The Peninsula Manila
This pair of 11-story towers in Makati, Manila's financial hub, was originally built in 1976 to impress delegates attending the IMF world conference and underwent a major overhaul in 2008. The restored lobby now boasts soaring, 4-story ceilings, a lavish sunburst sculpture, and copious amounts of light thanks to elongated windows. Rooms contain slick wood paneling and lampshades fashioned from seashells, inserting Filipino flair to an otherwise contemporary atmosphere. For a refined version of the merienda (the local name for a light, afternoon meal) try the salpicao, beef cubes sautéed in garlic and herbs, at the lavish lobby lounge, while a full-fledged dinner can be enjoyed at the hotel's art gallery-meets-restaurant, Old Manila.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.