As a hotelier, I would often have on-the-job trainees from De La Salle University – students taking up Communication Arts or Marketing courses. I’d find myself asking about their Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle, curious about the kind of standards being inculcated to the students by a well-respected university. There were times in the past where I was invited by professor Ed Valenciano to give a talk about “hotel life” to his BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management ( BS HRIM )students in the De La Salle College of St. Benilde but I never got the chance to check out the said hotel. I have colleagues who worked there but somehow, I was unable to find the time to have a “tour” of the hotel. Keeping a normal lifestyle could be a challenge if you are part of the hotel industry. It can really be stressful. Therefore, “staycations” or long weekends have become a necessity and is quite precious to us.
Address: Arellano Avenue, Corner Estrada St, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Facebook Page: http://www.hotelbenilde.com/
Contact Number: +63 2 230 5230
“Staycations” are always something to look forward to. I’ve never heard of someone who said “no” to a staycation, be it with family or friends. Some R & R is badly needed by everyone to refresh so when Team EASW (Eat’s a Small World) found a vacant day in our respective calendars, we went to Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle.
The building located in Arellano Avenue in Manila is very convenient to travelling executives and businessmen who would require easy access to public transpo. Getting a ride to go from one place to another is easy because the hotel is on the main road.
There is also ample parking to guests with cars on the 3rd level of the hotel. When I entered the driveway leading to the 3rd level parking, the guards or “house officers” were very polite and warm, they gave me clear instructions and even directed me as I was parking my car.
The lobby of Hotel Benilde did not have the unnecessary two to three storey high ceiling nor did it have an expansive lobby. It was not pretentious. It was, on the level: very pleasant, very professional-looking staff, clean and no frills. Everything looked “fresh”, from the interior design to the staff all the way to its ambiance. Checking-in was a pleasant experience. So, now we proceed to the room…
When we reached our floor, the elevator door opened to a well-decorated elevator lobby and a hallway that was fully carpeted. “Just like a five-star hotel,” I told myself. Then when we opened the door of our room, I couldn’t help but say “WHOAH!!”. It was like entering the guestroom of a luxurious hotel in the Ortigas or Makati business district or in the bay area of Manila.
It had modern security features as well as electronic “Do Not Disturb” and “Make up Room” signs (no hanging cards on the doorknob). The carpeted room had a high ceiling giving it an airy feel. It had two double beds, a large SMART TV with cable channels, phones, coffee and tea service, hairdryer, a mini bar, a four-seater sofa, closet, hangers, etc.
It had a writing table where the compendium and other info flyers were neatly laid out. The use of taupe in various hues are absolutely classic and in good taste. The interior is minimalist and very “five star”.
The beds are firm and the linen, duvet and sheets are soft. The room has a charging port for cellphones by your bedside table.
Here’s the incredible view of Makati and Pasig straight from our room. At night, the glowing skyline compliments the glittering star-studded sky.
The mini bar has sodas, beers and wines as well as our favorite KitKat chocolate.
We were happy to see this small bottle of white wine from the mini fridge.
Free WiFi connection is super fast. It’s perfectly suited for you to upload your social media photos, play online games or even watch a Netflix show here at Hotel Benilde!
The toilet also has taupe colored tiles with tasteful fixtures. It had all the toiletries you will need. Bath, hand and face towels are neatly and artistically arranged. “Rain” and “telephone” showers are there…choose your fancy. Bidets have become de rigueur nowadays and the toilet has one for our convenience. For the rate published on the internet, this deal is a steal!!
We were pleasantly surprised to find this “water station” on our floor which may apparently be found on each floor. Guests can easily get free water from the free drinking cups provided. How convenient is that?
Now let’s check out the other features of the hotel. First stop, the swimming pool…
The intimate pool is located on the roof deck. It has a “waterfall” which gives a semblance of a hidden pond in a secret garden – much like those ponds in fairy tales.
However, this one is unique because skyscrapers of Makati, Manila and a portion of Ortigas dominate the view around the building and the view is awesome. The pool shares the roof deck with one of their two restaurants: Vatel Restaurant.
This is operated in partnership with Institut Vatel in France. It serves authentic Mediterranean-French cuisine. The restaurant also serves as a venue for corporate events with in-house catering services. However, we did not sample the food there. Instead, we opted for the more relaxed and cozy ambiance of Cafe Romancon at the ground floor.
Their mini gym on the 11th floor has basic automatic equipment. It’s super clean and the space can accommodate around 10 guests at the same time.
They have a big ballroom that can accommodate about 300 people. This can turn into smaller function rooms with the help of soundproof dividers. It is ideal for weddings, debuts, conferences and corporate events. We were lucky to see a “theater style” set up when we took a peek. My friend’s mother actually had her 80th birthday party here and I can personally say that the party was a big success – great ambiance and delicious food!!
