Afternoon Tea in Manila: The Royal Piccadilly Restaurant & Cakery

* Part 9 of a series *

I know it’s only been about 7 months since I went there, but I already miss London terribly. Once you fall in love with a city, you’ll constantly ache for it. You’ll always yearn to go back. That’s how I feel about Berlin and London. Only those afflicted with wanderlust can completely understand. The next best thing to revisiting the cities that I love is to eat food that will remind me of them. And that’s what The Royal Piccadilly is all about.

the restaurant & cakery

the restaurant & cakery

Piccadilly is an almost mile-long road within the City of Westminster in Central London, stretching from Hyde Park Corner all the way to Piccadilly Circus (the busy intersection between Piccadilly and Regent Street). It’s interesting to know that the land once belonged to a tailor named Robert Baker, who became successful by making and selling fashionable collars known in those days as piccadills. Today, Piccadilly is home to many of London’s famous shops, most notably Fortnum & Mason, a high-end department store established in 1707 and is also well-known for its tea room.

afternoon tea set

afternoon tea set

So, anyway…. I was so happy when I learned that this restaurant and cakery called The Royal Piccadilly opened in the Katipunan area in Quezon City sometime in 2013. I have been wanting to go there since then, but because it’s a bit of a trip from our place, I never really got around to visiting it — until last Sunday, on Mother’s Day, when my daughter Bea and I accompanied my husband to UP Diliman. The perfect opportunity presented itself, and I didn’t let it pass.

Russell Square Set

Russell Square Set

Let me just state that The Royal Piccadilly offers the most affordable choices in afternoon tea: there’s the most basic Cream Tea (two sultana scones with English cream and jam plus a pot of tea for only P140), Knightsbridge Set (two sultana scones, one Puffin, one caramel bar or mini-cupcake and a pot of tea for P199), Covent Garden Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches and a pot of tea for P220), Russell Square Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches, one Puffin, one caramel bar or mini-cupcake and a pot of tea for P280) and, finally, the Piccadilly Circus Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches, two Puffins, two caramel bars or mini-cupcakes and a pot of tea for P335). Not only are the sets very affordable, but they’re also available any time of the day. Naturally, I wanted to feast on the Piccadilly Circus Set but was told that it was not available that time, so I just went for the Russell Square Set. They didn’t have the Puffins and since they had just run out of scones, I was asked if I was willing to wait for half-an-hour for the new batch of scones. I said yes, and the freshly-baked scones were worth the wait — totally awesome!

caramel bar, cupcake and scones

caramel bar, cupcake and scones

The tea sandwich selection includes crabstick and cucumber, tuna salad, ham and cheese, and coronation chicken — but you only get to choose one. I wanted the coronation chicken sandwich because it’s very British (Bea and I were able to taste it at Costa Coffee on our last day in London). Unfortunately, only the ham and cheese sandwich was available last Sunday. I guess to make up for it and because it was Mother’s Day, they let me have the regular size cupcake instead of a mini. From a handful of choices, I opted for the Earl Grey Tea Cupcake. It’s perfectly moist with a just-right sweetness and a well-balanced fruity flavor of the tea. So deliciously good. I loved it.

The Royal Piccadilly serves tea from Twinings, a London-based tea company which started more than 300 years ago in 1706. It’s still one of the leading tea brands in the world to this day and is one of my favorite teas to drink at home.

Russell Square Set

Russell Square Set

My afternoon tea experience in The Royal Piccadilly is one of the best in my book. The restaurant truly gets the concept of afternoon tea and this is evident in the food selection. Best of all, it’s so unbelievably inexpensive! It’s so worth the trip to Katipunan and worth every single centavo. I highly recommend this place to all the Anglophiles in Manila.

“Every nation in creation has its favorite drink / France is famous for its wine, it’s beer in Germany / Turkey has its coffee and they serve it blacker than ink / Russians go for vodka and England loves its tea… It’s a very good English custom / And a stimulant for the brain / When you feel a little weary, a cup’ll make you cheery / And it’s cheaper than champagne….” — from the song Everything Stops for Tea (1935) by Jack Buchanan

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 5 Comments

Afternoon Tea in Manila: Marriott Hotel

* Part 8 of a series *

There’s nothing wrong with getting oneself an early Mother’s Day treat, is there? Honestly, I feel like I ought to give myself a simple reward — nothing grand, nothing extravagant — for all the little things that I do for my family, knowing that motherhood is not the easiest thing in the world. And because I’m doing this afternoon tea series, I decided to treat myself to Marriott Hotel Manila‘s “Afternoon High Tea” which, technically, is not high tea but is, in fact, afternoon tea.

