“Where are you from?” That’s the first question I got from another Filipino hostel guest while sitting on the hostel’s purple sofa. “I’m from Manila, do I look like a foreigner to you?” We both laughed and that’s how we started our conversation.
My friends know me well. I don’t usually stay in a hostel, not because I don’t like sharing rooms with strangers. It’s because I’m quite concerned that they might not get their well-deserved sleep (I snore like a century-old train, just so you know). So what am I doing in a hostel? First, I’ve got nothing to do, so I thought reviewing hostels will be helpful for my readers. Second, I learned that they have individual rooms available. So after booking my room via Agoda.com, I immediately packed my bags and headed to MNL Hostel in Makati for an overnight stay.
Quick Chat with Celina Cruz, one of the friendly owners of MNL Boutique Hostel Manila
Staying in a hostel is not only a cheaper alternative to hotels when it comes to accommodation. It also allows you to meet other like-minded travelers and make new friends with a common passion—to conquer the universe haha.
Solenn Heussaff recently repainted the walls of MNL Boutique Hostel Manila – photo by Marc Caballero
Converted from an old house, I easily felt the homey ambiance from the moment I stepped inside the hostel. Upon arriving at the hostel, Celina Cruz (one of the owners) graciously gave me a quick tour inside the hostel. After a quick chat with Celine, I met Vince, a British guy with Italian heritage, who fell in love with the Philippines and considers MNL Hostel in Makati as his home whenever he is in town.
Vince playing with the street kids – photo by Marc Caballero
Vince shared that he fell in love with the Philippines’ distinct character that is quite different from other Asian countries. Apart from the county’s unique charm, he loves the fact that almost everyone speaks English. According to him, every Pinoy he has met are not just fun loving; most of them share the love for music just like him.
Marc Caballero with Solenn outside MNL Boutique Hostel Makati near A.Venue Mall
I was also introduced to Marc, a long-staying guest who is also location independent. He is a Filipino software engineer who works with his clients anytime of the day. During his free time, he also helps some guests with finding their way to their target destination. While sharing his travel experiences, he also helped me removing the Adware virus on my Macbook Pro. That truly made my day.
Colorful Stairs leading to the second level of the Hostel
MNL Boutique Hostel Manila Review
Table of Contents
Celina at the Cool-Cierge area
MNL Boutique Hostel Manila is located one block away from Makati Avenue, right at the back of A Venue Mall. It’s not hard to find. The woven pattern in neon paint on the hostel’s facade made it easy to identify and locate. There are restaurants, bars, groceries, fast food chains, spas and other specialty shops, all of which are a stone’s throw away from the hostel.
Hostels Communal Living Room
I had a queen size bed and it’s really comfortable. It has a white comforter that is similar to what you see in 3 or 4 star hotels and the only difference is that I am paying less. 🙂 This hostel in Makati has various room categories such as Double Room, Twin Room, 8-bed Mixed Dorm, 4-bed Mixed Dorm, 6-bed Mixed Dorm, 4-bed Female Dorm, 4-bed Male Dorm, 2bed Mixed Dorm, and 6-Bed Special Mixed Dorm.
Cool Artwork inside one of the Toilets of MNL Hostel Makati
I was truly impressed with the cleanliness of the place. The communal area was huge and complete with sofa, a desktop computer, a flat screen TV with surround stereo, travel guide books, board games and two guitars. There are several shared toilets and bathrooms available at the ground floor and at the second floor. They are all clean and not smelly unlike some hostels I stayed in Singapore.
Comfortable Bed with individual electric plug
Each bed has its own electrical plug so the guests can comfortably recharge their mobile phones and other gadgets while sleeping.
Inside Dorm Room # 1
I like how they turned each wall into a canvas, from the wall outside the hostel to walls in the living room. It reminds me of a friend’s house, who is a visual artist. I particularly like the nice artworks inside their restrooms and the unique Pinoy-inspired paintings displayed in each room.
Photos Collage of the Hostels previous guests
There’s a spacious communal kitchen next to the living room, complete with a fridge, where you can store your food. There’s also free coffee and tea beside the hot and cold water dispenser, where you can also get water for free.
Travel Discussion at 4am after watching the 2014 Worldcup
I’m also impressed with their fast and reliable free WiFi connection. (Tip: work in the common area or at the kitchen.)
Thousands of Passport Stamps inside one of the Toilets
The hostel provides an area to secure the bags of customers who are waiting to check in and also for those who are already checked out and waiting for their flight or trip. Inside the common rooms, they have lockers with enough space for your valuables. They also have CCTVs recording activity in the common areas, including hallways and pantry.
Welcome Drink at MNL Boutique Hostel in Makati City
The staff are truly exceptional and they are always willing to help. Upon arriving at the hostel, they immediately gave me a map locator, showing a quick guide on how to go to different locations nearby, when coming from the Hostel. It provided me with step-by-step instructions, including which jeepney to ride, and so on. The hostel staff also allows guests to use their WiFi or shower for free before checking in and after they check out at the hostel. It’s like you are staying in a friend’s or relative’s house. They will treat you not as a guest but like a part of the family.
More than the usual Welcome Drink
The restaurant offers free bread and assorted jams for breakfast. If you prefer to eat out, there are various restaurant options in the area. These range from hole in the wall eateries to Filipino-themed restaurants and other famous resto’s offering international cuisine.
How to get there
From Ninoy Aquino International Airport:
The most convenient way to get to our hostel is to take a taxi from the airport and give the driver the following instructions:
- Ask the driver to take you to A. Venue Mall on Makati Avenue
- You will see a Barrio Fiesta Beside A.Venue Mall.
- Walk into Valdez St. and MNL will be at the next corner (Santiago St.)
Distance is about 8.5km, trip takes about 20 mins, traffic-free and approx. 1 hour during peak times.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t consider myself as a backpacker and I only stay in hostels whenever I travel with friends. My experience staying at MNL Boutique Hostel Manila totally changed my mindset about staying in hostels. It made me realize so many things and I also learned a lot of things from other guests about traveling and life in general.
Will I recommend it? Absolutely YES! This hostel is not only for backpackers but also for travelers who are budget conscious. Hostels like MNL Boutique Hostel Manila is a local tourism game changer. A lot of Filipinos are now starting to travel regularly due to the presence of these hostels and with the availability of cheaper airfares.
Btw, MNL Beach Hostel is now open in Boracay (check rates)… I should go there soon!
MNL Boutique Hostel Manila (book with Agoda)
Address: Valdez cor. Santiago St.,
Poblacion, Makati City
Landphone: +63 2 511 75 14?
Mobile Phone: +63 917 812 5707
FB Page: Facebook.com/MNLBoutiqueHostel