Conrad Manila - Ideal if you need an overnight stay near MNL airport
Rooms and facilities
I was upgraded to a suite and it was huge. The lounge area and bedroom were very comfortable. In a pleasing selection of browns and creams it looked fresh and stylish and expensive.
There were lots of nice little touches, like the arrangement of the bedding, the way towels were folded, and little leather trays and stands for notepads and TV remotes. They clearly care about what they do.
The bathroom was enormous, with a beautifully tiled shower area, by itself bigger than a Premier Inn bathroom, a stylish bath, and high quality toiletries.
There was another small bathroom near the front door, with a toilet and a sink. Behind that, an actual dressing room with acres of wardrobe space.
The whole thing was bigger than my house, so I had to walk around and take a video to try to show you how vast it really is.
Oh yeah, the rest of the hotel is equally impressive. The public areas are immense, with high ceilings. There’s a pool and a gym and a spa and several restaurants.
I just wasn’t there long enough to try any of it, but I’d happily bet good money that it’s all superb.
The pool is much nicer than the Hilton Manila. There’s also a rooftop seating area and another pool on the roof which is particularly impressive.
Take a look at the Conrad Manila gallery page and you’ll get an idea of just how nice it is. Link below.
Dining, perks, and loyalty
I arrived just in time for the end of happy hour in the executive lounge. There was a really decent selection of hot and cold nibbles, great service, and it was quiet.
I particularly enjoyed the section of the house rules which request that “mobile and gaming devices are allowed only when on mute or with headphones”, and that “children be accompanied by and seated with adults”. Yes. It amazes me that some people need to be told.
The lounge is really nice, and not just because of the quiet. Plenty of different seating options. I only caught the very end of the sunset, enough to let me know that it must have been very nice 30 minutes earlier.
A glass of Prosecco with your food, then a G&T in the comfy end of the lounge with Richard Quest on the TV. I always feel like I’m on holiday if I see Richard Quest on CNN.
I got a great room upgrade, there were welcome gifts in my room, and when they said “Thank you for your loyalty” it genuinely sounded like they meant it, and it can’t be easy to say that 20 times a day without sounding like a robot.
Prices and points
A standard king room is around 11500PHP on advance purchase. That’s around £170.
If you don’t have Diamond status and want lounge access it will be an extra 4000PHP or so, about £60.
It’s about £30-35 more for the refundable rates.
On points, a standard reward is 50,000, 10,000 more than the Hilton, rising to 95,000 for an executive room.
Comparing to refundable room rates (because points bookings are refundable), this gives a value of 0.4p per point, which is pretty much standard.
That value drops to 0.28p per point on the executive room, which isn’t good.
These values are almost identical to the Hilton.
If you have diamond status and therefore access to the lounge, then the slight premium on room rates at the Conrad versus the Hilton Manila still leaves the Conrad Manila the clear winner.
If you would be paying for a room with executive lounge access, then the £180 or so at the Hilton Manila starts to look more favourable compared to the £230 at the Conrad Manila.
The best thing is to watch for the frequent Hilton Asia-Pacific sales that can drop the prices, and of course to compare the prices and points costs for your dates. If it comes out close, the Conrad Manila is the better choice.
Looking at the map it would seem that getting from the airport to the Conrad should take a lot longer than to the Hilton, and it was bad enough getting to the Hilton.
The Hilton Manila website says the shuttle bus journey should be 5 minutes. It isn’t. If you’re not at terminal 3, from where you can walk via the “Sky Bridge”, then it all depends on traffic. When I was staying at the Hilton I booked a hotel car so that I wouldn’t have to wait for the shuttle bus.
The driver was off somewhere smoking cigarettes with his mates while I stood waiting and phoning the hotel (that’s another story). Eventually the shuttle bus turned up so I took that anyway.
Traffic in Manila is utter chaos and you spend a lot of time inching forwards, while people cycle the wrong way through 4 lanes of traffic.
At one point the shuttle bus driver reversed around a roundabout, slowly nudging everyone else out of the way, to reach the exit road leading to the hotel. By doing a quarter of the roundabout backwards instead of three-quarters forwards, he knocked a good 20 minutes of our travel time.
With the traffic and all the stops at other hotels, the journey from the airport to the Hilton took so long that I only just made the last 20 minutes of food and drink in the executive lounge and arrived harassed and hot.
Expecting an even longer journey to the Conrad, and having experienced the crazy, slow moving traffic, and the uncomfortable heat and humidity on the shuttle bus, I booked a car from the Conrad, hoping that their driver would be better organised than his counterpart from the Hilton and not keep me waiting.
Even on a short flight in a hot country, having a private car organised for your arrival is an absolute must for me. It may be twice or thrice the price of a taxi, but after a delay on a hot airplane, being greeted by a uniformed rep holding a sign with your name on it is brilliant.
Within minutes of landing I was in the back of an air-conditioned BMW, with a cool towel and a chilled bottle of Perrier, heading out of the airport past the 500 people queuing to get ripped off by the local taxi mafia for their ride in a crap-heap of a car that stinks of cigarette smoke while mine smells of jasmine and cedarwood.
Or something. How the hell would I know. Pleasant, though.
Although it still takes a good 15 minutes, that was half what it took me to get the Hilton.
Airport transfer rates for Conrad hotel cars are:
BMW 5 Series – 2800PHP
Mercedes S-Class – 3210PHP
Fortuner – 2460PHP
Super Grandia – 2940PHP
Contact the concierge to book. FYI 2800PHP is around £42.
You can book a private taxi, including having a driver waiting for you at the meeting point, for around half that via taxi2airport.com.
Telephone: +63 28339999
Address: Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Pasay City 1300, PH
Just as easy to get to as the Hilton, and much nicer when you get there. Huge rooms, really good recognition of loyalty status, superb executive lounge. I wish I could have stayed longer. The suite I got was enormous and very plush, with a luxurious bathroom. Food in the lounge was great. Service was perfect all the way.