(SPOT.ph) Love it or hate it, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) makes commuting more convenient for car-less people. You can get from point A to B in more or less 30 minutes, and you can avoid the hassle of traffic. One of the busiest stations is the Ayala MRT station. It is located in the heart of the Makati CBD, near a slew of huge shopping malls and beautiful hotels. Let's take a walking tour of the establishments in this area.
Ayala Center corner EDSA, Makati City
Directly across the Ayala MRT station is SM Makati. The store's popular jingle, "We've got it all for you," literally rings true as you can eat from food stalls, buy fresh flowers, do your grocery shopping at SM Supermarket, taste Bono Artisanal Gelato, sit in French-inspired Café France, shop for beauty products, clothes, accessories, and furniture, and try out Forever 21 outfits-all in one department store.
InterContinental Hotel Manila
No. 1 Ayala Avenue, Manila
Tel. No. 793-7000
A short stroll away from SM Makati is InterContinental Hotel Manila. It has Gold's Gym Fitness Center on the ground floor and Suriya Spa on the third floor. There's Prince Albert Rotisserie for those craving French and Continental fare. Meanwhile, Café Jeepney serves Filipino cuisine buffet-style.
Ayala Center, Makati City
A bridgeway located on the second floor of SM Makati leads directly to the newly renovated Glorietta Malls. Food lovers and shopaholics won't run out of things to do here. You'll find restaurants such as Ginza Bairin, Wee Nam Kee, La Piadina, and more. The retails stores are diverse enough that people from all walks of life can enjoy shopping. Glorietta 5 is a separate building across Rustan's which is accessible via walkway.
2 San Lorenzo Drive Corner A. Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
Tel. No. 887-8080
The cozy boutique hotel is within walking distance from the Ayala MRT. The hotel has around 30 rooms, each with its own eclectic European design. Treat your palate to home-style French cuisine at Restaurant Cicou.
Makati Shangri-La, Manila
Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City
Tel. No. 813-8888
This five-star luxury hotel right across Glorietta is a haven for Asian and Western cuisine. Inagiku is where market-fresh sushi can be had. For modern Cantonese cuisine, head to Shang Palace. Casual diners will enjoy the international buffet at Circles Event Café. Tennis courts, a Jacuzzi, whirlpools, a steam room and swimming pools are some of the amenities in this hotel.
Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City
If you’re looking for great bargains, head to Landmark Department Store, which is connected to Glorietta. They have inexpensive stationery and home decor-perfect for gifts. They also carry affordable lines of clothing, shoes and accessories. Their grocery items are generally cheaper than in other supermarkets. So if you want to save extra bucks and would rather avoid the hassle of Divisoria, the Landmark is a good alternative.
1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City
Tel. No. 555-9888
Close to Landmark is the Fairmont Makati, which has been recognized as the "Best New Hotel" and "Best New Family-Friendly Hotel" by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Dishes are prepared right in front of the guests in the all-day buffet of Spectrum. Sample afternoon tea with a Filipino twist at the Fairmont Gold Lounge. Styled as a library, Writers Bar also serves traditional afternoon tea. For a luxurious treat, try Fairmont's Willow Stream Spa.
The Peninsula Manila
Corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati City
Tel. No. 887-2888
Once you see the iconic fountain, you know you’ve arrived at The Peninsula Manila. The lobby exudes old-world charm-intimate seating, warm mood lighting, a dramatic neo-classic staircase that leads to the mezzanine where a string quartet plays, and Napoleon Abueva’s Sunburst sculpture on the ceiling. Indulge in afternoon tea time at the lobby and choose from a wide selection of teas, pastries, and finger sandwiches. For heartier fare, make a beeline for the international buffet of Escolta and dine at your leisure in its Filipino-style setting. Afterwards, have drinks at Salon de Ning, a bar and lounge which combines elegant extravagance with Oriental charm.
Makati Avenue corner North Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City
At night, the facade of The Link glows and changes colors, like a block of ice emanating light from within. It is surely a sight you wouldn’t want to miss. The Link houses the second largest Anson’s branch-a one-stop shop for gadgets, entertainment systems, home and kitchen appliances. There are also fast food restaurants in the building such as Pancake House, The Classic Savory Chicken, Ineng’s Special BBQ, Tapa King, and Buddy’s.
Ayala Center, Paseo de Roxas corner Legaspi Street and Esperanza Street, Makati City
Over the years, Greenbelt has grown into a massive shopping mall complex. Greenbelt 1 is the original mall which features National Bookstore, ACE Hardware, Rustan’s Fresh Supermarket, and Onstage Theater. Greenbelt 3 and 4 offers a mix of international brands and upscale boutiques. The stores of Filipino designers, Adora department store, and more high-end retail shops can be found in Greenbelt 5. Within Greenbelt 3, 4, and 5 are a number of popular restaurants like Namnam, Siklab, Tonkatsu by Terazawa, Yomenya Goemon, Smokin' Hot BarBQ, BurgerBar, Cerveseria, La Petite Camille, Ma Maison, Ganso-Shabuway, and more.
If you’d like a change of scenery, stroll down to Greenbelt Park. You can hang out in the gardens, feed the ducks and fish, see public art, or visit Greenbelt Chapel. Also within the vicinity is Ayala Museum, one of the top museums in the country, which features a permanent exhibition of works by Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna, and Fernando Zobel. After getting a dose of art, stop by Kabila Filipino Bistro for local favorites.