Looking at Hotel Jen Manila (the former Traders Hotel Manila) from the outside, one would be forgiven to skip the unassuming facade while speeding past Roxas Boulevard. The Hotel Jen name is at once mysterious as it is seemingly disproportional to the mature building that houses it. Following a global rebranding effort by the Shangri-la group, almost all Traders hotels were renamed to Hotel Jen as part of efforts to effectively segment the two brands under the group. The name Jen is meant to exude a youthful and travel-savvy persona, in effect contrasting nicely with the Himalayan luxury that the Shangri-la flagship brand is supposed to imbibe.
the plushness of my club room
I stayed at Hotel Jen Manila during Father’s Day weekend. The old adage about not judging a book by its cover perhaps does not ring truer than at this property. Entering my club room for the first time, I was impressed by the sleek contours, smart and minimalistic furnishings and usage of neutral colors to accentuate the no-nonsense ambiance of the hotel.
Even the flat-screen TV seemed to welcome me with a sharp “Mabuhay” on display. An iPod dock was situated next to it. At 36 square meters, the room seemed much larger than other hotels in Manila due in part to the emphasis on the room as against the bathroom. There was more than enough space for a king-sized bed and a couch that is for once not parallel to it. Looking out, I could make out a fine view of Manila Bay and it was just too bad that it was rainy during our entire stay.
what i got inside my minibar bag
True to that Jen branding, the “minibar” was creatively placed inside a paper bag. Consisting of a can of pineapple juice, some soft drinks and Pringles, it relayed the youthful vibrance that the rebranding was meant to portray. There was also a free fruit cup lying inside the fridge with a sticker that literally begged for it to be eaten. I gladly obliged.
bathroom amenities at hotel jen manila
Due to the greater emphasis placed on the room, the bathroom was on the smaller size but still comfortable enough to move around. It featured a tub as well as Hotel Jen branded toiletries. It reminded me in a way of the bathrooms at its sister hotel, Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, Malaysia.
club lounge at hotel jen manila
My stay came with lounge access which is a pretty good addition to get. Based on the rates I’m seeing online, the club lounge access costs around Php 1,000+ (around $22) extra. For that, there’s afternoon tea, evening cocktails and of course, breakfast buffet. Drinks can also be served upon request throughout the day. What I loved about the club lounge at Hotel Jen Manila are the mobile phone chargers which prove very handy for those who accidentally leave their phone chargers behind – something that typically happens to me, I’m afraid.
club lounge offerings
For those not wishing to go out for dinner, the spread during evening cocktails should suffice. I chanced upon a salad bar, sushi platter as well as at least 4 hot dishes. This was further complemented with a humble selection of desserts. Even for those not wishing to eat or drink during evening cocktails, a visit to the club lounge is warranted if only for the gorgeous Manila Bay sunset view.
Facilities-wise, Hotel Jen Manila has a pool and health club which is appropriate for a 4-star hotel. All lounge chairs come with their own ice coolers and are conveniently set with beach towels. It’s also possible to call for a relaxing massage by the poolside for a reasonable Php 600 (~US$14)
For breakfast, we had the option of having it at either the club lounge or at Latitude, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. Like anywhere else, we chose to have it at the restaurant where there is typically greater variety. The breakfast at Hotel Jen Manila does not boast of a long spread but is at par with other 4-star hotels. In fact, I’m quite impressed how these hotel chains are able to segment their breakfast offerings between 3, 4 and 5 stars down to a tee. The selection here is almost akin to other 4-star hotel chains I’ve stayed in, with the exception of the sushi platter which is found mostly in luxury hotels. The latter’s probably courtesy of Kitsho, the excellent in-house Japanese restaurant just next door.
Business and leisure travelers will be pleased to find a type of breakfast that suits them. Aside from the humble sushi selection, I spotted an omelette station, a bread and pastries basket including my favorite croissants and a curated assortment of hot dishes that was a mix between western and Filipino. For those on-the-go, the hotel has a separate section for takeaway breakfast that include croissants and fruits.
Hotel Jen Manila by far offers the best value among international chain hotels in Manila. Its location in the Roxas Boulevard hotel belt makes it a compelling place to stay in. I did a quick scan of their rates in July and I’m seeing prices as low as Php 3,995 (US$ 88) ++ per night which is an excellent price for 36 square meters of refurbished goodness – this is about half the price of a room at their sister property, the EDSA Shangri-la or Makati Shangri-la. The property’s wholesome ambiance is great for family staycations or for travelers who want a comfortable and reliable place to stay without being over-the-top. I sure did love that Jen feeling!
Hotel Jen Manila
3001 Roxas Boulevard
Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 795 8888