FIRST LOOK: Marco Polo opens Ortigas Center hotel

By Vladimir Bunoan,

Posted at Apr 07 2014 06:50 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 02:58 AM

The outdoor signage of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

MANILA – The Hong Kong-based Marco Polo Hotels Group finally has a hotel in Manila 15 years after it opened its first Philippine property, the Marco Polo Davao.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, which is expected to fully open in mid-May, is not just the group’s first property in the Philippine capital as it is also touted as the country’s first sky hotel with its 316 guest rooms and suites located at the mixed-use building’s upper floors.

The lobby, for instance, is nestled at the 24th level of the hotel tower, offering spectacular views of the Ortigas Center cityscape, as well as the mountains of Antipolo, while the spa, fitness center and indoor inifinity swimming pool take up the entire 22nd floor.

The lobby at the 24th floor. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

The hotel’s Continental Club is located high up on the 44th floor, while at the top 45th floor is the sky bar and lounge VU’s with both indoor and outdoor seating.

The five-star hotel, the third Marco Polo property in the Philippines after Davao and Cebu, is currently on its soft-opening phase but one can already notice the luxurious yet modern touches throughout the hotel.

Francis de Leon, the hotel’s director of communications, noted that unlike the Davao and Cebu hotels, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is a “purpose-built five-star” hotel and this shows in the tasteful public areas adorned with distinct art pieces, including large wood installations, modern furniture pieces and mostly muted earth tones.

A premier room. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

The guest rooms are also quite spacious with high-end features including a Nespresso coffee machine and a dual-docking system for personal gadgets.

Moreover, the Marco Polo experience starts even before the guest sets foot inside the hotel since it has a fleet of chauffeur-driven Mini Cooper Countryman vehicles to fetch them from the airport.

But more than such upscale touches, the hotel wants to be known for its culinary offerings. Not counting the Connect business lounge at the 24th floor lobby which serves dessert samplers and snacks, as well as coffee, tea and wine, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila has four major F&B outlets, starting with the ground-floor outlet Café Pronto for sandwiches and other savories, cakes, breads, pastries, coffee and tea.

The sky bar VU’s serves Mediterranean tapas and a chill vibe, while the hotel’s specialty outlet, Lung Hin at the 44th floor, offers authentic Cantonese cuisine befitting the group’s Hong Kong roots.

Right now, only the all-day dining outlet Cucina, located at the 24th floor, is open but it is already quite busy despite the hotel’s soft-opening status. The restaurant, which has a buffet as well as a la carte selections, pretty much captures the hotel’s overall appeal with its well-appointed décor that mixes wood art, metal sculptures and an overall modern yet organic look.

The interiors of Cucina. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

De Leon acknowledged that Cucina’s buffet isn’t as large as those in other hotels but neither is it overwhelming, noting the high quality of the dishes on offer. Apart from the interactive open kitchen stations that have become de rigueur among buffet outlets, one thing noticeable at Cucina is that instead of chafing dishes, the food is displayed inside colorful – and heavy – pots, giving the spread an almost rustic, country touch.

In terms of variety, Cucina covers both Asian and Continental cuisines, starting with a raw bar with lobster, prawns and crabs displayed on ice, followed by a small sushi and sashimi station and a salad bar with a variety of greens, toppings and dressings.

The Chinese station. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

Next is the Chinese station, serving noodles and dim sum, which De Leon said provides a sample of what to expect from Lung Hin – and based on what we tried, the Cantonese restaurant seems promising indeed.

The carving station included prime rib, crispy pata and bagnet when the hotel invited select media to tour the hotel. Next to it were several Filipino favorites, followed by an Asian corner that includes roasts (including duck) and Indian staples.

Prime rib. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

The dessert section, meanwhile, includes a crepe station, a display for cakes and pastries, and a chiller for ice cream.

As if to emphasize its importance, Cucina has a separate section for cheeses and cold cuts, including premium ham.

Cheese station. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for

This early, it’s safe to say thatMarco Polo Ortigas Manila is bound to make waves when it fully opens next month.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
Meralco Avenue (across Metrowalk)
Ortigas Center, Pasig City