Originally published March 2017 as Issue #85
When Discovery Suites invited us for an overnight stay, we were mighty curious if it would compare with the incredible stay we had at their fabulous hotel overlooking gorgeous Tagaytay.
It was. We realized that in each Discovery hotel, there is always something (actually, many things) that is (are!) simply amazing.
For one, we were surprised by the sheer number of people in the lobby. At first I thought it was the due to chaos of the holiday season but later on, we realised that the lobby leads not just to the 220-hotel suites tower but also the tower of offices on the other side. Yet the friendly and professional hotel staff at the Front Desk, specifically Melvin Lipango, came to our quick assistance. One man in particular stood out from the smiling faces: Frank Manuel who helped carry our luggage during check in and check out. What stood out from his demeanor is how he seemed to be quite happy to serve guests despite the din and heat that came with the crowds. Front Office Manager Joyce Nadres explained that Manuel is part of the crew who has been with Discovery almost from the moment they opened on Valentine’s Day 2000. A happy employee of long standing usually means the guests can expect an extraordinary level of service. If the hotel can keep their people happy, they can very well keep guests happy. Oh, my daughter and I were smiling hugely when Nadres presented each of us with a large bouquet of different blooms in an explosion of colors. We should have expected to be welcomed the Discovery way. Flowers always make me happy. And the really hefty weight of mine would have been useful for toning up my arm muscles.
There were plenty of reasons to be happy about during our short overnight stay. Like a welcome fruit basket and a table spread with assorted fruits, cakes and nuts that made up for the very long drive from the south. A handwritten welcome note from the management. Our family picture in a snappy red frame that made our very comfortable one-bedroom suite feel more like home. That quintessential Discovery touch of pillowcases embroidered with each of the names of my family (now we have two each, such a memorable souvenir). A cool fruity drink to welcome us before Nadres gave us a tour of the hotel’s restaurants, events rooms, spa and entertainment spaces.
Back in our suite, I made a note of the little things that pinged my interest: the spaciousness of the lounging area (with a writing desk, flat-screen TV, sofa and armchairs), the roomy sleeping area (two queen-size beds, another flat-screen TV, reading lights, a work table and plenty of cabinets), the extra wide and squeaky clean bathroom with a bathtub that my daughter promptly sequestered (plus a separate shower stall, plenty of counter space, complete bath amenities, fluffy towels and robes, hair dryer and the piece de resistance: a magnifying mirror perfect for applying makeup flawlessly), and enough room in the kitchen that has everything you need — lots of cabinets, a good-sized ref, convection cooktop, cookware, utensils, flatware, plates and everything else you need including a sponge and dishwashing liquid. The suite even has an ironing board and iron in case you want to touch up your clothes. All these amenities reminded me that Discovery Suites was the pioneer service hotel in Ortigas when it opened 27 years ago. Now guests especially business travelers can appreciate the hotel’s strong WiFi and strategically placed electrical outlets which make working from any area in the suite much more convenient. So aside from the soothing neutral shades, framed wall art, abundant sunshine and space, we also dig that both lounge and rest areas have floor to ceiling glass panes. Perfect for watching the sun go down behind the buildings that make up the business district of Ortigas.
We had a better vantage point to watch the sunset and the sky burst in colors of orange and purple at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, 22 Prime. But we cannot believe that the spectacular sunset view was superseded by the superb, utterly superb food and wines at this quiet and intimate restaurant. 22 Prime is described as the place where steak-ations are more than spectacular (than a glorious sunset, yes). The efficient Jeff dela Rosa assisted us the entire time and helped us make excellent choices. Our early dinner started with a variety of fresh baked breads (crispy Lavosh, soft rolls, tomato brioche and potato bread) with three kinds of home made spreads (the sun dried tomato tapenade was so good!). For starters, we had the rich and fresh Lobster Bisque and the healthier but very good Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup. Then dela Rosa presented a serious-looking briefcase for our selection of steak knives, our “weapon of choice for the evening”. He knew from experience that we needed a weapon to deal with Prime’s Tomahawk, USDA Prime Angus Bone In Ribeye. The Incredible Hulk will be delighted with this humungous slab of 1,000 grams of prime steak goodness with bone — one kilo lying gloriously on a heavy wooden platter with grilled asparagus, tomato parmesan gratin, potato gratin and three sauces: 22 Prime Sauce, Three Peppercorn Brandy and Tarragon Sauce. Now I understand why some people say that a really good steak is akin to having a religious experience. We also had perfectly prepared Black Truffle Risotto (with soft egg, roasted mushrooms, truffle oil snd shaved parmesan) and melt-in-the-mouth Pan-Seared Foie Gras with House pineapple jam, toasted brioche and balsamic grape gastrique. A bottle of Spanish Tempranillo and Syrah was the perfect accompaniment to the sublime dinner. The dessert menu looked good, but at this point we couldn’t squeeze an inch of cake in our happy, full tummies. Incidentally, the Serendipity Lounge, located right off 22 Prime, offers live music from 7-9pm every Wednesday and Friday. Dinner on those nights would be more fun, I bet.
Discovery Suites’ Marketing Communications Officer Sabrina Sy dropped by our table just to check how our stay was going so far. She even personally delivered a customized holiday gift. The surprises kept coming at the late hour and we were getting a little bit spoiled.
What to do after a sumptuous dinner? Why, snack some more with cheese, fruits, dried nuts and a bottle of wine! The bedtime treat came with another handwritten goodnight card. Turndown service included slippers and a pristine cloth mat embroidered with “Good Night” for each family member. Discovery seriously pampered us during our stay. A well-rested night was followed by breakfast buffet at Restaurant 5 which featured a wide selection of international cuisine (Chinese, Italian, Filipino, American), plus juices and coffee. Best to have breakfast early so you are assured of a table. A queue has formed by the time we finished breakfast at 9am. And take note, everyday is breakfast buffet.
We were tempted to swim off the calories in their shaded pool, a plus for Filipinas who love to swim without tanning. At only 4feet deep, even non -swimmers can enjoy the pool. Like me for example, I much prefer being able touch the bottom of the pool as I never got the hang of treading water. But the lure of our suite’s air conditioned comfort and plush beddings were irresistible.
Discovery Suites really set the bar high on spoiling guests and ensuring complete relaxation with excellent food, top rate service, a spacious suite that is delicately scented, and all the surprising extras that give a warm welcome and guarantee an unforgettable stay. And at checkout, we were assisted again by the very friendly and super efficient Frank Manuel. It’s true: contented employees make guests feel good.
There is always something new to experience at a Discovery hotel. We’ve been blessed to stay at two so far and each experience is unique. But one thing remains constant: their ability to delight guests with thoughtful touches and surprises.
Yep, there is always something amazing to discover at Discovery.
Discovery Suites is located at 25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. To book your suite and make your own discoveries, call (63 2)719.8888. Visit www.discoverysuites.com for more information.