High Style at the Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila
Why Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila is the epicenter of ascendant enclave Bonifacio Global City, By JENINNE LEE-ST. JOHN.
Published on Nov 16, 2016
BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY IS MANILA'S promised land, attracting cool young professionals and the hottest bars, clubs and restaurants with its grassy knolls and wide boulevards and, most important, relative lack of traffic. BGC is the nearly miraculous exemplar of what this sprawling metropolis could've looked like if civil engineers had the chance to actually plan each neighborhood. And at the heart of this virgin enclave towers Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila. This complex where Filipino flair stylishly accents imported luxe is already the community hub—just ask all the locals who use the sunny High Street Lounge as their personal den. Staying here is like being dropped into a ready-made clique to which you instantly belong.
The first thing to do with new friends? Eat. The steaks at Raging Bull Chophouse fly in from Australia and the U.S. with extensive origin stories—like the grass-fed beef from Cape Grim, the northwest tip of Tasmania, an area that boasts the world's purest air. Muddle things up at their whiskey-addled bar, where head mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud infuses his house bourbon with Cohibas. Sumptuous Canton Road will tempt with their bespoke-blend teas and fancy fare such as suckling pig stuffed with dried shrimp, but to judge quality, just pop one of head dim sum chef Lin Zong Jin's perfect har gow, each of which he sends out with 12 tiny hand-crimped folds. Speaking of hands-on chefs, do hope you get to meet Samba's charming Carlo Huerta Echegaray, who will explain the cultural context of his Peruvian dishes like the pulpo anticuchos, dangling like Christmas ornaments glittering with garlic.
The three-cut Chopping Block at Raging Bull. Courtesy of Shangri-La at The Fort.
By this point you may feel, well, full. Resist the urge to retire to your oversized room—the 45-squaremeter base size is the most generous in town, while the vast suites come with sweeping views and Lush Fresh Handmade toileries. Instead, stay social and get to Kerry Sports, the massive two-floor workout cathedral where you’ll find local pro ballers on the NBA-grade court. Run around with your kids in the rope jungle of Adventure Zone. Book a private pilates torture session with Elijah Africa (yes, that’s his real name).
Or burn some calories outside on one of the hotel's über-sustainable Bambikes: handcrafting the sturdy, handsome bicycles of bamboo and abaca creates jobs in 2,000 locales across the archipelago. Pedaling around the quiet BGC streets, it's easy to forget you're in Manila. But then the walls out here covered in commissioned graffiti murals remind you of the walls in the Shangri-La, adorned in huge original works by some of the country's top artists, all seeming to signify that when it comes to community, bigger is better. And it's clear that though this may be a new mecca, it pulses with old-school Filipino family values. shangri-la.com; doubles from P14,800.
Guest rooms are among the largest in town. Courtesy of Shangri-La at The Fort.
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