Part One: Introduction
Part Two: TPA-DFW-YYZ on American, and a fun afternoon in Toronto
Part Three: YYZ-HKG on Cathay Pacific and “The Arrival” in HKG
Part Four: Stay at the InterContinental Grand Stanford
Part Five: Visit to “The Wing” and HKG-MNL on Cathay Pacific
Part Six: Stay at the Crowne Plaza Manila
Part Seven: Stay at the InterContinental Manila
Part Eight: MNL-HKG on Cathay Pacific
Part Nine: Stay at the Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong
Part Ten: HKG-NRT on Cathay Pacific and NRT-JFK on JAL
Part Eleven: Stay at Holiday Inn Express JFK and JFK-MIA-TPA on American
We arrived at the InterContinental via cab, and this time our car got a more thorough search. It seems like the fancier the hotel, the fancier the security theater.
We proceeded to check-in, where we were immediately helped by an older guy that was friendly and efficient. He even acknowledged my Royal Ambassador status, even though I was recently downgraded to Ambassador. I presented him with my buy one get one free weekend night certificate, which made this stay a steal, at $160USD for two nights in a Premier Suite with club access.
We were assigned room 300, located at the end of the hallway on the third floor. While we would have preferred a room on a higher floor, the room was beautifully appointed and had a nice pool view, so we didn’t think traffic noise would be an issue.
The welcome gift was impressive. There were two fruit plates, one with fresh, sliced fruit, a luggage tag, and a bottle of wine. With the exception of Bali, that’s about the most impressive array of welcome gifts I’ve received.
The number of times they came to our room throughout the stay with more fruit was unreal. I’m pretty sure we had enough fruit for Toucan Sam to make Fruit Loops for a whole year.
They even brought other snacks once in a while, like chocolate. Yum!
The pool at the InterContinental was much nicer than at the Crowne Plaza, and was actually quite full during the day.
The Club InterContinental is on the top floor and boasts great views of the surrounding area. The service and offerings in the club were top notch, much better than the Crowne Plaza. Breakfast, which was served from 6:30AM to 11AM daily, included an extensive buffet, along with a menu with cooked-to-order options. Afternoon tea was served from 3PM to 5PM daily, which consisted of finger sandwiches and awesome desserts. Evening cocktails were served from 6PM to 8PM daily, with a huge variety of snacks and drinks.
One of the great things about the InterContinental was the location. Unlike the Crowne Plaza, there was plenty of stuff within walking distance, so most of our sightseeing could be done by foot, which meant we didn’t have to sit in a cab for several hours a day.
Over the next couple of days we did a lot of random walking around, visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, went to a few shopping malls, checked out a variety of hotels, and much more. Since I don’t want to mess up too many of the details, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.
One big weakness of the InterContinental was the pathetic concierge team. Either there’s absolutely nothing to do in Manila, or they should be fired. They failed to make any solid suggestions, so I started to do some research online. When I saw someone suggest visiting something 30km from the city online, I wrote down the name and asked the concierge about it. He asked whether we wanted to go my sea or air, insisting it was in fact 300km away.
We were happy to have visited Manila, although it’s not a place we have to return to. It was somewhat boring compared to the Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Ho Chi Minh City, for example. Based on what I’ve heard we should have visited some of the other parts of the Philippines, which are beautiful, from nicer towns and cities to incredible beaches and islands.