Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Old World Colonial Elegance and Provencal Flavors: A Weekend at Raffles Makati

When at Raffles, why not visit Singapore? Or Dubai? Or Phnom Penh? Or Makati? No matter the destination, that unique brand of hospitality remains unchanged since 1887. A destination in itself, it's the same kind of emotional luxury that has drawn some of the world's iconic writers to Raffles, from Somerset Maugham to Alfred Hitchcock, Rudyard Kipling to Ernest Hemingway, and the story continues. From the original Raffles Singapore where it all began to its countless destinations around the world, each property is linked by its legendary service and luxury that is unmistakably Raffles. At Raffles, they call it emotional luxury. Guests simply call it Raffles...


And now it's your turn. A weekend at Raffles Makati takes you back to the storied past of old world elegance and grace of bygone colonial times, a brand of emotional luxury synonymous with Raffles for over 130 years. No matter how much has changed since 1887, Raffles would remain exactly the same, stopping time with its colonial splendor, unmatched luxury, and legendary service. And like so many individual stories weaving a colorful tapestry enhancing the enduring image of Raffles, here's yet another, my own story, on a perfect weekend at Raffles...

Location. Sophistication. Reputation. The legendary story of Raffles continue at Raffles Makati, a prestigious development at the heart of the Makati CBD. Raffles has redefined luxury, it's no longer just just what you do, but it's about how you feel. And Raffles knows that by heart, providing its legendary service since 1887.
 
Raffles Makati boasts of 32 elegant suites, each one lavishly combining old world charm and new world sophistication in a timeless and seamless blend. Each step brings you closer to a sublime five-star experience. The impressive high ceilings are like a portal back in time, guided by your very own butler to your own private sanctuary...


...in one of Raffles' spacious and masterfully appointed Junior Suites. But there's nothing "junior" about this suite, with over 60 square meters of understated elegance and classic old-world luxury, from lavish satin silks, hand-tufted rugs, and timeless hardwood flooring. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning views of the cityscape, with plush 100% cotton linens on stately feather top beds adding yet another layer of luxury. Each suite has its own themed artworks commissioned from local artists, giving each suite its unique character. Raffles Makati also offers a larger Executive Suite and a luxurious Presidential Suite, but the Junior Suite is more than enough to immerse yourself in that distinct Raffles vibe.    

The velvety smooth linens feature the signature emblem of Raffles worldwide, the iconic Travellers' Palm, a welcome sight to travelers of bygone times. The Travellers' Palm was a source of water for weary journeymen with the east-west orientation of the leaves providing an informal compass to guide them.

Today, it's the symbol that means you're home anywhere in the world, at Raffles. Inside, modernity is infused in subtle touches, like the Bedside Control Panel for lighting and entertainment. Along with high-definition LED TV with satellite channels and fast Wi-Fi access, staying connected with the world is a breeze.

The Junior Suites include a separate area to catch up on work, with a large desk (L) with Wi-Fi connectivity and everything else you need to submit that urgently needed report during your stay at Raffles, across an elegant reception area (R) away from the bedroom for intimacy and privacy, divided by elegant wooden louvres.

The pristine marble floors of the equally spacious bath features his and hers sink (L), a separate walk-in shower with powerful rain shower head, a deep-soaking bathtub (R) with a view, luxurious bath and body amenities, lavish Terry bathrobes and hairdryer and shaver outlets. Like all Raffles Hotels, it's the little touches executed in a big way that matter...

A separate dining area is neatly tucked in one corner of the spacious Junior Suite, the perfect spot for a soothing cup of freshly brewed coffee, a light snack of fresh fruits, or a refreshing drink from the Junior Suite's Mini-Bar. The use of open space is part of the design theme, with enough room to recreate the classic old world charm.


As you settle into your room, why not have a cup of coffee? The in-suite refreshment centre includes tea and coffee-making facilities with the premium Malongo coffee pods. La Grande Reserve or Brasil Sul de Minas?

And if fiddling with the coffee maker isn't your style, why not call the exclusive 24-hour Butler Service to prepare your cup of Malongo coffee? The Butler Service includes packing and unpacking service, shoe shine service, bath preparation service for special occasions upon request, and even same-day laundry and pressing (charges apply).


