Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Exceptional Service That Exceeds Expectations: A Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Staycation at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

Memorable weekends with a five star touch...

Providing exceptional service that exceeds expectations, it's a commitment and a promise that highlights every visit to Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. It's also one of many intangible details that describes your stay at one of the world's finest five star properties for 2017 rated by the Forbes Travel Guide. At Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, it's all about meaningful journeys, and it all begins with a warm smile the minute you enter starting a long chain of memorable experiences...

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's General Manager, Mr. Frank Reichenbach (L) proudly stands beside the hotel's latest achievement, selected by Forbes Travel Guide (R) as one the finest Five Star properties in the world for 2017. The recognition is a much-coveted rating in the industry from a prestigious global authority in luxury travel since 1958.

The Forbes Travel Guide is just one of many accolades awarded to Marco Polo Hotels worldwide as it continues to serve the modern travelers of today. With its high standard of service ingrained at the very core of the Marco Polo brand's DNA, being selected by The Forbes Travel Guide as one of the world's finest five star properties is really no surprise at all. Providing exceptional service that exceeds expectation is taken to heart by each and every member of the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's team. "Exceptional service is what we've always been commended for, and this definitely gives us great inspiration to continue what we do but still look for other ways to innovate," says General Manager Frank Reichenbach. And Mr. Reichenbach continues to raise the standard resulting in even more global recognition with TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence and Travellers' Choice. And it's also good to know that Marco Polo Ortigas Manila has been assessed by EarthCheck, the world's leading scientific benchmarking certification advisory group for travel and tourism, as a perfect example of going green with energy efficiency, power savings, carbon footprint reduction, and waste management while providing a clean, safe and healthy destination for travelers.

And you're in very good hands at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila...

From the reception to the courteous service at the different outlets of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, you can expect the same level of exceptional service throughout the duration of your stay. It's the people that make it a pleasurable experience. That's the way it is at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila...

I've experienced the many culinary delights of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, but this was my very first weekend stay at one of the prestigious hotel properties this side of the metro. After checking in at the reception, we were then led to our Premier Room by Duty Manager Justine Blanco (R), my home away from home for the weekend...

...and almost immediately, you know this weekend is going to be special. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Premier Room utilizes space as a design element in itself, ranging from 51 to 61 square meters of lavish luxury. The soft king bed with plush and velvety smooth linens calls you for a quick snooze, but there's a full day of tasty experiences lined up for the weekend at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.  

The luxurious amenities include a well-appointed tub and bath with double sinks and all the essential toiletries you need. At the corner, you'll find a cozy spot with a picture-perfect view of the metro, also the perfect place to catch up on some reading. The earthy wood tones add that comforting warmth for that calming finishing touch. 

The spacious layout includes a separate work area as well as coffee-making facilities when you need a freshly brewed cup of premium coffee. An executive desk with all the cable connections you need for your laptop and other devices, king bed, marble bathtub, in-room safe, LCD TV, mini-bar, it's all here at the Premier Room.

The Premier Room includes a Nespresso coffee machine, and choose from Arpeggio, Volluto Decaffeinato, or Fortissio Lunggo for a rejuvenating cup. It's the little touches like these that make your staycation experience a memorable one. My staycation at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila brought back fond memories of a previous experience at Marco Polo Davao during the Kadayawan festival four years ago (see my earlier post, Four Amazing Days at The Marco Polo and more on the annual Kadayawan Harvest festival on my posts, Side Views: Faces of the Kadayawan and Side Views: Indak Indak sa Kadalanan, Davao's Annual Kadayawan Harvest Festival) consistent with its signature brand of hospitality and impeccable service. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila takes it a level higher with its recent recognition by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest Five Star properties in the world for 2017 (you can also check out my post on Marco Polo Ortigas Manila on my travel blog here at Five Stars All The Way At Marco Polo Ortigas Manila).  

At 2:00 pm, it was time for Afternoon Tea at the Connect Lounge. Located at the 24th Floor, the panoramic floor to ceiling glass windows at Connect Lounge bring in natural light as well as stunning views of the city. The clean and modern design includes an integrated business center for a free-flowing work and social space, the perfect spot for afternoon tea.  

