As known by most, Hotel Benilde Maison serves as a training ground for students of De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. Some would even think that the hotel is ran by the Lasallian Community itself, the former is somewhat true. The hotel accepts 4-5 students per trimester from De La Salle University – Benilde who are taking the HRIM program (Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management). However, the hotel is currently managed by its employees of more than 30 after it went public in 2015.
Whoever runs the hotel is doing a wonderful job of keeping the services and facilities on point. After we checked in, they gave us a key card to access the elevator to our floor and it also serves as a key for our room. There was a slight problem with the elevator as our key card wasn’t working and we couldn’t get up to our floor. The guards and the receptionist swiftly mitigated the situation and gave us a replacement keycard that eventually worked. I was glad that the employees are quick on their feet on situations like that.
I immediately liked the ambiance as we headed to our room. Soft jazz music played along the corridors and it invited an aura of relaxation. We stayed in a Superior Twin Room with a view of the city of Manila. Upon entering the room, I wanted to dive in the bed and cover myself in its duvet beddings, especially since it was raining outside that day.
I would say that Hotel Benilde has 4-star amenities. Apart from the comfortable, plump beds, it has a divan for an extra guest or if you simply want to lay back and rest with the view of the city and the spark of the sunlight. Other amenities include an electronic Do Not Disturb, Make Up Room and doorbell buttons at the entrance, an in-room safety box, a mini-refrigerator, individual room temperature control, a hair dryer, a multi-functional iPod dock which you can connect to your iPod or iPhone via Bluetooth, and built-in bedside reading lights (great for book lovers like me!). And of course, the hotel’s fast complimentary WiFi were up to our standards as we could take Skype calls and work throughout the day without any problems on internet connection.
After unpacking, we headed down to Café Romancon for snacks and to redeem our welcome drinks. We ordered their best-selling appetizers while we chose a pineapple drink and iced tea for our welcome drinks.
Three Musketeers (PHP 250.00)
Crispy fried cheddar cheese rolled in pastry with Mary Rose dressing
Wild Wild Wings (PHP 230.00)
Deep fried marinated chicken wings braised in mild spicy, sweet and sour sauce served with French fries.
Guests and non-guests can enjoy the international cuisine offered by Café Romancon until 10 PM. We had the delight of choosing from its menu a variety of dishes of meat, fish, pasta, soup, salad, and dessert.
We ordered the following dishes (descriptions are based on the menu):
Penne Carbonara (PHP 190.00)
Pasta with bacon, egg and cream
Seafood Linguine (PHP 280.00)
Shrimp, calamari, mussels, and fish sautéed in olive oil, garlic, onions and plum tomatoes on pasta
Norwegian Salmon (PHP 390.00)
Pan fried salmon with creamy leek sauce, garden vegetables on mashed potato
Friesian Express (PHP 350.00)
Seared hanging beef tender with rosemary pan jus, served with seasonal vegetables and country style fried potato wedges
Barbecued Pork Ribs (PHP 350.00)
Tender pork ribs with tangy barbecue sauce served with buttered vegetables and mashed potato
I particularly liked the Norwegian Salmon for its crisp skin and the sauce perfectly complements the dish. We had a favorite on the Seafood Linguine for its nice texture and flavorful seafood variety (gotta love those mussels!). I should also have a special mention on the complementary pasta bread that is one of the perfectly good breads I ever tasted because of its seasonings and its nice, crispy crust that one looks for in every bread.
For dessert we had:
Cheese Tart (PHP 225.00)
Golden baked fragrant pastry filled with sharp creamy filling
Crema Catalana (PHP 120.00)
Traditional custard from Catalonia
Aside from the ones they have on the menu, you can also order their cakes on display such as:
Strawberry Cheesecake (PHP 140.00 / Slice; PHP 1000.00 Whole)
Blueberry Cheesecake (PHP 140.00 / Slice; PHP 1000 Whole)
Mango Delight (PHP 95 / Slice; PHP 700.00 Whole)
Café Romancon opens its breakfast buffet until 10 AM. We could dig in to classic Filipino breakfast food such as tuna, eggs, pork tocino and garlic rice. The buffet also includes mushroom soup, assorted fresh fruits, a variety of cereals and bread spreads, and three kinds of cheeses. I had a good start on my day as I was full and satisfied of the breakfast they served.
Vatel Restaurant Manila
Vatel Restaurant is pioneered by Chef Pierre Cornelis who currently imparts his knowledge of the culinary arts to the students of College of Saint Benilde. This restaurant is managed by Benildeans who serves its guests with Mediterranean-French cuisines. You would feel elegant dining here with its interior rustic but modern design with the perfect view of the skyline of Manila. The vibe of the restaurant is perfect for a variety of special occasions like birthdays or if you would simply like to unwind and spend a romantic evening with a special someone. It is located on the roof deck of Hotel Benilde and it is open from 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM.
We were able to check the gym facilities as we were wandering around our corridor (11th floor). It includes showers and it has the basic gym equipment for cardio and muscle work-outs.
On the roof deck behind Vatel Restaurant lies the hotel’s swimming pool. It has a great outdoor garden decoration perfect as a background for photos. The small pool is only below 5 feet so you can just relax into the water while admiring the Manila skyline.