Wedding Supplier Review: MANILA HOTEL

Here is our supplier review for our Hotel Accomodation/Preps during the wedding — MANILA HOTEL

  • Supplier Rating: 2.75/5
  • Mode of Communication: Email, Landline (if needed), Personal Visits
  • Contact Person: Prestige Membership (Ms Anne/Ms Jhello/ Ms Ren)

 

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Manila Hotel Lobby decors last December 2016 

The fact that we weren’t able to push through in getting Manila Hotel for our reception venue made us really want to get the hotel for our wedding preps no matter. We didn’t really scout for any other hotels within the area because we both knew that Manila Hotel would be our best choice given our theme which is Spanish Vintage Glam aside from the fact that it’s a childhood dream of mine. The atmosphere of the hotel exudes elegance, glamour, rich culture and that feeling of being transported back in the old Manila era. So when we started to inquire and was offered Prestige Membership, we didn’t think twice in signing up around July 2016.

Actually, we already have our reservations for 2 Superior De Luxe rooms through our venue (La Castellana) when we booked them back in October 2015 because of their connection with the hotel. But, when we were starting to do our detailing, we couldn’t help but think about the best possible type of room in terms of size, functionality and look that would be perfect for our wedding preps. And since the rates are also a bit expensive, we double checked it directly with the hotel and other online third party sites to ensure if we had a good deal. We found out that if we’ll book through La Castellana, the rate is fixed since the deal offers free photo shoot within the public areas of the hotel like the lobby, staircases, swimming pool area etc.

But when we looked for an alternative on how we can get the rooms that we wanted from the hotel on a much affordable rate versus the published rate, other third part website and through La Castellana, we found out about the Prestige Membership. When we contacted the Prestige, we got to know its benefits and then computed what we can possibly get and save from the inclusions of the VIP card. From what we knew, we felt we hit a jackpot! Well, that’s what we thought.

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Aiki’s room: Sunset Suite Room 1423 (bay view) located at the main building. The room is very spacious with a big bath tub and living room.

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Garry’s Room: Intramuros Suite located at the old wing

Through Prestige Membership, we have tons of freebies like free overnight stay, free buffet breakfast at Cafe Ilang-Ilang etc and were able to reserve 1 Sunset Suite (bride) and 1 Intramuros Suite (groom) for rates lower than their published one. As per computation we actually saved around 20-30K so from the discount, we were able to get other rooms for our family, entourage and  guests who preferred to stay with us. Our stay in the hotel was also extended for more than a day because we knew we can afford it now. But, the issues slowly resurfaced one-by-one. Though some are manageable, the stress that it gave was unexpected.

Since we were the one communicating with the hotel via the Prestige Membership to book the rooms of our family, entourage and guests, the details were of course placed under our name. At first, we were directly communicating with the manager of Prestige Membership Ms Anne where our emails were promptly responded. All of our long and detailed questions were satisfactorily answered and we felt we were well-informed regarding the hotel policies for wedding preparations and bookings. But then when we were paying for one of our reserved rooms through remittance, we waited for 3 weeks to get a reply if they received the money. Although they would reply after a few days to a week,  it never happened before that we would have to wait that long especially since we were tracking down our payment. If we hadn’t called their landline (which was always busy), we wouldn’t know that Ms Anne suddenly resigned and there was no staff assigned to take-over all of her current transactions! Unfortunately, we also found out that the money as payment for some of our reservations that we sent to their bank (Bank of Commerce) has an ongoing internal issues and it was only during our transaction that Manila Hotel knew about it. Since we knew that if we won’t be able to pay the rooms, there’s a possibility that our reserved slots would be cancelled especially our dates fall on the highly-peak season. Though thankfully we were able to resolve the issue and they offered us to hold the reservation until the bank issues will be resolved.

