Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shanghai Birthday Spree!

It has been a habit that every year, around the dates of the birthdays of Julie and my mom, the three of us go out for an out of town or out of country travel. Two years ago, we were in Bangkok, Thailand and last year we had it in Beijing, China. This year, the plan was to go back to China, but this time in Shanghai.

The getaway started yesterday (the actual birthday of my mom) with an overnight stay at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, right across Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. We stayed in a deluxe room, a typical room of 36 sqm with 2 double beds that is comfortable enough to sleep up to 4 persons. Amenities are the usual ones found in a Marriott-class hotel like LCD TV, airconditioning, sofa set, working desk, etc. On-going rate for this room is USD150 which I find pricey for a standard in the country. Internet is not included with the room rate but being a Gold Elite member of Marriott Rewards myself, I was given a complimentary access, aside from the other benefits given by the program.

One new thing for me is that the bathtub inside the bathroom can be seen clearly from the bedroom through a transparent glass wall. Because this is a family stay, it's not of value to me *wink wink*. With a push of a button, an electric-powered curtain will go up or down, depending on the preference of the guest.

Our room was facing the airport terminal side so the view is of the airport terminal. Nothing fancy compared to the other side which has a view of the golf course behind the hotel.

What's good about this hotel is that it is directly connected to Resorts World Manila. Currently under construction, only the casinos and a few restaurants are open but it will soon house a number of bars, restaurants, shops and even theatre and cinemas on its complex.

The hotel by itself is still under construction and is in a way on its soft launch. The executive floors (and the lounge) is not yet ready for public so they offered qualified elite members to hors d'oeuvre served at the lobby lounge.

We were given a menu and was asked to choose from the list of what we want. Compared to an executive lounge, food is at order-basis and not help-yourself style.

After the hors d'oeuvre, we immediately went to the casino area on the adjacent complex and wandered around (played a few slots and some), and finally had our dinner. The rest of the night was uneventful as we recharged ourselves for our flight the next day (earlier today).

This morning, we had buffet breakfast in Marriott Cafe, ground floor, compliments again of the elite status. I have to explicitly state that this is my first stay anywhere that I used (and enjoyed) the benefit of the status for I was just recently upgraded and I'm beginning to love it even more! I won't complain being pampered too much! :)

The cafe and the food is of standard to most Marriotts I have stayed and up to now, for me, nothing still beats Circles Event Café in Makati Shangri-La, the best place to have breakfast due to its extensive selection of dishes and utmost service. Too bad my office is just across the street from Makati Shangri-la that I do not have reasons for staying there and am only able to dine in on special occasions and official business (Circles for a regular lunch or dinner is too pricey for me).

After breakfast we checked-out and took a cab to Terminal 2 of the airport, which is on the other side from the hotel we stayed. All Philippine Airlines flights depart and arrive from Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Our flights to Shanghai was booked a little more than half year in advance. Julie and my mom took advantage of EconoLight fares, while I booked on a (more expensive) regular fare. EconoLight passengers are seated at the backmost part of the plane (we were in last row) so I switched seats with my mom who got to sit at the bulkhead window seat I reserved. EconoLight passengers do not have mileage program privileges and is explictly told during booking online that no meal will be served unlike passengers of other fare classes on this international flight. The crew were friendly to us that they even served us drinks and around 5-6 packets of peanuts each for us to munch on. We were already prepared for this so we bought a couple of siopao (meat buns) at the airport terminal prior to flight.

The flight took around 3.5 hours from Manila direct to Shanghai (Pudong International Airport). From there, we took a cab (CNY 178) to our hotel, Courtyard Shanghai Xujiahui, our home int he city for the next 5 days and 4 nights and. Courtyard is another brand from the Marriott chain, but is usually more reasonable and targetted for business travellers.

Most of the staff greeted us as we walked the halls of the hotel, from the entrance, to the reception desk and even the person who escorted us to our room were very friendly and smiling. As we enter the room, we were surprised to see a small cake and a greeting card with the note "Happy Birthday". It was a sweet gesture from the hotel that have set a good mood for our stay and that they took note that this stay was due to the birthdays of my 2 companions. Note that the monkey toy is a personal item of Julie and not given by the hotel. :)

We were given a deluxe room that have 2 double beds. Another typical Marriott hotel room but I find the beddings and style here more comfortable than last night's.

If the bathroom in Manila Marriott Hotel was queer, this was more bizarre. The partition walls of the bathroom and toilet are all transparent! We had to slide the door that leads to the room entrance (main door) close everytime someone uses the bathroom for privacy reasons, so in effect, we do not go in or out of the room when someone's in there.

As a Gold Elite member, I was given access to the Executive Lounge on the top floor (30th). There weren't a lot of guests at that time (for cocktails) but only attendants of the lounge. We were treated to servings of some appetizers and wine. The lounge has a good view of the surrounding area.

inside the lounge

my appetizers

A good mood and a good day. We are about to leave the hotel as I am writing this blog to have dinner and find something to do. Tomorrow will be another day but before that, I'm sure I'll be sharing something else about where we are heading tonight.

1 comment:

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