Monday, February 24, 2014

The Manila Hotel's MacArthur Suite

Perhaps no other suite in the legendary Manila Hotel can rival the history and elegance of the MacArthur Suite. Home to General Douglas MacArthur and his family during the Commonwealth era up to the outbreak of the second world war, the MacArthur Suite is a piece of history lovingly preserved at the Manila Hotel. 

The refurbished suite includes a master bedroom with dressing room, a guest room, two baths and one powder room, a study room, a formal dining room overlooking the bay, a fully-equipped kitchen and a balcony. Definitely a place for a five-star general (for more on the Manila Hotel, check out my previous post here at

The original suite was designed by architect Pedro Luna, son of the noted painter and national artist Juan Luna, and served as the official residence of General Douglas MacArthur, his wife Jean and son Arthur, during his tenure as Field Marshall of the Philippine Army during the Commonwealth era from 1935 to 1941. The refurbished suite showcases a distinct Filipiniana theme, with ornately carved wooden furniture typical of the period. Throughout the suite, momentos of the General are proudly displayed, including replicas of military awards and decorations received by General Douglas MacArthur in his storied military career.

The elegant dining room at The MacArthur Suite, featuring replicas of period furniture during the colonial era.  I can almost see the General enjoying his favorite dishes prepared by the chefs of Manila Hotel, which include El Mero Envolvio en Hojas de Platano, or steamed Lapu-Lapu wrapped in banana leaves with calamansi sauce, and Squab Chicken Manhoco or stuffed chicken terrine with mushrooms and olives. The formal drapes can be opened for a panoramic view of Manila Bay and its famed sunset (see more on Manila Bay's famous sunset as seen from the Manila Hotel's new view deck here at

The lavish yet tastefully appointed bedroom includes a canopy, complemented by classic furniture. Modern comforts and amenities, including wi-fi internet access and LCD screens combine with the classic furnishings so you can enjoy the best of the past and present.

The General's private Study, containing more replicas of momentos. The wooden guest chairs are the only remaining furniture retrieved from the original suite after the war. As Japanese forces neared the city in 1941, Manila was declared an open city to spare it from further destruction by aerial and artillery bombardment. The General and his family then quickly evacuated for a last-ditch defensive stand on Corregidor. As soon as the Japanese forces entered Manila Hotel, much of the General's belongings were burned or looted.

A replica of the General's signature corn cob pipe, proudly displayed at the desk. The General's immortal words, a promise of hope and liberation, is written on the stem. Though much of the General's personal items were lost during the war, one can still feel the historical significance of the suite, and its part in the country's history. After the fall of the Philippines in 1941, General MacArthur regrouped and and was appointed Supreme Allied Commander for the Southwest Pacific Area of Operations, and began a series of offensive campaigns leading to his return to Manila.  Four long years, with each successful island-hopping campaign bringing him a little bit closer to his goal. And promise.

Upon his return for the liberation of Manila, the General made a sentimental trip back to Manila Hotel, only to find his cherished possessions, including a priceless collections of books, damaged and burned. Heartbroken, with Jean at his side, the couple was about to leave when an employee from Manila Hotel approached them and told them he had buried a few of their possessions within the grounds of the hotel, right under the noses of the Japanese occupation force. It is said the proud General smiled, and he was truly home. A promise fulfilled, and a grateful nation liberated.

The MacArthur Suite is just one of the unique features of the Manila Hotel. A rich heritage and history sets the Manila Hotel apart, and visiting the Grand Dame is like taking a trip back in time. Old world elegance and charm, world-class service, and history all combine for a memorable experience at the Manila Hotel.

The Manila Hotel is located at One Rizal Park, 0913, Manila or call 527-0011 for inquiries.

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  1. Replies
    1. Hi Ramona, there's just so much history in the MacArthur Suite, it really is amazing. Great to hear from you!


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