By CJ Juntereal
No one does Christmas quite like hotels — bright, luxurious, over-the-top, themed, and overflowing with festive cheer. All of those translate into a cornucopia of edible goodies to give, a buffet of festive meals at their restaurants, or even special dishes to grace your holiday table. While it may seem like a cop-out to point to a gift basket and say, “I’ll take five of those,” if you look closely, you will notice that each hotel puts together a carefully curated set of goodies that anyone would love to receive. And yes, each hotel’s Christmas basket is unique enough to suit different personalities.
We’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you, and selected a few that you may want to check out, whether they are to be a present for someone special or a treat to your family during your hotel Christmas staycation.
The holiday turkey roast and smoked bone-in ham packages are among the best deals in town if cooking Christmas dinner isn’t your thing. At P6,600 the five-kilogram whole roasted US turkey comes with stuffing, mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, garlic baby potatoes, roasted carrots, green bean and cauliflower cassoulet, salad, and pumpkin pie! The bone-in ham comes with similar sides, so there is no need to cook anything at all. For those who would rather eat out, the noche buena buffet (11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.) for P1,800 and Christmas Day lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) both for P3,100 are pretty good deals, too. Meat lovers might like the CRU Steakhouse bistro lunch on Christmas Day for P2,500. The Marriott is also fundraising for the Philippine School for the Deaf by selling a Marra the Panda pillow/blanket for P800. (02) 988-9999 | www.manilamarriott.com.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Christmas at the hotel is decidedly French and gastronomic. Spiral’s 21 dining ateliers will be offering jambon a l’os, French oysters, foie gras, capelin caviar, lobster thermidor, beef Wellington, roast turkey, prime rib of beef, and lechon, to name a few. On Dec. 24, lunch and dinner are at P2,900 and P5,550 respectively, while on Dec. 25, brunch and dinner are at P4,950 and P3,750. The hotel will also have Le Marché de Noël, a festive Christmas market at the lobby until January. Guests may purchase mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, local pastries, crepes, and Christmas treats, while Santa greets kids a “Merry Christmas.” (02) 832-6988 | email H6308-FB12@sofitel.com
Novotel Manila Araneta Center
The hotel is perfect for folks who don’t want to brave the traffic to Makati or Ortigas. Their Christmas hamper (P2,990) is reasonably priced and Spanish-themed with queso de bola spread, Iberian pork pâté, Manchego cheese, jamon serrano, salchichon, a bottle of green olives, a bottle of Tempranillo, and Novotel’s homemade crinkles. Goodies from their pastry kitchen are also available in packages, including cinnamon rolls (P850 per nine pieces), ham ensaymada (P750 per pieces), and a classic Italian panetonne (P200 per piece). The Christmas Eve noche buena buffet is P1,988 nett and includes a glass of sangria or sparkling wine. (02) 990-7888.
The Peninsula Manila
Christmas at the Pen is always elegant and heartwarming. For many people, the hotel’s annual Christmas concert (this year on Dec. 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at P2,200 nett per person with a festive merienda menu) signals the start of the season. The proceeds go to the Peninsula Hotels group’s “Hope for the Philippines” fund that continues to benefit the families affected by Typhoon Yolanda. The hotel’s signature Peninsula Pageboy Hat hampers are also much anticipated. Starting at P6,500 nett for the Santa Hamper and P10,500 nett for the Sweet Indulgence Hamper, the hampers include curated items from the hotel’s signature lines such as a bottle of Terrazas Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, Peninsula Heritage Collection items like mugs or leather key holders, and Spanish jamon. Rounding out the hamper are goodies from the hotel’s excellent pastry and chocolate kitchens like gingerbread cookies, fruit cake, organic teas, chocolate Santas, and indulgent chocolate bars. (02) 887-2888, extensions 6630 (room reservations), 6694 (restaurant reservations), and 7410 (festive desk) | email email@example.com | peninsula.com.
Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
If Christmas away from the city’s frantic pace beckons, Iloilo City is a good place to celebrate. The Richmonde Hotel in Iloilo is located in Iloilo Business Park, a relatively new Megaworld development in Mandurriao. It has special holiday room rates available from Dec. 15, 2018 to Jan. 15, 2019 from P4,800 nett for a deluxe room, P5,300 nett for a premier room, and P9,000 nett for a one-bedroom suite, with a breakfast buffet for two people. The hotel’s buffet breakfast is currently one of the best in the city. The hotel will be serving holiday-themed dishes at their Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve dinner buffets in The Granary for a very reasonable P1,350 nett per person. Among the Christmas goodies on offer are the hotel’s signature ensaymada, traditional yule log rolls, and the signature Richmonde chocolate cake. (033) 328-7888. For room bookings, contact room reservations directly at (+639) 17 580-9642 | email to firstname.lastname@example.org | www.richmondehoteliloilo.com.ph.
Hyatt Regency Manila City of Dreams
The name may have changed just a little bit, but the Hyatt Regency is still celebrating its usual Christmas with heart. The cutest fluffy stuffed toys — penguins in scarves or a winsome puppy — may be purchased as presents for P400 nett each. Proceeds will benefit Operation Smile Philippines which transforms the lives of children born with a cleft palate and other facial deformities. The Hyatt Regency is also offering a 20 percent discount on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day buffets at The Café, if a reservation and 50 percent downpayment are made by Dec. 18. The hotel is still one of the best buffet options in the city because of its well-curated and quality offerings. The Christmas Eve midnight buffet at P1,588 is perfect for Noche Buena if you don’t want to cook. (02) 691-1234 | email TheCafe.Reservations@hyatt.com
Discovery Primea has a selection of festive takeaways for people who don’t want to cook. Indulgent platters include slow-roasted US beef shortplate and Flame’s takeout lobster fried rice, while callos a la Madrileña and the hotel’s signature ensaymada’s have a comforting feel. The hotel’s excellent Christmas madeleines and chocolate turtle coffee cake are also great for presents. Orders may be made the entire month of December, with a lead time of three days prior to the pickup date. (02) 955-8888 | email email@example.com.
Eastwood Richmonde Hotel
The Richmonde’s holiday deals are festive and easy on the budget. Among these are a rather unusual gingerbread Yule log cheesecake for P995, cranberry oat cookies at P205 per seven pieces, traditional gingerbread cookies at P175 per four pieces, pistachio caramel bars and pecan brownies at P465 per box, and a gingerbread gypsy wagon at P455. The hotel also offers an array of homemade jams and spreads (almond cookie butter, roasted pimiento, burnt sugar, and tomato jam to pair with their challa jamon bread). This year, the Eastwood Richmonde debuts The Flowerpot Cookie (P135) — gold medal winner at the 12th National Food Showdown — vanilla and chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry jam, chocolate ganache, and pistachio bits in a dainty flower pot. The Christmas Eve dinner buffet and New Year’s Eve dinner buffet at P1,750 nett per person and Christmas Day lunch buffet at P1,250 nett per person are also well worth the price. (02) 570-7777. Eastwood Richmonde Hotel is located at 17 Orchard Road, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Quezon City.
The Manila Hotel
The hotel’s Pagdiriwang take-out roasts are available with all the trimmings to bring that unique Pinoy flavor to your holiday table. Roasted baby lechon (nine kilograms) comes with a choice of mixed mushroom-truffle rice, paella rice, chestnut mushroom rice, or adobo rice stuffing for P15,500 nett. The Manila Hotel is also considered to have a very good old-school US roast rib of beef with pink peppercorn sauce for P3,500 per kilogram for a slab of beef that weighs in at approximately eight kilograms. Pair your lechon or roast beef with additional sidings that come in trays good for 20 people. These include garlic and herb roasted potatoes, truffle oil scented potato puree, buttered fresh vegetables or hearty Bolognese, carbonara, or tomato bacon pastas. For a special packaging or hamper basket, please add P500. Order two days in advance. (02) 527-0011 local 1261 to 1264 | email firstname.lastname@example.org