F1: Fort, Filipino, Family . . .First

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SAM_6336What does F1 Hotel stand for? No, it’s not Formula One I discovered upon checking in.  Rather, it stands for Fort First being the first hotel to be built in The Fort.  In the midst of my overnight stay with the family, I experienced that it could also stand for Family First and Filipino First.

SAM_6339First! The friendly and attentive staff made us feel that we are their priority upon checking in.  During the meeting with the heads of the hotel, it was plain to see that they wanted the Filipino culture aspect to be highlighted.  Chef Sau del Rosario, Executive Chef, explained that the hotel will feature Filipino dishes from all corners of the country during the LUZVIMINDA Food Festival. I think that is a great concept so even Filipinos not familiar with the dishes from the other provinces will get a taste of how the other kabayans like their meals.

SAM_6240Marketing Manager Mikco Maiquez met us at the reception area (and checked up on us every now and then).  General Manager Laurence Peña described the various offerings of the hotel which include a Mother’s Day package, Barbecue Bonding dinner, After-hour cocktail promos and several more. The Mother’s day treat includes pampering from the spa and a family bonding barbecue dinner by the pool side.   Director of Operations, Tony Co warmly welcomed us all and wished us all a great stay.  That began our wonderful staycation at the hotel.

SAM_6358All mothers have to deal with and apologize for their magulo, restless, noisy young children but somehow the staff made such burden and embarrassment lighter by being re-assuring and pleasant.  This is precious for worried mothers.  So I would conclude that if a hotel wants to be a family hotel, the staff has to be prepared for unforeseen little situations which all mothers are constantly wary of.  The staff from the reception, down to the poolside, cafe, and along the elevator way were all sincere, friendly, and concerned which was apparent in their actions. They made the extra effort of interacting with the kids.  The little actions count a lot as it makes mothers relaxed not just physically but mentally as well.

SAM_6224SAM_6229The next observation was the comfortable rooms, the wide, visually appealing 5th floor reception area, the comfy and yummy café, the clean pool and massage area, generally decent facilities considering the hotel is of boutique-size.

SAM_6233Another highlight for me is the signature massage which I had the good fortune of trying out. It was so thorough covering the whole back area including the limbs, then front area and limbs with head, forehead and facial area.  Chef Sau jokingly teased us about the masseuse having six fingers on both hands thus the amazing massage. Just advise the masseuse if it is getting too tough for you, it was a bit hard when it came to the lower back hip area for me.  Overall, it was refreshing and I definitely want to have it again.

SAM_6259SAM_6287The lunch buffet at the 3rd floor Café was a feast of hard to decide dishes as the choices were overwhelming.  The ever-smiling staff, with the accommodating Chef Billy who made a special pasta mix for the kids, made our family lunch date a memorable experience despite the small rice mess of the kids.

SAM_6257A couple of hours after enjoying the hotel’s three pools, it was time to enjoy a Barbecue Family Bonding dinner.  The kids were so at home having their meals by the poolside, returning for seconds and thirds before calling it quits.  Still too excited to retire to the room, the kids changed back to their swimming attire and spent more time enjoying the pool night swimming.

SAM_6272Breakfast the next morning was another feast to conquer, the kind Chef Billy allowed another special treat of pesto carbonara for the kids even though it wasn’t part of the choices.  This just proves the staff’s willingness to go that extra mile just to please the customers.  The assistant chef was also all smiles as he went around offering to prepare crepes with ice cream for the kids. But alas, the eyes were willing but the stomach was full. Can you imagine kids saying no to dessert? Believe me, they were that full.

SAM_6289Check out was a breeze, no incidents that would mar a memorable weekend experience.

Just like a house is not a home when there is no one there, the hotel is not simply a structure but a combination of friendly, helpful people and comfortable surroundings put simply.  F1 is a family home away from home.

F1 Hotel Manila is located at 32nd street, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, call 928.9888/908-7888 or visit www.f1hotelsandresorts.com. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/f1hotelmanila and follow us on Twitter: @f1hotelmanila.

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