Marriott Hotel Manila's Afternoon High Tea

Marriott Hotel Manila’s Afternoon High Tea

Available from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Marriott‘s The GreatRoom, the set costs P550++ and can satisfy one to two persons with small appetites. Tea is served first, and I picked the Single Origin Darjeeling from Dilmah. Unlike Makati Shangri-La and The Peninsula Manila, which have both established themselves as  sought-after afternoon tea venues, I believe the afternoon tea craze has not caught on in this hotel yet. It took forever to wait for my food to arrive — it’s a good thing my tea remained hot.

The first layer of the 3-tiered serving tray had some really dainty savory bites: arugula leaves wrapped in smoked salmon, tomato and cheese skewer, mushroom and onion tartlet topped with cheese, and a couple of vegetable sandwiches that I skipped eating.

first layer

first layer

The next layer contained 5 miniature scones (just slightly bigger than a ten-peso coin) accompanied by clotted cream and fruit jam. Not bad, but not remarkable either.

second layer

second layer

The last layer was composed of pretty but tiny portions of sweets. I particularly liked the elongated macaron and the mango dessert. Nice and sweet. The whole afternoon tea set was just okay for me. At least it was reasonably-priced for a hotel offering. And the Dilmah specialty tea was lovely, as always.

third layer

third layer

I would like to greet all the loving and devoted moms in the world a very happy Mother’s Day! We all deserve the best because…

“A mother’s love is like a cup of tea — it is always there to comfort you.”

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Lusso

* Part 7 of a series *

Lusso is the Italian word for luxury. It is also the name of a restaurant-bar in Greenbelt 5 owned by chef-restaurateur Margarita Fores, who is also behind the famed Cibo restaurants. Lusso‘s décor exudes quiet elegance, while its menu epitomizes sophisticated Italian flair. Needless to say, the price range at Lusso is on the extravagant side. In fact, the restaurant has become synonymous with its signature foie gras burger — but that’s not what I was interested in.

Lusso's Afternoon High Tea for Two

Lusso’s Traditional Afternoon High Tea for Two

For the second time this month, I met up with my friend Aimee for afternoon tea. Still fresh from our highly enjoyable Makati Shangri-La afternoon tea experience, we planned to try the Filipino afternoon tea over at Bistro Pamana near Greenbelt. Unfortunately, when we got there last Saturday, it was closed for a break. So we just headed to Lusso, since we’re running out of choices for afternoon tea. The tea service for one is pegged at P650++ while we had the Traditional Afternoon High Tea for Two priced at P900++. I was surprised that it’s even more expensive than Makati Shangri-La‘s.

scones, tea sandwiches and desserts

scones, tea sandwiches and desserts

Thankfully, the scones were delicious — perfectly soft, slightly moist plain buttermilk scones — unlike those from Makati Shangri-La. However, they were accompanied by butter and jam instead of clotted cream and jam. Oh, never mind. I love butter, anyway. I only wished they served 4 scones instead of 3, just to be even-numbered. After all, the tea sandwiches and pastries came in pairs. The sandwiches included smoked salmon, egg salad and watercress, truffle cream cheese with cucumber, prosciutto, and tuna with potato chips. Desserts consisted of bite-size cheesecake, mocha sansrival and mini-pavlova.

Earl Grey French Blue

Earl Grey French Blue

The server presented us a tray of Mariage Frères tea canisters to choose from. We opted for the Earl Grey French Blue tea, which matched the sophistication of the restaurant. It’s a full-bodied blend with a note of refined bergamot oil and a hint of blue flowers (cornflower).

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet spot for afternoon tea and don’t mind the splurge, then Lusso just might be the place for you.

 “Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” — Chaim Potok

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Dusit Thani

* Part 6 of a series *

Hotels are certainly some of the most reliable and ideal places to unwind and savor some of the finer things life has to offer.  Thus, in my quest to try the different afternoon tea offerings in the metro, I turned to one of our family’s favorite hotels: Dusit Thani Manila. In fact, I am a Dusit Gold cardholder, which means I get to enjoy discounts and other perks every time I stay or dine in any of its hotels worldwide.