An integral part of any experience at Raffles includes enjoying a wide array of dining options, and the weekend brunch at Mireio, dubbed A Weekend in Provence: A Family Affair, is one tasty offer not to be missed. For only P 1,980, diners can indulge in a sumptuous Dessert and Cheese Buffet, Assorted Appetizers, an Egg Dish, and a Main Course.

It's a weekend brunch with a distinct French flair, make that a Provencal vibe, served with the unique Mireio style. Mireio is one of the metro's true hidden secrets, with its authentic Provencal cuisine and impeccable service staying true to the signature emotional luxury of Raffles worldwide.


Named after the classic Nobel Prize-winning poem by Frederick Mistral, Mireio offers rustic and traditional French cuisine highlighting the rich culinary heritage of Provence (for more on Mireio's Provencal-inspired cuisine, see my earlier posts, Where The Sun Never Sets: A Provencal Lunch at Mireio..., A Taste of Provence at Mireio, and cool cocktails at Sunset at Mireio Terrace). At the helm of Mireio's kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Cegretin, a native of Provence, recreating the classic flavors of his childhood masterfully executed in a fresh and modern style. 

Mireio's Restaurant Manager, Nicolas Bracq, welcomed our group to Mireio and described the tasty offerings for Mireio's weekend brunch, A Weekend in Provence: A Family Affair featuring the rustic dishes of Chef de Cuisine's Nicolas Cegretin. Using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, it's a weekend brunch like no other.


A refreshing and mildly sweet Lavender Tea refreshes the palate, opening it up to a variety of Mireio's rich flavors...


...including a selection of the finest imported French cheeses. The different cheeses offer unique and distinct notes, just what you need to start a leisurely weekend brunch at Mireio.


Grey skies loomed overhead, the wet season has finally arrived. But no worries. Start your dining experience with a refreshing cocktail to get you in the groove. And the Rain or Shine (P 395 Buy One Get One) is the perfect cocktail to kick off your Mireio dining experience, with its flavorful blend of Bacardi Carta Blanca, carrot juice, guava juice, lime juice, mint syrup, and grapefruit bitters. Created by Raffles' very own master mixologist at Long Bar, Orman Bag-ao, Rain or Shine is an official entry to the prestigious 2017 Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition (for more on Long Bar's Orman Bag-ao and his award-winning cocktail, the Rain or Shine, see my post, Good Times, Rain or Shine, at Long Bar...), and you can have a taste right here at Mireio. The Long Bar is yet another iconic institution at Raffles, home of the Singapore Sling and other bespoke handcrafted cocktails (more on the Long Bar at Raffles on my other posts, Create It. Name It. The Cocktail Collab at Long Bar, Raffles Hotels Celebrate One Hundred Years of the Singapore Sling with the Raffles 1915 Gin, Old School Still Rules: Inspired by Classics at Long Bar and Another Round at Raffles Makati's Long Bar).

Mireio's staff then served a selection of freshly-baked bread with a side of creamy butter. The first appetizer is also served, Mireio's Pissaladiere, a flaky tart with onions from Southern France. The texture and mild flavors, almost like a pizza in tart form, is a tasty starter, with even more to come at Mireio's weekend brunch...


The Homemade Terrine with Garlic and Pickled Shallots and Mahi-Mahi Gravlax with Coriander, Lemon, Olive Oil, and Herbs are then served, a tasty duo of comforting starters. The crisp crostini pair well with the terrine and gravlax, offering tasty bites with rich and bold flavors.


A traditional Nicoise Salad with Baby Potatoes, Green Beans, Boiled Egg, Black Olives, and Onions in a tart vinaigrette rounds out the appetizers at Mireio's weekend brunch for another unique taste of Southern France. The crispness and subtle sweetness of the garden-fresh greens offer both textural contrasts and flavor with each bite, capped by the briny notes of the delicately seared chunks of tuna and the sharpness of the vinaigrette.  


Then, it's time for your egg dish. Mireio's weekend brunch offers two tasty options, each one masterfully prepared.

Diners at Mireio's weekend brunch can choose from the Scrambled Eggs, Black Truffle Juice, and Chives (L) or the Egg Benedictine with Beef Tongue, Bearnaise, Iberico Ham, and Herbs (R), both excellent egg dishes prepared in that classic Mireio style.


Diners at Mireio's weekend brunch get another tasty treat, with flavorful options for a creamy risotto dish.

