Where to Stay in Manila (2019 • COOLEST Areas!)

Manila is a city packed with action and adventure. It has vibrant nightlife and dynamic culture, a rich history, delectable food, and plenty of exciting things to see and do.

But it is a massive city and choosing the best area in Manila to stay in can be overwhelming. That’s why we put together this in-depth guide for where to stay in Manila.

We want to show you the best this Filipino city has to offer by helping you find the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila based on what you want to do.

So whether you’re looking to have a few drinks, save a few dollars, or find the best food in town, our guide will show you everything you need to know – and so much more!

So get excited – here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Manila, Philippines.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Manila

  • Where to stay in Manila for your first time – Makati
  • Where to stay in Manila on a budget – Poblacion
  • The best area to stay in Manila for nightlife – Malate
  • The coolest place to stay in Manila – Quezon City
  • Best neighbourhood in Manila for families – Intramuros

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Makati
Makati is a large district located in central Manila. It is our number one choice for the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila if you’re visiting for the first time because it is clean and safe, and it is packed with excellent things to see and do.
Places to Visit:
  • Dance the night away at Black Market.
  • Delve deep into history Ayala Museum.
  • Drink cocktails at The Exit Bar, a secret speakeasy.

 

Where to Stay in Manila

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Manila.

 

Best Hostel in Manila: Manila-Z-Hostel

This excellent property is our favourite hostel in Manila because it’s centrally located in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in town. It offers comfortable dorms and hosts regular social events, like music nights and pub-crawls. This hostel has a roof bar with amazing city views.

Sometimes the best way to experience a destination is from a good dorm room with good people. Book one of these sweet hostels in Manila and get ready for the time of your life!

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Best Hotel in Manila: The Peninsula Manila

The Peninsula Manila is an excellent four-star hotel in Manila. Guests have access to a swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. Each room comes complete with a mini bar, a spa bath and a refrigerator. They also have private bathrooms with luxurious slippers and comfortable robes.

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Manila Neighbourhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Manila

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Makati

  • Makati is a large district located in central Manila. It is our number one choice for the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila if you’re visiting for the first time because it is clean and safe, and it is packed with excellent things to see and do.
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Poblacion

  • Poblacion is a lively and hip area located within Makati. It is our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for one night or if you’re travelling on a budget because it is home to so many backpacker hostels and affordable hotels.
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Malate

  • This safe and vibrant neighbourhood is packed with clubs, bars and restaurants. It offers plenty of things to do at night, so visitors to this vivacious Manila ‘hood will certainly never be bored.
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Quezon City

  • Located north-east of the city centre, Quezon City is one of the coolest places to stay in Manila thanks to its hip and trendy edge and youthful creativity. It offers a myriad of fashion boutiques, cat cafes, restaurants, clubs and beyond!
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Intramuros

  • Intramuros is a small neighbourhood situated in central Manila. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and is surrounded by the 16th-century walls built by the Spaniards during their occupation of Manila.
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Manila is a massive and sprawling city.

It is the capital and largest city in the Philippines. For many travellers, Manila is simply a stopover en route to other Philippine provinces or islands, but in this guide, we’ll show you exactly why you should consider exploring the capital on your next visit to South East Asia.

Manila is divided into 16 territorial districts. Each has it’s own distinct character and tells its own stories, legends and history. To get a good understanding of the city, we recommend you visit at least three or four different areas depending on your travel interests.

In this Manila neighbourhood guide, we’ll break down the five best neighbourhoods and highlight to the top activities and attractions.

Intramuros is the city’s historic district. Located within the 16th-century city walls, Intramuros is bursting with history and charm, which is why it’s our number one pick for where to stay in Manila with kids.

Travel south from here to vibrant Malate, the best neighbourhood in Manila to stay in for sightseeing thanks to its many landmarks, attractions and shops.

Head southeast and you’ll pass through Makati. Our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for nightlife, Makati is an area bursting with bars, clubs and plenty of late night fun.

