Located at Scout Castor Street (parking entrance along Roces Avenue), Quezon City
Reality: with the current state of Metro Manila traffic, making the trek to Quezon City is just too tedious. Coming from our neck of the woods, anyway. But, there's just so much to do there- both nostalgic places of interest as well as exciting new eateries. We saw the invitation to check out the new 4-star Meranti Hotel- the Max's Restaurant group's bold venture into the hospitality business- as an opportunity to revisit the former capital.
Meranti is located across the original Max's Fried Chicken restaurant in Scout Castor. The parking entrance, though, is along busy Roces Avenue. You can park the car in the basement and they have an elevator which would bring you right up to their lobby.
Weekdays could be a different story, but weekends in the Scout area of Quezon City are sleepier, almost suburban. Many streets we passed are tree-lined and residential, so a quiet getaway in this busy city is actually highly possible. But, for those looking for a little action, Tomas Morato, Timog, and Quezon Avenue are just minutes away.
Our family of four (including Yaya Jo) fit comfortably in their Deluxe room with a king-sized bed. Another family booked a room for their nanny, so initially Yaya Jo was supposed to share it with her. However, Meranti already set-up a roll-away bed next to the king bed, so there was enough sleeping space for us all.
The room itself was modern and spacious- the high ceilings made the difference, I believe. To ensure a good night's sleep, Meranti spared no expense and offers plush, hypoallergenic pillows and memory foam-topped beds. This feature alone is already a great reason to stay a night or two at this QC gem.
No need to worry about using the bathroom all at the same time. It's designed in such a way that sink, toilet, and shower are compartmentalized and can be used simultaneously. It's semi-open design adds to the airy and spacious feel of the room.
What to do
Compared to Makati, Quezon City is more laid back and down-to-earth. Eateries are mostly casual and accessible, with a sprinkling of charming cafes and note-worthy holes-in-the-wall (Persian, Filipino, and Chinese street food are favorites here). But, aside from eating and malling- and perhaps visiting family and friends in the area, which is what we did- there aren't a lot of interesting sights.
So, I suggest you enjoy what the hotel has to offer instead. They have a cute pool in their roof deck which offers a view of the surrounding residential areas. The room, as I mentioned, has a great bed. Use it as much as you can, any way you wish. And if the air starts to get stale, the streets felt relatively safe so feel free to walk over to the many restaurants and bars in the surrounding areas.
What to eat
You don't need to venture far for good grub- downstairs is Pancake House's fancier sister, Maple, providing hotel guests with continental cuisine and American comfort food. Good Filipino food is abundant at Max's- aside from the fried chicken, the crispy pata, kare-kare, and buko pandan are solid. Victorino's restaurant at Scout Rallos is a popular choice for regional Ilocano food. I had copious amounts of bagnet, which was excellent, to helped me ignore the rather dour service staff.
If you want something distinctly QC, Kamuning Bakery is a must-visit. The establishment was acquired by broker and history buff Wilson Lee Flores, who has breathed new life into the almost 80-year-old bakery. They still bake everything- from their pandesal to their glorious egg pies- in the brick oven.
For some drinks, The Malt Room at the Rembrandt Hotel is a fun, lounge-y alternative to the many beer gardens and ihaw-ihaw, beer-by-the-bucket joints in Tomas Morato and Timog. The music is loud, the ceiling low and smoke-filled, but it's perfect if you want to have a rowdy good time with friends.
For business or leisure, Meranti Hotel provides their guests with a comfortable- almost plush- escape in the QC area. I would dare say that they have raised the bar for hotels in Quezon City, offering certain luxuries that can compete with their bigger city counterparts.
By: Jaclyn Clemente-Koppe
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