What it’s like to spend a weekend at the new Swissôtel Clark
Now that urban dwellers are going out of their homes, restrictions are becoming more and more relaxed, and the capital is returning to its busy self, it is safe to say that we are almost at a point where we were in pre-pandemic times. With that comes the stress of the daily grind and the hassle of the usual rat race. It is not easy to adapt again to how we do things before. And if the pressure and chaos of it all are dawning on you, what you might need is an easy road trip and an easy stay somewhere out of Manila for a good break and just a chance to breathe.
Just a two-hour drive from the capital, Clark Freeport in Pampanga is where local heritage meets worldwide culture. The area is home to many spots that will surely take the pressure off your shoulder. There, you can find a cultural journey courtesy of Clark Museum, have a fun time at leisure parks Aqua Planet Water Park and Dinosaur Island, and experience the beauty of the outdoors in Mount Arayat National Park and Puning Hot Spring. Right at the center of it all is one of the best places to stay in Clark, which is Swissôtel Clark.
Opened last March, the hotel is the new vibrant destination in Clark and is the first Swissôtel property in the Philippines It is a space where guests feel at ease while they recharge, promising nothing but the art of Swiss hospitality. Manila Bulletin Lifestyle got to experience what it has to offer and here’s what we think about it after a weekend stay at this five-star hotel.
Swiss hospitality in the PH
First off, a sense of grandeur is present even before you enter the hotel. Its facade is a sight to witness with its sleek and elegant architecture, offering a good Instagram moment. At night, it shines with an array of colors inviting everyone to come in and have a taste of the Swiss luxury experience.
Its beauty continues inside. Its 372 rooms are imbued with the wonder of the Swiss alps. Walls with snow-covered mountain ranges are just among the many highlights of the hotel’s design. Being a contemporary 22-story building, it is one of the tallest hotels in the northern region, offering a perfect view of rolling hills and dramatic sunrise and sunset for guests to savor right in the comfort of their rooms.
A true nirvana is the hotel’s pool area. Just imagine lush palm trees on the sun deck bedside its sapphire 18-meter pool, its scene is an invitation to relax and unwind. Not to mention its panoramic view of Clark’s golfing area—there is no shortage of beautiful horizons at the hotel. The best way to enjoy the scene is at the Swiss Tropic beside the pool area. Offering a multitude of snacks, drinks, and cocktails, the bar also champions Filipino flavors through its crafted drinks.
What guests shouldn’t miss trying at Swiss Tropics are its special drinks like the Luzviminda, a colorful cocktail made with a mix of dark rum, chase elderflower, lavender and strawberry syrup, and the juice of cucumber, kamias, and guyabano. The bar’s menu also has a drink section inspired by local beaches. What we tried is the Bantayan, a Sirena dry gin, lemon juice, basil syrup, and cardamom bitter concoction, giving a truly tropical experience in every sip.
As Garth Simmons, chief executive officer of Accor, Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea, tells on what makes Swissôtel Clark special is its “inspiring atmosphere, complimented by authentic Filipino charm.”
Flavor journey around the world
Apart from its charming spaces, Swissôtel Clark is also a mecca of worldwide cuisines. Our first gastronomic adventure led us to Europe and the US with the hotel’s specialty restaurant Markt. Designed with a colorful market setting, hence the moniker, Markt has over seven stations—serving grilled meats, pasta dishes, special desserts, and drinks—that will definitely satisfy any Western food craving.
You can never go wrong by ordering anything from its steak offerings. Its premium grills such as the New York Angus ribeye and striploin steaks are perfectly medium with their lightly charred exterior and juicy and pink meat inside. Our savory experience continued with Cavatappi Bolognese Pasta, Croquette with Jamon Iberico, and Crispy Pork Cutlets. For dessert, we had a beautiful plate of mango tart topped with sweet crumble and vanilla gelato—a perfect ending to a remarkable Western feast.
A flavorful Asian journey is courtesy of Spice. This homage to Asian street food stalls champions the best of Asian cuisine. As its name implies, there is no shortage of spice in this concept. Its kitchen is busy whipping up distinct Asian eats, from stir-fried vegetables to an assortment of dim-sums. What we tried is its pad thai that was made traditionally that it will instantly take you to the streets of Bangkok. Its special asado steamed bun is a hearty meal on its own with its generous filling of sweet pork barbecue. A perfect partner to these is its bubble tea with a Filipino twist. Sencha green tea is infused with ube halaya puree, making not only a pretty drink but a truly delectable one.
A way to end the night in high spirit is at The Atrium. Think of it as a beautiful oasis in the middle of a dessert because that’s what it is. Date palm trees stood high with a majestic crystal chandelier adding magic to its evergreen backdrop with glimmering water fountains. Apart from its enchanting atmosphere, The Atrium is known for its afternoon tea, snacks, drinks, and cocktails. For our nightcap, we chose to explore its special cocktails inspired by local folklore. There is the Mangacha, a vodka-cranberry-raspberry cocktail inspired by the creator of Heaven. Another is Tala, where blue curacao is mixed with tamarind syrup, lychee, and Agimat vodka, paying homage to the bright star that introduced the wet-rice culture. Another special feature of the bar is its “make your own gin tonic” station where guest can pick their gin, mixer, and garnish to go in their drink.
Push toward sustainability
Swissôtel Hotels and Resorts worldwide acknowledge the roles of hotels in fostering sustainability initiatives in the hospitality industry. The same movement is present at its location in Clark Freeport, Pampanga. One of the steps it is taking toward a greener hospitality service is the solar panels installed beside the hotel’s pool area, which the resort complex and the casino benefit from.
“Swissotel firmly believes that successful business and a corporate responsibility for sustainable development go hand-in-hand,” the hotel says on its sustainability page. “We consider corporate sustainability in all aspects of our business to ensure that customers, team members, the environment, local communities, and all our stakeholders understand and benefit from what we do.”
Swissôtel Clark is located at Lot2A, Lot2B, Lot2E1 Manuel A. Roxas Highway, Corner Claro M. Recto Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines 2023.
Check out our quick tour below:
@manilabulletinlifestyle Today on #MBLifestyle with Grey. We checked in at Swissotel Clark to experience lively Swiss spirit, hospitality, and sustainability. For more #SocialNewsPh, visit mb.com.ph #BeFullyInformed #GoodNewsOnTiktok #fyp #hotel #staycation #swissotelclark #sustainable #Swiss ♬ Lazy Sunday – Official Sound Studio