Originally authored on March 12, 2015
At least we were allowed a furlough from the stoking fear of seeing our heritage structures ultimately ending up in the dustbin of history. By a stroke of luck, Hanky Lee, owner of the holding company who acquired the once-ailing The Henry Cebu, one day, escorted his wife to a famous interior designer’s accessories and furniture store at #2680 F.B. Harrison. She was completely fascinated by its location.
The store is within the tropical oasis with old houses where creative people reside. Taking his own place in history, Lee offered a feasible proposal, settled the negotiation, and acquired the five old houses that would be turned in Henry Manila, “Liberation style” boutique hotel from preserved “post-war houses”. The target is a leisure and corporate market that wish to spend weekends in a hotel that has character.
Details convey a homey ambiance, a sense of nostalgia, and a feeling of individuality. The rooms boast the luxury of big windows, high-ceilings without the fancy of detailed moldings, the retained narra stairwell, the Baldosa tiles of graphic element, wrought iron chairs which adorn the veranda, and the pleasure of walking through the garden lined with indigenous plants popular in the mid-20th century await the guests. In view of the global trend in history adaptive reuse, this is an example of efficient re-purposing of old houses, sure to spur tourism in the country by giving back, if not, retaining the grandeur of old Manila.
* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures