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Since its inception in 1912, Manila Hotel has been regarded by many as the 'Showcase of the Philippines' and Address of Prestige. At that time until now, it has taken its place among the finest in the world meeting the most demanding needs of its distinguished guests from business tycoons to royalty and heads of state. As a testament of the luxury accommodation and high standard of service it offers, Manila Hotel continues to be the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions from prestigious local and international publications and institutions. While maintaining the elegance of the past, it likewise persists to evolve and strives to outdo what it has already accomplished. To date, Manila Hotel is a national landmark that remains to be an active and affectionate witness to Philippine history, which cannot be matched.

HISTORY

It has always been said that history never takes a holiday at Manila Hotel. In 1898, one of the first decrees was urbanizing and planning of the nation’s capital, Manila. Architect and City Planner, Daniel Hudson Burnham was hired to pencil in his plans. He drafted a wide and long tree-lined boulevard that would begin at the park and at the spit’s end of the bay, a boulevard that would be dominated on one end by a hotel.

Entrepreneurs, politicians, military personnel and engineers had begun to arrive in droves, while the singular demand was for first-class accommodations. Another architect, William Parsons, was appointed to continue where Burnham left off. He supervised the design and construction of Manila Hotel that began in 1908 and was completed four years later. Soon, a magnificent, white, green-tile-roofed California Missionary-styled edifice emerged housing 149 spacious and high-ceilinged rooms. Since then, it is a hotel that commands the best westward view of Manila’s fabled sunset, the fortress of Corregidor, and the poignant ruins of the medieval fortress that was Intramuros and the palm-lined promenades of the Luneta Park.

On the commemoration date of the American Independence, July 4, 1912, Manila Hotel was inaugurated and officially opened. Four hundred handsomely groomed and elegantly attired guests were ushered in for a dinner American roast, Philippine lobster, and French champagne.

They came and they went during the twenties. In their Orient trek, notables and celebrities found their way to Manila Hotel, which is now dubbed by the elite corps as the Address of Prestige in the Far East.

The hotel’s registry was once again chockablock with name-droppable figures especially in 1935. Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon invited Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was then approaching the end of his tenure as Chief of Staff of the US Military forces, to come and build the Philippine Army. For six years (1935-1941), MacArthur, his wife Jean and son Arthur made the Manila Hotel their home.

When war struck and gave the entire country a cruel blow, Manila Hotel rose to the occasion and re-emerged a statelier vaunted institution. Doors were reopened to people determined to live well on July 4, 1946.

The long list dazzled as the fifties and the sixties at Manila Hotel were graced by the likes of Bob Hope, The Beatles, Marlon Brando, Tyrone Power, Secretary John Foster Dulles, Senator Robert Kennedy, Sir Anthony Eden, Charlton Heston, Burgees Meredith, the Rockefeller brothers, John Wayne, Publisher Henry Luce, Vice President Richard Nixon, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, and more.<br /> While it was the social gathering place for many and for sundry reasons such as weddings, debuts, coming out parties and anniversaries, the Manila Hotel was also the chosen site for many activities and congresses of national and international significance. Among them were the ASEAN Summit meeting of October 1966 and the Philippine Constitutional Convention in 1970.

Even at the turn of the century, Manila Hotel&rsquo;s story and tradition of unparalleled service goes on, hand in hand with genuine Philippine hospitality. It continues to stand proud, meeting the challenges of today&rsquo;s discriminating guests and showcasing only the best the Philippines has to offer.<br /> Manila Hotel embodies rich Filipino tradition and hospitality that revives experiences worth remembering. The world&rsquo;s personages such as General Douglas MacArthur, Ernest Hemingway, Muhammad Ali, The Beatles,&nbsp; and Bob Hope, just to name a few, will always be part of the hotel&rsquo;s rich reservoir of stories.

