Yes, GenXrs of the world, the title is a Modern English reference – a telling example of how Tita I already am
These are two of the things that make me happy: traveling, or if the budget will not permit, a nice, relaxing staycation in a hotel in Manila. When I was a bit younger, any hotel with a fully functioning bathroom and a working lock will do — but when you get older, you start imposing standards.
A recent family stay-cation at Hotel Jen has set the tone for us for staycationing-on-a-budget.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Hotel Jen is not exactly new. Located in Roxas Boulevard in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), it used to be the old Traders Hotel before the extensive renovation and facelift, and the hotel services management now being taken cared of by The Shangri-La Group. While the facelift was able to fix a few parts of the hotel, there are still obvious signs of its age. Still, the hotel makes up for it with the impeccable service, the huge rooms, and the affordable rates. (NOTE: We paid for our stay, this is not a paid review)
Still, we loved it. Here are a few reasons why:
- THIS VIEW
Imagine taking half the day off from work, weary, sweaty and harassed because you’re trying to meet the 2PM check-in, and then trying to survive the horrific Manila traffic as you drive down Roxas Boulevard. Upon entering the lobby, you were told that the room you got (we got the Executive Suite), has its own Executive Check-in. So, we were whisked off to the Club Floor where our very own concierge sorted through the check-in process while you were advised to enjoy afternoon tea at Windows by the Bay. So, you pour yourself a cup of coffee, sorted through an array of cakes, petit fours, and mini sandwiches and parked yourself in front of the large windows overlooking the bay.
Frickin. Stress. Melted.
That alone set the tone of the whole stay for our family. We were immediately impressed! After check-in and a pretty long afternoon tea, we went our suite for a quick nap; but hurried up Windows by the Bay by 5PM for the cocktail hour. Which again led to this —
- THIS ROOM.
The Executive Suite has its own sitting room, dining area, work area and a large bedroom with a King-sized bed and a dressing room/closet! It was simply huge and we loved having so much space. The AC was cold, and the WIFI worked just fine.
Being a budget traveler, I’ve always stuck with making do with a small room – walking sideways or making the best out of a very cramped room – staying at Hotel Jen afforded us the pleasure of enjoying all the space and amenities which amplified the family bonding experience.
While Hotel Jen is still an old hotel, the redesign tried its best to provide an aesthetic that the guests will enjoy. The hotel is generous with its in-room amenities, and while it is not as luxurious (read: brand-name) as the one in Shangri-la Hotel, Hotel Jen’s evokes quality and well-thought of.
- THE AMBIANCE.
Staycations for our family is always an opportunity to spend time with each other and bond. Since we are usually busy with our everyday lives, and even if we live together (for now), we don’t have many memories of sitting together for meals and just catching up. Staycations are our means to have family time — and Hotel Jen was one of the hotels that gave us the sense of fun and luxury, minus the high price tag.
Of course, there are still things that can be improved: The food, while delicious, is simply not breath-taking or memorable. We enjoyed the offerings in the Club Lounge and the breakfast buffet but it’s not something that will merit a full blog review.
The Pool Area needed a lot of help. Remember, I told you that Hotel Jen was an old property? The age of the hotel becomes more prominent when you see it from the hotel area. While lounging, your eyes will travel upwards to the old, peeling areas of the back part of the hotel; the rooms which seemed to be empty and being renovated and the missing tiles and crumbling paint in hidden nooks and crannies. If it’s any consolation, the hotel seemed to be renovating already while we were there.
Because we loved our stay, we will be coming back to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the hotel. We already reserved our stay at the same hotel room and hopefully, that time, there will be more improvements and renovations, especially in the pool area.
If you are a tourist trying to find a hotel in Manila, or a family who loves Staycations, I recommend Hotel Jen. Staying there is simply stress-reducing.