Dusit Thani Manila's Afternoon High Tea

Dusit Thani Manila’s Afternoon High Tea

This Afternoon High Tea at Dusit Thani is the most affordable among those I’ve sampled in hotels so far — priced at P495 nett — and let me tell you why.

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

I must say that I love its unique three-tier serving tray that’s designed like a birdcage. It’s absolutely adorable. Service was great, as usual — the server even gave my daughter Bea some cookie nibblers and a glass of cold water even without her asking. However, the food selection was rather disappointing. The bottom plate had a pair of smoked salmon sandwiches and a pair of edam cheese sandwiches. They were very plain and… blah. The middle plate had a couple of chocolate chip cookies, which were not as chewy as I had hoped. Actually, I really wished they were scones instead of cookies. The topmost plate was a dessert sampler: a slice of what tasted like food for the gods topped with frosting, a small piece of cheesecake topped with strawberry, and what seemed to be an opera cake. None of them was a tasty treat. It’s such a shame because I’m very fond of the sweet creations in the hotel’s pastry shop, Dusit Gourmet.

Dilmah Earl Grey Tea

Dilmah Earl Grey Tea

Dusit serves Dilmah tea, which is very good, but because it was served a good 20 minutes ahead of the food, my tea was already stone-cold before I even started to eat. Oh, well….

I still love Dusit Thani Manila, especially its dining outlets Benjarong (for authentic Thai cuisine) and Umu (for delectable Japanese cuisine). The afternoon tea, however, leaves much to be desired. I wish they could improve on it because I know they can.

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.”

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: The Peninsula

* Part 5 of a series *

Filipinos certainly love buffets and The Peninsula Manila recognizes that. So aside from offering just an afternoon tea set for two, it also has an afternoon tea buffet available daily at its majestic lobby from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The buffet spread is really impressive. Well, what else can you expect from the Pen?

Let’s start off with tea. The Peninsula Manila serves  TWG Tea and I chose its Sweet France blend: “The elegance and refinement of France concentrated in a teacup. This gracious TWG blend combines green tea with exotic flowers and a touch of chamomile to create a fresh and soothing cup.”

Sweet France tea

Sweet France tea

I’ve already discussed the differences between afternoon tea and high tea in a previous post. Afternoon tea is supposed to be a light snack between lunch and dinner, or what is commonly known in our country as merienda, while high tea is a heavier meal taken later in the day, like an early dinner. It’s safe to say that the Pen‘s afternoon tea buffet fare falls under high tea, except that the hours when one can enjoy it fit into the afternoon tea time frame. But, whatever. For my first plate, I got some fish fingers, grilled fish and pineapple on a skewer, smoked salmon in a bagel, sausage roll, bacon and marble potato salad, shepherd’s pie and beef on bread. So deliciously filling!

my first plate

my first plate

I was already full, but there was still so much food to try. I guess that’s my main problem with buffets — I tend to force myself to eat way too much so that I can get my money’s worth. This indulgent afternoon tea buffet costs P1,350++ per head so you can understand why I kept going back to the buffet table. Ha ha!

second plate

second round

Finally, I got some Pinoy favorites and fixed myself a glass of halo-halo, one of The Lobby‘s bestsellers. The buffet spread changes seasonally but I do hope these delicacies will always be part of it.

sweet ending

sweet ending

Sure enough, I didn’t have room for dinner after overindulging in this afternoon/high tea affair. It’s nice to try the Peninsula Manila‘s afternoon tea buffet once — just once — but then I must say it defeats the whole concept or purpose of afternoon tea. Personally, I enjoy the simpler afternoon tea set more but this buffet was quite a gastronomic experience nevertheless.

“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.” – Alice Walker

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Poetry & Prose Patisserie

* Part 4 of a series *

With afternoon tea gaining more popularity in the city, more dining establishments are now offering it as a regular part of their menu. One such restaurant is Poetry & Prose Patisserie located on the Streetscape strip of Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong. It’s a charming little place, reportedly inspired by the tea rooms of the famous Angelina of Paris, and the menu is decidedly French.

