Part III: Swimming, samgyeopsal and more at Solaire

Our 2-night stay at Solaire ends with a morning swim before check out.

We were lucky we were still able to use the pool. It was closed the day before due to a strong typhoon.

It looked like a lot of the guests also had swimming in mind, but thank goodness the pool was pretty big.


It’s late December, and it was the day after a typhoon. Those are not good conditions for swimming. I couldn’t stay in the water as long as Akira and J did, and I don’t know how the other people could do it either. I can hear “cold! Cold!” from other people, too, but nobody left the water.

No more swimming! That’s me in background trying to defrost.

Akira really surprised me here. Maybe it’s sheer will power, maybe she got used to the cold, I’ll never know. Look at our photos below though, she has purple lips! The water really was that cold!

In spite of that, how did we find Solaire’s pool?

J and I agree that the Solaire swimming pool is one of the best that we’ve tried in Manila.

It has the qualities that we look for in a great pool.

First, it should be big enough that you can do laps in it without bumping into other people.


Second, there should be a separate kiddie or wading pool, because it does a good job of separating the kids (and even the bigger kids that tend to play a bit rough) from the grownups that actually want to swim. Of course it’s safer for small children, too. In Solaire, they even lend life vests for kids.

Third, it should be clean and well maintained, and that goes for the general pool area including shower and changing rooms. Solaire gets another check mark here.

Nobody’s got any control over the kind of crowd even the poshest of hotels draw, so it’s pretty automatic that bigger crowds will take a bigger toll on the experience. We’ve experienced as much in Shangri-la Makati and Manila Hotel when we were guests there at the peak of summer and there was just too many people.

So thankfully, while it seemed that there were also a lot of pool guests at the time in Solaire, it didn’t feel as crowded. It’s a lucky break.

How does it compare to other hotel pools in Manila?

Pretty well.

The Solaire swimming pool is bigger than the average Makati CBD hotel, that much I am sure of.

In Makati, Manila Peninsula still has one of the best pool areas because the lap pool is separate from the kiddie pool. Everybody else’s are small, and you’d feel it even more during summer when there’s a lot of staycationing families at hotels!

Sofitel has a swimming pool that’s perfect for families – it’s big, there’s underwater music, and it even has a slide – but it is old and begging for a renovation. It also tends to be crowded all year round.

If there’s one hotel swimming pool that I would like to try again, it would probably be Shangri-la The Fort. When we were guests there, the hotel was newly opened and their pool was still closed. Guests like us had to use the gym’s pool, which was still nice, by the way, but we never got around to trying their own pool.

How did we find our Solaire staycation experience?

If Nobu had a bigger, better laid out pool, it would probably be the best so far for me. But the pool is a big consideration for my family, and that’s why it’s not our best hotel staycation experience (although it’s in the top three).


For our first time stay, Solaire was wonderful. I believe it’s biggest advantage over other similar establishments is its roster of restaurants, its large and beautifully laid out swimming pool, and it’s spacious and elegant rooms.

Kiwa was a revelation, and I do wonder how the other restaurants fare. I know they are pricey, but if they are anything like Kiwa, then I know I’ll also be paying for premium dining experience. I would love to try another Solaire restaurant.

Speaking of pricey, the budget-conscious would most probably head over to Mall of Asia so as not to rack up a huge dining bill by just staying in the hotel. That’s what we did. But while it’s great that the SM option is there, it doesn’t change the fact that Mall of Asia is one of the most crazy-packed malls this country has, and it seriously lacks sufficient and clean-enough toilets!

It was also a shame the weather wasn’t the most ideal on our swimming day, and so I feel that we need to experience it another time when the weather is better.

This wasn’t a stay that we planned and paid for ourselves, so we weren’t totally in control, but the fun experiences far outweighed the not-so-good ones. My mom is happy, J and the little one is happy. Here’s hoping there are more hotels to review this year! Not bad, Solaire!

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