Family Hotel Review: The Bayleaf Hotel, Manila

Right in the centre of the old town of Intramuros, The Bayleaf Hotel offers families a fantastic location to explore the historic heart of old Manila.

Best for: Peace and quiet in a crowded city; kids of all ages

Review by: Philippa Langrish

Why You’ll Love It

The Bayleaf in Intramuros was recommended by my local Filipina friend who raved to us about the Sky Deck. Located in the very heart of the old town, the area is relatively quiet and extremely well maintained – a welcoming contrast from the rest of the overcrowded city of Manila.

The modern hotel is classic boutique with 56 neat rooms. The staff were very helpful and friendly – exactly what you would expect from the most welcoming nation in the world. The hotel is well located; a stone’s throw from all the historic attractions, cafés and emporiums.

There’s little to do at the hotel itself but there’s plenty to keep you occupied nearby. We explored the fortifications and battlements, played in the fountains, marvelled at Casa Manila, took a Calesa ride around the town, and ate ice cream facing St Augustine’s church.


Why The Kids Will Love It

I spent one night with my daughter here and while the hotel doesn’t offer anything in particular for kids, it’s a great base for a day or so before travelling to one of the many islands in the Philippines. Since most of Manila was destroyed in WW2 this area is a rare pocket of Filipino history home to many of the citiy’s original buildings.

The favourite activity here has to be a tour of the town by traditional Calesa (horse and cart rides). The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and will stop and let you explore on foot, or drop in for a drink at a café to break up the tour (and make it last longer!).

My three-year-old daughter loved the tour of Casa Manila for all its beautiful murals and grand interior. At only 75php it is well worth a visit.  The courtyard outside Casa Manila was another big hit as it has two beautiful old fountains with fish and two resident turtles. She was quite content playing by the fountain while I sat down with a coffee and piece of banana cake at café Barbara’s, which is within eye sight.


*The Bay Leaf Hotel kindly offered my family and I one complimentary night’s stay. All other expenses were paid for personally. All opinions in this review are entirely my own and would happily return to the Bay Leaf on my own peso. 

Hotel Details


There are 57 rooms, including four suites. The rooms on the higher floors enjoy magnificent views of the city. Rooms are decorated a contemporary white and deep purple with dark wooden floors and shiny white units. Bathrooms are of a high standard, but do not nclude baths. However the showers are big enough to wash children comfortably.

Best Rooms for Families: The best rooms for families are the suites, since the extra space is fundamental. Cots and one extra bed are available on request.



Food is served throughout the day and evening. Adults can sample the local cuisine or keep to European meals if they wish. The breakfast buffet is fantastic offering cereal, fruit, local fare, freshly cooked eggs, pastries and yoghurts. The lunch buffet is equally delicious.

For Kids: Although there is no children’s menu the menu offers pizza and pasta to keep the kids happy. The restaurant offers high chairs as well.



Activities for Parents: All activities for parents take place outside the hotel. Casa Manila, a restored aristrocractic Manila residence is truly beautiful and a great attraction. It’s located just a few minutes by tricycle or a 10min walk. Take a wander around and gaina fascinating insight into life as an upper class Pinoy at the turn of the century. Other activities include: Fort Santiago, where you can learn about National Hero Jose Rizal. A visit to the Silah’s Centre which sells beautiful handicrafts and furniture. The World Heritage site of St Augustine Church (1571) and the NCCA gallery – a pocket size gallery showing exhibitions of contemporary art.

Activities for Kids: Kids will love the Calesa (horse and cart) ride around the old town. Children are equally enthralled by a simple ride in a tricycle (rickshaw/tuc-tuc) through the back streets of Manila. Exploring the ramparts and fortifications of the old town offer children a chance to burn off steam and climb over the Japanese WW2 canons. Playing in the fountain and courtyard outside Casa Manila and Fort Santiago is a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Pack a picnic lunch and stroll to Fort Santiago’s shaded picnic ground, where there is a little play park, fountains and more Calesa rides. Finally enjoying an ice cream at the Mitre Café opposite St Augustine Church is a great way for the kids to be rewarded after a busy day sightseeing.



AC, cots available on request, doctors & hospitals, extra beds, laundry service, travel desk & excursions, wheelchair access, WiFi.



Please contact the hotel directly for rates and special offers.


Travel Information 


When to go: 

The best time to visit the Philippines is between December and February in the cooler months. The wet season is from June onwards; be careful travelling in the months from September to December as this is typhoon season. Temperatures range from 27 – 40C+.


Location & Travel: 

The Bayleaf is located within the walls of Intramuros, in Manila. The nearest airport is Ninoy Manila and the hotel can arrange a transfer. It is not a good idea to hire a car to explore Manila as traffic is notoriously bad. Get a taxi instead.


Contact This Hotel

For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:

The Philippines with Kids: A Family Guide to the Philippines

Reviewed by: Philippa Langrish

The Philippines Editor,


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