MANILA HOTEL NOW

The year is 1966. Inside the historic walls of a majestic hotel at the heart of Manila, a harmony of sound fills the air. A passer-by pricking his ears would surely hear excited whispers bouncing off the Amorsolo-decorated walls like the rise and fall of a wave, the chandeliers jingling high above the hotel lobby&rsquo;s magnificent vaulted ceiling, as if they themselves could feel that the day would soon be read about in history books. It is likely that he would also hear the slow humming of a doorman who wore his best and crispest uniform to work and who is now standing in utter alertness by the impressive mahogany doors. Or the soft tapping of a bell boy&rsquo;s leather shoes that have seen better days but was polished till it shone this morning. And like a libretto rising above the opera&rsquo;s music, a thousand hearts thump wildly in mad anticipation in the usually serene ante-lobby. It was a day unlike any other for the residents and employees of the beautiful mammoth edifice in One Rizal Park. One could sum up the electric atmosphere in one sentence: The Beatles have arrived at Manila Hotel.

Today, more than 40 years later, the same grandeur and warm hospitality that welcomed the Beatles in 1966 are still present and have only become better with time. While it opted to maintain its distinct classic interiors, full of poise and elegance, Manila Hotel introduces its renovated guest rooms this year. Fully equipped with the most modern facilities and amenities, the new guest rooms exude elegance and sophistication while showcasing the beauty of authentic Philippine interior design. The rooms are further made surreal by huge windows that provide a breathtaking view of the bay and the fabled Manila sunset.

The current sensation in Chinese fine dining is the Mabuhay Palace restaurant. Its wide array of delectable dishes is inspired from China, Hong Kong and Singapore and cooked to perfection by its Master Chef. The food will never disappoint and the interiors of the restaurant complement it perfectly with its imperial Neo-Classical design - featuring a one-of-a-kind wall art that was meticulously sculpted with genuine jade and precious stones to narrate the tale of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius.

Moreover, just a minute walk away from the five-star restaurant is another newly-renovated outlet in the Hotel: The Pool and Garden. The pool itself was reconfigured and re-engineered with brand new state-of-the-art pumps and filter system, and the installation of decorative spouts and jets add novel flavor and complements the new quartzon finish of the swimming pool. Children can also safely splash around in the new kid&rsquo;s pool, just as the rest of us who love basking in the sun while enjoying our favorite cocktails can lounge in the Dedon Orbit chairs that line the sun deck &ndash; facing the picturesque glimmering waters of the Manila Bay.

But surely, the pool area is more than a place for recreation. Just beside the swimming pool is an event space that overlooks the bay and the sunset that is perfect for outdoor parties and weddings. Timber trellises with colorful flowering vines, punctuated with tall royal, coconut and Madagascar traveler palms filter the sun&rsquo;s rays, creating a shaded area pleasantly cooled by the sea breeze. Original tree and shrub planting like sea grapes, barringtonia asiatica and bougainvillea were conserved and enhanced with additional landscape and mood lighting. Fiery red gingers, orange heliconias, succulent bromeliads, luscious philodendrons and fashionable dwarf bamboos are some of the thousands of new plants added to the garden.

Apart from all these, also located by the bay is the Manila Hotel Spa which offers an unprecedented five-star relaxation experience to its guests. And to complete our rejuvenation and wellness interests, next to the spa is the Manila Hotel Health Club. Manila Hotel&rsquo;s newly opened gym features state-of-the-art and high technology Life Fitness Strength Conditioning and Cardio machines. They come with touch screen LCDs, iPod control and a virtual trainer. In addition, going up a flight of stairs will reveal a superb locker room that feature electronic lockers that use wrist watches instead of keys, and rainfall showers with complete amenities. And just when we think it can&rsquo;t get any better than this, the Manila Hotel Health Club also has its own Pilates yoga and aerobics room, a dry sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.

Manila Hotel has a rich reservoir of stories, accumulated from almost a century of historical events within its walls. However, Manila Hotel has also evolved to meet society&#39;s changing needs and confidently faces the future as it is poised to become the hotel of choice in Manila and ultimately a sought-after destination in Asia,&rdquo; says Atty. Joey D. Lina Jr., President of Manila Hotel.

It's a good story if it's like Manila Hotel, Ernest Hemingway once said. With Manila Hotel&rsquo;s commitment to maintain the elegance of its history while constantly striving to exceed the expectations of its modern clientele, indeed, the story just keeps getting better and better.