Poetry & Prose

Poetry & Prose

However, afternoon tea is headlined as The English Tea Sets (Thé Anglaise), available daily from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon. There are three choices, namely: Le Sablière (tea for one – P305+) consists of 2 regular scones, 3 mini-French pastries and a pot of tea; Duchess of Bedford (tea for two – P588+) has 4 mini-scones, 4 tea sandwiches, an assortment of 6 mini-French pastries plus choice of tea; and Queen Victoria (tea for three – P758+) includes 6 mini-scones, 6 tea sandwiches, 9 assorted mini-French pastries and tea.

Queen Victoria set

Queen Victoria set

I was with my daughter Bea, my friend Rodelyn and her two kids when we tried the Queen Victoria set last year. We also ordered additional items like beignets, mille-fuille and macarons apart from the afternoon tea. I thought that the selection of finger foods was very satisfactory.

desserts come first

desserts come first

The topmost tier had the sweet stuff: cake slices, profiteroles and madeleines. The second layer was devoted to scones, while the last layer held assorted tea sandwiches. I had no cause for complaints. They’re all good.

Harney & Sons

Harney & Sons

Tea is by New York-based Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders, another high-quality tea brand with which I’m totally in love. I’m just so glad that it is already being distributed in the Philippines so I can always enjoy its finest blends. The Paris tea, for instance, pays homage to La Ville Lumière with its blend of fruity black tea, vanilla, caramel and a hint of lemon and bergamot. It has a very calming effect.

The thing I love most about Poetry & Prose Patisserie is that the owner of the place is a certified lover of literature and food. Proof: she also owns Pages Deli, another perfect place for book lovers and food lovers alike. Cheers to that!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C.S. Lewis

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Makati Shangri-La

* Part 3 of a series *

Strictly speaking, there are remarkable distinctions between Afternoon Tea and High Tea. First off, the former is a light meal consisting of finger sandwiches, scones and small cakes or pastries. It is usually taken during the mid-afternoon hours between 3 o’ clock and 5 o’ clock. The latter is significantly heavier, like an early dinner type of meal. Historically, afternoon tea was identified with the high society, hence it involved the use of fine china (i.e., fancy teapots and teacups), while high tea originated from the lower/working class or laborers who got home from work at around 6:00 p.m. and were therefore famished. Traditionally, high tea consisted of meat dishes (such as steak and kidney pie), fish, vegetables, bread, baked beans and cheese. Moreover, the tea was poured from brown kettles instead of teapots, and served in mugs and not teacups.

Now that we know the differences between the two, we can safely assume that in today’s society, class discrimination is no longer observed insofar as afternoon tea and high tea are concerned. In fact, they are used interchangeably nowadays. Or perhaps, they mean the same thing to some establishments just like Makati Shangri-La.

Classic High Tea

Classic High Tea

My friend Aimee and I met up at the Lobby Lounge of Makati Shangri-La yesterday for our long-overdue afternoon tea date. The afternoon tea menu has three selections: Filipino High Tea (P650++) includes bibingka, vegetable spring rolls, pan de sal with bistek tagalog, empanada with adobo, banana turon, buco pandan, leche flan and the like; Classic High Tea (P650++) consisting of scones, sandwiches and desserts;  and the Lobby Lounge Special (P700++) which contains mostly fancy sandwiches and pastries.

scones with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream

scones with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream

Aimee and I agreed to just go for the Classic High Tea mainly because of the scones. The set seemed fit for royalty, and with background music of soft piano, violin and flute played by the hotel’s very own 14-piece orchestra, we knew we were in for some wonderful, relaxing time. The scones on the top layer of the 3-tiered tray, however, were a bit too dry and lacking in taste, but we managed to eat them all up anyway.

savory bites

savory bites

The second tier offered some savory bites: smoked salmon on rye, duck foie gras in brioche, ham and cheese sandwich and a little crab cake. All good.

sweet stuff

sweet stuff

Quite predictably, the third layer proved to be my favorite — desserts! Fresh strawberries and cream tartlet, pineapple panna cotta, sacher torte and marble cake slices: yum, yum, yum and yum!

Ceylon Young Hayson Green Tea

Ceylon Young Hyson Green Tea

The most important component of afternoon tea is, of course, tea itself. Makati Shangri-La offers a variety of specialty tea from one of my favorite brands (and I have so many), Dilmah. From the long list of tea selections, we chose the Ceylon Young Hyson Green Tea: “a gentle brew with a slightly sweet finish, this tea is ideal as an accompaniment to a meal, or as a relaxing afternoon tea.” And true enough, it was an excellent choice.

