It has become apparent that I haven’t traveled a lot more than some of my Facebook friends. I realized I do not have enough pre-vacation planning because when my wife made a weekend reservation I never knew what to expect until I got a kilometer closer to the hotel. We got stuck in traffic in the middle of a narrow bridge and at some point bumper to bumper while on an ascending slope.
We were in Binondo, a Chinatown, to check in to Ramada Manila Central for an overnight stay last weekend. For my birthday, wifey got a discount package online and based on recent trips I imagined the hotel to be situated somewhere decent, somewhere driver-friendly, at least.
But we soon discovered that not only the streets of Binondo lack parking but as well as the hotel’s. Ramada Manila Central barely has 20 parking slots. Yes, for a 15-storey hotel, it only has that much slots—approximately one car for each floor? Lucky us, we arrived just in time to avail one except that it is a double parking slot which means that I need to leave my car key to the guard on duty.
What lacks in parking though, the hotel makes up in staff courtesy and other hotel accommodation essentials. Upon check in we received a surprisingly nice welcome drink made from cucumber, so good that Marcus who is a very picky kid gave it a thumbs-up. The hotel’s attention to detail also shows in our room. The sheets are clean; towels do not smell clorox-esque but rather refreshingly sweet; and the bathroom fixtures are shiny and everything works—bath tub, rain shower head, and all. The room also has a glass desk and a matching leather chair good for those who need to finish a report while on vacation. In our case, it became a good place to line up Marcus’ Legos.
Breakfast is also something to look forward to. Located on Ramada Manila Central’s ‘M’ floor, the News Café, despite the smallest buffet area we have ever been to, offers one of the best-tasting menus.
Ramada Manila Central also has a room that anyone who downed extra servings of omelet, steamed rice, and sandwiches for breakfast would appreciate—a well-maintained gym. Overlooking the busy Ongpin intersection, its gym has several high-end treadmills each facing a flat TV with dedicated cable TV channel; a multi-stack equipment; clean benches and free weights; and a shower room. Gym is available to any hotel guest with a room access card.
The hotel sits strategically in the middle of popular Binondo Chinatown destinations. The 168 mall is about a kilometer away for those who want to haggle around. Restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine are just a few blocks away. And if you want to spend some quiet time in reflection the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz is just right across the hotel.
Ramada Central Manila is like anything in Chinatown. It is a great bargain for anyone who knows how and where to find it.
Our hotel discount package includes a trip to Manila Ocean Park good for two so we have to pay extra for Marcus.
The Jellies place is a must see. I never knew that jellyfishes can be that interesting to see.
Makan Makan’s Nasi Goreng and Nasi Lemak. Take my word, do not waste your money on these menu. Buy Jollibee instead.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Wifey and kiddo in a field trip and typhoon Hagupit is lurking.)