Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Staycation: Diamond Hotel

We weren't able to go out of town for a proper summer vacation this year. So sad! Between dealing with our help-less situation, Jojo's hectic work schedule and planning and preparing Sofia's party, there was just no time and energy left. Bummer of a summer, right?

Luckily, one of Sofia's birthday gifts was a voucher for an overnight stay and buffet breakfast at Diamond Hotel. We were so deprived and desperate for a vacation, we booked our stay the weekend after Sofia's party. Excited much, no?

Now, the last (and only) time I've been to Diamond was way back in 1996. My Barkadoodle Ethel had her bonggang debut there. She filled the ballroom with balloons, had so many guests (including all the Barkadoodle parentals) and we partied and danced the night away. Needless to say, I have very good memories associated with the place.

Of course the decor and ambiance has changed since my last visit. The lobby and the restaurants have a more modern and airy feel to it now. But the layout and architecture was what I remembered it to be. And I had to pause for a bit outside the doors of the ballroom. I could picture my barkada and the rest of Ethel's cotillion people dancing to C'mon it's a Choo-choo Train (at least I think that was the title). Major nostalgic moment for me!

Anyway, parking was not a problem as the basement parking was quite huge. Check in was a breeze as well. So we were inside our room within minutes of our arrival at the hotel, which was a huge plus pogi points for the hotel.

Our room was a deluxe suite and we liked it a lot! The entry hallway was wider than most hotels I've been to. I could stretch my arms out on either side of me, and I still won't be able to touch its walls. I guess it was because the hotel structure was old and the cuts of the rooms were bigger than what is norm now. I have to say though, the interior felt new, as if it was refurbished and redone in the last couple of years lang. Another plus for me! It had a king-sized bed, which we had requested, a bathroom with an average-sized bathtub, huge closets with a safe, a well-stocked mini bar, a sofa as well as a coffee table, a television set and good views of Manila Bay.

But, as much as the room was so nice and comfy, we only rested for a while before we got into our swimsuits and headed for the pool. It was an overcast afternoon and we rushed ourselves to get as much swimming done as we can before the rain started. Amazingly, the water was warm, which surprised me because I didn't see any mentions if the pool was heated or not. Anyhoo, we swam until it started drizzling and we were forced to go back to our room.

I perused the room service menu when we got back to the room, and I saw that their rates were slightly more reasonable than the other hotels we had staycations already (Edsa Shang and New World Hotel). But, Jojo suggested that we drive around Ermita/Malate area instead since we rarely venture into these Manila areas. So off we went. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon so the area was quiet and traffic-free. Very nice! We chose to eat dinner at a Korean resto, Korean Palace, which was just okay taste-wise. We went back to the hotel after a quick snack stop at one of the many, many 7-11s around the hotel. We spent the rest of the evening pigging out on our snacks and amusing ourselves with the TV (me and Jojo), coloring books (Ally) and the hallway mirror (Sofia).

Simot in under 15 minutes!
After a good night's rest and yummy breakfast (here), we went back and spent the rest of the morning at the pool. Odd though that the water was significantly colder despite the sunny weather. Oh well. I wasn't curious or bothered enough to try to figure it out. Another weird thing about Diamond Hotel pool was that the closest bathroom to the pool area was a floor down. You would have to go down a flight of stairs if you want to change out of your swimsuits or if you would need to relieve yourself. I found it weird because when you are dripping wet, going down the stairs is not exactly the safest thing to do, right?

We checked out of the hotel shortly after lunch and was back to our normal routine by mid-afternoon. But the short staycation was a very nice and pleasant change of pace. So, thanks Tito Junie for the gift. We had a fab time! 

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