Manila has the ability to feel a little manic from the get-go – Ninoy Aquino International Airport is a veritable hub of confusion owing to scattered terminals and taxi scams, the city is overpopulated, and reports claim it has “the worst traffic on Southeast Asia”. But under 20 minutes away is refuge from it all, courtesy of The Henry Hotel Manila. Not only does this boutique hotel deliver on its promise to be “like no other”, but it’s also achingly charming. Here’s why.
Once the family home of a wealthy Chinese immigrant, The Henry occupies five houses on a vast one-hectare property and retains much of its original 1940s design. As a result, what greets you from the outside are a nondescript entrance and austere exteriors contrasted wonderfully by hip, mid-century interiors.
Get a Room
High ceilings, oversized windows, retro tiles, quirky décor accents, mod lighting fixtures, and mismatched furniture all set the nostalgic tone at the 34 rooms of this hotel, all entirely distinct. Admittedly, the Owner’s Suite is the one to beat, thanks to its massive balcony, vintage patio set, and beautiful clawfoot bathtub. However, it’s the Garden Suite that stole our hearts – we’ll never turn down added privacy and an outdoor shower.
Chew on This
Even the minibar selection at The Henry has character to spare – there’s not a bag of mixed nuts in sight. Instead, you’ll find locally produced snacks that will serve as a great culinary introduction to the Philippines, including yema tarts, banana chips, dried mango, and artisanal chocolate by Theo & Philo.
A celebration of all things local continues into room amenities such as tissue box holders and waste baskets that are made using recycled materials by NGO Kamay Krafts, which provides jobs to unprivileged women in Manila.
Outside, The Henry’s philanthropic efforts are reflected in The Honest Henry, an adorably sized honesty shop that carries Pinoy handicrafts by Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation – think: tote bags inspired by pop art, vividly hued dreamcatchers, handwoven baskets, beaded jewelry, and more.
Play on Words
Confession: we brought both the in-room slippers and notepad back to Dubai, a first for this editor. Not only did we love the typography used, but they also made us smile. Keep your eyes open and you’ll notice a play on words at every turn – leave it to The Henry to use Marilyn Monroe’s quote about wearing Chanel ‘Nº5’ to bed to convince its guests that they don’t need new linens every night.
Whether you park yourself on one of the wrought iron chairs in the lush garden, atop a lounger by the pool that is enveloped by natural foliage, or in the cozy veranda overlooking the central fountain, you’ll find it near-impossible to pry yourself away from the serenity of this oasis. We promise your Manila bucket list can wait.
Between fashion designer Jojie Lloren’s atelier and a leading art gallery owned by gallerist Albert Avellana residing within the compound, a sense of creativity is palpable in the air. The crown jewel, however, has to be Artelano 11, a treasure trove of eclectic furniture, home accessories, and objets d’art owned by interior designer Eric Paras. He happens to be the talent behind The Henry’s interiors, so if you spot something in your room that you absolutely have to have, you’re in luck – it’ll likely be available for purchase.
Comfort food with a gourmet twist is the MO of onsite eatery Apartment 1B, where specialties include ‘Baby Back Ribs’, ‘Spaghetti Vongole’, and the beloved ‘Eggs Benedict’. But what we’re still longing for is the Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream served here. Our vote goes to the ‘Chiqui Monkey’ flavor that features peanut butter blended with bananas, coconut sugar, and dark chocolate chunks – and is vegan. Win-win.
Location, Location, Location
Considering its location in the dynamic neighborhood of Pasay City, The Henry provides easy access to a whole host of cultural attractions like Balikbayan Handicrafts, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and Coconut Palace – all of which are in a 10-minute radius.
Slightly further afield is the historic walled city of Intramuros, an absolute must on everyone’s itinerary for its combination of historic defensive walls, expansive gardens, museums, cathedrals, boutiques, and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend downloading a walking map and renting a Bambike bamboo bicycle from the lobby to take in Spanish-era Manila in a truly unique way.
For more details or to book a stay at The Henry Hotel Manila, click here.