Walking through the pine trees of Camp John Hay in the mountain city of Baguio, one is transported to a world of magic and child-like wonder.
Here, close to half a million pine trees tower majestically over a thick blanket of fog, making something as ordinary as an early morning walk seem like a trip to some heavenly woodlands, where one can simply reach out and touch the clouds.
The hilly landscape and meandering trails are covered in bright green grass, soft moss, and a myriad of foliage that serve as a thick carpet for exploring feet. Here and there, one can stoop down and pick up pine cones that litter the pathways.
The winding road leading up to The Manor Hotel
Walking on, one can almost expect to find a humble cottage tucked away in a small forest clearing. But instead of a cottage, one finds a winding road that leads to The Manor Hotel, a five-star hotel that is the crowning glory of this 247 hectare property.
It all began in 1901 when the American colonizers envisioned a place where they could enjoy a brief respite from the sweltering heat of Metro Manila and other lowlands. Soon after, the officers’ club house and living quarters rose on what is historically recognized as the most beautiful spot in the entire city. It is on this very spot that the impressive Manor Hotel now stands.
The Manor’s main entrance (photo by: Dexter Demetillo)
The hotel’s façade complements its surroundings, from its stone-paved steps to its wooden handrails and rustic doors. And as one steps out from the cool, crisp air of the Baguio outdoors and into the hotel lobby, cold noses and numb fingers are slowly brought back to life by the warm interior.
Must-try family activities at The Manor Hotel & Camp John Hay
Introduce the kids to jazz at The Piano Bar
The Piano Bar
Soothing music from a live jazz band drifts from the Piano Bar just beyond the softly-lit foyer. The bar boasts of a two-story high ceiling, from which a fifteen-lantern chandelier hangs. A grand piano sits imposingly in one corner, where different local singers belt out their renditions of famous ballads from 6pm to 11 pm every night.
With its dim lights and romantic ambience, the Piano bar is also a perfect spot for mom and dad to unwind after the family meal.
Speaking of family meals, up next: Le Chef Restaurant
Celebrate a special occasion with an indoor-outdoor lunch
Indoor dining at the Le Chef restaurant. (photo by: Dexter Demetillo)
Diners at the outdoor dining area of Le Chef can enjoy a spectacular view of the garden. (photo by: Dexter Demetillo)
The Manor Hotel is also home to Le Chéf restaurant, where culinary genius Billy King passionately prepares mouth-watering dishes made even more memorable by the breathtaking view from the dining area. The garden features a fountain, a gazebo, and a delightful collection of bright flora.
At the Le Chéf , patrons may be pleasantly surprised by the small Maya birds that tend to frequent the outdoor dining area looking for scraps of food to peck from the ground. Children will have lots of fun trying to catch one in their hands.
Read: Baguio’s secret gardens and hidden cafes
Next: The Suites
Have a suite staycation
The living room of a two-bedroom suite.
From the lobby to the rooms, The Manor Hotel is an effortless blend of rustic style and elegant city living. The fully-carpeted suites are bright and airy with Igorot themed wall decors.
Go for a two-bedroom suite and you’ll have enough space for everyone to fit comfortably.
The master’s bedroom.
The second bedroom in a two-bedroom suite.
Eat in, watch a movie, play board games, or have an unplugged catch-up session where smartphones are set aside to make space for good old conversation.
A dining table of a two-bedroom suite.
Enjoy the forest view or the garden view from big windows or from the terrace. Aaah, perfect for that first cup of coffee with your spouse.
Next: Play areas and Camp John Hay activities
Let the kids be kids!
While the adults have a spa, gym and even a cigar room for their me-time, kids can have fun at the Kiddie Corner, which features a mini-loghouse, educational toys, and arts and crafts activities.
The Kiddie Corner
The playground (photo by: Dexter Demetillo)
They can also check out the outdoor playground, which is conveniently located in the garden.
Go on a nature trip at Camp John Hay
Just a stone’s throw away from the hotel is Camp John Hay. Within this former U.S military base, one can find the Camp John Hay Golf Club House for dad; a par-69, and 5,001-yard gold course.
For family fun, explore the eco-trail, picnic and camping areas, and butterfly sanctuary. Native horses can also be rented out for a ride within the camp.
A girl makes friends with a butterfly at the butterfly sanctuary.
She meets a horse at Camp John Hay.
When you’re done sampling everything Camp John Hay has to offer, you can always take a leisurely walk under a canopy of mist and towering pines, and once more be transported to a world of magic and child-like wonder.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!