The Suite Life
From the outside, this massive glass skyscraper doesn’t really match up to Raffles’ more renowned colonial style. But its interiors tell a more familiar story, whether it’s in the public spaces or in the 32 all-suite private accommodations. A modern design scheme is consistently punctuated with Old World charm. Glossy marble and dark wood floors are often topped with patterned oriental carpets and hand-tufted rugs. There are plenty of dramatic chandeliers and light fixtures, and colorful furnishings like wingback velvet chairs and luxurious leather ottomans create plenty of visual depth. The roomy standalone tubs set against windows overlooking the cityscape are especially scene-stealing. All of this is complemented with Raffles’ superior butler service.
Raffles Makati, which opened in December 2013, occupies the same the building as Fairmont Makati. For Raffles guests, this means an expanded list of amenities, including the Willow Stream Spa and its two pools (one mineral and the other outdoor), which are in the Fairmont section of the tower. The added convenience of having access to a larger hotel’s (Fairmont has 280 rooms and suites) perks is great, but for more secluded relaxation, you’ll want to head to Raffles’ dedicated outdoor pool, which is off-limits to Fairmont patrons.
Wining and Dining
Between the two hotels, there are plenty of venues for a great meal or a stiff drink. The super-chic Long Bar, which is modeled after the original Raffles in Singapore, is a fabulous choice for snacks, a cocktail, and live music. The library-style Writers’ Bar is a popular destination for the local glitterati, who come for afternoon tea.
But to really experience fine Filipino cuisine, Spectrum, a restaurant both Raffles and Fairmont share, is a home run for breakfast. The buffet is a veritable cornucopia that is sure to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. Filipino favorites like cured pork belly, garlic fried rice, and smoked milkfish mingle with dim sum, pancakes, and made-to-order eggs for a truly international meal. An entire display case dedicated to all things mango should not be missed.
Contemporary Philippine art is on the upswing, with many homegrown artists fetching record sums in auctions and galleries all over Asia. Raffles Makati displays more than 1,800 works by local artists all over the property, making it one of the premier places in the world to learn more about this burgeoning art scene. One of the most striking is a Pop Art collage series in the Long Bar that references such subjects as international boxer Manny Pacquiao, the Filipinos’ obsession with beauty queens, and the country’s Spanish heritage. These were all completed by Delphine Delorme, a French artist who lived in the Philippine province of Cebu for many years. She is one of approximately 30 artists who were commissioned by the hotel. Once you finish touring the on-site “exhibition,” head across the street to the Ayala Museum to further your education.
The location of Raffles Makati—in the heart of the capital’s central business district—makes it the perfect choice for business travelers, but easy access to hip neighborhoods (the Fort, an enclave for happening restaurants and see-and-be-seen bars, is a short taxi ride away), plenty of shopping (Greenbelt, one of the country’s luxury malls, is across the street), and more historical tourist haunts make the hotel an equally perfect home base for leisure visitors.