Stepping into The Henry Hotel Manila is like traveling back in time. More specifically, back to postwar Manila, 1948, where everything was hopeful, new and held much promise.
It’s the same vibe one feels while stepping into this sprawling property, tucked away in one of Pasay’s oldest and busiest streets.
Built by the Americans in 1948, The Henry shares the property with houses built in that same era, whose tenants include one of the country’s leading fashion designers, the atelier of a famous interior and furniture designer, and a museum that has curated the work of some of Manila’s more prominent visual artists.
I came to The Henry to seek some quiet and solitude prior to a long trip. I’ve always loved these pockets of silence, in which I can simply be by myself or am able to share a meal and a great conversation with friends who know my heart well. At this point in my life, I value more my relationships, my privacy and my solitude.
Times of quiet always provide me with the fuel and the inspiration to plough into my creative work.
View of the garden
Beneath century-old trees that line the driveway and gently sway with the wind, almost each room of The Henry has a view of the garden. There is hardly any need to leave one’s room, and I found myself doing just that—lying in bed for most of the day, on bedding guaranteed to enfold you and sweep you off to dreamland.
You can spend your day writing, reading and staring out the large picture windows. And when you’re hungry, there are gustatory delights as well, supplied in the café by Apartment 1B.
The Henry, if it were a person, could be described as an absolute charmer. It’s Old World elegance, steeped in history. Walking on wooden floors and feeling the breeze from different points reminds one of lazy afternoons in the province in a much less harried time and place.
The staff says friends of the original American residents come to dine here to reminisce about what living was like in its early years, before it was sold to the Chung family, who own the property to this day.
Afternoons are perfect for leisurely walks on the property, peering into the various homes—looking at art in the Albert Avellana gallery, or admiring the fabulous creations and interiors by Eric Paras.
Across from Eric’s atelier is the home of fashion designer Jojie Lloren whose work I have always admired.
Life can sometimes get overwhelming, and respite for the soul and spirit has become essential to one’s sanity. Such is the gift that The Henry provides—a hideaway tucked away in a place least expected, but perhaps symbolic of what busy people always need to remember. That is, despite the chaos in our daily lives, one needs only to take a step back, return to the quiet in order to regroup and find oneself, and one’s strength, over and over again.
The Henry is at 2680 FB Harrison Street, Pasay City. Visit www.thehenryhotel.com.