Hotel Review: The Bayleaf Hotel – Intramuros’ Welcoming Jewel
The Bayleaf: Intramuros’ Crown Jewel
When I heard about Intramuros, the first thing that came to my mind is the walls enveloping the old city – Manila’s Historic Core. While it literally means “within the walls,” it is one of the most picturesque tourist spots you can see when visiting Manila. And why not pair it with a stay at The Bayleaf Hotel? – Intramuros’ welcoming jewel.
What’s inside the Bayleaf
The Bayleaf is a 4-star, 57-room boutique hotel in Intramuros. It is also the research and teaching hotel for the students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) taking up Hospitality, Tourism, and Culinary Arts Courses.
Located in Muralla corner Victoria Streets, The Bayleaf Hotel’s structure could not be missed. When I went here for the 4th Emerging Leaders Conference hosted by the World Youth Alliance – Asia Pacific, I was in awe of its exteriors. It reminded that of the Victorian Age – intricately edged pillars, rustic façade, and grand ambiance. (Not to mention me getting lost to the venue. Yeah!)
Its location is strategic as it is found just near one of the gates of Intramuros. It is also easily accessible as it is near three major universities (Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), Mapúa Institute of Technology, and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM)). It is also near two major offices – The Manila Bulletin Main Publication Office and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
How to get to Bayleaf
When arriving from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), it is just approximately 30-45 minutes away from The Bayleaf, in normal traffic situations. In the case of heavy traffic (which I experienced), the travel time would probably be doubled, also depending on the weather. Taxi cabs are the most convenient way to reach The Bayleaf, with fares which can come around PhP 200 – 250. You can also avail of the Services of GrabTaxi and Uber for safer and convenient transport. There are also pedicabs (or ‘padyak’ in Filipino) inside Intramuros whenever you get lost. They’re cheap means of transportation, not to mention their nice approach to you when they ask you where you’re going. Fare costs around PhP 30 – 40, depending on the negotiation.
Anyway, when I entered The Bayleaf, the welcoming staff approached me and immediately asked me where I was headed. They promptly assisted me with my luggage and told me that the conference I am into was on the second floor.
Setting my experience from the conference aside, I also enjoyed the atmosphere inside the hotel. It is ergonomically spacious – with its minimalist designs and interiors, they have maximized the small space for the building. Every floor of the hotel is also generously carpeted. The lighting (in the ballroom and conference rooms) is very good as it can be adjusted to a dim one or to a brighter setting. No space is wasted as it is decorated with minimalist-type of corner stands with assorted greens to freshen up the scene.
The Public Spaces
Lobby, Reception, and Concierge
Upon entering the hotel, earthly colors will greet you – a mix of white, green, and brown play the major role. It also looks relaxing because of the reflected lights from the ceiling which makes the room much brighter. The centerpiece is also a must-see as it a bunch of flowers tailored in a way that really catches attention. Beside the grand staircase are also a number of couches where guests can relax while waiting. The grand piano is also pretty hard to miss when in the lobby. A hired pianist plays here every night – you can even request the songs he may play and you can sing while he’s playing! (How cool is that!)
You can also ask the hotel associates in the reception and concierge area where the nice tourist spots in Manila are and they will tell you the nearest directions where you may go. Try asking for a map or a tourist pamphlet.
The Grand (Muralla) Ballroom
The Muralla Ballroom is the main ballroom-slash-conference hall in The Bayleaf. It has an area of 400 square meters and it can accommodate up to 400 people (theater or cocktail-type), 220 (classroom-type), 330 (plated setup), or 250 (buffet setup). It can also be divided into three smaller halls. Click here for more detailed specifications. It has an overhead projector, a wide white screen, and a podium for conferences and other events. It also has a technical booth for the setup of the equipment needed. It’s wide and we love it!
The only problem I see in the Muralla Ballroom is that the public elevators are inside the hall, which can be a disturbance whenever there are other people entering or exiting the ballroom (well, one staff told me that the elevator control can deactivate a specific floor when the need arises). Also, the ceiling is low and makes it a bit inconvenient for taller people.
Also, I noticed in The Bayleaf that there are no public staircases leading to the rooms, only the grand staircase that can be found in the lobby upon entering. What they only have are emergency exit staircases, which was our main way when the elevators are full. They only have two elevators in the entire hotel – which I find very inconvenient, especially when they are at ‘full occupancy’ status. I just don’t know if there is a separate one for the employees to go up and down the hotel as well, especially those who are working at the 9 Spoons and Sky Deck Restaurants. Maybe, it’s one of their security measures or protocols because it requires a guest (proxi) card before pressing the desired floor level you want to go to.
The Function Rooms
As you will notice, the function rooms are named after herbs, flowers, and spices (Marigold, Mint, Basil, Chives) – maybe because the hotel is owned and operated by the Laurel’s, one of the Philippines’ prominent families. In Filipino, the “Laurel” leaf is a widely-used Filipino spice and is “Bayleaf” in English. I think they just patterned the names of their halls to that attribution.
To have a wider picture on their function rooms’ capacity estimates, click here!
The 9 Spoons Restaurant
The 9 Spoons Restaurant is the main Restaurant of The BayLeaf and is located at the Penthouse (9th floor) of the hotel. This all-day dining restaurant gives you an 180-degree view of Manila, overlooking the Intramuros Golf Course, National Museum, and Manila City Hall, among others. The setting of the restaurant is unique because it has tall glass panels which make you see a semi-panoramic view of the City. A separate dining space is also allotted for guests who smoke. A live entertainment is also present every evening, suiting that a la carte dinner dines overlooking the metro.
