asked if they will be so kind and reheat my food for me (I was willing to pay for it). They asked me how much food was it, I said it was just one plate.. and they said ok they will reheat it for free. Now to my surprise, when the food came back. It was like I ordered-in room service. From the Foil to this one :) Super Great Service!!
I know that Holiday Inn Manila Galleria is trying hard to catch up with the time. They have made some progress but I guess the fact that the building and the fixtures are really old makes it a bit of a challenge to renovate the entire hotel. Or It could be that all the renovation will not commercially viable or practical since it will cost too much. But the good thing is that Holiday Inn Makati is opening soon and is poised to redeem the Holiday Inn Manila name. Like I said, it was not all that bad. The hotel is still safe, clean, affordable, comfortable and the service is amazing. Probably a few modifications on the carpets and lighting will be great change to start with.
For people who are used to staying in hotels for staycations, this may not be a great choice but for those corporate travellers who only need the room to sleep, keep stuff, and shower, Holiday Inn Manila Galleria is still a good choice for your needs.
Hanggang sa muli, Paalam!
Originally Posted On: DENCIO.COM