Photo of Manila

About Manila

Manila is a long way from being the most beautiful place in the Philippines. It’s often called the Pearl of the Orient but many people say that the resemblance to a pearl is in the rather work-a-day exterior and fantastic interior. The traffic, haze, chaos and shanty towns are all part of the experience of Manila, but so are the fantastic museums, incredible art galleries, the kind of markets where you can buy anything, the wonderful bars and exceptional coffee, and a live music scene that bursts at the seams with vim and vigour. Manila is super cool. And so are many of the best places to stay in Manila.

Of course some of the best hotels in Manila aren’t the obvious kind of cool, take the wonderfully traditional Raffles Makati for instance, it’s not hip, but it’s achingly elegant with a rooftop pool and spa and a bar that makes you feel as if you’re in a classic film: one that everyone will want to watch. But some are the obvious sort of cool, the Discovery Primea, for example, a chic, 141 room design hotel by award-winning architect Kenzo Tang, who’s put in one of the most spectacular infinity pools you can imagine. And a cool bar.

Between your hotel and rest of the city you will probably encounter crowds and traffic and a haze of ozone and noise. But don’t let that put you off, just let it focus your attention on making sure you’re booked into one of the best places to stay in Manila!

Where to Stay

  • Makati is the financial centre of the Philippines, where you can find all the international banks and department stores and the majority of the embassies. It’s also a hub of entertainment and culture, and if you choose to stay here you’ll be within walking distance of many of Manila’s main sights.
  • Ermita is one of two main tourist districts of Manila, the other is Malate. This is a lively place to be, with bars, cafes, pubs, bistros and nightclubs. It also has the Rizal Park, which is a sort of Central Park and national mall, and where you’ll find the Manila Ocean Park aquarium, the Planetarium and the Museum of the Filipino people, and a number of similar national attractions and gardens.
  • Malate was where you used to find Manila’s grandest residences, and now many of them have been turned into some of the best places to stay in Manila. This is still one of the most attractive districts to stay in, with a more sedate nightlife than Ermita.
  • Intramuros is the historic heart of Manila, the bit that was fortified, and housed much of the really ancient architecture. Some of the fortifications remain but most of it was destroyed during WW2. However it’s still home to some beautiful churches, the old cathedral, the National Art Gallery, the Art-Deco style Metropolitan Theatre and the City Hall.
  • Binondo is one of the world’s oldest Chinatowns, a thriving place even before the arrival of the Spanish in 1571. It’s still a lively commercial centre, great for jewellery, Chinese food and some fantastic fusion architecture.
  • Santa Cruz is next door and has a similar feel, but with many more markets for household items and clothing.
  • The Port Area is beautiful for its sunsets, and busy with shipping traffic.

Use our guide to the best places to stay in Manila and start to plan your trip to this melting pot of a city!

The Best Places to Stay in Manila

For sheer luxury

  • The Raffles brand is old and esteemed, and Raffles Makati is a good example of what they stand for: luxury with style, the importance of a great cocktail bar and elegant, spacious rooms. Here there are just 32. Plus a French restaurant and a rooftop pool and spa.
  • The Peninsula Manila is much larger, with almost five hundred rooms, and it buzzes 24hours a day with the activity of so many guests. Come here for luxurious creature comforts, top notch service and superb food.

For a hip hotel

  • If you want hip and happening Discovery Primea is much more modern: a chic, 141 room design hotel by award-winning architect Kenzo Tang. There are three restaurants, a stunning infinity pool, a large spa and fitness centre and lots of the added extra facilities that come with a larger hotel.

For Families

  • If you’re travelling in a family group, or planning a longer visit, you might prefer the Makati Diamond Residences. It has around four hundred rooms, but there’s a huge range, from simple singles to luxurious serviced family-sized apartments. There’s also a pool, spa and gym.

For romantics

  • The Hotel Celeste has plush furnishings in its 25 elegantly designed boutique-style rooms, the best of which have their own hot tubs.

For a room with a view

  • For some of the best views of Manila from a hotel room try the Fairmont Makati, which is tall and has 280 rooms with floor to ceiling windows. These elegant rooms also have marble bathrooms. Furthermore, The Fairmont also boasts one of the most luxurious spas in Manila, and an impressive gym and restaurant.

For great value

  • The Luneta is one of Manila’s longest-serving hotels: it opened in 1918. There are just 27 rooms, and they’re quite spacious and decorated in an Art Deco style. The best have fantastic views of the city. There’s an international restaurant, a bar and a garden.
  • The Henry Hotel is an elegantly converted mansion in Pasay, surrounded by lush gardens. Its 32 rooms have all been carefully, independently designed and decorated, and the best have their own private balcony or terrace. The restaurant serves local cuisine with some international favourites, and there’s a pool hidden in the garden too.

Prefer an Apartment or Private Villa?

