Where to Go for a City Retreat in Manila

Your guide to a serene weekend staycation.

When you need a break and you don’t really want to deal with heavy traffic, unpredictable lines at the airport, and various travel delays, a city staycation may be the best solution.

EDSA Shangri-La
Booking a treatment at CHI the Spa at EDSA Shangri-La is the perfect way to spend a short weekend. We checked in after lunch Saturday at one of Shangri-La’s deluxe quarters, then ambled over to CHI when we were settled.

We chose the Relax package, focusing on the calming of our mind, body, and spirit. That meant a dip into a warm coconut cream bath on the outdoor terrace of our relaxation suite before heading into the privacy of our steam room. A petal-filled footbath laid the groundwork for a balance massage, which slowly but surely coaxed tight knots out of our backs, arms, legs, and everywhere else, and a facial, which flushed out the toxins and grime of the city from our visages.

Then it was off to Senju for a set Japanese dinner that included sushi, chicken teriyaki, and tempura. (The other packages included meals at Paparazzi or Summer Palace.) Back in our room, our attendants sent us off to the land of zzzz’s with a nightcap of a head and shoulder massage.

The next day we were up bright and early for a stretching and breathing session led by Stephen, who handles the hotel’s fitness programs. A healthy breakfast of muesli, asparagus omelet, wheat toast, juice, and fruit was served poolside, after which a little nook was set up for still another foot massage. We had time for a few laps in the pool or a catnap back in the suite before a farewell lunch at the newly renovated Lobby Lounge lit up by its delicate sampaguita chandeliers. Rates from P22,000 per night in a Garden Wing Deluxe Room. 633.8888; [email protected];


Aruga by Rockwell

Living by what its name denotes, “Nurture,” Aruga by Rockwell Land’s venture into the hospitality business and dedicates itself to warmly serving its guests. Its apartments at Edades Tower and Garden Villas have rooms from studios to one- and two-bedroom suites that are all well-equipped with a kitchen, Internet, and housekeeping services, and are elegantly finished, highlighting Asian contemporary luxe. As it seeks to provide utmost comfort and convenience to workaholics, it also houses an e-lounge for business meetings, as well as a gym, pool, and breakfast lounge for fitness buffs. Babysitting and grocery delivery services are also available. Aruga is only steps away from the Power Plant Mall.

Waterfront Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati; 818.0000. 

Solaire Sky Tower

Solaire Resort and Casino’s Sky Tower is a complex designed for leisurely living, gaming, dining, and entertainment. The all-suite five-star hotel exudes sophistication in all of its 312 rooms and is equipped with gaming areas, some of which are exclusive to VIPs who also enjoy sole access to the Chinese restaurant House of Zhou. The public areas of the tower house two new restaurants with spectacular views: the Waterside Restaurant and Bar, which serves Latin American and Mediterranean dishes, and the Oasis Garden Café, which is set in a relaxing garden overlooking two waterfalls. Grand entertainment will be held at The Theater that’s designed to provide almost 2,000 people with an excellent audio-visual experience for a spectrum of performances such as plays, musicals, dance and music concerts.

1 Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City, Parañaque.


From celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa comes the Peruvian-influenced Japanese kitchen that has captivated diners around the world for the past 20 years. Led locally by chef Zachary Hilbert, the restaurant located on the first level of the Nobu Hotel offers a full bar and lounge, and both indoor and outdoor poolside seating featuring floating cabanas. The 335-seat restaurant has two private function rooms, a sushi bar, teppanyaki tables, and a chef’s table. Enjoy the signature Nobu dishes such as the black cod den miso, toro tartar with caviar, and the rock shrimp creamy spicy, as well as the exclusive Nobu Manila dessert kanji, made from layers of green tea sponge cake, raspberry jam, whipped cream, morsels of meringue, and finished with fresh strawberries.


Nobo's toro tartar and caviar

Nobu Hotel Manila, Aseana Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque; 800.8080.

Crystal Dragon

This fine dining restaurant prepares both classic and innovative Chinese regional dishes with style and flair, served in a genteel room adorned with sophisticated Chinese decorative details. At lunch, come for an exquisite and delicately prepared dim sum selection that is offered in addition to the a la carte menu. Enjoy chef Bong Jun Choi’s signature dishes such as chilled baby abalone, wok-fried Kobe sirloin with chef’s special sauce, or the roast pig with crispy skin. For dessert, make sure to leave room for the house’s crispy pancake filled with lotus paste and served with a generous scoop of the specially crafted Hennessy XO ice cream. To accompany your meal, choose from the ample selection of Chinese teas selected to harmoniously pair with the taste profiles of the dishes.

Crystal Dragon’s Cantonese steamed dim sum combination

Crown Towers Manila, Aseana Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque, Manila; 800.8080.

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