The Art of Great Stays

Back when I was working all over the place holding office in different Coffee Bean branches (such is the life of a millennial x a freelancer) a particular favorite was the branch in Tordesillas. And every time I headed there, I’d pass by this charming little boutique hotel that I’ve never really had the opportunity of visiting.

Until now. I recently stayed overnight at the Picasso Boutique hotel and was definitely impressed. The Picasso theme was resonant all throughout from the more obvious details like the galleries and paintings showcased in the lobby down to the most minute of touches like the bedroom trash can painted a la Pablo to the coasters for the glasses by the sink. The table’s legs are artsy, the colors in the rooms pop, and it’s obvious that the design and the trinkets were well thought out. I have never been a fan of Pablo Picasso, to be honest. I used to think that his paintings were eccentric in a way that I could never appreciate. But my heart did soften for him when my mom and I took a quick trip to Barcelona last year and we both got to see his evolution as an artist in the Picasso Museum. So I think it’s only fitting to commemorate a year’s trip with a stay in the Barcelona suite in a hotel inspired by his artistry. The room was extremely spacious with an office desk, a living room area with a TV, two balconies (one with seats), a king-sized bed, a bathroom and a bathtub. It’s big.

In terms of aesthetic, the hotel didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to draw inspiration from the great artist and not deliver. Every nook and cranny was highly photogenic—from the lobby’s staircase to the gallery to the rooms with vibrant coloured walls. The novel minibar snacks were a great alternative to the typically overpriced refrigerator full of junk. Snacks included gummy bears, organic cocoa chips, trail mixes, dried fruits, and veggie chips. Drinks included fruit juices, soda, and an array of San Miguel’s malt options.

The breakfast, which to me makes or breaks any hotel, was a combination of buffet style and à la carte. I can never resist ordering beef tapa if I somehow chance upon it on any menu and this time was no different. While tapa is usually such a gamble, this particular dish was really enjoyable. I highly recommend it. On weekends they also offer unlimited mimosas during brunch which is terrific. Why would anyone pass up a chance for unlimited mimosas?

But aside from the food, what I love most about it is the location. Tucked in the heart of Salcedo, which is a pretty happening place, mind you, the hotel is literally walking distance from some of Salcedo’s best-kept restaurants. Trust me on this because I’m really not the type to use “walking distance” if my own lazy butt won’t be able to walk without breaking a sweat. Wildflour, Wholesome table, and Mendokoro are all about 30 steps away. I kid you not. And because the waiting time of Mendokoro is insane, it’s nice to be able to go back up to your room and wait comfortably. We waited almost 2 hours on a Friday night. So it was nice to be able to look at the number of people still waiting and sitting by the ledge of the street and just go back to a comfortable bed to chill while they prepare my seat and my ramen. Try the tantanmen it’s amazing. Salecdo is also home to the famous Salcedo Market that city folks flock to every Saturday morning. It has fruits, food stalls (shoutout to Bun Apetit’s Lobster Rolls), snacks (Take Root’s Kale Chips) and so much more. It’s nice to take a quick stroll and grab a bite or two. A big plus is that it’s literally across the hotel.

I absolutely loved the hotel and would definitely go back given the chance. I know Makati doesn’t really feel like a vacation spot—it’s one of the busiest cities, with ridiculous traffic, and lots of stressors—but Picasso is a safe haven amidst the chaos. It’s pretty too. Picasso, the artist, and Picasso, the hotel, are both yeses in my book.


The Picasso Boutique is located at 119 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Philippines 1227. For reservations contact T: +63 2 828.4774, F: +63 2 828.9141 or E: [email protected] 

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Island Girl with Chaintecaille

I’m an island girl at heart. I might freak out swimming in deep lakes without a life vest for a maximum of five seconds and I can’t go deep enough even for a half and half underwater photo shoot (which is usually enough reason for me to be risky) but there’s no denying that I feel the most serene when I’m surrounded by the deep blue. Even just being in a boat watching the water with droplets splashing on your face and the salty air blowing on your face is a priceless relaxing experience for me. There is nothing I love more than the water. I can watch the waves crash on the shore for hours by myself.

Luckily, I work for a travel magazine and my work involves trips to some of the most beautiful locations in the country. Just over the weekend I took a quick trip to Coron, Palawan for a fun shoot and it was such a beautiful, relaxing, and rejuvenating experience. I feel much more centered thanks to a few days in the sun.

Interestingly, I always bring fragrances to my beach trips but none really match the location. Some are way too woody, way too sexy, to completely imbibe the feel of the sea. Chantecaille, a French-New Yorker beauty cult favorite, recently just graced Philippine shores via Art of Scent, my favorite fragrance boutique. While the makeup products are yet to be launched (but they’re amazing, I promise), customers can grab the brand’s fragrance line. The scent I fell in love with was Tiare, an ode to the complexity of the waters.

It makes perfect sense then for me to have travelled with a bottle that captures the feel of the turquoise seas to the island that I know has the bluest waters and most breathtaking lagoon: Palawan. I mean, the island was hailed the most beautiful island in the world. Tiare, my chosen Chantecaille scent, is a light, airy scent that captures the salty breeze with notes of classic white flowers like Gardenia and Jasmine. I’ve always been a fan of Jasmine from fragrances to massage oils, so this pick was a no-brainer. The star of the fragrance, however, the Tiare flower, grows along the Coral Reef so it makes absolutely perfect sense that the inimitable vibe of the sea permeates with just one spritz.

Sylvie Chantecaille, the woman behind the powerhouse brand, best captures the essence of the fragrance. “It’s that delight of being able to surrender to the waters…that is the spirit of this scent.” True enough, when surrounded by the vastness of the water, the seemingly endless horizon, the calming rhythmic flow of  the waves, and soothing cooing of the splashes, there really is nothing else to do but surrender to the water. And honestly, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

The water is my chosen elixir and this bottles serves as a strong, fragrant reminder.


 Photography by Jisa Atrero
Taken in Maquinit Hot Spring, Coron, Palawan
Chantecaille fragrances are available in all Art of Scent branches