Picture it: Manila, December 2002. After checking out of the Manila Hotel, a newlywed couple gets lost on a self-driven road trip down south, envisioning an unforgettable stay at Villa Escudero and ending up spending their second night together in a godforsaken pool resort somewhere in Laguna (or is it Cavite)? After that horrific day, the newlywed couple heads back to Manila to start the rest of their lives together with a stay at the Manila Diamond Hotel. It’s a great start: four years later, the couple is still going strong, and the Diamond Hotel is going even stronger.

For us, the Diamond Hotel is arguably one of the best hotels in Manila, and with good reason. We had heard good things about the Diamond Hotel, and after viewing the photographs and writeup on the Diamond Hotel’s official website, we knew we wanted to stay there eventually. Little did we know the terrible trip after our wedding would bring us to the Diamond Hotel earlier than we anticipated. Much to our pleasure, the Diamond Hotel did not disappoint, and instead delivered delightfully.

The superior guest room we were given was spacious, clean, elegant, and afforded a wonderful view of the world-famous Manila Bay. A lovely fruit basket and complimentary bottles of mineral water greeted us upon check-in, and we truly enjoyed the comfortable – extremely comfortable 😉 – bed. Lighting was comfortable, air-conditioning was more than pleasant, robes and slippers were provided, and carpeting and beddings was spotless.

The bathroom facilities were no less impressive. Set in marble and immaculately clean to a fault, the Diamond Hotel’s guest rooms delighted us immensely, and has since set the standard by which we judge hotels in Manila. We were given the opportunity to use the exercise room, the swimming pool, and the jacuzzi, but only my wife took advantage of that; I stayed indoors and enjoyed my “me time” with the Diamond Hotel’s stellar cable service providing me quality CNN time.

A separate mention for the Diamond Hotel’s pool. While it wasn’t large by most five-star hotels’ standards, it was landscaped so prettily that my wife could not resist a dip in it. With landscaped waterfalls and plants all around, it was a lovely place. To rephrase Pacha, “when the sun hits the water just right, the entire pool area sings.”

We also had the opportunity to dine at the Diamond Hotel’s fine-dining facility, Le Bellevue. I had a steak well done, and my wife a lovely fish dish the name of which I forget at this moment.

The breakfast buffet is among the best we’ve enjoyed in Manila. Good selection of healthy foods – oatmeals, rice porridges, cereals, and breads – to go with the food that is good for the soul (corned beef, all types of sausages, eggs, and other meats). I even had the opportunity to speak with the omelette chef (!), who regaled me with amusing stories about how she ended up a chef, while she made me a killer cheese and tomato omelette.

The only flaw, if any, in the Diamond Hotel’s set-up is a relatively open parking area. While obviously patrolled by hotel staff and the occasional meter maid/man, its open parking does not lend itself to perfect security. Parking inside the hotel – its basement, I believe -is available, but that particular day we checked in, we parked outside, and I wasn’t sure we would wake up the next morning to our car still being there (thankfully, it was, and we would advise all travelers checking into the Diamond Hotel to insist on parking inside the hotel).

Service, accommodations, food… there was virtually nothing the Diamond Hotel could not provide that did not satisfy or thrill, and we would not think twice about staying there. Truly a jewel in Manila.

Original review on TripAdvisor.com