At the Connect Lounge's bar counter, freshly baked Baguettes (L) are displayed with a variety of flavors including Corn, Tomato, Parsley, Squid Ink and a traditional baguette used for the savory sandwiches served with Afternoon Tea. The courteous staff runs you through the tea selection and a hot pot is served after a few minutes...

Afternoon Tea at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Connect Lounge always starts with tasty bites, an amuse bouche of mango, raspberry or rich cream sorbet wrapped in chocolate. It just what you need to open up your palate for afternoon tea.

Guests can choose from a wide selection of cured meats and seafood for their savory sandwiches for Afternoon Tea. But leave it to the Connect Lounge's friendly staff and chef to prepare their recommendations, and you'll be glad you did. The sandwiches are then prepared ala minute, and served in the traditional three-tiered stand.

The first tier of your Afternoon Tea set at the Connect Lounge includes traditional English Scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a pair of Spinach Quiche...

...followed by the savory sandwiches. Using the finest ingredients, the flavors are rich without overwhelming the palate, perfect with a cup of dark tea.

The second tier features a savory selection Open-Faced Sandwiches based on the chef's recommendations of Turkey Ham, Smoked Salmon, Ham Lyoner, and Smoked Ham with cheese and fresh greens, each one delicately prepared delivering fresh flavors from the finest ingredients...

...while the bottom tier showcases a variety of indulgent desserts like moist and chewy Brownies, creamy Cheesecake, sweet and tart Raspberry Panna Cotta and the deep notes of nutty Coffee Jelly. It's a filling and satisfying light meal in itself, capped by decadent treats. From the friendly service to the excellent recommendations of the chef, the first sip of tea to the last bite of tempting dessert, everything just flowed smoothly without skipping a beat. Exceptional service exceeding expectations, it's what sets the tone for your Marco Polo Ortigas Manila staycation experience.

But there's more. End your afternoon tea on a high note with a pair of rich and moist Chocolate Souffle served with vanilla cream sauce for that perfect finish. And yes, nothing quite like afternoon tea 24 floors above the city (for more on the special Afternoon Tea at The Connect Lounge, see my earlier post, Afternoon Tea High Up at the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's Connect Lounge). The Afternoon Tea at the Connect Lounge is available from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily for only P 788 for two persons. Guests can also opt to upgrade their drinks to a glass of Moet & Chandon, Smoothie or Iced Tea.

Back at my Premier Room, it was easy to just forget the pending emails on your laptop for a quick nap. In no time at all, you're far away deep in dreamland. After all, it is a weekend.

And when the afternoon sun slowly fades in the distant horizon, it's time for Aperitivo at Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge. From 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Monday to Wednesday (a la carte) and Thursday to Saturday (buffet), Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge takes pre-dinner drinks and appetizers to new heights, way up at the Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's 44th floor with a panoramic view of the cityscape. Think of it as the new pre-dinner habit, and it all happens at Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge.

Inside the elegant interiors of Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge, your experience begins with a warm smile at the reception. It's that pervasive brand of hospitality that marks your stay at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. Stay inside and enjoy the music and cool vibe, or find a spot at the al fresco area and catch the sunset with a perfectly chilled Chardonnay.

Drawing inspiration from the Italian Anti Pasti Misto Buffet, Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge's sumptuous Aperitivo offers a wide variety and well-curated line-up of tasty dishes including premium charcuterie, gourmet cheeses, fresh salads and savory appetizers. And with a view like this, it just doesn't get better than that.

High up at Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge, the metro's legendary traffic seems a million miles away. The streets below light up with epic lines of vehicular traffic, and oddly, it all looks so serene from the vantage point of Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge. It's your cue to sample the diverse flavors of Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge's Aperitivo.The extensive selection includes Spanish, Mediterranean and Filipino favorites, paired with free-flowing red and white wine. Simply grab a plate...

...add some assorted cold cuts and charcuterie...

...along with a few slices of cheese, nuts and dried fruits and you're just about ready to catch the sunset with another glass of wine at Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge.  

It's hard not to be tempted with the extensive selections of appetizers, from fresh olives to tasty small plates, fresh baked bread and flavorful dips including Hummus and Pico de Gallo, garden fresh greens with an assortment of salad dressings, but there's still dinner scheduled later that evening.

But just go with the flow and enjoy another round of wine...

...and another plate of cold cuts and cheese. All this for only P 899, now that's a pretty cool deal.

