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THE newest addition to the AccorHotels properties stands 25 floors high in the middle of the ever-busy Araneta Center in Cubao.

An artist’s digital rendition of a Novotel Manila bedroom suite.
An artist’s digital rendition of a Novotel Manila bedroom suite.

The Novotel Manila Araneta Center, though yet to be formally rated, boasts of the biggest room inventory in Quezon City with 401 rooms and four food and beverage outlets.

Located between the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Gateway Mall and across other shopping malls and near two train systems (MRT-3 and LRT-2), one would be hard-pressed to find another hotel with that kind of accessibility in the metro, which makes for Novotel’s distinct advantage.

Currently, the mid-scale business hotel, is at its soft-opening stage (soft-opened in October 2015) as some of the upper floors as well as the fitness center are still being spruced up.

Grand opening is slated in March but from what this writer saw during a staycation on Jan. 15, it already has a lot going for it—even at the soft-opening stage.

There was no grand lobby to speak of, being a business hotel and all, but it is spacious.

One of the highlights of the hotel is the Food Exchange, an all-day dining restaurant with six stations—Japanese, Italian, Indian, Asian, Grill and Dessert. While everything is par on course with every other buffet restaurants in the metro, what set it apart was each dish offered are put upon an induction cooker (or something similar) to keep the food warm and slowly simmering so what goes into one’s plate is guaranteed to be hot and satisfying.

The hotel’s restaurant also has a dedicated Indian chef, who makes marvelous biryani and chicken tikka.

The other stations also offer good fare as the Japanese section offered cold soba noodles alongside a decent sushi and sashimi selection. The Italian section offered decent thin crust pizza and the Asian section also offered Filipino dishes such as the ever-present adobo.

This is one of the restaurants where visitors really get what they pay for…and more.

The room this writer was billeted in was located on the 16th floor. While the room was decent in size, it will take a little bit of time for one to truly settle in one’s room as the room was a bit confusing at first as the bathroom doors were on the sides and looked like closet doors and the privacy curtain between the shower room and bedroom is motorized.

(NOTE: What was more confusing was the way they numbered their rooms: the 14th room is across the 11th room, so it was using an odd-even scheme which  confused this writer a lot.)

Aside from the restaurants and the-as-yet-to-be-completed fitness center (though they did convert two room into temporary fitness centers), other amenities include two pools, a spa and a kid Gymboree (both the spa and Gymboree are still to be completed).

The pool—which regrettably closes after the sun sets as they are still working on lighting the place up—nevertheless turns into a pool bar on weekends. The downside is the ‘thumps’ from the beats are felt inside this writer’s room.

The hotel will soon also offer a wedding venue with a garden and the tent, across the pool. It also has six meeting rooms and a grand ballroom, which will fit 1,000 people.

At length, Novotel Manila Araneta Center has a lot going for it as with all the amenities it offers (the only drawback would be the heavy traffic which perennially plagues the area), the rooms plays second fiddle—though the rooms (spread across five categories, including a club floor) will ensure a good night’s sleep. — Zsarlene B. Chua

Novotel Manila Araneta Center is located at General Aguinaldo Ave, Aranetas Center, Quezon City, 0810 Metro Manila. For inquiries, call 990-7888 or visit www.novotel.com