Makati Shangri-La‘s Classic High Tea set was very filling and highly satisfying. Our bill added up to almost P800 inclusive of taxes but, all things considered, is this afternoon tea worth its price tag? A big, fat YES.

“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 2 Comments

Afternoon Tea in Manila: Chateau 1771

* Part 2 of a series *

I’ve always been kind of intimidated by Chateau 1771‘s menu as well as its high-class appeal (read: very expensive). It has that air of sophistication that doesn’t quite match my personality. The French bistro that also serves Italian and Swiss specialties has always seemed too glamorous a restaurant for me so I’ve never dined there even though it’s been around for more than 25 years. Well, that was until I saw its promotional poster in Greenbelt for its Afternoon Tea available from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. daily. The set good for one to two persons costs P595+, while the other (supposedly for 3 to 4 persons) is priced at P950+. Not too intimadating, right? So I brought my mom-in-law along one afternoon to try it.

Afternoon tea for two

Afternoon tea for two

My initial reaction upon being served the afternoon tea set was, “That’s it?” According to Chateau‘s website, the set changes everyday, depending on the chef’s ingredients for the day. When we dined there were six pairs of bite-size sweet and savory nibblers on the tray: two teensy-weensy scones with a dollop of jam on their side (no clotted cream); shrimp on bread; ham on bread; roast beef on bread; dark chocolate tartlets; and little portions of Chateau‘s famous coffee pie. They’re so tiny they looked rather sorry. [On a positive note, that two-tiered serving tray is so pretty! I wish to own something similar.] For the beverage, there was a choice of La Maison du Thé or Vittoria French press coffee. I picked the Earl Grey tea — at least, it was good.

Chateau 1771

Chateau 1771

I felt a bit embarrassed to my mom-in-law for the tiny portions of food so I prodded her to order additional food from the regular menu. I guess she was either (a) also embarrassed or (b) too polite because she said she was already too full to order anything else. But seriously, even for someone with a bird-like appetite, there’s no way this afternoon tea set will suffice. If you ask me — and I’ve tried quite a few afternoon tea in town — Chateau 1771‘s afternoon tea is not good value for money.

“Life is like a cup of tea… it’s all in how you make it.”

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Lartizan Boulangerie Francaise

* Part 1 of a series *

My biggest regret after my short vacation in the city of my dreams is not that I wasn’t able to see some of its most iconic tourist attractions like the Tower of London or the Tower Bridge or even Westminster Abbey — it’s the fact that I didn’t get to experience a proper English afternoon tea. I have tons of excuses (It’s too expensive. I didn’t have the luxury of time. The serving was too much for me; my Bea wasn’t particularly keen on sharing the set with me. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…) but now I just hit myself on the head for having missed the once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy afternoon tea in the place where it all began. Oh, if only I could turn back time….

Tea makes me happy. I’ve been an avid tea drinker ever since I was barely out of my teens, and I’ve been obsessing over afternoon tea sets in Manila even long before my visit to the British capital. Afternoon Tea is not just a meal to help reduce hunger pangs before dinner; it is a time-honored ritual of privately enjoying a pot of tea with some light snack (i.e., bread and butter). First introduced by Duchess Anna of Bedford circa 1840, afternoon tea later on evolved as a posh social affair — with the ladies donning fashionable gowns, gloves and hats. These days in England, a proper afternoon tea is considered a luxury that is usually enjoyed on special occasions in hotels and some dining establishments.

Well, to make up for my missed opportunity in London, I have made it my personal mission to sample different afternoon tea offerings from various spots in Metro Manila, starting with this French-inspired bakery, restaurant and tea salon: Lartizan Boulangerie Française.

Lartizan in Serendra

Lartizan in Serendra

If you’re fond of The French Baker, then you’ll find its high-end sister-restaurant quite impressive. With classy chandeliers and elegant chairs, Lartizan offers stylish dining comforts and features an extensive menu of artisanal breads, pastries, breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties, afternoon tea, desserts and coffee. Of course, I went for Le Thé de Apres-Midi (Afternoon Tea) which is served daily between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.

sweet and savory pastries

sweet and savory pastries

Because afternoon tea is best shared with a friend, I invited my friend Steffi to join me for a bit of catching-up just a few days before she and her family leave for a 2-week vacation in New York. I thought it’s the perfect send-off for her because we both absolutely love sipping tea. The afternoon tea in Lartizan is available in either Le Petit (Regular – P590+) or Le Grande (Large – P850+).  Naturally, I opted for the bigger serving. The two-tiered silver tray came with 3 English scones with a mini-jar of black currant jam and fresh clotted cream, 6 sweet pastries (2 mango tartlets, 2 Parisian macarons, a mini-chocolate eclair, and a mini-fruit-filled pate-a-choux), and 6 appetizers/savory pastries (2 mushroom mini-puffs, tuna-filled tomato, fresh mango cocktail shrimp boat, and 2 roasted chicken salad sandwich rolls). I found the selection very nice and tasty; Steffi and I were particularly delighted with the scones.