Their menu is diverse, ranging from Asian to Western. Known for their heritage selections of ‘bagnet,’ ‘Manileño,’ and ‘Callos,’ the restaurant offers daily meals, snacks, and cocktails – all day! Their bar also offers an extensive variety of wines and their Happy Hour is from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily.
Eat to your heart’s content!
During our stay, at breakfast, I noticed some dim sum and rice cakes on the side, together with cereals. They also have a bread station with different choices of bread and spreads (with a bread heater on the side). For the main courses, what I remember were bacon strips, beef tapa, omelet (which can be customized with the cook-on-duty), sausages, and other carbs synonymous to breakfast. They also serve lunch and dinner buffets on designated time schedules.
|6:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
*You may order food and beverages from an a la carte menu during Dinner*
To know what’s in store at 9 Spoons, check out their menu here!
The Sky Deck View Bar
Your Bayleaf experience will not be complete if you will not be dining at the Sky Deck View Bar. With a complete 360-degree view of Manila, including the world-famous Manila Bay sunset, dining here would be an experience on its own. Its ambiance is just dramatic and very laid-back. When we were here for our conference, we always ended our day by visiting the Sky Deck.
|5:00 p.m. – 12:00 midnight
5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), depending on the weather
Have a look at their menu here!
Cioccolata Churros Café
If you are craving for that perfect hot chocolate and churros combo, try to visit The Bayleaf’s Café, Cioccolata. It is located just beside the reception area of the hotel and near the entrance of the Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Culinary Institute. They specialize in serving European bread and pastries, namely: Danish pastries, croissants, and muffins.
This is also where the students of the Lyceum of the Philippines Culinary Institute students combine and exercise their passion and experience in coming up with the freshest delights, all day, that will make you come back for more. It’s just a treat somebody cannot resist.
They are open daily from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Mondays to Fridays) and 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Weekends)
Raffaele Woodfired Pizza
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily.
The Bayleaf has 57 well-appointed rooms. Upon checking in, you will be given a unique Wi-Fi password and an electronic key card. Each room is also equipped with electronic “Please Makeup Room” and “Do Not Disturb” signs. Each will be shown in detail, differing in color and room area:
40 Superior Rooms
10 Deluxe Rooms
3 Premier Rooms
3 Executive Suites
1 Bayleaf Suite
The Wi-Fi in The Bayleaf, I can say, is very phenomenal. Once you have accessed it, it is very fast and reliable. No lags! But sometimes, if there are too many people connected to the system, it may incur some minor problems that are fixed in no time. The unique Wi-Fi password will be given to you at the reception upon checking in. But in order to access the Wi-Fi, you have to log into “cnn.com” and the login page will appear, and voila! You can surf all you want – and one of its perks, too, is that your Wi-Fi connection is valid for the whole duration of your stay (until checkout.) Note though that the password is only valid for one (1) device.
For more information about their Wi-Fi service, click here!
The amenities found in every room are: complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea making facility, in-room safety deposit box, mini bar, 32” multimedia LCD cable TV, hair dryer in the bathroom, individual room temperature control, electronic DND (do not disturb) and Make-up Room buttons, and bathrobes and slippers (optional.) Also included during your stay is the buffet breakfast at the 9 Spoons Restaurant and the advanced proxi card door lock system. There is also a complimentary newspaper right at your doorstep every morning. Cool, right? (For avid readers, yeah.)
Other hotel facilities and services include basement parking, laundry service, transportation service, foreign currency exchange, safety deposit boxes, and a fire safety system throughout the building. Just ask the receptionist-on-duty to avail of these services.
Go on a sidetrip!
While staying in The Bayleaf, why not try to check out the nearest tourist attractions inside Intramuros? You can find the Manila Bulletin and the Department of Labor and Employment offices, the 3 adjacent universities (Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mapúa Institute of Technology, and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila), the Intramuros Walls, the Commission on Elections main office (Palacio Del Gobernador), The Manila Cathedral (The Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception), and Fort Santiago among others. The hotel is also very near the National Museum, Manila City Hall, and the Luneta (Rizal) Park and Quirino Grandstand.
Overall, my stay in The BayLeaf is very memorable; it is also because of the Conference I have attended that made my stay unforgettable. All the staff was accommodating, they wear smiles on their faces; they are also very patient and they attend to all the guests’ needs promptly – in short, they know what they are doing. They are professional enough to deal with all the guests’ requests and concerns and act on it in no time.
The only thing I did not like during my stay is the rooms in the middle area of the hotel. As a fan of wide spaces, I find it quite space consuming. They should have just cut that portion from up to down and made it an atrium instead – it would then add to the aesthetics of the hotel. Yes, they would lose a number of rooms, but space is also a concern. They have maximized the whole area but the idea of having a room in the middle is also inconvenient because when we were assigned to a “middle room,” we noticed that there are no windows for proper ventilation. It is also dark and it lacks natural lighting.
But nevertheless, my stay in The BayLeaf is very, very nice. I hope to come back here as soon as possible! 🙂
|+63 2 318 5000, +63 2 328 3170
For Events and Restaurant Reservations:
|+63 2 318 5003 (10 a.m.-6 p.m. only, Mondays-Saturdays)
|+63 2 318 5001
Social Media Accounts:
|Facebook Page: @thebayleafintramuros
Instagram Page: @bayleafhotel
We’re born to travel!