Elegance is brought back to dining with a special tableside preparation, a nostalgic touch. Mireio's restaurant manager, Nicolas Bracq, prepares your bowl  of risotto right by your tableside adding to your dining experience. Pesto or Tomato? Your bowl of risotto, in your desired flavor, is then served ala minute...


I go for the nutty Pesto Risotto topped with grated Parmesan. The bold flavors of the Parmesan are perfectly tempered by the pesto for that delicate balance. And you're just about ready for your savory main course...


Options for your main course at Mireio's weekend brunch include the tasty Clams Mariniere, Raz-el-Hanout with French Fries, with fresh clams steamed in a buttery broth...


...the Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potato Puree, Soy Beans, Meat Jus, and Garlic, a comforting chicken dish with layers of rustic flavors from the creamy sweet potato puree...


...the light yet flavorful Mackerel Filet "A La Grecque," Ratatouille, and Potatoes, classic Mediterranean flavors on a plate...


...and the Grilled Tuna, Piperade, Chorizo, and Kalamata Olives, with its light, fresh, and clean flavors. For me, I always go back to that one dish each time I visit Mireio...

...the Slow-Cooked Oxtail Parmentier with Black Truffle Juice, a personal favorite. The fork-tender and melt-in-your-mouth ox-tail is simmered and braised for hours, topped with a creamy mashed potato crust. The beefy notes of the ox-tail is further enriched by the black truffles, capped by the mashed potato crust to complete the dish.


After a sumptuous brunch at Mireio, a freshly brewed cup of coffee lets you settle down. But there's more. Indulge in Mireio's tempting Dessert Buffet featuring a wide assortment of decadent sweets to cap a memorable weekend brunch, like these delicate yet decadent Coffee Cream Puffs...

The dessert buffet spread at Mireio is pure eye candy, showcasing the very best of Raffles. Have a slice of Mireio's Vanilla Raspberry Mille Crepe (R), better yet, have two slices to pair with your freshly brewed cup of coffee. Not too sweet, with the nutty hints of vanilla and vibrant notes of raspberry coming together with each bite...


The elegant Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse is simply perfect, pure chocolate love in a glass.


Make a second trip to Mireio's dessert buffet with a piece or two of Lemon Meringue Tartlet...


...a thick slice of Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Jam topped with chocolate and fresh strawberries...


...or the Provencal flavors of the homestyle Apricot Almond Tart. Be prepared for a third round...


...with even more chocolate love with the sinful Chocolate Tartlets. Saving room for dessert at Mireio's weekend brunch is always a good tip.

At Mireio's Dessert Buffet, don't pass up on the Coconut Lime Panna Cotta with Mango Compote (L), creamy flavors served in shot glasses or their popular macaron creations like the Apricot and Thyme Macaron (R), pure indulgence comes in small bites.

Or why not have a crepe prepared by the live station chefs, with a choice of Sugar and Butter, Nutella, the Banana, Vanilla Cream and Caramel or the classic Crepes Suzette? Top it with Vanilla or Chocolate Ice Cream, Raspberry or Mango Passion Fruit Sorbet, and sprinkle some Chocolate Chips or Slivered Almonds. Perfect.


From starters to mains and desserts, Mireio adds another unique weekend brunch option with its sumptuous A Weekend in Provence: A Family Affair. Mireio's weekend brunch, A Weekend in Provence: A Family Affair, is available from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, for only P 1,980 per person (children aged 6-12 years old dine at 50% off, while children aged 5 years and below dine for free when sharing with parents), inclusive of appetizers, dessert and cheese buffet. Planning a weekend brunch? Make it Mireio...


Happy and satisfied, I return to my Junior Suite, immersed in total comfort and old-world elegance. This is just the first part of a memorable weekend staycation at Raffles. And the story continues...


After a satisfying brunch and a quick yet restful nap, it's time for Afternoon Tea at Writers Bar. And it just doesn't get any better...

At Raffles, the traditional afternoon tea is given an exciting new spin with its themed concepts. This time, Writers Bar adds some French flair to afternoon tea with its Royal Afternoon Tea Series featuring Marie Antoinette. Savory sandwiches, indulgent sweets, scones with clotted cream and jam...


...it's afternoon tea just the way it should be. Choose from a wide selection of premium tea, and why not add some real French flair with a glass of Champagne? Marie Antoinette would definitely approve.


