Someone once proclaimed that life begins at 40 (it’s actually the title of a 1932 non-fiction book authored by Walter B. Pitkin). I personally believe my life really began at 25, but I still wanted to make a big deal out of turning 40. So on my 40th birthday last March 8, I chose to celebrate that milestone with my loved ones in this luxury hotel: Raffles Makati.
Inaugurated on December 3, 2012, Raffles Makati boasts of over 200 residences for extended stays or private ownership and only 32 suites (broken down into 23 Junior Suites, 8 Executive Suites and 1 Presidential Suite) for hotel guests. Booking online was such a cinch, and I was able to reserve a Junior Suite about a full month before my birthday. Upon confirmation, though, I was informed via email that the Raffles swimming pool will be under rectification during our stay. I have to admit I was very, very disappointed. But even that didn’t douse my excitement about our overnight stay.
Upon arrival, we were immediately treated to welcome drinks at the Writers Bar. My husband Caloy had coffee, I had tea and our daughter Bea had fresh orange juice. Peanuts and potato chips were also served on the table. After that, we were ushered into our junior suite , where this sweet surprise was waiting for me —
On the small dining table in our suite were some delectable pastries and confections as well as a chocolate cake adorned with fresh mixed berries. There was also a welcome card signed by the hotel’s manager, Mr. David Batchelor. But my heartfelt thanks goes out to the ever-gorgeous Monique Toda, Director of Communications of Raffles Makati, for arranging this wonderful surprise and for making sure I had the grandest time on my birthday. One of the perks of blogging is meeting important people in the hospitality industry, and Monique is the sweetest (and the most beautiful) hotel executive I’ve ever met through the years. I just love her!
The lobby of Raffles Makati may not be as grand as, say, Makati Shangri-La or The Peninsula Manila, but the rooms are sublime. The Raffles Junior Suite exudes an understated elegance while still being tastefully stylish. The 60-square-meter accommodation has spotless hardwood floors, a nice parlor with charming furnishings, a separate living room and dining area, a walk-in closet and a very spacious bathroom. Everything about the suite is impressive.
Afternoon tea service at the Writers Bar is inclusive in the room package and I was so looking forward to it. Offered daily from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon, the Simply Classic Afternoon Tea set is said to be good for two persons, but in reality, it can be shared by 4 to 6 (if they all have tiny appetites). Seriously, four of us partook of the set and we still had so much leftovers (that is not to say that the food wasn’t good, it was just plenty). We started with some finger sandwiches (roast beef, smoked salmon, ham, cucumber, and egg salad), then moved on to scones served with clotted cream and jam, and then finally a three-tiered serving tray with tartlets, choux pastries, cakes and macarons.
I’m a self-confessed tea lover (I’d like to believe I was some sort of British royalty in my previous life… haha!) and I must say I really enjoyed the gourmet tea at Raffles. It’s by Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders, and I fell in love with its tea selections instantly.
Cocktails follow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., also at the Writers Bar. My husband and I took the opportunity to have our “date night” and enjoyed our free canapés and unlimited specialty cocktails and beer. I got to try the iconic Singapore Sling, a drink consisting of gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice and lemon juice. My favorite foodie/travel host, Anthony Bourdain thinks it’s disgusting, but I kind of liked it. What I didn’t like was the Cranberry and Cucumber Mojito, just because it had way too much cucumber. Ulk.
The morning after, dear husband and I had a sumptuous breakfast at Spectrum, the hotel’s all-day buffet restaurant. The breakfast spread was awesome without being overwhelmingly excessive. What sets Spectrum apart from all other hotel restaurants is the fresh honey station, where guests can see real live honey bees hard at work! I love taking my tea with honey so I really appreciated this unique feature.
We couldn’t leave the hotel without taking a dip in the pool over at Fairmont Makati, which shares the same address with Raffles. Fairmont‘s pool is admittedly bigger and perhaps even nicer, but Raffles‘ is more private. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy it because of the ongoing rectification. Maybe that was a good thing because my husband said that we shall be back for it.
Making that decision to spend my 40th birthday in Raffles Makati proved to be right, and the luxurious and relaxing experience was truly worth the price of the overnight stay. I mean, if life indeed begins at forty, this is exactly where I want it to start.