When it comes to staycations, three things are essential: accessibility, entertainment and pampering options. Novotel Manila seems to have checked off three out of three.
Getting to Novotel is fairly easy. It’s located right at the heart of Araneta Center so you have plenty of options to get around. Within proximity are two shopping centers and Araneta Coliseum — always a good thing if you’re a concert fanatic.
As always, check-in is at 2 p.m. but somehow, on the day of our staycation, traffic was on my side so I got there earlier. I picked a random table at The Gourmet Bar, one of Novotel’s restaurants. There was an AFAM (A Foreigner Around Manila, in case you’re not in the loop) vlogging to my right. On the other side, there was a group of businessmen having a serious conversation involving charts and numbers. There was a good mix of business and pleasure in the environment.
Somewhere between ogling other people’s food and listening to their kickass early ‘00s playlist, the chef approached the aforementioned AFAM. “Are you ready?” the chef says. The AFAM said yes with enthusiasm. And right on cue, a waiter brought out a huge goblet filled with 15 scoops (I didn’t count, I overheard) of ice cream. Called Le Mont Gourmand, the challenge was to finish the entire thing. There seems to be no time limit so you’d think that it would be easy. But the struggle was visible on his face. So far, my overnight staycation at Novotel was already interesting.
My room’s view from 14th floor was unexpected. You’d think that Cubao was just a jump-off point for travelers who want to go out of town for their dream vacations. But from the hotel, it looked like a place where new adventures can take place. For the first time, I saw Cubao in a different light.