Luxury holidays in Manila

Behind Manila’s gritty urban façade there’s a fascinating history and cool artistic legacy, courtesy of the country’s cultural diversity: expect a thriving indie-music scene, innovative galleries, speakeasy bars and artisanal coffee-shops and markets. History buffs can explore the manicured gardens of Fort Santiago, on the banks of the Pasig River; the grounds are home to the fascinating Rizal Shrine, a building dedicated to the Philippines national hero José Rizal. For a quirkier Manila experience, head to the curious Marikina Shoe Museum, where former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ formidable shoe collection (more than 1,000 pairs) is on display.

When to go

December to February brings cooler temperatures to the scorching cityscape, while March and April are hot and crowded with visitors. Expect showers from May to November – the wet season is less crowded than warmer months, and often the best time to visit.

Getting there

  • Planes

    The country’s air hub, Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (, a half-hour drive south of the city, operates direct flights from London, Tokyo and other major international cities.
  • Trains

    In the south of Manila, LRT Edsa Station has connections throughout the city, from Pasay to Quezon City.
  • Automobiles

    Manila has infamously congested roads, with traffic that can flummox unsuspecting drivers. We’d recommend taking advantage of hotel-driver services (most hotels will offer them), and local taxis are easy to come by.