hotels in the Philippines

Sofitel Manila is closing. Here’s what we’ll miss about the luxury hotel

Steph Arnaldo

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Sofitel Manila is closing. Here’s what we’ll miss about the luxury hotel

Sofitel's Facebook

Say a sad goodbye to Spiral, too! The hotel is closing after almost 5 decades of service.

MANILA, Philippines – After almost five decades, one of the country’s most renowned hotels is reportedly shutting its doors for good.

According to reports, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City will be halting operations by July 1, 2024, and will only be taking reservations until the end of June. The structure designed by National Artists Leandro Locsin and Ildefonso P. Santos in 1976 – which is set to turn 50 years old in 2026 – is said to be making way for “refurbishments and renovations,” while other reports say that it will be a “permanent closure.”

Regardless, the insitutional five-star hotel will be missed by many. Recently awarded by the Travel and Leisure Luxury Awards Asia-Pacific as “The Philippines’ Best City Hotel” in 2023, Sofitel is renowned for many amenities: its luxury rooms, grand function rooms, sunset by the bay views, outdoor pool, and, of course, the award-winning, famed Spiral Buffet (plus its amazing Cheese Room).

Before we officially say goodbye to Sofitel, let’s remember all the good things we’ll miss about the hotel.

Food, food, and more food

It goes without saying that loss of Sofitel’s famous Spiral Buffet will hit home for many diners. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet is located at the grand flagship restaurant of the hotel, housing 21 dining ateliers of different cuisines. Leading culinary artisans is chef Bettina Arguelles, director of culinary operations, the first Filipina executive chef of a five-star international branded hotel in the Philippines.

It’s not the Spiral experience without a visit to L’Epicerie, the airconditioned charcuterie room with a variety of imported cheeses, cold cuts, antipasto choices, crackers, and breads to get overwhelmed by!

Spiral also serves fresh seafood, sushi, sashimi, and oysters. There’s a station for almost every cuisine: French, Italian, Filipino, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and North Indian, plus dedicated stalls for Asian noodles, Chinese wok, Cantonese dimsum, Peking Duck oven, Central Market, Rotisserie, Churrasco, and a secret menu of foie gras with balsamic glaze and fresh uni (just ask the chef)! There’s also a selection of cakes, pastries, a free-flowing chocolate fountain with sweets and fresh fruits, and a scoop-your-own-gelato cart.

Aside from Spiral, Sofitel also houses Le Bar, a Filipino-French restaurant and bakery at the hotel’s grand lobby where guests can sit down on cozy sofas over coffee, pastries, and hearty meals.

There’s also the Snap Bar, Sofitel’s sports bar and lounge for late-night booze and bar chow, fit with billiard tables, foosball tables, beer pong, and darts for game nights.

For outdoor dining, there’s Cocos, formerly known as Sunset Bar. The al-fresco dining destination is located by the poolside, with views of Sofitel’s well-kept greenery and the Manila sunset. Cocos serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes with influences from France.

Grand affairs and personal milestones

Sofitel has always been a go-to luxury venue for weddings, receptions, launches, company parties, galas, heads of state meetings, and other significant events, thanks to its grand ballrooms, premium meeting rooms, and expansive marquees. The “event and convention hotel” can host up to 2,000 guests at its Grand Plaza Ballroom or in one of its two air-conditioned marquee tents!

Outdoor occasions are also held a lot here, with Sofitel’s 12 acres of lush landscaped gardens that overlook Manila Bay (however, that view is reportedly obstructed now because of the reclamation project).

Sofitel has over 607 guest rooms, including the first-class Imperial Residence, a masterwork designed by Spin Design Studio of Japan with an investment of over $1 million USD. There are two Opera Suites, 32 Sofitel Suites, and 12 Junior Family Suites, with your choice of city, pool, or bay views.

Sofitel’s pool area with a water playground is also a favorite of kids, and its complete fitness gym and Sofitel Spa is also frequented by adult guests.

What are you going to miss the most about Sofitel? –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Only those who have been there (because they can afford it) will miss Sofitel Manila. But most Filipinos do not simply care.

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.