Makati Staycation Guide

Nothing is as unique or ultra-sophisticated as Makati City in the Metro Manila area. It remains the best city to live, work, or spend a staycation in. In fact, formulating a perfect Makati staycation guide is a daunting task, for there are just countless tips and ideas for a truly fulfilling Makati staycation. Here are just a handful of great staycation ideas.

Things to Do in Makati City

Makati is loaded with oodles of fun staycation activities for all ages and types. This Makati staycation guide lists only some of the most notable ones.

1. If shopping is your passion, prepare to spend at least a day or two exploring the Greenbelt, Glorietta, 6750, and SM Makati malls. And don’t fail to check out Landmark for some of the best buys in clothing, accessories, and gifts. It’s easy to get around these malls as they are all adjacent to each other, some via elevated walkways. Just make sure that you don’t get stuck inside any of the malls at closing time (9:00 PM on most days) or you’d have to go looking for the exit doors that are still open.
2. Visit the weekend community markets of Salcedo and Legazpi streets. Check out unique merchandise and sumptuous food items which can’t be found elsewhere. Alongside these stalls are the regular market items like fresh meats and produce. You can also find other unique and interesting items. But do bring cash because these outlets do not take credit cards.
3. If you’re culturally inclined, you should include the Ayala Museum in your itinerary for your staycation in Makati. This is a permanent fixture near Greenbelt, housing more than a thousand artifacts of gold, artworks, textiles, and ceramics. Learn more about our country’s culture and history through the many dioramas and exhibits.
4. A rather unusual but highly recommended staycation idea is Mystery Manila. It has two branches in Makati – Century City Mall and Jupiter Street. This takes fun to a whole new level. There are three “mystery rooms” to choose from, each with its own theme (supernatural / horror, murder / crime, and magical wizardry (titles and storylines of each room change seasonally). Each room has its own set of puzzles, clues, and tasks to be completed by your group. You must solve the mystery within an hour to get your group’s name on the leaderboard. The place is open from 1:00 PM to 9:30 PM and costs about P550 per head, but bigger groups get more discounts.
5. Watch midget and women’s boxing matches at Ringside Bar in the red light district. While it may seem uncomfortable to set foot in the area, with all the girlie bars, this place is worth a visit if you want hilarious entertainment. The participants aren’t really fighting but only acting for this show. And for P2000 you can even be the referee of the match. Matches start midnight.
6. Play board games at Onboard Game and Gastropub. Yes, there’s nothing like playing board games without benefit of computer shortcuts and graphics, just like the good old days. Onboard has over 600 great games including Cards Against Humanity, Suspend, Avalon, Walking Dead and Lift it. There are even games for the lonely and the heartbroken. Game masters are on hand to assist you with game selections and tips. And while you’re at it, enjoy comfort food such as pizza, baby back ribs and scampi at reasonable prices. Open from 1 PM to 11 PM.
7. Go skating for only P50 an hour at MTN DEW Skatepark. This is great for active kids and other people who want a good exhilarating workout. Do bring your own roller skates, roller blades, or skateboards though. Also make sure you wear safety pads and helmets to avoid any untoward injuries.
8. Try fencing at Republic Fencing and Sports Club on the basement of Makati Square, Chino Roces Avenue. The sport of nobles, fencing is deceivingly graceful but also demands agility, focus, and stamina. Hence, it’s a great workout.
9. De-stress at the Armscor Shooting Range in Makati Cinema Square. Learning how to handle a gun will help you feel more confident and equip you with a useful defensive skill.

10. Discover hidden bars. The Exit Bar is located at the back of Plaza Cafe in Paseo de Roxas. You need to push a few panels just to enter this place. The atmosphere is generally hushed, and perfect for those intimate conversations. Alternatively, you might want to explore the B-Side which features walls covered with awesome and tastefully painted graffiti and murals.

11. Seniors can enjoy various activities at the Sunshine Place along Jupiter St. The place has gym/aerobics rooms, workshop (to learn painting and other skills), and even hi-tech mahjong tables that mechanically shuffle and reset tiles after each game. While Sunshine is dedicated to seniors, it also welcomes other age groups.
12. Enjoy diverse indoor and outdoor activities at the Circuit Makati. Located at the former Santa Ana Park, this complex  promises to be the ultimate entertainment center feature a world- class indoor theatre, retail outlet area, a FIFA-sized football pitch, and a skate park.

Looking for a Staycation Hotel that fits your budget?

Compare the prices in Agoda and Booking.com
AgodaBooking.com

Restaurants and Dining Spots to Try in Makati City

Gourmets will definitely enjoy a foodie staycation in some of the best eating places in Makati. The ones listed here are almost exclusively found in Makati and are not your usual kind of dining place.

1. The Wholesome Table aims to help people change their eating habits and preferences in order to live healthier.  The place serves food made from organic produce, free-range poultry, wild-caught seafood, and grass-fed cows. Except for cheese, all ingredients are natural (not processed), and sans artificial ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and preservatives. Sauces and condiments are from scratch.
2. El Chupacabra may be the name of a gruesome bloodthirsty monster, but in Makati, it is fast becoming a favorite hangout not only of those who want to chill on refreshing alcoholic drinks and delectable Mexican fare such as specialty tacos (sisig, chorizo, etc.), hot chicken wings, taco salad, and barbecues. It gets busy though on weekend nights, but still worth a visit. Sorry, no reservations accepted!
3. For the ultimate in Japanese cuisine, go to Little Tokyo along Pasong Tamo near the Makati Cinema Square. Within this little district, you’ll be able to savor authentic Japanese food for lower prices compared to swankier places in town. You can even dine in a small function room with your shoes off and sitting on the floor like the traditional Japanese do. Some notable establishments include Hana, Seryna, Izakaya Kikufuji, Shinjuku, and Urameshi-Ya Yakiniku, but other ones are just as recommendable. You can get freshly cooked takoyaki balls and Japanese ice cream concoctions. There’s also a small grocery where you can buy fresh or frozen Japanese goodies.

