City Garden Hotel Makati Review
This year has been very busy for me, but in a good way. I had a year full of travelling. I met a lot of people around the world and whenever they ask me a good place to hang out when staying in the Metro Manila area, the first thing that comes to mind is always Makati. My friends and I have grown accustomed to taking people to Poblacion because of its abundance of hip bars, restaurants, and never ending amount of new and exciting stuff.
Aside from its thriving nightlife, Makati is also close to the business district of the region and is a good traveling starting point for just about any major landmark or location, including the airport, BGC, and Manila City.
Most of the time we end up staying till the wee hours of the morning just exploring the surroundings of Poblacion—so it wasn’t the first time we decided to spend the night or weekend at a hotel in the area.
The Location of City Garden Hotel Makati
The location of the City Garden Hotel Makati is just perfect. It it’s placed along the bustling and vibrant Makati Avenue, which is only about a 5-minute walk to Ebro Street where you can find fantastic social spots like Kite, The Social, and Lobo. It is also a 7-minute walk to other popular hangouts like Alamat, Ms. Gee, and the like. Another pro point is that the hotel is right across my favorite Shabu Shabu place, the place where my friends and I always wind up, hungry after a long night of fun and partying. If malls are of interest to you, the hotel is only a ten minute taxi ride or Uber away from popular shopping spots like Greenbelt and Glorietta. An even easier to reach mall is Century City Mall which is a mere walking distance away.
You will find coffee shops, convenience stores, and practically everything you need within an arm’s reach at the City Garden Hotel.
The Check-in Process and the Lobby
Our stay at the hotel lined up during the busy Christmas season, so the lobby was quite full of people shuffling in and out. Despite the busy turnovers of guests, however, the staff were extremely professional and more than able to cope.
The moment my car parked onto the driveway, someone immediately ran up to help me with my luggage. The check-in process was a breeze as well. They simply asked for my ID and signature and then we were good to go.
Refreshments and water are also provided in the lobby area, which is a nice little touch to help tide guests over while they are waiting for their rooms to be processed. There are two elevators that lead up to the rooms which tend to get a bit crowded during the busy season, but we didn’t have much trouble at all. The staff were all very friendly and greeted us with smiles, always ready to assist or answer any questions.
The Executive Deluxe Room
The entrance to the room is quick and convenient with the electronic key card given right after you check in. Tina and I booked the Executive Deluxe Room. We were going to stay all weekend and wanted a nice, comfortable place to work and relax after a very busy year. Plus, we had meetings to attend to around the area too, so it really was for the best to base ourselves in City Garden Hotel Makati.
Our room was on the 8th floor. It was designed to be very modern and rustic looking, with a spacious and comfortable queen bed as the centerpiece. It features all the basic amenities, such as an air conditioner, mirror, desk and chair, toilet and bath, cabinet, luggage rack, minibar, refrigerator, television already pre-programmed with cable channels, as well as equipment for making tea and coffee. The amenities were just perfect because it always been a habit of mine (albeit a bad one) to work on a bed while Tina prefers to work on a desk. So, she had her table and I had my bed. Occasionally, after swimming, we just want to rest and sprawl out on the couch. I also wait there while waiting for Tina to finish showering after swimming when I didn’t want to dirty the bed—so the couch has also been very useful for us.
The bathroom was very lovely and clean, with a shower and hot tub that dispenses cold and hot water, as well as a bidet. It was also complete with all the toiletries you could need, like shampoo, cotton buds, towels, soap, and dental care supplies. The bathroom was small but it did the job—it wasn’t so small that it felt cramped or anything, however. It was just right.
Basically, the room felt homey and comfortable—just right for two working girls who want a mix of a staycation and a conducive location for a few hours of work.
The Gym and La Formosa Wellness Spa
I mentioned that I had spent 2 months in the US while Tina did 1.5 months. During this time, we were having a lot of fun but even so, it was all still very tiring. Massages in the US were too expensive so we never had one. I had just arrived to Manila from my trip from the US and India and I decided it was high time I gave myself some love, so we decided to book a 1 hour Swedish massage at the La Formosa Wellness Spa.
At 4PM, Tina and I went for a spa treatment. The Spa is located on the Upper Penthouse floor (UP), or the 22nd floor where the pool and gym are also located. While waiting for the massage therapists, I decided to try some equipment in the gym. The gym had more equipment than the other hotels I’ve stayed at, plus it has a fantastic view of the Makati skyline – a great motivator while exercising.
The gym is free for those staying at the hotel but for residents around the area that want some sort of membership – they also offer those for a fee.
At 4PM our therapists came in and we were lead into the spa. Even the spa had a view – they even lifted up the blinds so we could see the city. Initially, Tina and I laughed because we were worried that the outside world would be able to see us but thankfully, they said it was tinted. We could look outside, but nobody would be able to look inside. Okay, that’s good.