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • it’s possible to fly direct to Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport from Amsterdam, and from the west coast of North America, and local Asian hubs. But from the majority of starting airports you’ll need to route via Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai. What you do need to know is that the terminals of the international airport are only connected by a bus transfer, which doesn’t appear to be a foolproof system.
  • If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
  • The high season for travel to the Philippines is November through to April, but the Philippines has a tropical, monsoonal climate, which means sometimes it just pours and pours for days and days, and the temperature range is very small, rarely going below 20°C, or higher than 38°C. Manila’s dry season runs between December and April, then it’s wet and humid from May through to November. June and September are when you need to keep an eye out for typhoons.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Manila

  • The Luneta Manila (Ermita) 27 rooms from £70

    Built in 1918, The Luneta is one of Manila's longest-running hotels. Today, guests will find spacious rooms in an art-deco style with superb views of Manila. The restaurant serves international cuisine in a stylish setting. Both the garden and bar are great for relaxing after a day's exploring.

    City Style  -  Discover Manila from this beuatiful location
    Local exploring  -  Get to know the Ermita district of Manila
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Fort Santiago a citadel first built by Spanish navigator and governor Miguel López de Legazpi
    Great walks  -  The famous Rizal Park is a short walk away
    Check Availability
  • Hotel Celeste Manila (Makati) 25 rooms from £75

    A beautiful boutique hotel offering luxury accommodation with elegantly designed rooms and plush furnishings. The best rooms come with a hot tub. The large function rooms are perfect for both weddings and corporate events. A chic base in a central location.

    Business meetings  -  The function rooms and banquet facilities are perfect for any corporate event
    City Style  -  Conveniently located in Central Makati, ideal for exploring Manila
    Weddings  -  Hotel Celeste offers wonderful wedding packages
    Sights nearby  -  The Guadalupe Ruins (a collection of 400-year-old churches) make for an interesting stop
    Check Availability
  • The Henry Hotel Manila (Pasay) 32 rooms from £93

    An elegantly designed hotel with a luscious garden featuring an outdoor pool inviting guests to relax. All 32 rooms have been lovingly designed and the best come with balconies or terraces leading to the garden. The restaurant serves delicious local cuisine and international favourites.

    Business meetings  -  The Henry Hotel offers chic meeting rooms in a quiet and secluded location in the centre of Manila
    City Style  -  Explore Manila, one of South-East Asia's bustling metropolises from this great location
    Local exploring  -  Get to know the surrounding neighbourhood of St Pasay
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • The Peninsula Manila Metro Manila 497 rooms from £120

    A large, full-service hotel, as to be expected from Peninsula. Conveniently located about 20 minutes from the airport in the financial hub of Makati City. Set apart by a grand lobby scene that buzzes from morning to night and exceptionally friendly staff.

    Local exploring  -  Perfectly placed in the heart of the city for easily exploring its main attractions.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the San Agustin Church, a UNESCO heritage site.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Spa
    Check Availability
  • Makati Diamond Residences Manila (Makati) 410 rooms from £97

    An opulent hotel offering guests luxury serviced apartments, suites, and rooms. Makati Diamond Residences boasts world-class facilities including a swimming pool, spa, and fitness centre. The restaurant serves Asian and continental cuisine alongside an impressive selection of wines and whiskeys.

    Weddings  -  Plan a luxurious wedding in Makati with facilities able to accommodate up to 400 guests
    Business meetings  -  Boardrooms and meetings come fully-equipped with modern audio-visual equipment
    City Style  -  Discover the bustling metrolpolis of Manila from this central location
    Sights nearby  -  Arrange a sightseeing tour at reception
    Check Availability
  • Discovery Primea Manila (Makati) 141 rooms from £108

    A luxurious hotel designed by award-winning architect Kenzo Tang, the Discovery Primea offers guests stylish and modern accommodation. Guests can make use of a stunning outdoor infinity pool, fitness centre and spa. The three restaurants serve epicurean delights from around the globe.

    City Style  -  This central location in Makati, Manila's most-happening district is perfect for those wishing to explore the city
    Business meetings  -  Discovery Primea has great conference facilities and a range of packages to suit your corporate event
    Weddings  -  This magnificent venue in central Manila offers a wealth of wedding packages
    Sights nearby  -  Wander through the Guadalupe Ruins, a collection of 17th century churches
    Check Availability
  • Fairmont Makati Manila (Makati) 280 rooms from £110

    The renowned luxury hotel chain Fairmont offers guests world-class accommodation in Manila with 280 elegant rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and marble en-suites. Guests can also make use of fully-equipped spa and fitness centre whilst the restaurant has an impressive menu.

    Business meetings  -  Located in Manila's central business district and boasting great meeting facilities, Fairmont is perfect for any corporate event
    Spa breaks  -  The Willow Stream spa is one of Manila's most luxurious spas offering a wealth of innovative spa treatments and therapies
    Weddings  -  Fairmont Makati offers an array of wedding packages from intimate minimal affairs to large avant-garde occasions
    Sights nearby  -  Many of Manila's most famous sights are within walking distance
    Check Availability
  • Raffles Makati Manila (Makati) 32 rooms from £200

    A luxury hotel complete with a rooftop pool and a spa. The elegant and spacious rooms feature spectacular views of the Manila cityscape. The Raffles Long bar serves delicious cocktails and there is also a stylish cafe. Spectrum restaurant serves up Provençal-inspired cuisine.

    Total relaxation  -  The fully-equipped spa is the perfect place to escape the humdrum of the city below
    City Style  -  Raffles Makati is conveniently located in Makati Central Business District
    Sights nearby  -  Discover the cultural offerings of Manila, The Ayala Museum and SM Makati are nearby
    Spa
    Check Availability