And there's just no better way to celebrate the end of another day with a sunset forty-five floors above the metro (for more on Aperitivo at Vu's, see my previous post, Before Sunset: Aperitivo at Vu's Sky Bar and Lounge). You can also celebrate Oktoberfest at Vu's with traditional German favorites, including authentic German beer like Paulaner and Becks paired with savory sausages like Munchen Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Dampfwurst, Thuringer Bratwurst, and Grillwurst along with sauerkraut, German potato salad and pretzels until October 15, 2017 (see contact details below for more information).

Later that evening, authentic Cantonese flavors awaits at Lung Hin, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's fine dining Chinese restaurant.

Lung Hin's Restaurant Manager, Eric Lim, flanked by Assistant Manager, Irene Dondiego, described and recommended many of the restaurant's signature dishes, and I go for their recommendations. And just like my experience earlier at Connect Lounge, the recommendations were spot on.  

Chosen as one of the best new restaurants by Philippine Tatler for 2017, Lung Hin is a contemporary specialty restaurant serving authentic Cantonese cuisine including fresh seafood. Fresh, vibrant and traditional flavors paired with exceptional service, always a winning combination.

Lung Hin was also recognized as one of the most outstanding restaurants outside of China at the 16th China Hotel Industry Golden Horse Gala last year, validating its authenticity. Per Irene's recommendation, we go for Lung Hin's signature Dimsum. And with an assortment of signature dimsum, you'll find a wide variety of tasty options...

...like the Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Gold Leaf (P 220), an elegant version of the comfortingly familiar hargao. One bite delivers an audible snap from the succulent shrimps releasing its briny sweetness and fresh, clean flavors.

A soothing cup of Spinach Seafood Soup (P 330 Cup/P 1,280 Large Bowl) with the subtle briny notes of fresh seafood capped by the sweetness of spinach kicks off our feast at Lung Hin, followed by the savory Deep-Fried Spare Ribs with Black Vinegar Sauce (P 520), thick slabs of tender pork in a rich sauce.

The Peking Duck with Osmanthus Flower Jelly on Potato Chip brings vibrant notes with a play on textural contrasts, and simply one of the best duck appetizers this side of the metro.

Craving for noodles? Lung Hin's Pan-Fried Crispy Egg Noodles with Prawn Ball and Minced Pork (P 860) should do the trick, with crisp noodles draped in a thick sauce. The comforting dish is made a lot more interesting with the contrasting textures. Then, one of Lung Hin's innovative dishes was served next...

The Three-Flavored Prawns (P 1,680) with plump prawns coated in three distinct flavors of sakura sauce, salted egg, and blueberry is another must-try dish at Lung Hin. The prawns are given exciting new twists in flavor, from the tartness of the sakura sauce, the familiar notes of the salted egg and the surprisingly sweet glaze of blueberry sauce that pairs so well with the fresh and briny hints of the prawns. It's unique and inventive flavors like these that make each visit to Lung Hin new and refreshing, and you'll need quite a few more visits to truly experience the wide range of masterfully created dishes by the skilled chefs.

For dessert, Lung Hin's Chilled Avocado Sago (P 250) capped our authentic Cantonese feast. Made with imported avocados from Peru, the Chilled Avocado Sago has a deep sweetness rounded out by mildly bitter hints for balanced flavors. Rich and creamy with a velvety smooth texture punctuated by a whisper of sweetness, this one's on my list of favorites at Lung Hin along with so many other dishes. Not to be missed is Lung Hin's homage to a traditional Hong Kong classic, Roast Goose, prepared by culinary experts from Guangdong province, from November 6 to 21, 2017 (see contact details below for more information). For authentic Cantonese flavors at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, you just can't go wrong with Lung Hin (for more on the award-winning Chinese cuisine at Lung Hin, see my post, Meet Chef Ken of Marco Polo's Award-Winning Lung Hin).

After a restful night's sleep, you're ready for a brand new day at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. For a select few, starting the day right means a leisurely breakfast at the private and exclusive 44th floor, up there at The Continental Club. Inside the elegant interiors of The Continental Club, I'm reminded of that same feeling of exclusivity from a trip to Davao some fours years back at Maro Polo Davao's Continental Club Lounge during the Kadayawan Festival (for more on the exclusive breakfast at Marco Polo Davao's Continental Club Lounge, see my previous post here at Sunrise at The Continental Club Lounge and the Kadayawan Festival on my travel blog at Davao's Annual Kayawan Festival Up Close).

