I was introduced to The Bayleaf Intramuros by Russ (one of the few good “anak-anakans” i have). Together with Candace and their common friend (sorry, forgot her name), we had drinks at the Penthouse one rainy Sunday morning several months ago. I was infatuated with the place and vowed to return to experience it with my family. We did. Just this Christmas.
It is a charming boutique hotel located within the historic Walled City. Standing nine-storeys tall, I find this new neo-classic building a stark contrast to its surrounding old school buildings and stone structures which remind us of our Spanish heritage.
The lobby and reception area is spacious enough. I so like its minimalist interiors done in green, brown, black and shades of grey. Its clean and modern design is elegantly accented by a centre backlit wall with its repeating cut-out Bayleaf icon.
The hotel serves as training ground for students of the College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management of Lyceum of the Philippines University. As such, most of its staff, from doormen, bellhops to receptionists are On-The-Job Trainees. Likewise, attendants at the hotel’s food outlets are students of the Lyceum Culinary School. With this in mind, I didn’t expect much on quality of service. I just wanna be surprised.
Our check-in was facilitated by John. Obviously, a trainee, he appeared tense, his smile fake and his words calculated. The small talk he tried to initiate lacked spontaneity. He wasn’t very attentive to details of our reservation which were all indicated in the hotel voucher he’s holding. I was quite irritated … (kalma lang! Kaya nga trainee eh!!)
We requested for two superior rooms, possibly with connecting door but wasn’t available then. John wasn’t sure if they have that in the first place. So we opted for adjacent rooms instead with a view of the golf course and Manila City Hall. Both rooms are modern and exudes simple elegance. I understand their rooms have different colour motifs. We had one in teal and the other in lime green. Nice!! The beds are very comfortable, with firmness just right that I woke up the next morning feeling sooo rested. Love the pillows too!!
Each of their guest rooms have mini-bar with 2 complimentary bottled water, 32″ LCD Cable TV, coffee & tea making facility, safety deposit box (very important for us), electronic DND (Don-Not-Disturb) and Make-up room buttons. At the bottom of the closet , instead of the usual plastic laundry bags, they have the Laundry Box lined with katcha. which of course, isn’t for taking home. Cool! And yes, free WiFi access.
The bathroom seem spotless with its cream and white tiles. It has rain showerhead and a handheld, with hot and cold water. Complete toiletries provided, with hair dryer. Towels smell fresh and clean.
The complimentary raisin walnut cookie delivered to our rooms by a polite student trainee and her equally courteous supervisor was really delicious! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for sale.
We love churros! And The Bayleaf has Cioccolata Churros Cafe at the ground floor na sinugod namin agad agad, siyempre. We had two orders of these fried Spanish pastries, one Original with hot chocolate dip and the other with coffee caramel. It was heaven! I just wish they would make the churros thicker :)
The Sky Deck View Bar is one flight up from the main dining area and shares the same menu with 9 Spoons. It’s an open air bar and lounge with 360 degree view of Manila. It is most ideal place for afternoon tea to catch the sunset, or for a romantic dinner. My family and I had a couple of drinks at Sky Deck to cap the night. My 76-yr old mom ordered fresh fruit platter. The waiter returned after a few minutes to serve her fresh orange juice!! (Trainee!!! – pasalamat ka at Pasko!)
The next morning, we had our buffet breakfast at the hotel’s main restaurant, 9 Spoons. Located on the 9th floor, it affords a panoramic view of Manila skyline and the Intramuros golf course. I like the colour motif of cream, brown, orange and red. The overall ambience is casual. Food attendants were very attentive to guests’ needs and are friendly. But the buffet spread wasn’t impressive. I liked the beef tapa and chicken sausage. Other than that, I find the food just okay. Maybe, next time, we’ll try ala carte for lunch or dinner. It could be much better.
We enjoyed our stay at The Bayleaf. It was worth it. It gave us a different perspective of Intramuros. And yes, I was surprised with the overall service. Good job!