What do you do when your half-sister who’s only been in the Philippines for a little over six months turns 18? Why, you treat her to an entire day of relaxation and dining at Midas Hotel & Casino, of course.
It’s been a bizarre couple of months, and there has been a lot of adjusting for both parties, but for the most part, Laila and I have been getting along magnificently. A few days before her birthday she had asked me what a ‘debut’ was and why her classmates were asking if she was going to have one, and after I explained the basic goings on in the Philippines’ tradition, she made a face and that was that. Still, I did want her foray into adulthood to be a memorable one, and since he had mentioned in passing how she had never stayed at a hotel before, I booked a weekend at the hip and modern Midas Hotel for a weekend of indulgence and glutinous debauchery.
The Midas Hotel & Casino
I had recently signed up for a Midas Gold Card Membership and had been wanting to put it to good use, and the weekend birthday staycation was a great excuse to use it. Located along Roxas Boulevard of what was formerly the old Hyatt Hotel (before it moved, and then moved again), the hotel gives a nod to its historical roots by keeping one of the Hyatt’s old walls, displayed by the posh lobby of the hotel encased in glass.
Upon entering, their distinct Midas smell is the first thing that you notice, followed by the shiny shelves decorated with bright orange Hermès boxes complimenting the Philippe Starck chairs strategically placed around the lobby. Check in was a breeze, and Laila was so pleased to be given a welcome drink of what I think was dalandan juice.
It’s always fun to see which floor you end up in at the Midas Hotel, each one decorated with a certain theme, from the lobby all the way up to each suite. Ours had a tropical Asian theme, with hand-painted banana leaves and wooden bird cages painted onto the cream walls.
The deluxe room was comfortable enough for two with a British Indian design. The sheets were Egyptian cotton bed linen and the thick goose-down mattress topper and fluffy duvet made you want to slip under the covers with a book and not get out for days. Midas Hotel also provides a pillow menu for the discerning sleeper.
Included with the overnight accommodation is breakfast for two at Midas Café, complimentary coffee and tea, free wi-fi access, as well as complimentary scheduled service to the SM Mall of Asia.
The bathroom is still that of the old Hyatt and looks a little worn out, but it still comes with an Asian-sized (read: small) tub, which is rare for some of the newer hotels in Metro Manila these days. I hear they’ve renovated the Executive suites, so I’m assuming their soaking tubs would be a bit bigger. The complimentary bath products are similar to that of those found in The Westin Resort and Spa in Cancun and smell of green tea and bamboo.
Midas Executive Lounge
Although usually reserved for the guests occupying the Executive floors, we were given access to the the revamped Midas Executive Lounge on the 9th floor as a special birthday treat. The lounge offers offers luxurious amenities such as complimentary private breakfast, daily newspapers and lifestyle magazines, coffee table books, internet access and an afternoon tea.
There was a strong typhoon out the day we checked in, so we stayed here for the most part, binge-watching shows and catching up on each others’ lives. Oh, and eating. A lot of eating!
We had come in just in time for tea, and I promptly settled down to a cup of Earl Grey and a couple of finger sandwiches. Laila, isn’t as fond of the British staple as I was, and asked one of the servers for a cappuccino instead, which was quickly served to our little corner. We quietly watched as the rain battered the windows with big, fat droplets as the wind howled outside, each to our own thoughts for a little while.
Laila has quite the sweet tooth, as a soon discovered, and her favorite part of all the food decked out was the little dessert bar. There was an assortment of jars filled with cookies, jellied sweets, homemade marshmallows, macarons, and lollies, delectable looking petit fours, and fruit kebabs. The staff filled and refilled the buffet table all day – and Laila just kept on eating all day.
My favorite time at the lounge is between 6pm to 8:30pm, which is when they offer Sunset Session Cocktails. It may have been storming outside, but that didn’t stop the mojitos from flowing!
Still pretty happy from my sunset buzz, we headed to the Mezzanine for a buffet dinner at Yanagi, Midas Hotel’s Japanese restaurant. It makes total sense to offer buffet lunch and dinners when your hotel is right next to the Japanese Embassy! I have always loved dining at Yanagi – their offerings may not be as varied as most, but what they lack in quantity they definitely make up for in quality with sushi and teppan. They also have an ala carte menu you can order from, with Executive Chef, Kimito Katagiri, presenting each dish like he would a little work of art.
The buffet station offers everything from potato croquettes, to sukiyaki, to almond-covered salmon, but the teppan station steals the scene with squid, white fish, shrimp, beef, and chicken all lined up for the picking. From the ala carte menu, the Aburi Sushi is a must try, with slices of hamachi, eel, salmon, tuna, and Grouper torched on the outside yet raw and firm on the inside, topped with tobiko and fresh fruit. For a different type of dessert, ask if they have any homemade wasabi or black sesame ice cream on hand, to make for a memorable end to a sumptuous meal.
Needless to say, my sister and I were stuffed afterwards, retired to our rooms to supposedly catch up on American Horror Story, but ended up passing out on the bed that felt like sleeping on a giant marshmallow after consuming all that alcohol. Happy birthday, indeed!
We woke up bright and early the next day, with Laila excited to explore what was on offer at Midas Café that morning – it bewildered me to discover that not only had she never stayed at a hotel before, but last night was her first ever buffet experience. The café had a good mix of Asian and Western breakfast options, as expected, and I zeroed in on my breakfast staples of eggs, bacon, and toast, with a few slices of cheese and a hash brown thrown in for good measure.
While my sister went a little crazy, getting everything from yogurt to noodles, I ended with a decadent plate of pancakes with almost everything on it – pistachios, chocolate nibs, cream, and blueberry jam – all drizzled with maple syrup, all downed with a hot cappuccino.
We checked out a little later than 12 o’clock, all because Laila wanted to head back up to the Executive Lounge to eat some more! And this was just two hours after a really heavy breakfast. I was pretty happy to have given her a birthday she would never forget – her first staycation, first buffet, and first sip of alcohol – all thanks to the wonderful people at the Midas Hotel who were all so cheerful and accommodating.
Midas Hotel & Casino is located at Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For inquiries or to make a reservation, please call +63 2 902 0100.