With impressive views of the city, The Continental Club offers guests a private and exclusive sanctuary with the personalized service of its courteous staff. A wide selection of breakfast staples are available to satisfy any appetite, and the staff can whip up a hearty breakfast ala minute just the way you like it.

Start with The Continental Club's classic Three-Egg Omelet with everything on it, including fresh mushrooms, roasted peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, and ham with a side of fresh-baked rolls and croissants...

...followed by decadent Crepes with Nutella topped with Apple Compote. Quiet, calm and serene, it's what a weekend breakfast should be, far from the usual crowds up there at The Continental Club.

Another Danish? Make that three. The Continental Club offers a sumptuous array of breakfast favorites, from cereals to savory dishes paired with rice, eggs prepared any style, and more.

Complete your dining experience at The Continental Club with a platter fresh fruits...

...and another cup of freshly brewed coffee. Enjoy a leisurely sip while admiring the shifting early morning light rising above the city. The hearty flavors at The Continental Club are matched by a level of personalized service that add another memorable layer to your Marco Polo Ortigas Manila experience.
And it's a staycation that has delivered on the promise of providing exceptional service that exceeds expectation, experienced at each flavorful stop. But Marco Polo has one more tasty treat with a light lunch at Cafe Pronto, the hotel's hip and casual cafe located at the Ground Floor.

Fast gaining popularity as a favorite meeting place for casual lunches and meetings, Cafe Pronto offers a wide selection of savory sandwiches, decadent cakes, freshly-baked bread and croissants, fine chocolates, garden-fresh salads and over-sized cookies paired with premium coffee and fine tea. Cafe Pronto also offers their signature Cafe Pronto Sets served from Monday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 9:00 pm, for a light yet satisfying meal.

The vibe at Cafe Pronto is relaxed and laid back, but the level of service remains high by Marco Polo Ortigas Manila's uncompromising standards. With so many tempting choices, the staff can assist you in selecting a dish by detailing their signature items. Start with Cafe Pronto's signature Iced Tea (P 110 Small/P 130 Medium/P 150 Large) or the refreshing Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie (P 180 Medium/P 195 Large)...

...perfect with Cafe Pronto's Hot Ham Combo (P 450) served with Cobb Salad and Soup of the Day. The freshly baked bread and the mild savory notes of the ham come together in a seamless blend, perfectly finished by the creamy mayo. The earthy and nutty notes of the mushroom soup, Cafe Pronto's soup of the day, adds to the medley of rich flavors, perfectly finished by the crisp and refreshing Cobb Salad. Guests can also opt for a light and healthy seafood option with the Tuna Combo (P 450) with a hefty tuna sandwich served with Tuna Nicoise and Soup of the Day.

Cafe Pronto's Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese (P 390) is another tasty option, served with coleslaw and chips for a light meal or snack any time of the day. Other savory sandwiches include the Reuben, Grilled Pork Adobo, Turkey Club Stack, Classic Tuna, Triple Decker Ham & Cheese, Grilled Mediterranean, Grilled Beef Tapa, and Grilled Chicken Tortilla Wrap.

Cafe Pronto's Silk Road Iced Coffee (P 260) is another must-try, with overnight-infused coffee, meringue, chocolate swirls and a freshly warmed cookie. Pair it with Cafe Pronto's signature cakes and cookies for another winning combo.

Or go for a mid-afternoon snack with Cafe Pronto's Chocolate Con Churros served with thick Spanish-style chocolate. Not to be missed are Cafe Pronto's soft, moist and cheesy signature Ensaymadas.

It's been an amazing overnight staycation experience at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, and the brand of service shown by the staff, from the entrance to the elevators, the front desk and the staff at the different dining outlets, each one linking a continuous chain of memorable experiences with that distinct Forbes Five Star style.

And it's the different faces at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila that make your visit special with their genuine glowing smiles that simply warms the heart for that five star experience. Find out and experience truly meaningful journeys that begin at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila on a weekend or any day you visit, and discover one of the world's finest five star properties. 

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street, Ortigas Centre, Pasig Cty or call (+632) 720-7777 for inquiries, reservations, and more information.

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