To make sure that all of our bookings were okay, we went to Manila Hotel 3 times before the wedding. Yes 3 times since it’s difficult to communicate with them through landline and their replies take forever. So to make sure that everything is okay, we decided to just drop by personally and do whatever we can while we are there. Imagine 3 times coming all the way from Bulacan where we currently stay (my parent’s place). Moreover, we even requested before hand if we can have rooms near each other so our guests and suppliers won’t find it difficult to go from one room to another, inquire about crew meal restrictions (since crew meal allowance before is not an option), photo shoot area options (they gave us choices between Champagne Room and the other Restaurant) etc. And even 10 days before the wedding (4th one), we went back again to add a couple of rooms to our long list of booked reservations (we got 13 rooms overall) and finalized everything with other Prestige Membership staff, Ms Jhello and Ms Ren who replaced Ms Anne as our unofficial contact person. Going home that night we thought we did a good job and seriously never thought we’ll have any problem with them.

But then the nightmare happened! The day before the wedding at around 1 PM, I received a call from one of our Ninongs who was based overseas who was about to check-in the hotel. To my surprise the receptionist told them at that time that they can only give 1 room (they booked 2 rooms) since they have to wait for us to be there and give the vouchers! I was quickly pissed since it was so clear 10 days ago that I informed the receptionist and the Prestige staff that all booked rooms under our name should be taken care of. I have told them (with a supporting letter and list of rooms) that whether I would be in the Hotel around 2.00 PM the day before the wedding, all of our guests who I expect to arrive on different times (since majority are overseas where some came from the airport) to be treated nicely and be given their respective PAID rooms. But no, our Ninong and his family waited for almost an hour to get their room because the staff said they have to re-check their reserved room if it was already paid! At that time, I really wanted to scream back to the staff I was calling but calmed my self down.

Then, another same issue was told to my mom (with my siblings and nephews and nieces who was with her) telling them that they only have 1 reserved room! Same issue happened to all our other Ninongs and friends who came one after another. Manila Hotel made my family and guests wait for an hour to get their rooms! But far worse was when we finally came, they made my Dad wait for 4 hours before they could get him his room key! We traveled all the way from Bulacan for 3 hours so expect my Dad to be so tired and then thinking he can take some rest but Manila Hotel made him wait that long! Their reason? The room is still unavailable because they’re still cleaning it! My Dad got so mad he started to argue with the receptionist assigned at that time (night of December 22, 2016 to be exact) but we told him to calm down because his blood pressure might increase! Technically we arrived at 7.30 PM due to heavy traffic and my Dad got his room key at 11.30 PM! Before hand we already informed the staff that we will behaving a late check-in but whether we, as paid clients, arrive on time at exactly 2.00 PM or not, the rooms that is supposedly assigned for us should be readily available anytime! No excuses! At that time, we really felt that for a 5 star hotel, their management really sucks!

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International Food. Buffet breakfast at Cafe Ilang-Ilang

Good thing, the rooms were what we expect them to be.The breakfast served the following day was really sumptuous and the room’s facilities were really nice. Minus the disorganized and unreliable staff, you actually get what you paid for staying at Manila Hotel.

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On the day of the wedding before going to the Church, my Dad was arguing with the hotel’s manager for some issues. His disappointment was clearly visible on his face, so sad it had had to happen on our wedding day! Photo by Myio Okamoto.

But when I thought that everything is okay, I was surprised to see my Dad looking all red and arguing with the Manager at the hotel’s lobby. When we were supposed to have a nice preparation time before we would head to the church for my wedding, my Dad was looking all too grumpy and mad! I even made a joke a couple of times to calm him down because, duh it’s my wedding day and he’s not supposed to be feeling all bad at that time! I was informed later on that the reason my Dad was arguing with the Hotel’s manager was because they were telling him to pay for extra hours because his reserved room was past the 12 noon check out time. He was fighting for his right by saying that his room key was only given to him at 11.30 PM the night before and technically speaking, the hotel made him wait for 4 hours after checking-in! With what happened, my Dad was asking the hotel that he should be given something for the misshap that happened. Pakunswelo kumbaga. But no, nagmamatigas pa ang hotel so napilitan ang Dad ko na ipaglaban ang right niya by saying to the hotel’s manager na if strictly by the number of hours sila, dapat around 2.00 PM of December 22 kahit anong oras dumating ang client since fully paid ang room, it should be readily available at hindi pag aantayin yung paid client ng ilang oras just like what happened to him! The stress was really crazy. Buti na lang maganda talaga ang Manila Hotel especially sa photos. With that experience, up until today, our family and guests still couldn’t believe that they experienced that unfortunate “waiting period” at a known 5 star hotel during our wedding. Really embarrassing.

