First impression. A stylishly designed hotel. The lobby is massive at 344sqm. The feeling of space is further accentuated by the high ceiling — about seven-meter high — and the floor to ceiling glass facade, letting in natural light. The floor, walls and ceiling are a deep, rich, glossy walnut color, a perfect foil for the huge, shimmering three-layered, white Capiz chandeliers you can’t help but look at the moment you enter the lobby. The lobby’s dominant walnut color comes from use of onyx and Narra hardwood.
Rooms. The hotel which opened in 2014 has 311 rooms. I’m booked in a 37sqm premier room, City Garden Grand’s mid-range category. It’s more luxurious than a standard business hotel room, spacious enough to accommodate two queen size beds, with amenities designed for the business traveller, the hotel’s target market. Floor to ceiling windows have views of bustling Makati City. My bed, which has a brown leather woven headboard, matching the side tables, is comfortable. The all-marble bathroom is spacious, with bathtub, rain shower and hot and cold running water. There’s free Wi-Fi here and signal is strong. Gadget list includes a 42-inch Smart TV that works as a computer screen when linked to your device. The room key and do-not-disturb/make-up-room sign are all electronic.
Food. The dishes did not disappoint. The Spice Café menu features Western and Asian food. My favorites were the salpicado, an appetizer made of tenderloin cubes sautéed with garlic, olive oil, spices like green chili and red bell pepper, mushrooms and olives; and the beef tenderloin steak, done exactly as requested, and served with a choice of peppercorn sauce or mushroom sauce. The old fashioned cheesecake, chilled Philadelphia cream cheese with tropical fruit toppings, is to die for. Other dishes to try on the menu are the seafood chowder, classic creamy potato and seafood soup served in a freshly baked bread bowl; Caesar salad, salmon steak and pad Thai.
Activities. The hotel has an in-house spa and a stone deck infinity pool at the roofdeck and a fitness center. Century City Mall located right beside the hotel, and the upmarket Powerplant Mall in Rockwell a 10- to 15-minute walk away, has shops, bookstores, supermarket, and restaurants. Ayala Mall is a five-minute ride, handy for designer-brand shopping at Greenbelt; Glorietta Mall and its two neighboring department stores, the Landmark and SM Makati are also close by.
Service. Professional yet genuinely warm.
We like. The business traveller essentials — cozy rooms and strong Wi-Fi, the proximity to Makati lifestyle centers, pool area, views of the city from almost every part of the hotel, and use of local materials in the hotel's design.
Not so keen. Cakes served at the dinner buffet. Overall, not a bad menu.
Verdict. It’s great not just for business travellers, but for staycations and as basecamp for local travellers. Recommended.
Room nights for two with breakfast starts at P3,500 (about US$75) for the standard room. For inquiries and reservations, call +632 888 8181. Visit City Garden Grand Hotel.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller October to December 2014. Updated April 2016