There are reasons why I set strict rules for myself when booking hotels and tickets for travels. One, I don't want any mix-ups or hindrances that will prevent me from having a great time, two, I have trust issues when it comes to dealing directly with people for a tour or a place to stay - I'd rather talk with a hotel staff and be sure they won't mess things up to protect their brand - and three, it makes me feel cheap (for some reason) to not book directly with a hotel (just my thing I guess).

However, during a recent trip to Manila, I decided to try going against my rules - and it was one of the best experiences I've had in the area.

Tasked to accompany a co-worker to a business event, I set out looking for places to stay for two days in Mandaluyong. She hinted she'd probably stay with a friend of hers to save money, but I was having none of it. I've said over and over to my friends that sometimes, you need to shell out a few notes for your peace of mind. Knowing Manila, there are a lot of shady characters and places that are best avoided, and I knew where I wanted to stay. I decided that even if my friend wouldn't be staying with me, I'd get one for two people. Just in case.

I finally found my ideal place at One Shangri-La Place, and it was beautiful. I stayed as a guest at one of the condos on the 54th floor and man, the view was spectacular. It was love at first sight for me, and I knew then that I had made the right decision.

My colleague, Aya, and and I dropped off our things with Jared (the guy tasked to help us get settled) before taking off for business, but I was calm and assured that no matter what happened during the day, I'd be coming home to comfort.

After seeing the room, Aya made the decision to stay the night. We had dinner at Shangri-La Mall (Bon Chon) and invited our other colleagues over (who were there before us due to unrelated work things). Had so much fun that night, and we just sat at the platform admiring the view below. I could fall asleep and wake up to that view forever.

The next day proved to be an even more amazing day, as a dear friend from college was also in Manila and decided to experience the room as well. We shopped a little at Shangri-La Mall (again!) and bought some crepes and cakes from Papermoon Café. When we got to the room, the struggle of taking IG-worthy photos quickly (as the cakes were melting) began. We were laughing hysterically as we opened everything and had a feast. The only thing that went below my expectations was the Matcha Crepe. I expected something more, but only got Matcha powder taste. Our group favorite? The Strawberry Shortcake. I instantly regretted not buying some to take back home.

Our main contact for Shang was gracious and very friendly, answering all my questions about the place and if I could get an extension (which I did haha). I wasn't prepared to leave at all, and when I did, I swore to come back. I was thinking... December? Or maybe October, when my aunt comes home from Germany. Eh. Nevermind the date. I'm going back for sure. When I return, I'll be trying out the amenities.

Have you had the chance to experience staying as a guest at One Shangri-La Place too? How did you feel about it?