Luneta Hotel is a must-visit landmark when visiting Manila, and I admire its elegant building—the only remaining example of French Renaissance architecture in the country. Every visitor to Rizal Park should take the time to see this historic structure.
PHOTOS | WORDS BY MARIANO SAYNO
PUBLISHED December 4, 2006
The Luneta Hotel is the only surviving example of French Renaissance architecture still standing in the country and one of very few buildings that survived World War II.
It was completed in 1919 but abandoned 68 years later. It underwent a lengthy rehabilitation process during the 1990s, and reopened to the public in 2014.
THE LOBBY | The lobby of the hotel is magnificent, with its richly-textured carpets and intricate detailed fixtures. The lighting is soft and warm, creating a welcoming atmosphere that invites guests in to relax.
For many Americans, the hotel has played a significant part in their lives. In 1941 it served as lodging for American military institutions. Dwight Eisenhower—later to become president of the United States—also lived at the hotel while serving as General MacArthur’s chief military aide.
LEFT | This panoramic view of the entire hotel, boasting its French Renaissance style architecture, stands out from other modern buildings nearby.
RIGHT | The French country outdoor lamps hanging from the facade of this hotel are a beautiful detail.
During World War II, the 6-story hotel was a brothel for American soldiers before they shipped out to Corregidor Island—then the city’s last line of defense from invading Japanese forces.
During the hotel’s heyday, its distinctive architectural style made it a standout among other buildings. It was one of the tallest structures at that time. With a Mansard roof and French windows, people admired its attractive grilles and studied proportions. But today with modern buildings towering over it, the hotel may seem small—but its beauty stands out nonetheless.
The gargoyles at the Luneta Hotel | The Luneta Hotel is decorated with gargoyles both for their aesthetic value and to prevent rainwater from leaking into the building’s interior.
The hotel, designed by Spaniard Salvador Farre, boasts 27 rooms and suites. Guests can choose to stay in one of these, which offer a view over the Rizal Park from their balconies. On the top floor is a ballroom with an expansive view of Rizal Park; this also serves as one of Manila’s premier venues for weddings and events.
Elegantly designed flourishes of the French Renaissance are worked into every detail.
The Luneta Hotel’s location is ideal for tourists who want to stay close to the sights of Manila. Located on Kalaw Street and across the Rizal Park, is a short walk from all of Manila’s most popular tourist spots. Visitors can enjoy its baywalk as they watch sunsets over Manila Bay; or take in spectacular views while walking along Roxas Boulevard. Manila Ocean Park, a popular aquarium and theme park, is located just around the corner from the hotel. Guests can find restaurants and activities in neighborhoods throughout, whether they’re looking for fine dining or a quick bite.
The Luneta Hotel is a graceful building, with intricate ironwork and gargoyles on its balconies and windows.
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