Having done the long haul hike from Australia to the UK about ten times too many, we’ve decided to break the trip up this time with a stopover in steamy Manila and a stay at the Fairmont Makati.
Turns out that this is one of the most genius travel decisions we’ve ever made. The first thing we learn from our experiment in slowing down transit is that taking a 48-hour break from being packed in a floating tin can like a battery hen and force fed trays of indistinguishable fodder for what seems like an eternity, means arriving at your final destination fresher. The second thing we learn is that staying at Manila’s Fairmont Makati will have you questioning the need for the second leg of your flight at all, and pondering the option of boarding yourself into the hotel instead.
Ideally located for exploring all of Manila’s must see attractions, Fairmont Makati’s staff greet us with such enthusiasm as we enter the artwork filled hotel lobby, I half expect them to piggyback us to our room.
Instead we are escorted the regular way to our fourth floor Fairmont Gold Corner Suite. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the hotel, I’m guessing the room location has been selected because our kids come with a volume warning.
The massive suite is of the scrape-your-jaw-off-the-floor variety. So much so that Mr Eats World and I have to restrain ourselves from doing a happy dance during the in-room check in process. The kids, unsurprisingly, find it harder to control themselves and run from the one enormous room to another, squealing like happy little pigs as they find treat after decadent treat waiting in each and every one.
We pretend we’ve never seen them before in our lives as they leap and squawk about like halfwits … at least until we bid adieu to our lovely host. As soon as the door shuts behind her, we join them in their pant-wetting excitement. I mean, there are nice five-star hotel suites and then there is this palatial suite, with its 14-foot ceiling and 10-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Makati city.
There is a huge living room, dining room complete with chandelier and two massive super luxe bedrooms, one with a king bed and the other two separate beds for the kids.
There are also two enormous marble bathrooms, one boasting a freestanding bathtub so huge that Sugarpuff jumps in with a pillow and declares it will be her room for the night.
But before we let her move into the tub, its time to devour those tasty treats. There are bowls of swirly rainbow marshmallows that Sugarpuff tells us look like unicorn poop, while stuffing as many as is humanly possible into her mouth.
There is also a trio of flavoured milks and plate sized white-chocolate chip cookies that Raffles tosses into his gob like Frisbees. And then there is the most incredible box of chocolates I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and eating.
The box itself is made of crisp and delicate chocolate lattice and topped with a perfect red tulip, which also turns out to be made of chocolate. Inside is a further selection of chocolates, each jewel-hued and shimmering with edible gold.
They are mine. I fight the kids off using my daypack as a shield and the room card as a throwing star, with the gusto of an off-duty, backpacking Avenger. I still lose the battle.
We consider popping out to explore Manila’s culinary scene, but that would require us leaving our gorgeous suite, and on this our first night, we still aren’t quite done with wallowing in its plush designer loveliness. So we decide instead to call room service, who promptly deliver a silver service dinner of Filipino delights.
We devour our meal, which is even more delicious after suffering through eight hours of plane food, clad in our comfy Fairmont robes.
There’s time for a little movie watching on one of the suite’s enormous but discreet televisions before we clamber into our giant cloud like beds and sleep like babies. At least until the kids wake us at ridiculous o’clock demanding to be taken to the pool.
They’re already in their swimmers before Mr Eats World and I have even managed to crawl out of bed. In a stroke of luck, the gorgeous pool just happens to be located on our floor, right alongside the Fairmont’s signature Willow Stream spa which, were it not six bloody am, I would absolutely abscond to for a massage.
Instead, I laze on a poolside deckchair and watch the kids enjoy the water.
All that splashing works up a serious appetite so we get dressed straight from the pool and head for breakfast.
Given our Fairmont Gold Lounge privileges, we consider enjoying breakfast in the exclusive (and sumptuous) lounge. But Raffles the walking stomach insists we forgo its exclusivity to instead eat all the things downstairs at Spectrum Restaurant’s colossal breakfast buffet.
He starts with a pastry and then devours about 82 steamed sui mai and a huge plate full of Indian curry and dhal.
That’s just a warm up though as he is soon working his way through Filipino favourites like chicken adobo, garlic rice and a western style omelette, made to order at the egg station.
I stick to some of the more health conscious options, which includes honey straight from the hive. But when one of the lovely floor staff fetches me a plate of fresh mango as a favour, Raff flogs most of that too, leaving me virtually empty plated.
Raffles scores the buffet a 10, which coincidentally, is about the equivalent in kilograms that I suspect he’s gained during his feeding frenzy.
Luckily, besides all-day dining at Spectrum, which I think Raffles has eaten dry, guests can enjoy bakery treats at Café Macaron and gourmet snacks at the Pool Bar.
We toddle back to our cavernous room to freshen up in preparation for our afternoon flight to Europe, sorely tempted to delay proceedings for another night or two.
Fairmont Makati was recognised as “Best New Family-Friendly Hotel” in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Awards and I’m not surprised. It’s not about the facilities, though they are certainly excellent, it’s about the warm welcome the kids get from every single member of staff from check-in to checkout.
From the chauffeur who collects and returns us to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, to the folks in reception, the restaurant staff, the pool attendants and even the room fairies we bump into in the corridor, the staff are not only attentive, but engaged and genuinely interested in our children’s wellbeing: the very definition of kid friendly.
Disclosure: The Eats Worlds were guests of Fairmont Makati but as always, all opinions, poolside antics and buffet destruction is our own.