Arts & Culture

Would You Sleep In An Aquino or Romulo Bedroom?

Check out these photos of rooms inspired by famous Filipino personalities, and get to know the amazing history of this hotel in Manila

Photography: Courtesy of Waterfront Manila Pavilion

The hotel stands like a guarded secret across the iconic Philam Life Building, hidden among the high-rise condominiums, malls, and Ermita’s eternally busy streets. The main entrance is right off the corner from United Nations Avenue, and once you enter the lobby—even though it is brand-new—a sense of familiarity hits you, and memories come back.

This comes as no surprise, because the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino (formerly the Manila Hilton) has been standing on that corner for almost 50 years. You’ve probably had an uncle or an aunt who held their wedding reception there, danced with a high school friend on her 18th birthday in one of its function rooms, or dined with your family at the Rotisserie.

Designed by Welton Beckett and Carlos Arguelles (who was also the architect of Philam Life), the former Manila Hilton was one of the most modern hotels in Asia. International and local celebrities, socialites, politicians, and everyone who was important graced its rooms and restaurants. The hotel has since undergone many incarnations since its inauguration in 1968 (at one point it was a Holiday Inn), and its latest is a multi-million-peso renovation to modernize its amenities and interiors.

Aside from the updated suites and guest rooms, there are two suites that stand out: the Aquino Suite and the Romulo Suite, named in honor of two Filipinos who helped change our history. These are fitting names in a hotel that continues to stand firm and steady through the years. Tour the fascinating suites in the photo gallery below. 

Aquino Suite

Waterfront Manila Pavilion launched its renovated suite on the corner of the 20th floor of the hotel and named it after former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. 

Entry foyer

The main door of the suite opens to a grand-looking, circular entry foyer surrounded by lighted display niches. As with the rest of suite, the foyer is painted in a soft, butter yellow tint. Yellow is a color historically associated with the Aquinos since the assassination of Ninoy on August 21, 1983. 

Aquino living room

The 150sqm suite fits in two bedrooms, bathrooms, a living room, a library, and a dining room with a kitchen. The formal living room features lemon yellow wing chairs and artwork inspired by the 500-peso bill (which has Ninoy Aquino’s visage printed on it). 

Master bedroom

The master bedroom of the suite features a four-poster bed with study and seating areas—all in yellow of course—with mustard accents. 

Romulo Suite

The Romulo Suite is located on the opposite end of the same floor, and is named after the late statesman Carlos P. Romulo. There are touches of purple seen throughput the mostly aqua-and-white suite, a reference to the Purple Heart he received for his service in WW2.


The library is located right after the entry foyer; this also serves as a receiving area. 

Dining room

Artwork in the dining room shows Romulo’s various achievements. He was the former President of the UN General Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was a close friend of the Delgados, original owners of the hotel. 

View from the hotel

Most rooms in the hotel overlook important landmarks in Manila, such as Intramuros, Rizal Park, Agrifina Circle, and as seen in this photo—The National Museum of Art and the National Museum of Natural History. 

A hotel with history

Many famous personalities and even international celebrities stayed or partied in the rooms and restaurants of the Waterfront Hotel (then Manila Hilton). Among them were boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the Jackson Five, Miss Universe Gloria Diaz, and various Philippine Presidents. National Artist and painter Federico Aguilar Alcuaz practically lived in the hotel during the latter part of his life, and a function room is named after him. 

Old Ambassador Suite

An old photo of the Ambassador Suite shows it finished in walnut stain in a palette of subtle but tasteful neutrals. The hotel has recently undergone a massive renovation worth hundreds of millions of pesos. 

New Ambassador Suite

The newly renovated Ambassador Suite. Staying in the suite gives you access to the Ambassador Lounge, which offers a butler service and private dining. Other room types include the Ambassador Room, the Premier Suite, the Executive Suite, and the Deluxe Rooms.

The Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino is located at United Nations Ave. cor. Maria Orosa St., Manila, tel. (02) 526-1212, or visit their website here. 

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