A Weekend at F1 Hotel Manila

The bedroom at the Fort Suite
It has been two years since we last had a staycation at the F1 Hotel Manila, so, when we were invited to stay at the hotel once again, we were more than delighted.

Akisha at the 5th floor lobby
The hotel's vicinity had changed a lot since our last visit, thanks to the burgeoning dining and entertainment scene in Bonifacio Global City. Strips of cafes, bars, and restaurants are within a few meters away. Shopping malls are very near. Even office buildings sprouted around the area--a reason why F1 Hotel Manila has become a favorite among business travellers on weekdays. I've heard that there are even long staying guests at the hotel from time to time. These are usually expats who work at nearby multinational offices.

We were billeted at the Fort Suite,  an elegant one bedroom unit at the 11th floor that evokes a contemporary vibe. It was also the same room where we stayed two years ago, and I must say nothing much had changed except for the missing dining table, which made the room look more spacious. The furniture in muted shades of beige and brown were all well-maintained.

The bathroom
The bathroom, with its white walls and marble counters, remains sleek and clean. Hot and cold shower is working perfectly. The bath amenities, albeit basic, are also complete and sufficient enough for the duration of your stay.

Bath amenities
Instead of the traditional fruit basket, the hotel welcomes guests with a delectable mango and suman (local rice cake wrapped in banana leaves) platter, complete with coco jam and muscovado sugar on the side. It was delicious that even my daughter Akisha enjoyed it a lot!

Mango and suman platter
At the third floor are the three swimming pools, the hotel's all-day dining restaurant F Cafe, Canary Lounge, and pool bar. It is nice to lounge by the poolside in the afternoon when the sun is not too harsh or have cocktails by the bar. There are stylish loungers for those who want to bask in the sun. Akisha actually had fun striking a pose on one of these loungers.

Akisha by the poolside
The smaller adult pool
Lap pool
At the third floor's mezzanine is the wellness zone where you can find the fitness gym and the spa.

The fitness gym features state-of-the-art equipment for you to burn those extra calories (gained from indulging in the sumptuous buffet, perhaps?). It is open 24 hours.

Mom and Akisha enjoying their workout
The spa, while some areas are still underway, seems promising. There's a very nice couple's room with an en suite bath tub. The staff said there's a sauna but it is under maintenance.

If you are like us who prefer to have a massage in your room, don't worry, they'll be happy to arrange that for you. We had our massage in our room a few hours before midnight and we were so satisfied with it. Every stroke relieved our tired muscles and lured us to a sound sleep.

The couple's room (there's another bed on the left, not shown in this photo)
After our sumptuous buffet lunch at F Cafe earlier in the day, we were invited to a barbecue dinner at the Canary Lounge. It was a quiet Saturday evening with just a hint of lounge music and the refreshing summer breeze to boot. The setting was actually close to being romantic, except that I am, of course, not with hubby but with mom, Akisha and her nanny instead.

Our reserved table was just a few steps away from the pool, which was beautifully aglow at night. Again, close to being romantic.

The pool at night
Freshly-tossed salad
Chef Eugene San Juan prepared a delectable barbecue platter for us. To start with, we were served a freshly tossed salad and egg drop soup. It may be simple as it is, but it was just right to tease our palate for the upcoming hearty grill.

Egg drop soup
Two platters of assorted skewers came in next. Each has a pair of prawns, beef, pork, chicken inasal, tuna, and hotdogs. It also comes with a variety of sauces such as hollandaise, horseradish, red wine sauce, peppercorn (my personal favorite), liver sauce, and the classic Pinoy toyo-mansi (soy sauce with calamansi or local citrus).

I like the hollandaise sauce on the grilled tuna and prawns, while the peppercorn sauce goes well with the succulent beef skewers as well as the pork barbecue--spicy enough to add a kick to the already flavorful meat. The chicken inasal was uberly tender and oozing with lemongrass flavors, something that made it stand out among the rest. The hotdogs, of course, went all to Akisha's plate. All of these were served with steamed rice and a side dish of rich and creamy potato gratin.

L-R: prawns, beef, pork barbecue, chicken inasal, grilled tuna, and hotdogs
Potato gratin
To cap our meal, we were served with fruit slices such as watermelon, pineapple, and honeydew. I even asked the staff if they can turn some of the pineapple and honeydew slices into a fruit shake, and they happily obliged. No sugar added but the fruits alone were sweet enough!

Our fruit platter
And just like in any other staycations that we've had, we were so excited for the buffet breakfast the morning after. We got up a bit late (around 9 am perhaps) but the buffet spread was still packed with delightful culinary treats.

The breads were aplenty--pan de sal, buns, rolls, ensaymada, and a lot more. I got a piece of croissant which was soft and flaky, and perfect for some butter and blueberry jam.

Kids and adults alike will definitely love the freshly made pancakes and waffles. I had waffles topped with maple, blueberries, cream cheese, and whipped cream (yes, that sinful bloody waffles) and I returned for a second serving.

Pancakes and waffles
The chefs at your service
No breakfast buffet is complete without these crispy strips of BACON. It's a mortal sin not to have it in any case! Of course, I got several strips to go with scrambled eggs and potato wedges. Akisha had one too many slices!

There are other mains and side dishes on the buffet, but I can only realistically have just enough to kickstart my day.

Veal chipolata
Chicken Teriyaki
Besides the bacon, beef pastrami, croissant, and waffles, I actually enjoyed F Cafe's version of chicken teriyaki. Just like the previous night's chicken inasal, this was tender and oh-so-flavorful--perfect with garlic rice.

Egg noodles in chicken broth
My cappucino
Jumpstart with croissant, pastrami, and cheddar slices

Clockwise: scrambled eggs, herbed potato wedges, bacon, and chicken teriyaki
Waffles with maple syrup, blueberry, cream cheese, whipped cream, and peaches on the side
Halfway through breakfast, the chef surprised us with this--a hearty duck burger complete with salad, fries, and garlic mayo. I could have eaten it if I wasn't full yet! The patty, almost an inch thick, was heavy and juicy enough to knock you out. Hmmm, perfect with ice-cold soda or beer perhaps?

Duck burger
We left F Cafe with our tummies on the verge of explosion, so we decided to walk around the poolside first to burn some of the calories before going up to our suite.

F1 Hotel Manila may not be as luxurious as the other hotels in the metro but it can definitely be a decent cocoon for you and your family or friends. Its accessibility, its modern vibe, and of course, its cuisine make it ideal for that well-deserved staycation. While it was sad for us to leave the hotel after spending a night full of fun and gastronomic surprises, we had no choice but to let go. Til next time F1 Hotel Manila!

F1 Hotel Manila
32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Philippines
+632.928.9888 / +632.908.7888


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