Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Hotel and Inn Review: Star Plaza Hotel (Dagupan City, Pangasinan)

Date of Stay: January 1 - 2, 2019

RATING (Scale of 1 to 10)
Location: ********
Rooms: *******
Condition and Cleanliness: ********
Staff Performance: ********
Room Comfort: *******
Food and Beverage: *******
Other Amenities: *******
Value for Money: *******

Star Plaza Hotel

Pantal River
The 6-storey, 3-star Star Plaza Hotel, overlooking the Pantal River, features 86 spacious and well-appointed, non-smoking airconditioned rooms with flat-screen cable TV, private ensuite bath, telephone, work desk and free newspaper.  Certain units have a seating area and a terrace or balcony. 

During our visit to Dagupan City, we stayed in a 20 sq. m. Junior Twin Room (Php1,500 net) with 2 semi-double beds  (Room 510) and the 32 sq. m. Family Suite (PhP2,500 net) which has 1 king-size bed and a mini-bar (Room 509). Both had no window view and natural lighting and, thus, were quite dark.  There was also no free bottled water and tea/coffee making facility for guests.

Hotel entrance

There are other room types. The 20 sq. m. Junior Double (Php1,500 net, has 1 double bed but no window view.  

The 22 sq. m. Royal Suite (PhP2,100 net), has semi-double beds, balcony/terrace, mini-bar and a river view.  The 22 sq. m. De Luxe Twin has 2 single beds, mini-bar and balcony/terrace.  

Family Suite (Room 509)
Family Suite (Room 509)

The  32 sq. m. Plaza Suite (PhP3,000 net) has 1 super king bed, mini-bar and balcony/terrace.  

The 51 sq. m. Presidential Suite (PhP5,000 net) has 1 super king bed, balcony/terrace, river view, mini-bar, seating area and a bathroom with jacuzzi whirlpool bath. 

Extra mattress is PhP300 while Joiner’s fee is Php200.  Normal check-in time is 2 PM while check out time is 12 noon.  To check in, you have to shell out a PhP1,000 bond which will be reimbursed upon checking out.

Hotel Lobby

Front Desk
The hotel also has three food and beverage outlets.  

The 150-pax, ground floor Star Ocean Restaurant offers seafood and Asian and Chinese cuisine for fine dining.  Open 3 PM to 12 midnight (dinner only). 

The second floor Patisserie offers a basic but tasty ala carte breakfast (not free with the room) and light meals (freshly squeezed juices, sandwiches, ice cream and brewed coffee).  Open 7AM to 12 midnight. The second floor videoke bar, open from 8 AM to 12 midnight, has 12 private rooms with audio visual music entertainment.  

Junior Twin Room (Room 510)
Junior Twin Room (Room 510)

Business center
Stairs to second floor
Star Plaza Hotel also has a 24-hour front desk, two elevators, 500-800-pax grand ballroom, 150-pax function rooms and a business center (fax services, photocopying, document printing, and equipment rentals).

There's also a flower/gift shop (open 8AM to 7 PM), unisex salon (open 10 AM to 8PM, Mondays to Saturdays, and 11AM to 8PM, Sundays) and secured but limited and open onsite parking along the river. 

It offers room service, currency exchange, daily housekeeping, safety deposit box, laundry and pressing service.

The fine dining Star Ocean Restaurant

The hotel staff was courteous and helpful.  Check in was fast and efficient.  The hotel does need a major facelift as it is quite old.  Located at the center of the city, Star Plaza was very accessible to establishments around the Dagupan-Downtown area.  

Most are just a stone’s throw away (Chowking, Jollibee, Am-Ams Restaurant, True Brew, etc.).  It is also a 10 min. walk to Dagupan City Plaza and Nepo Mall.  

The author and Jandy having breakfast at Patisserie

Flower/Gift Shop
Videoke Bar
The hotel is also located 4.4 kms. (2.7 mi.) from the Annunciation of the Lord Parish Church, 4.6 kms. (2.9 mi.) from St. Peter and St. Paul Church (Calasiao), 9 kms. (5.6 mi.) from Bonuan Beach,  9.2 kms. (5.7 mi.) from the Japanese Garden,  27.6 kms. (17.1 mi.) from Urdaneta Museum and 28.1 kms. (17.4 mi.) from Immaculate Conception Cathedral, both in Urdaneta City. Good value for money

Kyle, Bryan and Cheska at the Reception Area

Star Plaza Hotel: Angel B Fernandez Ave., Downtown District, Mayombo, Dagupan City, 2400 Pangasinan.  Tel: (075) 523 4888 (Trunk) and (075) 523-4680 to 85.  Fax: (075) 523-4777 or 522-0030. Mobile numbers: (0999) 857-4355 (Smart) and (0915) 906-5004 (Globe).  E-mail: info@starplazadagupan.com. Website: www.starplazadagupan.com.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Grand Opening of The Peak at Grand Hyatt Manila (Taguig City)

The Peak at Grand Hyatt Manila

Bonifacio Global City, The Metro’s clubbing central, now has a grand addition to its roster of super clubs, private clubs, grills and speakeasies.   

