Our Valentine’s Weekend Staycation at F1 Hotel

My husband and I are both musicians, and that means that our work schedule is unpredictable compared to office work. It also means that during weekends and holidays, we are often working while others are taking a break from their jobs. Valentine’s Day is definitely an occasion during which, more often than not, musicians are working rather than dating. Lucky for me and Casey, since we both are musicians, we can have a work date (which while fun, is not as fun as a date date, but at least we’re together). Haha. This year though, Casey managed to inject a huge dose of romance into our Valentine’s work date by surprising me with a string quartet arrangement of one of my favorite songs! He had been spending hours on his computer the past few days before Valentine’s, and I thought he was playing games, but it turns out he was busy arranging a song for me, which we played during our Valentine’s Day set. Suffice to say, we had a great Valentine’s Day. He also bought us a voucher for an overnight stay at F1 Hotel in BGC, which we were able to use last Sunday.

string quartet Philippines Manila String Machine

Valentine’s Day surpriseHappy family Valentine’s Day

We got a Deluxe Room, which was spacious enough for the three of us. I requested for a crib for Wolf, which at first lacked a piece in its base. We called room service, and they were quick to replace the crib’s base. Overall, I was happy with the room, which was styled nicely and was spotless. The bed was very comfortable, with pristine sheets and pillows with just the right amount of fluff. The towels and bath robes were soft and thick. We had a few minor issues — the floor was fake wood and not carpeted, the bathroom had no tub (making it more challenging to bathe Wolf), and the aircon placement resulted in a draft on one side of the bed.

I took a few pictures but was not able to fix the lighting, because Wolf was not enjoying his crib and wanted me to carry him (as you will clearly see in the pictures). Haha.

F1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe Room

For dinner, we walked over to High Street. BGC on Sundays is great for strolling around, as there are few cars and lots of dogs, which Wolf enjoyed seeing. With the many restaurants, malls, and bars in BGC, you won’t run out of things to do when you stay at F1. We decided to have dinner at Sunnies Cafe, so we could avail of their Buy 1 Take 1 Ricotta Pancakes promo via the Booky app. Aside from the pancakes, we ordered fried chicken and carbonara. Little did we know, one order of pancakes was a stack of four! We ended up having the second order to go. It was our first time in Sunnies, and we enjoyed the food and ambience. Wolf enjoyed their nice wooden high chair and gobbled up a bit of everything we ordered!

At Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies Cafe

At Sunnies Cafe

At Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies Cafe

We went back to the hotel happily full, and Wolf promptly fell asleep, dutifully giving his parents some quality time alone. What a good little boy. Hehe. The next day, we went down for buffet breakfast a bit late. We got there past 9:30 and the buffet was closing at 10:00 (last call)! It was like one of those timed shopping sprees, wherein you just dump as much as you can into your cart. I got a bit of almost everything and ended up with a plate overflowing with food. Casey had no trouble piling his plate with his usual fare — bacon, sausages, eggs. The food was pretty good. Of note was the bacon that was quite crispy, the scrambled eggs that were creamy, and the cold cuts and cheese selection, which although limited was of good quality and paired very nicely with the breakfast rolls.

Breakfast at F1 Hotel

F1 Hotel breakfast buffet

After breakfast, we tried out their pool. Among their three pools, I chose to try their 4-foot one with Wolf so I could carry him easily in the water. The water was way too cold, unfortunately, and so we didn’t stay long. Next time, we will look for hotels with indoor heated pools so that Wolf can stay longer in the water.

F1 Hotel poolF1 Hotel pool

Checking out of the hotel was a breeze, and we appreciated being granted a late checkout of 1 pm, especially since Wolf decided to nurse after swimming, leaving me no time to put on makeup or even brush my hair! Haha. We didn’t bring a car, but getting an Uber was quite easy. One of the big advantages of F1 Hotel is its prime location in the heart of BGC. I’d love to have another staycation in the area, and I certainly wouldn’t mind going back to F1 Hotel. It was a Happy Valentine’s Weekend indeed!

At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel

Food, Parenting, Travel

Our Family Staycation at Hotel Jen

Last Sunday, we kicked off the new year with a staycation at Hotel Jen. My dad and his wife, Tita Josie, gave us a gift certificate for an overnight stay at a Deluxe Room. The funny thing is Hotel Jen is right across Casey’s work place, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). So as we drove to the hotel, he felt like he was on the way to work. Haha.

Although Hotel Jen is under the Shangri-la group, it is just a four-star hotel, unlike the Shangri-la hotels in Edsa, Makati, and BGC, which are five-star establishments. The branding of Hotel Jen is hip and urban. They seem to be targeting yuppies. Given the four-star rating, we were not expecting Hotel Jen to be faultless. We had, for example, to take into account that the building was quite old, as it was formerly Traders Hotel. I hoped that we would not be assigned to one of the refurbished rooms, but alas, that is what we got.

The corridor of our floor smelled musty and was dimly lit. The room itself seemed a bit worn down, but it was clean and spacious. The bed was comfortable and had pristine sheets. Wolf highly enjoyed the crib that they provided, as it was just the right height for him to peep over at us. The bathroom was a bit small but well equipped with basic toiletries, a tub and shower, and hot water. Funnily enough, the toilet was exactly the same model as our toilet at home. The view outside was terrible, in Casey’s opinion, at least. It was a view of CCP. He didn’t look out the window even once. Haha.

hotel jen deluxe roomHotel Jen deluxe roomHotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room

The food at the breakfast buffet of Hotel Jen was, unfortunately, several notches below the food at Shangri-la group’s five star hotels. The bread was dry, and the bacon was not crispy. The spread of dishes was limited and unremarkable. The only part of breakfast that I enjoyed was my omelette, which was prepared fresh at the egg station. The eggs were perfectly fluffy and creamy.

Hotel Jen has an outdoor pool, and so Wolf was able to swim for the second time in his life. Unfortunately, the water was quite chilly, and so we didn’t stay long.

Hotel Jen outdoor pool

What Hotel Jen lacked in accommodations and food, they made up for in service. All the staff members were cheerful and attentive. Booking a room, checking in, and checking out were a breeze, as the receptionists, guards, and cleaning staff all worked efficiently.

We enjoyed our stay at Hotel Jen, because Wolf liked the new environment, because the bed was quite comfortable, and because service was excellent. However, I don’t think we will go back unless we are assured of better accommodations. I’m not sure if all their rooms are merely refurbished or if they actually have newly built rooms. This is something you should definitely ask if you plan to stay at this hotel. It’s ironic that Hotel Jen’s branding is youthful and fun, but their building and rooms are old and worn down.

Although we may not return to Hotel Jen, we are excited to try other hotels soon. The staycation was a great way for us to relax and enjoy some family time (aka time away from Casey’s computer and PS4). Haha! Here’s to more staycations this 2018!

Mom and babyMom, dad, and baby