A Luxury Staycation at Okada Manila Might Just Be the Answer to Your Travel Woes
For too long, we’ve been cooped indoors and grounded because of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown. You might be one of the many Filipinos who's had to cancel travel plans twice or thrice in the last 12 months as the country shifted from GCQ to ECQ then to GCQ again. Booking domestic flights has almost become a gamble on whether or not travel restrictions will cancel your flight or not. But now, the end might finally be in sight as the country recovers and travel restrictions are lifting to help the struggling tourism industry. If you’re too cautious to fly domestic but still eager for a change of scenery, here’s our suggestion: book a luxury staycation.
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Okada Manila makes a strong case for staycations in Metro Manila. With its sprawling 45-hectare property, this integrated resort is as big and entertaining as any beachside hotel. Known for its colorful and luxurious interiors, it’s easy to quickly forget that this giant casino resort is located in the heart of Pasay City.
A five-star resort, Okada rooms don’t go lower than P8,500 per night, but considering the amenities, pools, gardens, casinos, spas, and restaurants at your disposal, it’s worth it.
Here’s what a staycation is like at Okada Manila:
Quick to adapt to health regulations, Okada was one of the first Filipino hotels to attain the Sharecare VERIFIED with Forbes Travel Guide badge, which recognizes hotels around the world that have passed a series of comprehensive health and safety tests. The moment you drive up to the Okada lobby, you’ll first have to walk through a disinfectant arch before getting your temperature checked and walking through security.
Don’t be surprised if you walk past a disinfecting robot—that’s a common, and comforting, site on hotel grounds.
Due to easing travel restrictions, guests are no longer required to present antigen tests at check-in, so you can walk right up to the check-in area in the lobby. It’s only if you’re over the age of 65 or below 15 that you’ll have to present a negative antigen test at check-in. But luckily for guests, Okada is one of the few resorts that has an on-site testing area located on another floor. It’s probably the most comfortable COVID testing area you’ll ever come across. Guests can wait for their results in the seating area where elevator/lobby music playing to ease your COVID anxiety. Really, they think of everything.
After waiting 30 minutes for your test results, you can proceed to a separate check-in area located near the testing area so you don't have to walk all the way back downstairs. This system was designed to be hassle-free. And then it’s on to your room, which has its own protective sealed sticker on the door jamb for maximum health safety.
We were lucky enough to book an Executive Suite for our short stay. These rooms go for as low as P16,500 per night, which is easily the same cost as a cheap flight and a small hotel room abroad. If comfort is your priority, then it's a no-brainer to go with a staycation at a five-star resort.
Every room in Okada is furnished resplendently, from the leather couches to the snug king-sized beds. Not to mention that rooms have been upgraded to include the latest household technology, namely the centralized tablets that control every television, light, and aircon in the room.
But that’s not what the resort is known for. There’s one thing Okada does best: its marble princess bathrooms, the paragon of pampering. You could relax in those tubs and gaze over the Manila skyline while sipping (an entire) bottle of champagne for the rest of your stay and leave a satisfied customer.
On to the resort amenities. There are plenty of restaurants and kiosks in the resort, but only a few are open due to the pandemic. We opted for Goryeo, Okada’s Korean restaurant, for a taste of Seoul since it’s been so long since we flew international.
The resort’s spas are also world renowned. Not all the services at The Retreat Spa are available given the pandemic, but you can still enjoy the spa’s relaxing pool. You can’t go wrong with The Sole Retreat, Okada’s on-site foot spa. The intimate setup of The Sole Retreat is made complete with complimentary warm tea. We suggest booking an appointment early in the morning if you want the spa to yourself before others walk in.
If you find your highs in gambling, Okada’s casinos are open and practicing social distancing. Guards are also on duty and extra vigilant in preventing minors from walking into the area and reminding guests to put down their face shields. The boutique shops are also open, as well as the many open areas, gardens, and pathways that populate Okada’s expansive property.
Cocooned in its gold glass walls, Okada presents a chance to escape pandemic stress, if just for a little while. Travel has always been a source of escapism for many, and this resort promises a luxurious—and safe—staycation that might just be what you need to overcome your travel woes.
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