Called The Peak at Grand Hyatt Manila (or simply The Peak), it is a beautiful, multi-level combination of a grill restaurant, speakeasy, high-energy whiskey bar and a music lounge, each a destination on its own.   

These, plus more, as it also has a view that can be found nowhere else, being perched on 60th and 62nd floors (each floor is two storeys) of the 281.78 m. (924.5 ft.) high, 66-storey and 461-room Grand Hyatt Hotel, the tallest building in the Philippines.

The Peak Bar 

The Peak had its official grand opening just last November 23, with members of print and online media invited as well as other guests.  

Inside the elevator, on the way up to the 60th floor, guests were serenaded, by the elevator attendant, with their version of the Frank Sinatra staple “Fly Me to the Moon.” 

At the lobby, we were welcomed and enthralled by a stunning and elegant interior inspired by the textures of traditional Filipino tattoo patterns, masterfully designed by Nao Taniyama & Associates (a Tokyo-based international design firm).  

Lounge area with leather seats

The feel of penthouse living 

The interior space, taking inspiration from organic nature and contemporary Oriental vibe, was not one big open area.  

Rather, its concept was inspired by penthouse living (where one room flows to another) with private, residence-style rooms with leather seats, set against the sweeping Manila skyline backdrop.  

Able to accommodate several intimate groups, it gave a cozy and laid back ambiance of a living room, truly a perfect spot for a night out with friends. 

Lounge area with Metro Manila's skyline as backdrop
Lounge area

Bartender at work
Cigars being hand rolled
Different, but still awesome, no two rooms are alike but all offer different de luxe experiences. 

A staircase connects the 60th and 61st floors. 

The pattern of the octagonal solihiya (split cane weave) is the prevalent design detail on furniture and panels and derivatives of it also form the woven structures. 

The solihiya motif is seen just about everywhere
Dining area

The Whiskey Bar has a spacious lounge where guests can unwind, a 14-pax main dining table and its own private kitchen, perfect for private parties.

A  rustic table with a top made from a single wood slab 
Whiskey Bar with its own private kitchen

The main restaurant is a grill steakhouse set with an open kitchen centerpiece where one can see how your food is expertly prepared by Chef de Cuisine Manuel Baenziger and his team.  And what an impressive array it was –Maryland crab cakes; succulent Coquilles St. Jacques (baked US scallop with mushrooms and gruyere cheese); artisan farmhouse cheeses with bread, cracker, dried fruit, nut and chutney; cured ham such as Pata Negra, Jamon Iberico from Spain, Jamon de Bayonne from France and Culatello di Zibello from Italy; properly cooked steaks (Australian Wagyu Rib-Eye, US prime beef tenderloin , etc.); grilled Tiger prawns with garlic, herbs and lime; and the best oysters (Fine de Claire, Belon or Irish) and the signature Chocolate Florentine Cake.

The open kitchen

They also have an impressive list of fine wine from California; whiskies from Scotland, Ireland and Japan; and French Champagne. They also offer hand-rolled cigars. There’s also a romantic open deck where you can hang out to watch the sunset (weather permitting), revel in the cool breeze and, as this is the perfect spot and height, to enjoy the 360-degree, skyline view of Uptown Bonifacio Global City.

Panoramic view of BGC skyline at night
Brightly-lit skyscrapers

To entertain guests throughout the night, the music lounge will feature international bands, DJs and other musical performances with Manila’s top bartenders serving the best cocktails. For the grand opening, The Peak headlined  The Legacy Band, with Lucile Bannholtzer and Michele Lurili, Clifford Myers, Thomas Gilbert and Rustein Merriweather dishing out hits from the 1980s (Bohemian Rhapsody, Dancing Queen, Play That Funky Music, etc.) to the present (Despacito, etc.).

Legacy Band

For more privacy and intimate conversations, guest can also settle on the upper level of the music lounge where you can still hear the live performance and get a bird’s eye view of the stage.

The upper level of the music lounge

This place was really an exciting place to see, hang out and have a good time, as it took us from dining, to drinks and then to an exceptional experience of the high life. 

L-R: blogger Mr. Melo Villareal, Ms. Karmina de Ungria (Director of Marketing Communications - Grand Hyatt Manila), publicist Mr. Pete Dacuycuy, blogger Ms. Ma. Joy Calipes-Felizardo and the author

Grand Hyatt Manila’s nightclub and entertainment center, this multipurpose concept steakhouse bar really offers the best in its culinary experience and impeccable service. 

Lounge area

Dining area

According to Benjamin Schertzer, Manager of The Peak, “We are excited to welcome guests and to show them what we have created for them; because we believe that The Peak is best explained through experience. From interiors, dining and live entertainment, there will always be something new waiting to be discovered.”

Dining area

The Peak at Grand Hyatt Manila: 60th and 62nd Floor,, Grand Hyatt Manila, 8th Ave. cor. 35th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City 1634, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 838-1234.  Website: www.hyatt.com/grand-hyatt-manila/. Email: thepeak.manila.grand@hyatt.com. Instagram: @grandhyattmanilaph. Facebook: Grand Hyatt Manila PH.