The Poblacion neighbourhood within Mataki is our top pick for where to stay in Manila for one night because this area has a good selection of backpacker hostels. It also boasts lively, energetic and eclectic nightlife, dancing and dining.

And finally, travel north to Quezon City. One of the largest and best areas to stay in Manila, Quezon City is a fresh and edgy neighbourhood that offers hip hangouts and some of the best restaurants and street food in Manila.

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Manila’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in

Still not sure where to stay in Manila? Don’t worry, because in these next sections we’ll break down Manila’s best neighbourhoods in much more detail.

 

#1 Makati – Where to Stay in Manila for Your First Time

Makati is a large district located in central Manila. It is our number one choice for the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila if you’re visiting for the first time because it is clean and safe, and it is packed with excellent things to see and do.

The city’s high-end business district, Makati is an affluent area that is packed with delicious restaurants, high-quality shops, vivacious nightlife and historical landmarks. It is an area of the city that will cater to travellers of all styles because it has so many varied activities and attractions.

Makati is also a popular tourist destination because it has several lush green spaces, perfect for an afternoon stroll or a picnic in the park.

Makati, Manila

 

Things to See and Do in Makati

– Dance the night away at Black Market.

– Delve deep into history Ayala Museum.

– Drink cocktails at The Exit Bar, a secret speakeasy.

– Enjoy incredible views and tasty drinks at The Penthouse 8747.

– Excite your sense with rich and savoury flavours at Sala.

– Explore the Greenbelt.

– Grab a coffee from The Curator.

– Indulge in delicious local cuisine at the Milkyway Café.

– Shop until you drop at Glorietta.

– Sip cool cocktails at the Blind Pig.

– Snack and sample your way around the Salcedo Saturday Market.

– Take a stroll through Washington SyCip Park.

 

Best Hostel in Makati: Makati Apartelle

This family-run property is ideally located in Makati, one of the best places in Manila to stay. Every room is equipped with its own air-conditioning to ensure maximum comfort. There are also LCD flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and a private bath. Free wifi is available throughout this clean and safe property.

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Best Hotel in Makati: The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences Managed by HII

These serviced residences are situated in Makati City. They provide modern rooms with internet access and a variety of amenities. There’s also a fitness centre and delicious restaurant on-site. Within walking distance of the Greenbelt, this is one of the best places in Manila to stay for sightseeing.

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Best Hotel in Makati: The Peninsula Manila

The Peninsula Manila offers excellent four-star Manila accommodation. Guests have access to a swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. Each room comes complete with a mini bar, a spa bath and a refrigerator. They also have private bathrooms with luxurious slippers and comfortable robes.

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#2 Poblacion – Where to Stay in Manila on a Budget

Poblacion is a lively and hip area located within Makati. It is our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for one night or if you’re travelling on a budget because it is home to so many backpacker hostels and affordable hotels.

The city’s former red light district, Poblacion also offers visitors a dynamic nightlife scene. Centred around Kalayaan Avenue, travellers can enjoy everything from dive bars and live-music venues to trendy bars, hipster pubs and energetic nightclubs.

Love to eat? Well, you’re in luck! Poblacion is one of the best places to stay in Manila to satiate your appetite thanks to its myriad of delicious restaurants and The Social on Ebro, an exciting street food park and urban jungle.

Poblacion, Manila

image source: Flickr

 

Things to See and Do in Poblacion

– Dine on tasty dishes at Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse.

– Drink and be merry at Dr Wine.

– Eat delicious Filipino dishes at Lobo.

– Enjoy big flavours at Bucky’s.

– Excite your senses by exploring The Social on Ebro.

– Indulge in amazing Asian fare at Crying Tiger Street Kitchen.

– Savour craft beers at Joe’s Brew.

– See incredible works of art by local and international artists and collaborators at Pineapple Lab.

– Shop for homegrown brands at Workshop.

– Sip café lattes at Commune.

– Try a range of tasty dishes at Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli.

