I could have walked but chose to sit in a taxi as it crawled at a snail’s pace through rush-hour city traffic. I thought a cab would be a more appropriate way to arrive at the Linden Suites in Ortigas (hotel info), on account of the downpour that would have surely left me drenched. I didn’t want to drag rainwater across the hotel lobby like a refugee from inclement weather. Actually, I could see the hotel building from the shopping mall where I decided to have coffee before heading out into the rain.
Linden Suites Hotel Lobby
My destination was just a leisurely distance away but the weather required a ride, and so I ended up taking a thirty minute cab ride for what should have been a ten-minute walk. As locals would know, Ortigas Center is not a good place to take one’s chances in traffic, hoping that the rush hour gridlock will miraculously disappear the moment the driver steps on the accelerator.
Linden Suites Room Keycard
There is a reason why taxi drivers avoid it during rush hour, and it’s because the streets grind to a halt once people start pouring out of their offices at the end of the work day. I should know, I worked there for a number of years, in an office just a stone’s throw away from where I was about to stay the night for business other than work.
Linden Suites Spacious Room
After what seemed like an eternity in traffic, the taxi swerved onto the sidewalk and up to the main entrance of the Linden Suites (hotel reviews). It’s a steep driveway that’s too narrow for the airport shuttles, rental vans, and taxi cabs that were all waiting in a queue to disgorge their passengers. I’m not sure if it was just a busy night or the crowd of people at the lobby had something to do with the number of functions that the hotel was hosting that evening.
Linden Suites Fitness Gym
I asked the taxi driver to skip the line of vehicles and simply drop me off where we were so I could make my way to the hotel’s entrance without delay. Making my way through the crowd in the hotel lobby, I felt thankful that I called ahead to reserve a Deluxe room. Good thing, too, that getting a reservation at the Linden Suites is fairly easy and efficient, and I’m not just saying it for the sake of a review. I simply checked the rooms online and then booked my room through telephone, and only because I prefer to talk to a human being whenever I get a reservation for anything.
The person who handled my booking details was thoroughly courteous and accommodating, I therefore expected the same kind of efficiency when I checked-in but I guess the volume of guests that night was too much for the reception staff to handle. There was a bit of a wait at the concierge which, at the Linden Suites, is a fancy word for a no-nonsense type of reception area.
Ortigas Center at Night
From my impression of things while waiting for my key card, there was only a small sitting area and just a few armchairs within reach of the staff at the reception counter, that is, unless I took a stroll down another wing just to find available seating. It’s not a big deal, though, just a typical thing that happens when you choose to arrive at a hotel at a busy time.
As always, an unfamiliar hotel always makes it difficult to find things, there always seems to be so many corridors and hallways leading to any number of places other than where you’re headed. This is usually where a copious number of interactive displays showing where to find things would be helpful, but then it’s not always possible for hotel guests to have everything that they want, or need.
View from the Hotel Window
Thankfully, the hotel staff at the Linden Suites doesn’t seem to run out of patience even for the most mundane inquiries like where to find the elevators, or if it’s possible to bring beverages to the swimming pool. You can’t, by the way, except for a bottle of water to rehydrate with after swimming laps in the hotel’s heated indoor swimming pool. Even there, thankfully, the Linden’s staff was very helpful and accommodating, even at the late hour that I decided to go swimming, and even though I didn’t bring my own goggles and had to borrow one from a staff member who happily lent me a pair.
The Linden Suites (check rates) has an entire floor dedicated to sports and wellness, including a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, massage room, a good-sized gym equipped with the essentials, and a well-maintained locker and shower area that’s just as good as any respectable country club, or comparable hotel, would offer.
The Linden Suites (website) describes the hotel as a place to stay for business travelers and families. Though, the hotel’s website literature doesn’t do justice to the actual comfort and convenience of the hotel with its impersonal description of the amenities. While it’s not a place to expect hand-embroidered monograms and the rare orchid on the bed kind of detail and finesse, it’s definitely a kick-off-your-shoes and sink in a soft warm bed experience, and rightly so, because it’s exactly what busy people need when they just need to switch off the city very quickly and take a breather.
Breakfast at Mesclun in San Miguel Ave
It’s a hotel in the middle of a busy business district, after all, where travelers could arrive and escape to their room without being harried by the complexities of city life. From my experience, the hotel offered nothing pretentious or contrived, as some hotel rooms tend to be with their décor and ambiance. The room I stayed in at the Linden Suites was just comfortable and everything that I needed for a restful stay was in it when I arrived.
I stayed for a night, just enough time to see the room, check out the recreational facilities, and plunder the basket of snacks beside the bed. The hotel has a maid service but the amenities in the room, from the ironing board in the closet to the electric kettle beside the television are things that are useful for people who don’t fuss too much about things. In a way, it’s great because one could just stay in and have a hotel experience without having to pick up the telephone to ask for every little thing, like a cup of tea or maybe to smooth out the wrinkle from a shirt.
If hotel guests get hungry and the pack of dried mangoes or the chocolate bar in the room doesn’t quite do the job, it’s easy to order food from Mesclun Café that’s right inside the hotel itself. Owned by Chef Katrina Arce Kuhn-Alcantara, an alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Mesclun serves such things as Salume Calabrese (Pizza), Portobello Mushroom Dexelles, and Brioche Creque Monsieur, among many other things on the menu. Mesclun is an old Occitane word that means “mixture,” the translation I later learned through Google, which is a name taken from “a romance language spoken in Southern France, Italy’s Occitan Valleys, Monaco, and Spain’s Val d’Aran,” an appropriate name for an eatery that serves such a wide variety of food with names that roll off the tongue like words from a love letter.
Complimentary Brewed Coffee at Mesclun
I spent the next morning at a table in Mesclun, sipping hot coffee and watching a cook expertly make a handsome-looking omelet for my plate. It was still raining outside at breakfast time and pedestrians on the street were all in a hurry to get away from the downpour. Inside the The Linden Suites, though, at a table in Mesclun Restaurant and Cafe set with shiny cutlery, goblets of fresh orange juice, and cups of strong coffee, it was too comfortable to contemplate anything else but the prospect of hot food and a warm bed.
Linden Suites is certainly a place that can be relied upon for a good night’s sleep, for all the necessities of a daily breather from business or a weekend camp-out in the city with the family after making the rounds of the nearby shopping malls, coffee shops, and restaurants. I wouldn’t say that it’s a destination, though, because it’s not what the Linden is all about, in my opinion.
What would you like your omelette?
The guarantee it provides, from my experience, is that there will always be a place in Ortigas where one could go for a swim at night, do some spinning, and then afterwards go to bed with the knowledge that the frantic pace of the city goes on just a few stories below, near enough to keep in touch but far above it all to find a quiet and restful space for people who deserve a break from a life of being busy.
The Linden Suites (check rates)
37 San Miguel Avenue,
Ortigas Centre, Pasig City 1600,
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel (63 2) 638 7878
Fax (63 2) 638 7877
(63 2) 633 7012