A wise man once said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before…”
In a world like ours that is so diverse, different and vast – it is only surprising that there are hidden places waiting to be discovered and gems waiting to be uncovered. Understandable, if the place and the gem is an airplane ride away – but imagine a discovering a quaint family hotel right in the middle of the city, at a place you least expect.
When I was first given the invitation to stay at the Nichols Airport Hotel, my first reaction was — where?
I found Nichols Airport Hotel in the middle of Baclaran, a few blocks away from the busy market and a skip, hop and jump away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 (the terminal for domestic flights).
Situated beside a hospital (which also belonged to the same management team as the hotel) and a baptist church, the hotel was quaint, unassuming from the outside.
As an avid traveler with a luggageful of stories on various hostel/hotel stays, I was prepared for an adventure and maybe a unique story to pass on to you readers. In a nutshell, Nichols Airport Hotel surpassed it all.
No sleeping inside a matchbox for you
What’s the smallest hotel room you’ve ever stayed on? Mine was a boutique hotel somewhere in the middle of HongKong’s Wanchai District where the hubby and I had to move sideways to get to anywhere within the room and where the end of our (quite luxurious) bed is already propped against the TV stand.
Nichols Airport Hotel has enough space for you to practice yoga inside your room or if you insist – a few reps of your daily four minute workout.
Credit this to the hotel being built fifteen years ago, a time where hotel management don’t scrimp on space and where converting match boxes into hotel rooms is not the norm.
In spite being around for fifteen years, the hotel is well-maintained and clean. My room, located in the sixth floor of eight floor establishment, is surprisingly large for a twin accommodation, with a huge bathroom and a large television console that doubles as a writing and vanity table. The bathroom has a full set of amenities including a toothbrush kit, soap and shampoo. A closet was available near the door and a side table on both ends. Plus, there is also a small couch which is ideal for dining inside the room or just lounging when you are on a staycation.
While I noticed that there are some little dents and scratches here and there that often betray the hotel’s age, it is evident that the hotel works hard in ensuring that the rooms are comfortable and presentable at all times.
I particularly enjoyed lounging on the bed, just hibernating and enjoying the cool temperature while watching KPOP videos on the TV.
In my conversation with Ms. Riza dela Fuente, Nichols Airport Hotel manager and part of the family that owns the hotel, she highlighted the fact that the hotel has been an extension of their family and their homes. Hence, the level of care, effort and dedication being extended into the management and maintenance of the hotel.
“An extension of their home” is a very apt description, considering the feel and look of the place. Very clean, orderly and with tiny touches of whimsy that belie the fact that this place is not run by a corporation, but by a family whose investment go beyond what’s financial.
Food. Glorious Food.
I have been warned that Nichols Airport Hotel’s makes a mean Steak Charlemagne and melt-in-your-mouth Callos. What I wasn’t prepared for is how the sumptuous spread in front of me will break my diet.
Highlight of my short stay last week was standing on the hotel’s famous Roof Bar and sipping ice cold margaritas while watching the planes taking off from the nearby Terminal 4.
In fact, this unassuming hotel has been ranked the best (three stars!) by the website, Plane Spotting Hotels when it comes to plane spotting. Aside from another hotel which is located in Resorts World, Nichols Airport holds a better ranking since any airplane spotting enthusiast can go to the rooftop bar, order a cold one and watch planes take off and land from the nearby airport. No need to book rooms. In fact, Riza shared that airplane spotters from all over the world visit the hotel, usually converging on the rooftop bar, enjoying the food and the brew while armed with their long lenses.
If plane spotting is not your thing, the Roof Bar is still an enjoyable hotel experience since you’ll have a 360 degree view of the city: the Makati skyline, the hotel row from the City of Dreams and at night, you can watch the fireworks from the nearby Mall of Asia.
A hotel for families-from a service-oriented family.
The close-knit relationship between Riza, hotel manager, her trusty corporate communications and marketing officer Weng and the rest of the staff was palpable the minute I stepped into the hotel. The dedication of the staff was evident: from the way they communicate with guests to their attention to detail to ensure a comfortable stay of their guests.
Being a family-run establishment, it was bound that we’ll run through some more members of the Protacio family in one way or the other. (Bit of history on the side: The Protacios are well-known in Baclaran. The family founded Protacio Hospital in 1935, the first of its kind in the area. To this day, Protacio Hospital remains the only hospital in the area to provide house calls for ailing members of the community. Nichols Airport Hotel shares the same compound with the hospital.) The family’s good relationship with the hotel staff was evident on how tightly-run the quaint hotel is.
Writing this piece, I was trying to come up with the best analogy. I guess the most I can come up with is this — A night at Nichols was like staying over at your favorite aunt’s house over the holidays, where she serves you good food and makes sure you have a great time.
How to go to Nichols Airport –
If you are coming from Domestic Terminal 4, you can opt to walk going to Nichols Airport Hotel. However, if you are concerned about your safety, Nichols Airport will be glad to provide you transfers arrangement as long as you have to specify it as part of your Booking Details.
From anywhere in Manila – the hotel is in highly accessible and reachable via Taxi, GrabCar or Uber. If you are commuting, public transportation is readily available (BUT I DO NOT RECOMMEND!) Make your staycation hassle-free, book a cab or Grab Car instead!
You can now have the same StayCation experience, KamikazeeGirl has partnered with Nichols Airport Hotel to give one lucky commenter and her family a chance to experience the unique hospitality of Nichols Airport Hotel. Here’s how:
- Answer this question:
“Why do you want to win a family staycation with a complimentary dinner and spa treatments for four at the Nichols Airport Hotel?”
The best and most creative answer will be judged the winner
2. Make sure to post your answers on your respective Facebook walls and tag Nichols Airport Hotel and KamikazeeGirl (this is a must!)
4. Follow KamikazeeGirl and Nichols Airport Hotel (@hotelnicholsairport) on Instagram.
5. Contest will run from December 17 to January 08. The winner will be announced on January 10 at the KamikazeeGirl Facebook page. (Please note that the decision of blogger and Nichols Airport Hotel is final).
NOTE: Credit for artwork of girl featured in the image above goes to world-renowned artist Jordi Labanda. I do not claim ownership to this image.
Planespotting Staycation includes:
- Overnight stay for four
- Complimentary set dinner at the Roof Bar for four
- Complimentary breakfast at the Coffee Shop for four
- Complimentary spa treatment for four
484 Quirino Avenue, Baclaran (near Tambo), Paranaque City,1700 For reservations, call (63 2) 854 3399/ 851 8348 Mobile: 09178508624 / Fax: 853 1809
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Disclosure: Our stay at Nichols Airport Hotel is courtesy of Ms. Riza dela Fuente. I wrote this post with my biases and opinion taken into consideration. KamikazeeGirl believes in being truthful to its readers at all times. ALWAYS.