Because it is luxuriously carpeted with sound-proof dividers, engagers can conduct “noisy” activities without disturbing the function on the adjacent room. Top-of-the-line audio/visual equipment are available. It looks so business-like…so professional! When we inquired about the room, we discovered this fantastic deal that might interest you:
Cafe Romancon serves daily breakfast for in-house and walk-in guests. The café also serves international a la carte dishes and hosts promotional lunch buffets. Aside from Team EASW, we were with other friends too so when our orders were served at the same time, it was like there was a mini fiesta. Let’s start of with:
Barbecued Pork Ribs – PHP 350.00 +
Tender pork ribs with tangy sauce served with buttered vegetables and mashed potato. Doused with a rich sauce, what more can you ask for? It’s fall-off-the-bone sarap!
Penne Carbonara – PHP 190.00 +
You don’t want to go wrong in anything you do, right? So if your guests are mostly Pinoys, the carbonara MUST be cooked Pinoy style: enough cream and plenty of bacon bits on it and the pasta is al dente. Delicious! Delicious! Delicious!
Salted Egg Fried Chicken – PHP 380.00 +
Salted egg is being added to so many dishes nowadays giving various all-time favorites a fresh new exciting taste that is unique. Salted egg has its own distinct texture when added to anything and it makes the dish really more flavorful. No…it is not salty at all. I guess the cook or chef used only one kind for seasoning: salt or salted egg because it was just right.
Norweigan Salmon – PHP 390.00 +
To those who are quite familiar with our choice of food, you would know that we love salmon – grilled, baked or fried. This one was tasty and didn’t need any additional dash of pepper and salt. It was served with mashed potato and veggies. The cut of the salmon was thicker than other restos. I love it!
Bolognese – PHP 190.00 +
We were kinda surprised with this. One of the best pasta dishes in the heart of Manila can be found here at Cafe Romancon. Before I start being so emotional, let me tell you this straight: this pasta dish is really a must try! The sauce is super beefy and thick, pure pleasure! We are certainly coming back just to taste this again.
Seafood Linguine – PHP 280.00 +
This al dente pasta with thick tomato sauce has shrimps, calamari, mussels, and fish. Awesomely good and satisfying!
Baked Cookie – PHP 120.00 +
This freshly baked giant cookie topped with chocolate sauce is perfect when dipped with fresh milk. It’s good for sharing!
And here’s what we had for breakfast at Hotel Benilde:
The breakfast buffet has a good selection of breakfast all-time favorites. Fresh fruits, salad, corned beef, daing na bangus, pork steak, assorted bread and peanut butter. They also have an egg station and a selection of popular cheese- the perfect way to customize and bring life to your breakfast!! It’s a brekky that is just right!
Lugaw (rice porridge). We ate this with bits of daing na bangus. Loved it!
Cereals, oats, fruit loops and fresh milk.
In closing, I knew we were in for something great because the hotel was run by De La Salle College of St. Benilde which offers courses about hotel management. I just didn’t know as to how high will my level of satisfaction be. As a hotelier for the past 30 years, I’ve come to realize that, although the job and the industry itself is one of the most interesting ever, it is also the most stressful, challenging and most expensive to run. Why is this so? Here are my reasons:
(a) a hotelier must be ready to put other people’s happiness their first priority and that is not easy
(b) a hotelier must be willing to work even on holidays and train to redirect his thoughts that while his friends are at home with their loved ones spending the best Christmas celebration of their lives, he is hard at work
(c) a hotelier must have a strong heart to accept harsh, often hurtful words from dissatisfied/angry customers who can be very vicious with their ways
(d) The hotel structure too must look beautiful all the time. I often say that a hotel is like a woman – – she MUST be beautiful ALL the time and we know that it costs a lot of money to look beautiful. Is the room of Hotel Benilde beautiful? Well…not only is it gorgeous, but it looked like it was made only yesterday – – it looked new, fresh and…stunning. Now, the question is…
Did Hotel Benilde deliver? How high were their standards and were they able to achieve it? Did they meet our expectations? The answer to all these questions is…. Cheers!! They exceeded our expectations! From the friendly front-liner House Officers manning the driveway, to the Front Desk people who checked us in, to the waiters and Room Attendants….all of them were very accommodating and efficient. The room was beautiful and the food was very flavorful! Our staycation at Hotel Benilde was perfect!
So, if you want a staycation like this one we recently enjoyed or if you have relatives coming home from abroad, visit their (official) website: http://www.hotelbenilde.com/. And here are some of the great deals that we discovered:
They have some really good rates waiting for you to avail. Also if in case you are staying longer (minimum of 15 days), basic room rate would be as low as Php 2,250! My goodness, for such a beautiful room, this is a steal!
Thanks to Reese Rayos from The Foodie Station for the recommendation. Also, many thanks to our partners in crime Bee and Jovie from The Food Advenchers for joining us on our unforgettable staycation and gastronomic experience! Bravo to the management and staff of Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle for setting such good…err…shall I say excellent standards!! Cheers!
This review is the opinion of the author based on actual experience. The establishments may have changed in terms of ownership, prices, decor, service, food preparation and food presentation after the posting of this review. This is not meant to influence the reader’s decision.