in , ,

Be a Smart Traveler: Discover Places that Make You Feel at Home

Smart Traveler Story: My First AirBnB Experience in the Philippines

Imagine yourself watching the beautiful Manila Bay sunset while having your late afternoon cocktail at 71 Gramercy – a New York-style bar on the 71st floor of Manila’s highest residential skyscraper. Yup! I experienced that during my 4 night staycation at The Gramercy Residences in Makati City. Wow, that looks uber-expensive, right? What if I tell you that I only shelled out a little over 2,000 Php a night in this place? Yup, that’s me living the Smart Life! Check out how I did it!

AirBnB Mobile App
AirBnB Mobile App for a Smart Traveler

Just recently, a friend visited Manila and she asked me if she could stay in my pad. Since my room was completely messed up, I decided to book some place instead. Wait, What? Why?

AirBnB Android App
AirBnB Android App – A Smart Traveler App

Actually, I have been promoting this cool website AirBnB on my blog ever since it began operations here in the Philippines. I then used the AirBnB travel credits I received to book a sweet condo unit at The Gramercy Residences for five (5) days and four (4) nights. That’s right. Not just one night, but four long nights!

Gramercy Residences Lobby
Gramercy Residences Lobby

And here’s the rest of my story. I arrived at the lobby of this posh high-rise at around 2 PM to meet Angela, the owner of the unit I sought through AirBnB. She learned that I was a local so eventually, we had this short chat. She handed me a Smart LTE pocket wifi for the reason that it provides the fastest internet connection (and the most reliable coverage) in the area. I also appreciated how she gracefully interacted with us. She gave us a list of some things to do and some good places to eat. That’s something you don’t usually get when you stay in a hotel the traditional way. After giving us the room key and the elevator access card with my photo on it, she gave me her mobile number just in case I needed anything.

Gift from my host
Gift from my host

Aside from a wondrous balcony, the room featured a comfy Queen size bed and a single bed, a crafted cabinet with wooden hangers inside, a drawer and some high-quality bedsheet and a comforter. The room also has a flat screen cable TV, a two-seater sofa, and a full-length mirror. There’s also a dining table complete with chairs and a kitchen with almost everything that you would ever need. The bathroom featured a hot and cold shower, a hair dryer, and some toiletries.

Hotel-Like Bathroom
Hotel-Like Bathroom

I’d have to say that this cozy condo unit at the Gramercy Residences is really ideal for group travelers, backpackers and tourists who would like to save money on accommodation, while maintaining the luxury of living like home.

Pool at Gramercy Residences photo courtesy of
Pool at Gramercy Residences photo courtesy of

As guests, we also enjoyed complimentary services such as the use of amenities in the 35th floor which houses a mini-theater, a function room, and game room; the use of the swimming pool found in the 36th floor; and some access to bottled water, a box of pastries, and a towel set.

Mini Kitchen
Mini Kitchen

Connected to the luxurious Century City Mall, the Gramercy Residences still remains to be the tallest building in the Philippines. You can dine at the prestigious rooftop bar, 71 Gramercy, using the express elevator from the ground floor up. 71 Gramercy is also the perfect spot for anyone who’d love to catch the mesmerizing sun setting at Manila Bay.


I’m glad I chose The Gramercy Residences as my runaway spot for it, indeed, was the perfect site for me to just unwind and feel at home. Located in between two shopping malls, it has a Family Mart at the ground floor and is in close proximity to a lot of famous foodie places along Makati Avenue.

Two Beds inside the Condo Unit at Gramercy
Two Beds inside the Condo Unit at Gramercy

For the entire four nights of stay, I only paid a little over 9,800 Php which, when considering the comfort and ethereal aura it brings, is just equivalent to a one-night stay in a luxurious Makati hotel nearby. Add to that the fact that our hosts, George and Angela, were really very attentive to our questions. They made sure that the transaction ran smoothly.

Two Seater Sofa in between two comfy beds
Two Seater Sofa in between two comfy beds

You might just be wondering. What exactly is AirBnB?

AirBnB is a new concept in accommodation that empowers individual home and condominium owners to rent out their own properties as holiday lodging to locals and tourists looking for a homey twist. It’s like staying at a hotel room but in a more at home atmosphere, if I would put it that way.

How do you instantly book a room with AirBnB? Here are the steps in renting unique accommodations via AirBnB.

  • Go to and create an account.
  • Enter your destination, arrival and departure dates, and the number of guests.
  • Click Instant Book on the right side of your screen.
  • Enter your payment details and write an optional message to introduce yourself to the host.
  • When you’re ready to confirm and pay, click Book Now.
  • You’ll receive a confirmation email with your trip itinerary and billing details.

AirBnB is changing the way people travel by opening up millions of unique accommodations in more than 34,000 cities in over 190 countries – be it an apartment for a night, a relaxing treehouse, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month.

AirBnB’s award-winning app, which is downloadable for free on the App Store and Google Play Store, makes searching, booking, and communicating with hosts a lot more safe, seamless and fun. It also brings the world at the fingertips of Filipino travelers who are in search of a home away from home.

Smart Exclusive Offer

To celebrate the groundbreaking #SmartAirBnb partnership, all Smart Prepaid, Smart Postpaid and Smart Bro subscribers can enjoy a 2500 Php discount for a minimum of 8,000 Php booking at any AirBnB-listed accommodation here and abroad.

Airbnb Smart Promo Philippines
AirBnB Discount for Smart Postpaid Subscribers

Smart subscribers simply have to text SMARTAIRBNB to 2855 for FREE to receive the unique promo code that they can use to activate the discount whenever they complete their AirBnB booking. The discount is limited only to one booking per registered Philippine Airbnb user, but is open to all past and first-time bookers with travel period until December 2016. Visit for more details.

I am definitely grateful for having my first AirBnB experience with The Gramercy Residences. I learned that not everything inexpensive is CHEAP. You just need to know how to get it and where to find it. When it comes to accommodation needs, I finally found the perfect partner.

With AirBnB, you don’t just book for a perfect place to stay; you also find your new home away from home.

I hope I can hear more successful AirBnB stories like mine in the coming years! Be a Smart Traveler. Join AirBnB! Have a happy and safe home-searching everyone!

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

What do you think?


Travel Gadget: ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0 Review

Christmas Market at Lancaster London: Yule be sorry to miss out!