 

Best Hostel in Poblacion: Manila-Z-Hostel

This excellent property is our favourite hostel in Manila because it’s centrally located in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in town. It offers comfortable dorms and hosts regular social events, like music nights and pub-crawls. This hostel has a roof bar with amazing views out over the city.

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Best Hotel in Poblacion: Herald Suites Polaris

Herald Suites is a fantastic option for Manila accommodation. It has a great location in Poblacion and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars. This hotel is comprised of 50 rooms that are outfitted with modern amenities. This three-star hotel also offers a range of facilities, including a lift and wired internet.

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Best Hotel in Poblacion: City Garden Grand Hotel

This hotel provides four-star accommodation at an unbeatable price. Situated in Poblacion, one of the best places in Manila to stay if you’re on a budget, this hotel is close to plenty of cheap eats and inexpensive activities. Guests can enjoy a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, a sauna and a Jacuzzi.

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#3 Malate – Where to Stay in Manila for Nightlife

If you’re looking for a wild night on the town, Malate is the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila.

This safe and vibrant neighbourhood is packed with clubs, bars and restaurants. It offers plenty of things to do at night, so visitors to this vivacious Manila ‘hood will certainly never be bored. So, whether you’re looking for relaxed drinks or the flashiest dancefloor in town, Malate has exactly what you’re looking for – and more!

But there’s more to Malate than rowdy nights out. This busy district also has a rich and fascinating history, a large commercial area, and plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes.

Malate, Manila

 

Things to See and Do in Malate

– Dance the night away at Verano Taft.

– Dine on tasty dishes at Bourn Food Station.

– Eat delicious local dishes at Café Adriatico.

– Enjoy local fare at Purple Yam.

– Excite your sense at SaBalcony Taft.

– Feast on delicious food while listening to Latin beats at Café Havana.

– Grab drinks at Local Caven Resto Bar.

– Indulge in incredible flavours at The Chillout Project Kitchen & Bar.

– Listen to live music at bar1951.

– Party from dusk until dawn at Club ZZYZX.

 

Best Hostel in Malate: Ola! Hostel Manila

Housed in a five-story building, this hostel has 27 rooms and beds for 150 guests. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom for maximum comfort. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing rooftop deck, free wifi, and a great location in Malate, one of the best areas to stay in Manila.

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Best Hotel in Malate: Pan Pacific Manila

This excellent five-star hotel is conveniently located in Malate. It is close to public transit and the surrounding area is known for its shops, bars and restaurant. This stylish hotel has comfortable rooms with modern amenities. There’s also an on-site bar that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Best Hotel in Malate: New World Manila Bay Hotel

New World Manila Bay offers spectacular five-star Manila accommodation at the heart of the city. It is known for its amazing views and it’s close proximity to shops, eateries and bars. Rooms are modern and stylish and each comes complete with a kitchenette and luxurious bath. On-site there’s also a swimming pool, a day spa and sauna.

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#4 Quezon City – Coolest Place to Stay in Manila

Located north-east of the city centre, Quezon City is one of the coolest places to stay in Manila thanks to its hip and trendy edge and youthful creativity. It offers a myriad of fashion boutiques, cat cafes, restaurants, clubs and beyond!

This up and coming area is the best neighbourhood in Manila to stay in for foodies. It is home to Maginhawa Street, one of the most famous food streets in the Philippines, which is lined with an excellent selection of shops and stalls that serve delicious and cheap eats from around the world. From pizza and pasta to seafood, noodles and more, Quezon City is one of Manila’s best neighbourhoods to tease your taste buds and satisfy your appetite.

Quezon City, Manila

 

Things to See and Do in Quezon City

– Chill out with drinks and food at Off the Grill Bar.

– Enjoy a night of good music, great drinks and breathtaking views at The Nautilus Bar.

– Explore the large and buzzing Quezon Memorial Circle.

– Find Int. Bar, a secret speakeasy located inside a photo booth.

