Manila is a bustling city of over 12 million. My first few days were mostly spent sitting in endless traffic while horns honked at all hours of the day as I traveled back and forth to a conference venue and various events. If I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t my favorite place I’ve ever been. I looked at Manila as a necessary stop over on my way to sugar sand beaches and astounding coral reefs in the Palawan province. Luckily for me, the brand new Shangri-La at the Fort is a fabulous place to hole up and recharge after the 30+ hours of travel it took me just to get to the Philippines and a grueling conference schedule.
More than a hotel
Hotel meets luxury lifestyle with a health club and spa, shopping, art walk, restaurants and even residences, Shangri-La at the Fort is a destination itself. The complex sits at the heart of Bonifacio Global City (BGC), which is a new, chic neighborhood in the center of Metro Manila.
Shangri-La is a brand we love and have had the pleasure of staying with in several destinations around the world. Shangri-La at the Fort’s rooms are the well appointed and contemporary rooms we’ve come to expect from this brand.
The colors are soft in dove gray and beige, making the rooms a relaxing space you want to spend time in. And I definitely did just that with a little room service one evening, luxuriously sleeping in and utilizing the spacious desk to get some much needed work done. I’m just not the kind of gal that can get any work done in a coffee shop – I get way to easily distracted people watching.
I also swoon over a fabulous bathroom, especially when it has a rain shower. Hey, when you live in a relatively small French apartment a bathroom with a double vanity and separate bath and showers is definitely a luxury. Shangri-La also knew the way to my heart by stocking L’Occitane bath products, which are the very shampoos, soaps and lotions I use at home.
Breakfast is a lavish affair
High Street Cafe is Shangri-La at the Fort’s all-day dining venue and where you’ll find the ultimate breakfast buffet. It’s set up in nine “neighborhoods” featuring cuisines from around the world.
There’s the traditional western breakfast favorites like a create your own omelet station, pancakes and waffles. But there’s also Asian dishes and dim sum.
Fresh squeezed juices, fresh fruit, honey dripping off a honeycomb, donuts, pastries and even a make your own hot chocolate bar. There’s definitely something for everyone no matter what you like to have for breakfast.
And dinner is even better…
If you eat at one place in Manila, make it the Raging Bull Chop House. We’ve eaten some seriously good steaks in our lives from world famous steakhouses like Morton’s and Smith & Wollensky, but I’m still salivating over the steak and the experience at Raging Bull.
First, start with a cocktail because Raging Bull has a top notch mixologist. I may have sampled a few, just for research purposes. I can highly recommend the Monkey Business (pictured above) and Take Madame to a Bath, which is a take on the Italian Aperol spritz.
Trying to keep things light, I started out with the chop salad with beets and goat cheese. Never has a salad looked so pretty.
Ordering your steak comes with a bit of pomp and circumstance. I asked quite a few questions and decided the David Blackmore Wagyu 9+ grade grass-fed Victoria striploin sounded fabulous. But my decisions weren’t over.
I was presented with a box of steak knives, each one unique. Your expert server will tell you a story about each and I chose a knife that Napoleon Bonaparte used.
My striploin arrived served on a butcher block with black truffle mashed potatoes, asparagus with hollandaise, charred cherry tomatoes and an entire bulb of roasted garlic. I was in steak heaven.
Wellness and Spa
Guests get access to Kerry Sports Manila, the largest indoor sports complex in the Philippines, which is located in the Shangri-La at the Fort complex. This is the ultimate of hotel gyms with 90 different machines. The 8000 square meter complex offers daily fitness classes you can sign up for, squash courts, tennis courts, a basketball court and a lap pool.
While I didn’t get my spinning on or jump on a treadmill, I did indulge in a much needed spa treatment. I’d had the worst and most painful massage of my life a few days earlier and the massage therapist at Kerry Sports gently melted away my muscle tension.
Know Before You Go
Our stay was provided by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts in partnership with Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and TBEX in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own. This article contains affiliate links. When you book on Booking.com through our affiliate site, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.