All my life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my hometown Manila. Although there is no place like home, often times, I find this place too intense and chaotic for my liking which is why I moved away 7 years ago. However, during a recent trip back to the Philippines to visit friends and family, I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.
Thanks to a friend, we were introduced to the up and coming neighborhood of Poblacion, Filled with trendy restaurants, hip bars, cool little hole-in-the-wall joints, plus a vibrant music and nightlife scene, we couldn’t wait to explore the area more which is why we headed to I’M Hotel for a much-needed break before we left Manila.
I’M Hotel: An Urban Luxury Experience
You see, after shuffling back and forth between seeing relatives and friends, celebrating Christmas, and applying for visas, my partner Tom and I were exhausted. Luckily, I’M Hotel is not only the first 5-star hotel in Poblacion, Makati but is also home to the first Onsen Spa in the Philippines. As soon as we arrived, we were looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation and thanks to their fantastic team, that is exactly what we got.
I’M Hotel Room Features
We were fortunate enough to stay in their 1-bedroom Executive Suite which was fully equipped with a kitchen, washing machine, dryer, and everything you could think of. Although I always complain that Manila is too chaotic, the view from the top was pretty spectacular. The room was tastefully designed to meet your every need from a warm hot bath and shower, a soft bed, and incredible views of the city below you. After digging a little deeper, I found out that some guests love staying at I’M hotel so much that they end up staying for months at a time, making full use of the rooms with kitchenettes and living room areas.
Apart from the 1-bedroom, they also have classic studio units, premier suites, and a whole lot of other room types suited for everyone. When it comes to hotels, I usually rate the beds on how soft and luxurious they are. I’m happy to say that the bed in I’M Hotel did not disappoint and gave us one of the best nights sleep during our stay in Manila.
Food, Facilities, and More
Although we spent some of our time working in the comforts of our room, we also made sure to explore the hotel premises. First stop…Bloom Restaurant which was home to their famous buffet dining options, available during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every morning, Tom and I tried to hit the gym to squeeze in a few hours of cardio which was perfect because we were training to climb Mt. Everest base camp in a few months. However, I do confess that part of the reason why I ran a little faster during my training was also so I didn’t feel bad about indulging in the fantastic breakfast spread that we had each morning.
Offering a feast of both local and international dishes, breakfast had everything you wanted and more. From a hot meal section which had bacon, beans, and an egg station to the salad bar, sushi bar, not to mention their wide selection of bread, cereal, fruit. This breakfast really had it all! So if you’re anything like me who thinks breakfast buffets are the best part of staying in a hotel, you won’t leave disappointed during your stay at I’M Hotel.
Swimming Pool and Rooftop Bar
If we weren’t hitting the gym or gorging our faces with pancakes, we roamed around the hotel, taking a look at the Mermaid Pool Bar or their rooftop bar, Antidote. The outdoor pool area was filled with beautiful murals (made by my talented friend, Dee jae Paeste), relaxing lounge chairs sunken by the poolside, and a long infinity pool area decked with colorful bird cages/ sun loungers.
Upon entering the lobby, you can actually see this acrylic-bottomed infinity pool above you, making it a super interesting focal point in the hotel. My only comment would be as the pool is located outdoors and in a relatively on a lower floor, you could hear the hustle and bustle of the city below you. However, given that it is known as an urban escape, the location makes it more suiting.
The Antidote rooftop bar, on the other hand, offers some of the best views of the city. Perfect for happy hour drinks or a nightcap to end your evening, I recommend checking this place out, even if you’re not staying in the hotel. The food and cocktails were good but the ambiance is what sets this place apart.
Onsen Spa Experience
As we wanted a few days of rest and relaxation, visiting their famous Onsen Spa was a must on our list. For those of you who don’t know, Onsen is a Japanese soaking tradition, carried out for centuries. It is the first of its kind here in the Philippines and is a real treat for those who want a full spa experience. Starting with a massage treatment of choice, you then have access to their Onsen Spa area which has thermal pools, sauna, and steam room.
To top it all off, everyone that avails of their Spa treatment can also avail of their buffet lunch or dinner from the Bloom restaurant. I honestly couldn’t believe this as the spa treatment alone was already incredible value but to add a buffet meal, in the end, seemed too good to be true!
My partner Tom availed of the traditional Hilot massage while I went for the classic aromatherapy massage. Between the entire experience and the ambiance of the place, I would say heading here just for their Spa experience alone is worthwhile.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay in I’M Hotel more than we expected to. It was the perfect place to discover the hip and trendy Poblacion neighborhood and had more than enough amenities to keep us entertained. It was exactly what we needed to end our Manila trip. So whether you’re in Manila for travels, or just interested in s Spa-staycation (which I highly recommend to everyone), check out I’M Spa for a fantastic luxurious experience in the heart of the city.
P.S. If you book directly with them they give you loads of freebies and website only promotions like Club Lounge access and more.
And just like that my time here in the Philippines is up ?? Although I missed being home for Christmas, I really felt the Filipino hospitality over the holidays. It's amazing how much I feel at home at this country thanks to friends and family. Spent our last few days here at @imhotelph and couldn't ask for a better way to end our trip. ? I'm off to Thailand to start training for Everest while Anna is staying behind in Manila wrapping up visa applications. Wish us luck!