And here's the cool part. Your stay at Raffles' Junior Suites includes the Classic Afternoon Tea for two at Writers Bar as part of your Raffles Guest Stay privileges (for more on the themed afternoon tea at Writers Bar, see my previous posts, Tea with a French Accent: The Royal Afternoon Tea Series Featuring Marie Antoinette at Writers Bar, Breakfast at Tiffany's? Make That Afternoon Tea at Tiffany's. At Writers Bar..., and Afternoon Tea with a New York Twist at Writers Bar). Other complimentary privileges include All-Day Refreshments for two at Writers Bar, Evening Canapes and Cocktails at Writers Bar, Daily American Breakfast for two at Mireio, and use of both Raffles and Fairmont swimming pools.  


Waking up at Raffles is an experience in itself. Seeing the elegant structure draped in the early morning glow reveals yet another facet to its storied history. It's this kind of imagery that lingers, strengthening the iconic name of Raffles and its legendary service. And there's no better way to take in the luxurious Raffles vibe than an early morning swim or a leisurely breakfast at Mireio...

The day's early morning light peeks through the panoramic floor-to-ceiling glass windows, revealing the bright and colorful pastel shades of Mireio. The genuine warmth of the smiles from the staff complete the perfect start of another day at Raffles, with fresh shots of Kiwi, Watermelon, and Beetroot to wake up your palate...

The fragrant aroma of freshly baked bread fills Mireio, triggering your appetite. Premium French cheeses are also part of the daily breakfast spread, as your freshly brewed cup of coffee is served. Without the usual crowds, Mireio is the perfect spot for a quiet and intimate breakfast.

Tasty bites before your main breakfast course is always a good start. At Mireio, you'll find an appetizing selection of smoked fish and assorted charcuterie along with fresh-baked pastries and dairy products like fresh yogurt in a variety of flavors. A platter of cheese, bread, and yogurt, and you're on your way to another perfect start at Mireio.


Full-Cream Milk, Skim Milk, Vanilla-Infused Milk, or Soy Milk, take your pick.


The retro-inspired milk bottle is a nice touch at Mireio's breakfast.  Now, it's time to get some serious breakfast...


At Mireio, you have three options for breakfast, the Continental Buffet + One A La Carte Dish (P 1,600), the Continental Buffet (P 1,100), or One A La Carte Dish (P 500). Start your breakfast at Mireio by choosing your egg dish...

Made from organic farm eggs, options include Scrambled Eggs with Black Truffle Jus and Chives, Eggs Benedict with your choice of premium Norwegian Smoked Salmon or Parisian Ham (L), or the Classic Parisian Omelet with Onions, Ham, and Mushrooms (R).


For the main course, choose from Pancakes Topped with Pan-Seared Berries...


...or the Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Fruits, and Macadamia Nuts. Other main courses include Mireio's popular breakfast favorites, like their Crepe with 72% Dark Chocolate Sauce, Crepe with Seasonal Fresh Fruits, French Toast with Cinnamon Roasted Banana, and French Toast with Whipped Cream and Coconut. You can also opt for the tasty Asian-inspired Pan-Seared Salmon with Miso and Nori or the Beef Tapa and Papaya served with rice and two sunny side-up eggs. Pair your breakfast with Black Tea (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Rose), Green Tea (Sencha, Mint, Jasmine), White Tea (Vanilla and Grapefruit), or Herbal Tea (Lavender, Chamomile, Mango), or Coffee, including Classic (Brewed Coffee, Decaf, Single or Double Espresso), Made with Milk (Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato), or Signature Beverages (Hot Chocolate, Matcha Latte).  Go with the Continental Buffet + One A La Carte Dish for a taste of Mireio's breakfast staples. Perfect starts...at Mireio.


Impeccable service. Unmatched elegance. A fusion of both old-world grace and new-world sophistication in a velvety smooth and seamless blend. A weekend staycation may be too short to experience the legendary emotional luxury of Raffles, but it's more than enough to let you feel the classic Raffles vibe. It's just one more memorable and flavorful story to Raffles' countless individual stories through the years, adding color to its enduring legacy of emotional luxury. And now, Raffles is waiting for your story...

Raffles Makati is located at 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati or call +632-555-9777 or email concierge.makati@raffles.com for more information and reservations.

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