4. The Rabbit Hole is a very quaint cafe on Jupiter Street whose interior theme is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The place serves all day breakfast, signature pastas, cakes, pastries, full meals with rice, and even Asian goodies like spring rolls, sisig, Korean wings, and satay.

5. For a truly unusual dining experience, have a dinner date at Noche, the only restaurant in the country where patrons dine in total darkness. Prices are per person, ranging from two course meals at P999 to five course meals at P1999. Unfortunately, the restaurant determines the entrees that will be part of these meal packages, but this is worth it if you’re in for a real dining adventure. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to use mobile phones, tablets, flashlights, or anything else that emits light.
6. Speaking of foodie staycation adventures, you might want to explore the Poblacion area (near Rockwell and J.P. Rizal) One of the pioneers in this area is Som’s Noodle House, which looks rather plain in ambience but actually serves great Thai food.  For tangy Korean barbecues, try Min Sok. H Cuisine is best known for slow-roasted Angus beef belly at very affordable prices and they’re generous enough for sharing. Satinka Naturals is a skin care apothecary turned hole-in-the-wall bistro serving Cordillera cuisine. Bagnet lovers will love 8065 Bagnet entrees like kare-kare, binagoongan, pinakbet and dinuguan, all with delectable toppings of their signature bagnet. And there are many more establishments like these continuing to mushroom around this vicinity.

Best Hotels in Makati for Staycation

For the best staycation in Makati, you should try staying at one of its notable hotels. These Makati hotels are strategically located near commercial establishments.

Makati Shangri-la remains the top staycation hotel in Makati, mainly because of its excellent facilities, service quality, and proximity to the commercial center. It is well-known not just for its luxurious rooms and facilities, but also its international buffet at Circles Event Cafe, and its many specialty restaurants such as the Shang Palace for Chinese food and Inagiku for Japanese fare. It has the widest variety of services, such as shuttles, butler, shoe shining, car rental, and even notarial.
Raffles Makati is also quite notable with its sincere and impeccable services, from the reception desk to the butlers. Restaurants offer Asian, Malay, and Spanish-influenced cuisines. Try the all-day dining resto Spectrum and the delightful pastries at Cafe Macaron. Or have the luxury of taking your afternoon tea as well as enjoy the tranquility of reading in a library ambience at the Writer’s Cafe. The hotel is a very short distance to some of the most prestigious boutiques and fine dining establishment in CBD. Best of all, you can access the commercial district via a private underground walkway from the hotel’s basement from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
If you prefer a newer accommodation, you should try Discovery Primea which is right in the heart of the business district. The interiors are distinctly Mediterranean and Chinoiserie inspired, yet the amenities are ultra-modern and exude in comfort and luxury. Rooms are pricey but also quite spacious enough for a family or barkada. And the dining and entertainment hub of the Makati business district is only a short walk away. Enjoy a pampering spa treatment at the Terazi Spa where you can choose from various traditional and natural healing therapies using flowers and plants as primary ingredients. Or relax your stress away in a steam bath and soaking tub.

For a staycation hotel that has stood the test of time, Dusit Thani offers accommodations in tasteful and exotic Thai aesthetics. It has some of the most outstanding dining places, like Benjarong Thai, Emu, and The Pantry. Enjoy Thai style spa treatments and complimentary meals when you book a room.  

Also, a key landmark in Makati is The Peninsula Manila which is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. The 24/7 lobby restaurant has been the hub of business and personal dates, best known for its luscious signature and still gigantic Halo-halo and yummy pancit palabok. The hotel features the Peninsula Academy which offers customized in-depth cultural learning programs in the form of classes, tours and activities for kids and adults alike.

 

Right across the Greenbelt and Glorietta Mall is New World Hotel, a 580 room 5-star that offers ultimate luxury facilities, including a fitness center that is always open and a business center complete with technical and secretarial services to serve as your “office away from your office” if you need to telecommute.

Although away from the general vicinity of most Makati hotels, I’M Hotel is the first 5-star hotel to open in the Poblacion area. It houses the largest urban spa in the country which features unique carbonated bath and ensuite jacuzzis or steam rooms.

The price of accommodation includes access to the spa as well as relaxation lounges. Don’t miss swimming at the elevated acrylic-bottomed infinity pool for a truly unforgettable experience. Afterwards, relax at lounging beds positioned on a platform above the pool.

More Tips in our Makati Staycation Guide

There are just countless activities and restaurants to try in this magnificent city. Here are other tips for a truly enjoyable Makati staycation:

  • Plan your itinerary well, and account for time that may be spent unexpectedly in heavy traffic, especially during weekday rush-hours.
  • You don’t need your own car to get around. Take e-jeeps, buses, or even use your own feet. And there’s also Uber or Grab to take you around without hassle.
  • Bring umbrellas because like any other Philippine city, the weather in Makati can be unpredictable.
  • Although posh and modern, Makati is not without its criminal elements. Hold on to your bag and watch your kids closely. It’s better to use bags with zippers and even locks to ward off any attempted snatching or pickpocketing. Walk in well-lit places at night, especially in the Poblacion area. And never talk with strangers.