By MAE LORRAINE RAFOLS-LORENZO
Stepping into the rooms and gazing out on the property of The Henry Hotel Manila feels like hopping in a time machine and traveling back into the sophistication and grandeur of Old Manila.
The hotel’s interiors, executed beautifully by interior and furniture designer Eric Paras, brought the nostalgia of the old city back to life. More than just a place to go to for a ‘staycation’, the sprawling hotel reminds guests of time spent vacationing in the family’s ancestral home. It has a strong sense of the past, with hotel features and overall ambiance evoking a very retro era.
Located in one of the most unassuming and crowded streets of downtown Manila, the artistic compound where The Henry Hotel Manila opens up to guests like an oasis in the city. Concrete makes way for lush greens, tall trees, and a spacious complex that make you want to look twice just to be sure that you are in the right place—or at the right time!
This is because The Henry wants you to feel just that—a break from the chaos of the metropolis, and a respite from the fast pace of time.
This boutique hotel from Innovoterra Properties Inc. was designed to be a ‘hotel like no other,’ by offering an experience of being in a luxurious vacation without the limiting feel of a structured hotel. The Henry in Manila, unlike other tourist structures in the city, doesn’t have the confined feeling of staying in just one building.
Walking towards the rooms would mean going through various pocket gardens and even the lobby opens to the outdoors where the view of trees and a charming fountain awaits. There’s also a sense of community, as it is part of a compound that’s also home to various art galleries and showrooms.
Walking through time
The Henry Manila is the perfect proof that shows you can meld both the old and the new together. The hotel transformed original heritage homes into kitschy hotel rooms, and set the grounds amidst fantastic greens that shield the noise and dirt of the city.
The garden is a sight to behold, and it should be as it was designed by no less than Ildefonso P. Santos, National Artist for Architecture.
The houses’ simple architecture is spruced up by key design components, beginning with the Scala grilles, inspired by the Art Deco style of the famous Scala Theater in Avenida Rizal, which was designed by another National Artist for Architecture, Pablo Antonio. The floors are made of baldoza tiles—artworks with vibrant colors and varying patterns in floral, vegetative, and geometric shapes.
Inside, the houses were redesigned to accommodate spacious rooms equipped with modern amenities. Thirty four doors lead the guests to delightful respites, and each room is highlighted with its own unique furniture, from closets or aparadors, side chairs, or sun room sets, which were sourced from all over the Philippines and refurbished for that modern vintage twist.
Needless to say, visiting The Henry Hotel Manila is more than just finding a place to have your vacation in the city—it’s literally a visit to the past!
Photos by JOVEL LORENZO