The faded glory of Manila is seen is some of the grand old hotels and buildings that have closed and never reopened. Well, folks, some of that is about to change. The Luneta Hotel will be reopening very soon according to a reliable source. While they haven’t set a date, the restoration of this boutique hotel has been underway and it looks like this grand old structure designed by Spanish architect Salvadore Farre and first opened in 1918 is going to be making a comeback and shining bigger and righter than ever.
Luneta Hotel in Kalaw
This old hotel which faces Manila Bay and sits on the corners of Teodoro M. Kalaw St. and Roxas Boulevard is one of the most popular hotels in Manila much like the Hotel de Oriente in Binondo. This hotel is special for more than the many guests that graced it’s halls. It is one of the only examples of French Renaissance architecture according to the School of Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas. The use of Philippine elements in the design is something that makes it truly special. In addition, the care and design of the original has inspired several buildings in Manila since it was built, but none have ever really matched it.
Luneta Hotel before the renovation
For years, neighbors have complained about the run down building fronting Rizal Park but when it was named a historical landmark by the National Historical Institute, that meant that without getting special permission and using classical and original methods to restore it, it couldn’t be touched. Then in 1998, there were some calls for restoring it, but the process and paperwork was difficult because of the many special elements incorporated into the building.
Old Photo of Luneta Hotel
Back in the day, the hotel was known for being where the rich and the beautiful stayed and was especially noted for serving the best breakfast in Manila! That and it has a ton of beautiful gargoyles that not only scare away demons but also serve the function of causing water to drip rather than run down the walls.
The big question is whether it will be plainly a hotel or a casino or a serviced apartment once the restoration is completed! No one seems to know at this point since their website is still being constructed. The rumors are flying though and there really seems to be some work being completed much to the amazement of the people who thought the only inhabitants it would ever have again would be homeless and ghosts.