Le Grande Afternoon Tea

Le Grande Afternoon Tea

Not to be outdone by the delicious finger food, the tea at Lartizan is also something else. It’s from the Paris-based gourmet tea company, Mariage Frères (Mariage Brothers), the oldest French importer of fine tea. I’ve already tasted its Rouge Provence tea blend previously, so I decided to try the Jasmin Imperial with the set. It’s made with very rare green tea infused with the most refined jasmine flowers. Very soothing, very delightful. Tea preparation in Lartizan requires meticulous attention to the amount of tea leaves, water temperature and steeping time. In fact, there’s a timer that goes off before the carefully brewed tea is served on the dining table. It’s so grand! For its lovely tea salon, great food selection and exceptional tea, I highly recommend Lartizan‘s Afternoon Tea.

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” — Henry James

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 2 Comments

Azumi Boutique Hotel

I just celebrated my 41st birthday with a relaxing weekend staycation at the relatively new Azumi Boutique Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Located within the Madrigal Business Park, a short distance from Alabang Town Center and Molito Mall, this modern hotel offers 187 rooms with a simple, minimalist design.

Azumi Boutique Hotel

Azumi Boutique Hotel

Since it was just my daughter Bea and I staying the night, I only booked a Queen Room (the smallest and cheapest unit) through agoda.com a few days before our stay. The published rate is P6,505++ but I was able to snag the best deal on agoda for only P2,600net per night (without breakfast). For its discounted price, the room isn’t so bad. It’s a 25-square-meter studio-type unit that features a queen-sized bed, a day bed that’s convertible to a single bed, wood-laminated floors, a private balcony, glass-walled bathroom with privacy blinds, LED TV, a full-sized refrigerator, microwave oven, kitchen sink and other amenities for a comfortable stay.

Room 1411

Room 1411

my darling Bea

my darling Bea

pizap.com14261504385501

:)

After checking in early, Bea and I had lunch at Romulo Cafe, the hotel’s in-house restaurant on the ground floor. I dined at the Makati branch of the restaurant last year, when I treated my friends to lunch a couple of days before my 40th birthday, so I know that the food there is really good. After lunch, we took advantage of the hotel’s shuttle service to go to the nearby Alabang Town Center. It’s actually just several minutes’ walk from the hotel, maybe about 6 to 8 minutes, but we wanted to avoid the sun’s harsh rays. This photo was taken outside the hotel while we waited for the shuttle van —

#happy #grateful

#happy #grateful

What I really loved about Azumi is its chic lobby in subdued hues of black, white, gray and splashes of red. My eyes were transfixed on all those travel mementos displayed on the shelves. This stylish lobby is a design inspiration for me. So adorable.

hotel lobby

hotel lobby

nostalgia

nostalgia

Of course, I didn’t waste the opportunity to have my birthday portrait taken there.

pizap.com14261507504121

photography and styling by Bea

On the hotel’s roof deck is a long but narrow swimming pool overlooking the city. It’s a nice touch but then the breeze was too chilly in the late afternoon so we didn’t stay there for a long time. But we still enjoyed our stay despite the following: [1] there’s a tea/coffee facility in the room but there’s no complimentary sachet of coffee or a tea bag (I went down to Romulo Cafe to have my morning tea fix but it cost me P99; had I known, I would’ve brought a tea bag with me since I have a large stash at home, or I could’ve bought one from the 7/11 store in Molito Mall across the street. Anyway…..)  [2] the sounds of vehicles on the streets outside are very audible even up on the 14th floor while we were sleeping. But then again, for the price that I paid, it was still a wonderful weekend getaway. Happy birthday to me!

Still having fun at 41.

Still having fun at forty-one.

Categories: Hotels, Staycation, Weekend Getaway | Leave a comment