414 TM Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila
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Most Recent Reviews
The place was OK. It had the trappings of an early 20th century hotel. Food was bad. The pancakes tasted like cardboard and the tapa was third rate. Not worth your money.
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The newly restored and renovated Luneta Hotel truly adds to one of Manila's beautiful historical and cultural landmarks. A good move, specially since a lot of the country's historical landmarks are slowly being torn down or neglected to give way to modern structures.
Luneta Hotel gives us a chance to see one of the reasons why Manila was once considered as the Paris of the East. The hotel was built between 1918-1919 by Spanish engineer-architect Salvador Farre. The hotel is said to be the country's only standing fine example of French Renaissance architecture with Filipino stylized beaux-arts . It has withstood time (and in fact survived World War II) and was considered a Philippine landmark. It had once played host not only to the elite , but likewise accommodated foreign dignitaries and foreign military officers. The hotel was even acclaimed by President Dwight Eisenhower as one of the most romantic spots in the world. Unfortunately, through time, the structure fell into neglect and was formally closed and abandoned in the mid-80's.
The new owners certainly did great justice to bringing the hotel back to the look of its former glory so much so, the hotel has been accorded with a historical marker by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. While comforts of modernity were incorporated into the restoration, they have repurposed salvageable parts from the original structure thereby sticking to the original plushness of the hotel.
The façade alone was a sight to behold. Fine, intricate metal grills adorned the French-doored balconies of their rooms. The French doors, impressive with their intricate glass etchings. Its unique French roof (architects call it Mansard roof), lovely. Quite comparably, the Luneta Hotel's façade reminded us and may best be compared to a much downsized version of world renowned landmarks like Paris' Louvre Museum, New York's The Plaza Hotel, and Old Quebec's Château Frontenac.
Stepping into the hotel's lobby certainly brought our group back into a time of old tasteful European elegance with contemporary touches. Their huge windows and doors , with a mix of etched and stained glass coupled with intricate metal work, were indeed lovely and impressive. The flooring was designed with a mix of granite and marble. Certain areas made use of black and white floor patterns. The numerous crystal chandeliers and ceiling carvings , impressive. Plush furnishings (some upholstered in brocade, some in silk, some in velvet) with intricate gilded design cast in gold. Lovely accent art-piece gilded chairs. Just off the lobby was their Cafe Yano. While it had a regular table sitting area, the cafe also had a dapper long bar with unique bar stools. One of my friends quite appropriately described the bar as looking "Gatsby-ish" in all it's Art-deco glory.
Their staff was quite accommodating when we requested for a tour. Though, we were told that we would not be able to view the bedrooms, we were toured around their upper function halls and roof deck.
We were first shown their second floor which had movable partitions for small or larger functions. Their function rooms carried the same elegant motif with all the intricate accents and fixtures.
The covered roof deck was impressive. They call it the Salvador Lounge (I'm guessing named after the original architect of the hotel). Currently used as a function room, they will be converting it into a fine dining area once they have gone fully operational. Old ivory and red colored washed tiles from the original structure were repurposed as wall embellishments. The deck was surrounded by a number of French doors with the same lovely etched glass adorned with intricate metalwork salvaged from the original structure. Each French door was decked with intricately carved overheads. The ceiling held a number of fine crystal chandeliers. A mini garden at one side with a view of the Manila Bay and the neighboring Rizal Park.
Certainly, Luneta Hotel cannot match the modernity and service of the newer and popular 5-star hotel chains around the city. It now serves as a Boutique Hotel. By today's standards, the establishment is quite small. Standing just 6 storeys with only 27 rooms. But definitely, the hotel is a landmark to behold. Currently, the hotel is open to the public for visits/functions/dining. They still do not accept sleeping accommodations.
I sincerely hope that this historic architectural wonder becomes a renowned Philippine landmark of our modern times once they have become fully operational . Truly the new owners have kept faithful to the structure's old-world tasteful elegance down to the minutest details. Afterall, it took them some 6 years to restore and renovate.
Luneta Hotel comes highly recommended to enthusiasts who love history, architecture, and design. A good place too for some fine parties or private functions. Certainly, a place to include while touring around the historical landmarks of old Manila. And quite appropriately, a photographer's perfect spot either for fantastic archi/design shots or for some awesomely elegant period-themed photo shoots.
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