With renovations throughout the property fully completed, the Waterfront Pavilion Hotel & Casino Manila is ready for its milestone 50th anniversary next year.
The guest rooms are now equipped with plush beds, flat-screen TVs and other creature comforts. Its two ambassadorial suites, named after Carlos P. Romulo and Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., are ready to receive visiting dignitaries.
The suites, located on the 19th and 20th floors of the hotel, were redecorated by interior designer Sonia Olivares. For the Romulo suite, she combined purple and green in the living area, while the dining area was spruced up with seating and drapes in turquoise and beige.
The Aquino suite, which shares the same layout as the Romulo suite, was outfitted in sunny shades of yellow—the color of ribbons that welcomed Ninoy’s tragic homecoming.
When the hotel first opened, the property on UN Avenue was called the Manila Hilton. Along with the Westin Philippine Plaza and the defunct Hotel InterContinental, it drew the attention of Manila’s elite who hosted lavish parties. The wedding reception of publicist Rosary Ysmael in the ’70s was held at the Hilton.
“It was a tossup between the Hilton and the InterCon, but since the wedding was at San Agustin, we chose the Hilton,” Ysmael recounted.
The wedding was one of the most high profile events that year, with former First Lady Imelda Marcos and Romulo as Ysmael’s godparents. The bride, her sisters and their mother all wore gowns designed by couturier Ramon Valera. Ysmael’s towering coiffure was topped with a crown.
“People really partied in hotels then,” she said. “It was very luxurious.”
In the book “Heartbeat Manila Hilton,” interior designer Johnny Hubilla described the hotel as “a melting pot of contemporary design,” with commissioned works by artists like Botong Francisco, Napoleon Abueva and Ed Castrillo.
The artist and painter Federico Aguilar Alcuaz lived at the hotel until his death in February 2011. A number of his paintings used to be displayed at the hotel’s steak restaurant, The Rotisserie, and in his room, but these have since been placed in storage.
Instead of having a suite designed in honor of Alcuaz, the hotel’s renovated function rooms now bear the artist’s name.
The hotel is located near the central business districts of Makati and Taguig. It is close to historic and cultural destinations such as the walled city of Intramuros. A day trip for tourists can cover attractions like the Baluarte de San Diego, Fort Santiago, Casa Manila and the San Agustin Church and Museum.
After a day spent exploring, head back to the hotel for dinner at Seasons, its all-day dining outlet. The featured beverage this month is the pineapple and papaya smoothie. At Seasons, guests can opt for the buffet or they can order this month’s featured dish, Souvlaki grilled pork tenderloin served with pita bread and Greek salad.
Waterfront Pavilion Hotel & Casino Manila, UN Avenue, Manila; tel. 5261212