We had an hour long massage and given that my body has taken quite the beating from all the adventures I have done, like ziplining and rafting in Rishikesh, a safari in Madhya Pradesh, Hiking Joshua Tree park and more, it was high time that it got to relax.
My masseuse was so good that I actually ended up falling asleep. She first asked me if I had any allergies to oil and how much pressure I wanted. She made sure to check if I was okay and then continued on till I fell asleep.
She had to wake me up after, and she gave us a few more minutes to just rest. Honestly, I didn’t want to wake up and walk back down, but Tina kept waking me up because we couldn’t stay there – the massage was just that good.
After the massage, we decided to check out the rooftop and we realised that the Encima Roofdeck Restaurant had a happy hour. The sunset from here was gorgeous – we could see all the cars from below while just chilling from up above. I got a drink to pair with the beautiful sunset, after which we went back down to the room and took a little nap.
You see, tonight was my brother Benj’s grand opening – he was going to open a new bar (the newest one in Poblacion), Ms. Gee, and I had wanted to support it but knowing it would go on all night, I had to rest first.
Tina and I took a nap for an hour. When we awoke, we again had drinks and dinner at the Encima Roofdeck Restaurant before heading out for Ms. Gee.
Encima Roofdeck Restaurant
Encima is another restaurant in the hotel which serves primarily Tex-Mex dishes, a must for those who love delicious spices and fried food. There are many different high-quality dishes to choose from, some prominent ones being:
Jalapenos Croquetas P160 – Crispy fried mashed potatoes with jalapeno, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese
Chili Pork Ribs P565 – Dry-rubbed pork ribs served with chipotle barbecue sauce
Chili Chocodilla P120 – Grilled dark chocolate inside a tortilla flour with a hint of chili. It tasted like nutella with some chili – I loved this a lot, it tasted like a quesadilla filled with nutella. Tina found it a bit too spicy but I loved it.
Steak Burrito P425
Happy Hour drinks Pink Lady and Mango Daiquiri P99
I really enjoyed the Jalapenos Croquetas, loved it with the dip. The chili pork ribs came with sides, so I chose the Mexican rice and esquites. We tried esquites as well in San Diego and in New York so I had wanted one – I was craving for it and it was so good.
Dinner was great, with a wonderful view of the city. It’s a good spot to kill some time while watching the passing traffic.
Breakfast at The Bistro
The breakfast at the Bistro is complimentary with your booking and consists of a wide buffet spread, with the menu changing every day so you don’t need to worry about getting bored if you’re planning to stay for more than a night. There are a variety of different cuisines to choose from, ranging for Continental and Western to homely Filipino dishes. A few of our favorites were the potato grain, nuggets, and the pasta. You can also order local favorites like tuyo, dangit, bacon and pancakes upon request. Because I’ve been missing Filipino food for a while now, I opted for some tuyo while Tina, who doesn’t feel a buffet is complete without bacon, ordered some of that.
The Swimming Pool
The swimming pool, located at the same floor as Encima (the rooftop), opens at 7AM, so Tina and I decided to swim at that time. There are two areas – one for the jacuzzi and one for the pool. Of course, Tina likes doing laps so she went swimming while I stayed in the jacuzzi to warm up.
In the morning there’s barely anybody there but if you come mid-afternoon, it’s a bit full. There were also some kids playing but remember, it was Christmas when we went – quite the busy season. I think you can still find some time and space to relax even during such seasons, however. Like, in our case. We spent our early mornings by the pool and then had breakfast just before the buffet ended. Tina had her morning exercise while I relaxed in the jacuzzi.
Another great feature to staying at the pool is the wonderful views of the city and the Makati skyline it offers – particularly during the sunrise or the sunset which is great for pictures.
Lunch at The Bistro
Lunch at The Bistro is only open up until 4PM. They take final orders at 3:30PM but they also have room service. We didn’t get to eat in the restaurant itself as we preferred to eat downstairs but then again, this is a good service to have especially in a district like Poblacion where nights are lively and people get home late – it’s nice to have a late night or early morning snack after a long night of partying.
- Deconstructed Caesar Salad with Chicken – P180. I absolutely loved this mix, especially since I was really craving for vegetables. It consists of fresh romaine lettuce toasted with grapes, walnuts, and sun dried tomato in chili mint and cilantro vinaigrette.
- Crab Fettuccine – P585. Pasta tossed in aligue sauce toppedwith fried kani. Served with garlic bread.
- Tournedos of Herbed and Cheese Stuffed Chicken – P350. Chicken leg quarter stuffed with mozzarella, garlic & herbs, wrapped in bacon and served with mashed potato.
Things to do in Poblacion:
- Have coffee at the best coffee shops in Poblacion. Commune, a popular coffee shop in the area, is only a walking distance away from the hotel.
- Walk to Century City Mall
- Play Escape Rooms – Escape Hunt or Mystery Manila (Century City Mall)
- Walk around and explore the area for street art
- Have dessert at the Filling Station Bar and Cafe (24 Hours)
- Enjoy the bustling nightlife and bars in Poblacion