2021, still single but I wasn’t going to be bitter or mop around the house asking the Lord why I’m spending another Valentine’s Day alone. I’m way past those emotions, you be in this state a long time, you eventually get used to it. So, I had a plan in mind; stay in a hotel for a night, meet a few of my friends for dinner and maybe some drinks, then spend the V-Day in a spa. And the hotel of my choice? I thought I should try the newly opened hostel in Makati that is touting itself as a luxury hostel. It’s called Unwnd Lux Hostel and nope I didn’t misspell the first word.
Unwnd Lux Hostel is owned by Araw Hospitality Group Inc. and it was officially launched on the 4th of November 2020. It’s a five-story building along General Luna street with a total of 20 rooms.
My friend, Cai (I know, I’ve been mentioning him a lot in this blog but that’s because we always hang out recently) is working as a marketing manager in this hostel. He helped me reserve a room, then on the 13th of February, I went there around 3 pm to check-in.
Before I entered the premises, the guard checked my name at the clipboard with the list of confirmed guests and asked that I wave my wrist on the body infrared thermometer. He then opened the door and motioned for me to approach the front desk.
Eclectic is how I would describe the hostel’s interior design. There’s too much going on that I’m not sure where to look first. It’s a mix of Asian and European themes, with bold and earthy tones, and vintage decors accentuating the place. There are old French signages used as decors on the walls, by the elevator there’s an antique telephone. In the upper levels where the rooms are, the doors are painted in red and art paintings hang on the walls.
I have visited this hostel late last year to model. I kid you not, I went there for a photoshoot as a favor to Cai. I, and three of his other friends, were photographed for Unwnd’s marketing materials and a few of these pictures were posted on their social media.
After I’ve scanned the code, filled out the health declaration form, and settled the payment, the receptionist told me that my room is not yet ready and suggested that I wait on their rooftop bar. So, I picked up my backpack and waited for the lift to come down. This elevator is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s called a shaftless elevator. The lift has no cabin, just a ledge and the buttons on the side. It is excruciatingly slow that sometimes, you’re better off taking the stairs.
Speaking of the lift, something funny and embarrassing happened when I took it to get to the rooftop. As I was about to exit the elevator, the door wouldn’t open and before I could react, I felt the lift starting to go down. In a panic, I hit the stop button, which halted the lift from further descending. I pushed the fifth-floor button, but nothing happened. So, there I was, stuck between the fourth and fifth floors. There was this tall man in a blue shirt hanging out on the rooftop who witnessed the entire thing. He came over and started giving me instructions on how I could operate the elevator buttons.
But I could hardly hear him through the glass door, and I kept pushing the buttons like a moron. I saw him doing a turning motion with his hand then pointed toward the red button. So, I followed his instruction, I turned the damn thing but to no avail. I was fully aware that I was trapped in a rope-less elevator that had no cables and the fact made me slightly nervous. The man then held up his four fingers to instruct me to hit the fourth-floor button. But I was going to the rooftop, why did he want me to push the 4th floor? I gestured that I would be going to where he was, but he shook his head and reiterated that I hit the fourth button. So, I obliged because it seemed like he knew how to operate this lift. And what do you know, the lift that did the trick.
I muttered my thanks to the man as soon I got off on the 5th floor. I told him that I couldn’t hear him that much and he just said, “Ah you couldn’t hear me?”
I couldn’t look him in the eye, and I decided not to take the conversation further as I was way embarrassed with what just happened, I wished for the earth to swallow me whole. Nevertheless, I was grateful for his help. He hangs around the rooftop for quite some time and I wondered if I should go and talk to him to express my gratitude. But then again, I didn’t want to further humiliate myself, so I just sat there, waiting for my room to be ready.
Later, I found out that this man is not just any person; the man in blue is one of the owners of Unwnd Lux Hostel. Well, I’ll be damned.
I texted Cai complaining that my room is not yet ready considering I was already an hour late for my check-in. He said that they are understaffed and that they need some time to sanitize each room for safety measures.
After an hour and a half, one of the staff approached me to say that my room is ready but that I have to go down to the front desk so they could give me the key. And so, I did, the room key is in a form of a rubber bracelet instead of the usual card key.
Cai booked me the triple sharing room, which I shared with my friend, Che. It has one double bed and a queen bed. The queen bed section has a TV, while the double bed is closer to the bathroom. Since I have a small bladder, I opted for the smaller bed so I don’t have to walk a long way to get to the toilet in the middle of the night. [CLICK HERE TO CHECK ROOM RATES]
I was excited to see the tray that contains toiletries and a care kit. The kit has small bottles of alcohol, hand sanitizer, aloe gel, and sunblock, as well as hand wipes, earplugs, and a sleep eye mask. Now that’s fancy, looks like they’re taking the luxury thing seriously. Not even Shangri-La The Fort prepares this kind of care kit for their guests so I must say, this is pretty impressive.
And the bed is filled with pillows and is quite comfortable to sleep in. There’s also a blow dryer, a vanity mirror with a sink, and a small reading area in this room.
Room reservation comes with a free breakfast, which they will ask you to pre-order upon check-in. In consideration of the limited seating in both their restaurant and rooftop bar, as well as the social distancing, you have to schedule what time you would be taking your breakfast.
My friend and I woke up as early as 7 am to eat our breakfast on Sunday morning. I had french toast with fruits and a cup of coffee. I was so hungover from the night before, I could barely eat. But I wasn’t so hungover as to not notice that the coffee was terrible. Oh my god, it was one of the worse coffees I’ve ever tasted in my life. It had a weird bitter, burnt taste to it that I immediately reported it to Cai. As you guys know, coffee is a huge deal for me (hello my blog is called Coffeehan), and I’m choosing to provide an honest feedback so they can do something about it.
I think that’s my only complaint because everything else was fine. The rooms and facilities are very clean, and the hostel’s personnel are warm and accommodating.
By the way, one of the selling points of this hostel is the jacuzzi on the rooftop, which, again you have to set an appointment for if you want to use it. Each guest (and their companion) is only allowed to use it for an hour. I enjoyed taking a dip in this jacuzzi but the water is not warm and the morning was a bit cold, that I wasn’t able to last for more than 30 minutes. They also have a small sauna and a fitness gym, but I wasn’t able to use them during my stay.
By the way, this is not a sponsored post. Cai did invite me for a blogger ex-deal last year but it didn’t push through due to some priorities. Che and I paid for this overnight stay.
All in all, Unwnd proved its promise of providing luxury accommodation on a budget. I could already envision that this would be a hit to the backpackers, especially for couples when everything goes back to normal again.