– Indulge in delicious dishes at Ma Mon Luk.

– Party the night away at The Manor Superclub.

– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Banapple.

– Shop until you drop at SM City North EDSA, the largest mall in the country.

– Sip a cool and refreshing pint at The Distillery Eastwood.

– Visit the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Parish, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

 

Best Hostel in Quezon City: Dormitos

This hostel offers high-quality yet affordable accommodations in Quezon, one of the coolest places to stay in Manila. It has individual sleeping pods that are designed to give guests total privacy. This property is clean, safe and modern, and is well-outfitted with amenities and features, including wifi.

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Best Hotel in Quezon City: Seda Vertis North

Seda Vertis North is an exquisite five-star hotel. It allows for easy access to the area’s most popular tourist attractions and is close to restaurants, bars and clubs. Comprised of 438 stylish rooms, this hotel has excellent amenities, like a swimming pool and a stunning rooftop terrace.

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Best Hotel in Quezon City: Meranti Hotel

The Meranti Hotel offers comfortable accommodation in Quezon City. It has free wifi and guests can relax in the beautiful swimming pool. Each room comes complete with modern décor and air conditioning. You’ll also get free bottled water and coffee/tea supplies.

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#5 Intramuros – Where to Stay in Manila for Families

Intramuros is a small neighbourhood situated in central Manila. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and is surrounded by the 16th-century walls built by the Spaniards during their occupation of Manila. Steeped in history, Intramuros is the best area in Manila to stay in for history buffs and culture vultures.

This historic ‘hood also wins our vote for where to stay in Manila for families. Not only is Intramuros packed with historical landmarks and tourist attractions, but it has lush parks, winding streets and plenty of restaurants and shops to experience and explore.

Intramuros, Manila

 

Things to See and Do in Intramuros

– Enjoy a sweet treat from Cioccolata – Churros Café.

– Explore Fort Santiago, a museum and public park built within a 17th-century stone fortress.

– Go for a stroll through nearby Rizal Park.

– Marvel at the amazing Manila Cathedral.

– Ride in a calesa, a colourful horse-drawn carriage.

– Shop for gifts and souvenirs at Mananzan Handicrafts

– Step back in time and explore traditional Philippine life and history at Bahay Tsinoy.

– Take in the views of Plaza de Roma.

– Visit the museum and courtyard gardens of San Agustin Church, one of the Philippines’ oldest stone churches.

– Wander throughout the Baluarte de San Diego, one of the oldest fortifications in Intramuros.

 

Best Hostel in Intramuros: The Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel is one of our best recommendations for where to stay in Manila for families on a budget because it offers amazing accommodations at a great price. This excellent five-star hotel has many features, including tennis courts and an outdoor pool. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and perfectly outfitted for families.

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Best Hotel in Intramuros: The Bayleaf Intramuros

Incredible views and delicious food – it’s no wonder we love this hotel! This four-star property has modern rooms that are well-outfitted with a variety of features. It also offers a range of amenities, including a rooftop terrace and a delicious on-site restaurant.

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Best Hotel in Intramuros: Ramada by Wyndham Manila Central

The Ramada by Wyndham is one of our top picks for where to stay in Manila with kids. This four-star hotel has a variety of family-friendly amenities, including spacious rooms, a playground and babysitting services. It also has a central location making it an excellent base for exploring Manila.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Manila

Manila is an incredible city that is often overlooked by travellers. The capital and largest city in the Philippines, Manila has a rich history, dynamic culture, vibrant nightlife, and an array of succulent foods. So, no matter your age, interest or budget, we believe there’s something for every traveller in astonishing and action-packed Manila.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the best places to stay in Manila. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here’s a quick recap:

Manila-Z-Hostel is our favourite hostel because it has a great location in Poblacion, comfortable dorms, and amazing rooftop views.

Another option is The Peninsula Manila, an excellent four-star hotel with a swimming pool, fitness centre, modern rooms and private baths.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email hostels@thebrokebackpacker.com to find out how.

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