The Manila Hotel

Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

The undisputed grande dame of Filipino hospitality, the Manila Hotel has so many tales to tell that even Hemingway was impressed. “If the story’s any good,” he’s reported to have said, “it’s like Manila Hotel.” The Nobel laureate was but one in a series of visiting dignitaries, from military brass (General MacArthur took up residence in 1935 and left shortly before Japanese troops occupied the property in the ’40s) to Hollywood A-listers (including Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Sammy Davis, Jr.) to rock stars (when the Beatles notoriously snubbed Imelda Marcos by accident in 1966, they stayed here). The hotel has had plenty of cosmetic work done as well, including a dramatic renovation for the 2012 centennial festivities. So while you can still stay in, say, MacArthur’s quarters (known as the MacArthur Suite), the bathrooms now come with Bulgari toiletries and the bedrooms with HDTV. There was little the hotel could do to improve upon the already amazing bay views, as you’ll see from the suite’s dining room windows.

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