A once a year affair, Christmas Day is one of the most anticipated highlights in my calendar.
As a last minute decision, Mom decided for all of us to spend Christmas eve at The Pen. After the family loss we had earlier in the month, a relaxed family time together was what we needed. Despite the long queue at the check-in line the day before Christmas, the hotel gave us a complimentary upgrade! We were able to get a wonderful room, overlooking the Ayala Triangle Park.
Come Christmas morning, I took a dip in the pool. I've always preferred a morning swim, just a little after I wake-up. I like having more privacy for myself since not a lot of people are in the pool area. After some laps, I went up and took a shower. As in any grand occasion, looks were of the essence. I got myself ready and stepped out of the bathroom wearing the printed silk shirt I chose to wear, matched with the white jeans with short fringe details on each side. The peg was festive yet understated.
My brother and sister were still asleep after a night of drinks at Salon de Ning. So, I asked mom if she was ready to have breakfast. We were given a nice spot at The Lobby and we had a good view of all the holiday decors that the hotel had for the season. From giant white steel angels playing trumpets, humungous Christmas trees stacked with lights, stars, and balls, to a seemingly too sweet gingerbread house, no detail was spared.
The breakfast was simple yet fulfilling. There was a cold cuts and salad section; a heavy breakfast selection with rice, bangus, chicken sausage, and bacon; a table filled with assorted pastries from all-over the world; an array of fresh fruits in different platters; a touch of the orient with plates of sashimi; and, my ultimate favorite, an omelette station with different fillings to choose from.
Mom went for seconds and thirds for the bacon and she didn't stop praising how good the bacon tasted. She insisted that I try the chicken sausage but it was not something I fancied at that time. I explored and tried each and every section of the buffet, eventually ending my breakfast with a plate filled with different sashimi, with miso soup and fresh orange juice.
It will always be a blessing to spend Christmas with the family. When I was younger, we were already used to Mom bringing us to The Lobby to have ice creams during Christmas evening. Still, everything was a little more interesting this year with the heartwarming ambience that the hotel created, turning my family's Christmas a little more special this year. After we left the hotel, Mom was slightly hinting how much she wanted to turn spending Christmas eve in The Pen into a family tradition. Well, I think it's a grand idea.
I wasn't able to speak to Sonja Vodusek, The Peninsula Manila's General Manager, during our stay but I would like to congratulate her on a spectacular job of turning the hotel into a cozy and pleasant spot for the holiday.