Watching the sunset over Manila Bay from our suite on the 27th floor of the Sofitel is something we won’t forget in a hurry – it’s just one of those magical moments enabled by a great hotel. As experiences go, the Sofitel is full of them – and a potential rival the scenic vista we described above is the property’s sumptuous and magnificent dinner buffet, quite possibly the grandest we’ve ever had. The setting of this pan-Asian feast is the hotel’s Spiral restaurant, where 21 different ‘food ateliers’ craft, cook and present delicious and bellybusting fare from across the region. Stuffed, we staggered back to our elegant room, a luxury getaway from manic Manila, adorned with rich but functional, French-inspired decor expected of Sofitels across the world. Being guests in one of a staggering 609 rooms, it’s hard not to notice the sheer scale of the operation in this hotel – hats off to them – but sometimes, we felt that there was a little something lacking in the service and attention to detail you would expect of an Asian five-star. Nevertheless, this gave the Sofitel Manila an air of relaxed informality, the kind you’d expect from the urban resort.

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