Monday, February 18, 2019

A Heritage Experience At The Rizal Park Hotel

Last November, 2018, I had the privilege of another heritage experience, this time at the former Army Navy Club of Manila, now known as The Rizal Park Hotel.  I spent three days of comfort, warmth and beauty in this wonderfully renovated and preserved edifice.  If you are the type who likes to avoid big crowds and noisy places, this is the place for you. 


I was in town to attend a convention at The Manila Hotel, which was usually where I would be staying, but unfortunately this time, we could not get rooms for the 4 consecutive days of the convention. Then, I remembered that the year before, I saw the dilapidated and abandoned Army Navy Club building across the park being renovated, and I wondered if it was now open for business. I thought it would be a lovely experience to stay there. You see as a young girl visiting my grandparents in Pasay City, I often see this place and thought how nice it must be inside, but as an exclusive enclave for members only, this place was off-limits for ordinary people like me.  Well, today it is no longer that and my childhood curiosity has finally been quenched. 


Clear skies under the noon day sun was my view entering the driveway. The facade looked awesome and my stay became all the more promising.  Entering the front doors brings one back in time. The building was designed by William E. Parsons and has his characteristic trademark of the generous use of arches. In fact these arches continue to dominate the exterior and interior of the hotel.

 

But the renovation of the Army Navy Club was not without controversy.  The building was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1991 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and because of this, the hotel's developer faced varied criticisms from conservationists when it's restoration started.  But, all's well that ends well because the hotel had it's soft opening in July 2017. 






 

The Rizal Park Hotel is an excellent testament to adaptive reuse. The architect and developer did everything right to restore this building to it's former glory and critics/detractors should apologize.

My room had a view of the bay and furnishings were elegant, tasteful and most importantly, comfortable. I fell in love with the hand painted floors (machuca tiles) and the courtyard, where one can experience quiet and some sense of history (see photos above). Sitting quietly here, I can imagine how club members would be sitting, talking and smoking cigars here.  

As for food? The breakfast buffet was good and choices were varied (alas, it lacked...bacon, then again, is bacon Chinese?).  I was always in a rush during the 3 days, that it was only on the last day before I checked out that I fully enjoyed my breakfast.  The hotel has a casino, but no swimming pool yet.  Accessibility is not a problem, as it is very near to shopping malls, restaurants, museums, theme parks and other historical places.  Do I sound like I am loving the place? Yes, I am and will surely come back for a longer stay, one day soon.

The Rizal Park Hotel is located at South Road Drive, TM Kalaw Ext., Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000 with telephone numbers (02)804 8700. 




Disclaimer:This is not a paid post and the writer is not connected in any way to the hotel and it's management.


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