OVER dinner at the Phoenix Court at the Bellevue Hotel Manila in Alabang, my girlfriend KC told a story: “I was on a plane to China, and the flight attendant kept on addressing me as Miss Pusing,” this, as to substantiate why, earlier, she summoned our dinner attendant, Wilson, by his name.
Wilson didn’t sit with us, but he made sure we were having a good time. After serving an all-Chinese food, he made a beeline from our table to the next, and then came back to impeccably explain how our Hot Prawn Salad was cooked. Of course, Wilson wasn’t alone, and apparently the many other wait staff were hardwired to do the same. So, KC was obviously making a point, which was to call the hospitality staff by their name, which was personal and made them feel they’re appreciated.
Appreciate it or not, that always seems to be the case with Bellevue, as if the hotel chain is a cut above the rest in its penchant for doing what it does, as if hospitality has a brand.
It’s a constant even at its “three-star” kissing cousin, the B Hotel in Alabang, where the house staff truly knows how to anticipate, and knows when to assist and when to leave you on your own devices. That is especially because, elsewhere, it’s either that your attendants are, in one end of the scale, inattentive, or in the other, pesky because it makes you wonder whether they’re overdoing it a bit.
The hotel’s brand of hospitality is greater than the sum of its parts, which was why one who had experienced it would take the cudgels against why, if service was uppermost and yardstick, it was measly rated three-star.
There are two room classes you can choose from at the 152-room haven: the Penthouse Suite and the Standard King. I was at the Standard, where the sleek room features are a quantum leap from what you can normally get elsewhere in its category, what with the centerpiece queen-size bed (and what other things you insist you don’t need in a short stay) that is selfsame as what the five-star Bellevue Manila has. And, because you can always wax poetic in a room with a view, the window extends up to the ceiling, down to the floor and, depending on where you are in the world, overlooks what in the morning a fusion of both business and solace and, at night, a city of fireflies.
Apparently the three stars are for the absence of everything a five-star hotel has, but, at the B Hotel, the absence was only of everything bulk and unnecessary. There’s a café and a pastry shop, perhaps a wee gym or two, and a function room that can accommodate three score and 10 people. That’s it. For why do you need a bevy of in-house beaneries, uncalled-for facilities and what deli if, after all, you’re at the heart of the Madrigal Business Park and, thus, always out on business or on a leisure trip to experience Alabang?
Minimal but not nondescript, the B Hotel houses the Prime Café, which, at night, morphs into Prime Bistro, backdropped with live music, some bottles of beer, some mellow mooning over what’s outside the fence.
The hotel’s fancy only local diner serves both the familiar and the unfamiliar; you can get dibs on and relish what devil you want in-room, like some lazy little snoopy, or you can go gaga over the Prime’s lunch buffet. The Salpicao is always someone’s main, while the Chef’s Signature Sisig was the order of the day. The sisig is a pain to resist. It’s a sin; yes, Betty, a sin is a pleasurable thing. It makes you reconsider if the deadliness that is the fat and carcinogen and all the apparent guilt combined isn’t particularly on your diet.
If all one wants are confections and pastries, nothing beats the signature ensaymada at the hotel deli, the Pastry Corner, and then some delish other novelties the Bellevue brand of hotels is known for. As if I hadn’t tasted, as if I, too, wasn’t satisfied of it all, a wait staff told me there are two reasons people keep coming back to a Bellevue hotel: the service and the ensaymada, which, he said, people buy as pasalubong. I said that, well, the ensaymada is a given. “But, boy, can I also take you home?”
B Hotel Alabang is at 2107 Prime Street, Madrigal Business Park, Ayala, Alabang.