GREAT LOCATION, GREAT SERVICE, GREAT PRICE
The Elan Hotel is in a great location, in the heart of Greenhills, beside Virra Mall and a major shopping center featuring what locals call Changge, a claustrophobic riot of stalls selling every conceivable faux item spit out by China. If you want that Louis Fauxton or Giorgio Fauxmani, the Elan Hotel is just a few steps away in your Tommy Hilfaker shoes.
We booked the Elan Hotel seconds after the Linden Suites had lost our prepaid rooms. Since we visit Manila at least twice a year, it was great that the Elan Hotel was able to accommodate us at short notice.
The reception, bell and security staff appear much more relaxed than other upscale-ish hotels. Filipino hospitality and courtesy are present here, which is always refreshing. The staff appeared friendly to each other and chat to one another freely, which doesn’t bother me as long as they are doing their jobs, which they do. Some of you may object to this, but I’m just alerting you.
The room is small, but spacious enough and well appointed enough. Ours included a small kitchenette with a mini sink, fridge, and a mini coffee station. There was Nescafe instant coffee, imitation creamer, hot pot and cups but no teaspoons or stirrers, which mystifies me. I didn’t bother asking for them, since I just used the empty Nescafe container to stir my coffee (I brought my own instant Starbucks, which makes me happier in the morning, yum). Down the block is a 7-Eleven and I bought my daily supply of drinks, snacks or smokes.
The bathroom was OK. The sink worked fine, and was clean. The toilet had a bidet, which was great. One day the toilet clogged, and the staff sent someone within seconds to clear it up. Good job! There were enough towels to dry off, but no face towels, which is mystifying. I didn’t bother asking for one, deciding instead to buy one of those plastic Korean puffy things for 30 cents a piece at the Changge.
The shower was a bear. The valve was leaking profusely and it was difficult to change the water temperature. My husband had cold showers, which he loves during the hot weather.
I, on the other hand, twisted and wrangled and pleaded with the valve to try to raise the temperature to tepid, at the very least. When I finally figured it out, the pressure dropped considerably and a blood-curdling wail began to emit from the leaking valve. Oddly, I found this amusing and began to scream along with the valve, every morning, to my husband’s horror. Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
The bed was firm, the pillows were OK, and I slept well. It helped that I was exhausted at day’s end, what with Manila traffic draining my will to live.
On our second day, our card keys stopped working. The front staff was very accommodating, and gave us new keys. They too, didn’t work. My poor husband was desperate for the bathroom. There is no bathroom in the lobby, so he was led down to the lower floor’s bathrooms. The lower floor’s bathrooms' toilet stalls have no toilet paper. Let me explain: there isn’t even a toilet paper holder, much less toilet paper. There was, however, one giant wheel of toilet paper in front of the bank of sinks, outside the toilet stalls. Sigh. WTF. Welcome to Manila!
As a general note, if you are visiting Manila for the first time, know that Manila is covered in a greasy soot, the result of terrible air pollution, mostly from all the diesel engines and lack of decent car inspection standards. Need proof? The soles of your shoes will be streaked with an oily black layer after a day’s walk. Need more proof? Pick your nose and view the disgusting evidence.
I know, why give four stars, given all our challenges? Well, we paid a very modest price per night for our stay. The staff really tried to be helpful and courteous. We weren’t robbed. Even during a blackout (electric storm), the staff was calm and nonplused, and ensured us that the power would be back shortly. It was, after about an hour. The emergency hall lights remained on, as did the elevator. The temperature was cool enough, and the windows were operable, so we got a rare, lovely breeze in the heart of a very congested, nearly treeless urban city. Hey, we even had complimentary breakfast, which was pretty OK.
If you want high end, well then, book a room at the Shangrila Hotel. You’ll also pay a premium price, for all the amenities, higher level of standards and service.
But if you want a serviceable, acceptable, location-can’t-be-beat hotel with reliable staff and a decent free breakfast, then Elan Hotel is the place for you.
Couples - Sep 20, 2017