The Manila Hotel is a 570-room, five star hotel in Manila, Philippines, located in the heart of the Manila Bay area. The Manila Hotel is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines, built in 1909 and opened in 1912. To design the hotel William Howard Taft hired William E. Parsons, a New York architect, who envisioned an impressive, but comfortable hotel, along the lines of a California mission, but grander. The original design was an H-shaped plan that focused on well-ventilated rooms on two wings, providing grand vistas of the harbor, the Luneta, and Intramuros. The top floor was, in fact, a large viewing deck that was used for various functions, including watching the American navy steam into the harbor.
The hotel was the residence of General Douglas MacArthur from 1935 to 1941. During World War 2, the hotel was occupied by Japanese troops, and the Japanese flag was flown above the walls for the entirety of the war. The hotel survived the bombing of Manila and was later reconstructed. The hotel was remodeled in 1976 and expanded to 570 rooms. The hotel’s spartan interiors in simplified Mission style gave way to more lavish furnishings and, for some sections, major renovations by Paris-trained Filipino architect Andres Luna de San Pedro (son of Juan Luna).
The hotel contains the offices of several foreign news organizations, including The New York Times.It has hosted numerous historical persons and celebrities, including authors Ernest Hemingway and James A. Michener, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, The Beatles, actors Michael Jackson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and John Wayne, publisher Henry Luce, entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, and many various world leaders.
The main lobby was designed for sitting as well as for making grand entrances. Measuring 125 feet (38 m) long by 25 feet (7.6 m) wide, the lobby is lined with white Doric columns. The floor is Philippine marble, the chandeliers are made of brass, crystal and seashells, the furniture is carved out of Philippine mahogany which is used throughout the hotel. The penthouse, the most expensive suite (with a private swimming pool) on the 18th floor, has a view of the Bay, of Rizal Park and the 16th-century ruins of the Spanish walled city of Intramuros, opposite the hotel. Like the Presidential Suite, the penthouse is decorated with rare paintings, Asian antiques and Filipino crafts.