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Photo taken after our reception where we had the chance to get our photo taken with the Christmas tree while waiting for the receptions to install my brother’s extra bed. We waited for an hour until they were able to fix it.

PROS:

  • The hotel was really beautiful. Really pictureques! The facilities were good, just as how I expected them to be especially in their Suites with complimentary drinks and tea/coffee
  • The buffet at Cafe Ilang-Ilang was really sumptuous with a huge variety of dishes to choose from
  • Prestige Membership has lots of freebies and using it when booking rooms can save you a couple of thousands especially if you’re going to reserve for multiple rooms (but see the cons below for the catch)
  • The staff are polite and friendly especially when you approach them at the reception.. But–
  • Staff in the Prestige Membership replies questions in detailed form (if you ask in details as well) which is informative and helpful during our wedding preps
  • Even if they’re strict with packed crew meals, we were able to get 50 pcs ++ mamon/cinnamon rolls/cookies for our supplier’s snacks inside our room

CONS:

  • The hotel is strict with crew meal suppliers so if you will have your wedding preps here, give your suppliers meal allowance instead because if you prefer to give them packed crew meals they will probably be forced to eat lunch in the parking lot. So ask your Coordinator for the best option.
  • Photo shoot fee is Php 5000 per area except for the public places so better make sure it’s already included in your package
  • VERY UNRELIABLE AND DISORGANIZED STAFF (from Prestige Membership to Reception/ Front Desk area) in the duration of our stay. They don’t have a proper system with all their PAID reserved bookings given that they’re using computers and would always reason out that it’s because our reserved dates fall on their peak season! C’mon they’re a 5-star hotel with supposedly more than a hundred “well-trained staff” right?! They were even saying that they have a database which contains all confirmed bookings but their staff doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing! We were the one who even gave them our summarized list of bookings in a sheet of paper and that’s what they used to track down all our reserved rooms for the duration of our stay.
  • During one of our visits to make sure that all of our reserved rooms are in order, we would always find ourselves WAITING for a long time before we would be entertained by one of their staff — from the Prestige or just the Concierge. They would always tell us to take a seat and they will call us. But we honestly couldn’t remember a single time we went there when they didn’t make us wait too long (meaning more for than 15-20mins) when in fact they’re not even busy and were just standing there. Napansin namin mahilig sila mag-papasa-pasa, as if they don’t know what were inquiring about etc.
  • Prestige Membership is good but booking multiple rooms through them is not! Better book directly (by paying cash on-the-spot) or through third party website like booking (dot)com
  • Payment of room reservation through Credit Card is NOT advisable. Their card reader is old it won’t even accept an international BDO credit card!
  • Payment of room reservation through remittance is NOT advisable since their connected banks have issues
  • They made our guest wait for 3 hours to get their paid extra bed in their room. Our guest went back and forth the reception area to update regarding their paid request since when they called the reception twice they just answered them that the Housekeeping is on its way. They went out for dinner at 8PM, came back at 11.00 PM and still there’s no extra bed even though they informed the reception that the housekeeping can get inside the room to install the already paid extra bed!
  • It took us 4-5 calls from the receptions to housekeeping and back again for our  request of new bedding, towels, toiletries etc to be answered. Literal na nakatulog na si Garry sa sala sa kaka-antay para mapalitan yung bagong bedsheet namin after the wedding!
  • The “extra bed issue” happened again when my brother extended his stay in one of the rooms. They made us wait for 2 hours to get their room cleaned and fixed imagine we arrived in the hotel past 12.00 AM from the wedding reception amd my brother was able to sleep at past 2.00 AM because we were all waiting for his already paid extra bed to be installed!

 

**Tip!** ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR RESERVATION AND ALWAYS INFORM THEM ABOUT IT BECAUSE MAYBE THEY WILL SAY THAT YOU ONLY HAVE ONE BOOKED ROOM FOR YOUR EVENT EVEN IF YOU PAID ALL OF THE ROOMS ALREADY!

**Tip!** Ask everything and keep track of your payments especially if through remittance.

 

CONTACT INFO:
The Manila Hotel
http://manila-hotel.com.ph/
527-0011

 

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