Monday, June 25, 2012

The Bay Leaf Hotel, Intramuros -- Marvelous Views of Manila

It's not often that I find myself in Intramuros so I am always surprised (and sometimes dismayed) by new additions to this old part of the city.  A few Sundays ago, I discovered the quite new Bay Leaf Hotel, right beside the old Lyceum of Manila.  

By the name alone, I knew it was connected to the university. (NB Bay leaf is "laurel" in tagalog, and the Laurel family owns the Lyceum of Manila)

The hotel stands across the old walls, is it extra or intra-Muros? I think it's within.  The facade is of a shade of beige and gray that is a lighter shade of the walls.  Tucked into a corner of Intramuros, not too tall nor too nouveau -- it seemed it wanted to just blend in.

Bay Leaf has quite a number of food and beverage outlets -- a small coffee shop downstairs, a fine dining outlet upstairs but it is the Sky Deck View Bar, on the rooftop that is the crowning jewel of this small hotel.

With an amazing 360 degree view of Manila,  the Sky Deck View Bar is a terrific place to sit, have a drink and just wait for the sun to set.  It is 5 pm when I climb to the rooftop -- on a cool and windy Sunday afternoon in May.
The place is almost deserted and I have my fill of the view, from every corner of the roof top.

Ten floors above the city, Manila looks much cleaner and greener.  It certainly helps that the old Muni Golf Course is right across but somehow, in the fading golden afternoon light, even City Hall and the old clock tower are quite photogenic.

On the other side of the golf course is the view towards Escolta, Binondo and Sta. Cruz.  I didn't realize how many tall structures are now in that part of the city.  Old Manila has certainly changed -- and not always for the better.

This is the view from the side of the hotel.  The dome belongs to the Lyceum. The cranes that you can barely make out in the horizon are part of North and South harbor piers.
The sun starts to set and against its fading glare and brightness, I can barely make out the spires of the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church.
Aaah, but perhaps it's time to put the camera away and enjoy this solitary spot -- with the sweeping high and wide views of parts of my old and new Manila.

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