For those of us who don’t live in Manila, finding a nice, safe place to crash for the night is as hard as getting a good-natured cabbie to ferry you around. So it’s such a relief when, while searching for a place online, we stumbled upon this new hostel that looked very promising.
Here are the things we loved instantly about MNL Boutique Hostel:
- It’s located in Makati, which is near most of our errand places and, of course, the airport;
- The rooms looked really cool with the brightly painted walls and the artworks;
- The rates are, by Manila standards, affordable at about P800 per person per night. We were in for a better bargain that time because all rooms were at half off for a month!
So far I’ve stayed there twice during their soft opening (their grand opening is on March 9), and both instances have been very pleasant and comfortable. On one of those days, Owen and I had the chance to chat with one of their owners, Celina Cruz, who talked about the concept behind MNL.
Why boutique, why hostel, and why in Manila?
“In the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, the concept of the hostel isn’t very clean, not very nice, so we wanted to change that and give travelers a better and cleaner option,” says Celina.
And it makes perfect sense: it takes a traveler to know what another traveler really wants, doesn’t it? MNL is the brainchild of Celina and her friend Maica, college-friends-turned-travel-buddies who’ve been to Taiwan, India, and London together, among other places. The idea of opening up a hostel came August 2012, and I must say the product is very impressive (passion + youth do come a long a way).
Let’s take a virtual tour, shall we?
MNL is located right behind A Venue Mall along Makati Ave., which makes it very easy to find. Just take a left turn and you won’t miss this wall painted in their signature color palette following the Tourism department’s banig pattern for its It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign.
The hostel concept revolves around common spaces. MNL ups the ante by creating this fun-looking living room where guests can hang out. There’s a TV, magazines, a computer, and WiFi.
This is their common kitchen where you can, well, eat. They offer bread and jam and coffee for breakfast free of charge. You are, of course, expected to clean up after your own shiz.
This has got to be our favorite spot: the staircase. HONESTLY, don’t you want a staircase like THIS in your own home?
Corridor for rooms on the ground floor: MNL has 12 rooms in all and can accommodate 40 people at a time. They have a variety of dorms (female, male, and mixed), as well as twin and double rooms (click here for complete room details).
(Top Left) Details from the super cute staircase (Top Right, Lower Photo) Their double room, which, as you can see, has these Pinoy-themed artworks done by Gonz, one of MNL’s business partners.
The twin room we stayed in upstairs has personal lockers, plus a table and a chair. I’ve also stayed in their four-bed all-female dorm, which, apart from the walls coming in fuchsia, comes with a locker for each occupant. My 35-L backpack fits nicely inside, with ample room for more.
(L) One of the best things about MNL is their mattresses—they’re SUPER comfortable, and the sheets smell really nice. (R) Pretending to get stuff done. :P
All bathrooms and comfort rooms are common, and for those who won’t hear the end of common areas like this, I tell you those at MNL are way cleaner and more modern than your own. :P They have a freaking rainshower, so how can you complain?
What can we say, we love the place, and we’d love to stay there again. Thank you to Celina and Maica for letting us stay in your cool place!