Biz Buzz: Who’s staying where
WITH THE Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit only days away, preparations are in full swing in Metro Manila’s hospitality industry.
Especially busy nowadays are the top five-star hotels around the metropolis which will serve as second homes to 21 world leaders for two or three days in two weeks’ time.
Of course, it’s no secret that US President Barack Obama will be staying at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, which is the same hotel he stayed in during his overnight state visit to the country last year.
According to government sources, Sofitel is the hotel of choice for “Renegade”—Obama’s Secret Service codename—because it is the most secure location available, with no tall buildings nearby, surrounded by wide open spaces, and is only a relatively short distance away from the US Embassy compound along Roxas Boulevard. From a security standpoint, we understand that the hotel is also ideal because of its rooftop helipad and proximity to the sea.
But wait. The leader of the world’s second biggest economy will be keeping Obama company nearby, we hear.
According to our sources, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be billeted not too far away at—drumroll please —the Century Park Hotel of tycoon Lucio Tan.
In fact, we were told that Century Park along Vito Cruz Street in Manila is being spruced up for the Chinese president who has, no doubt, taken cognizance of Tan’s significant investments in China’s southern provinces as well as upscale real estate holdings in the Pudong district of Shanghai.
Meanwhile, we were told that the other powerhouse world leader—Russian President Vladimir Putin—has opted to stay at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in the Ortigas business district.
His choice of residence for the Apec summit has puzzled government officials and has prompted them to make special transport and security arrangements for Putin, especially since the leaders’ summit will take place at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
We also understand that the Solaire Resort and Casino complex will host at least two world leaders—one in presidential suite in each hotel wing.
The five-star hotels in Makati City will each host one world leader, except for the Makati Shangri-La which will host no head of state, despite its central location. That’s because the hotel will already be very busy, because it will serve as venue for the Apec CEO Summit and other associated business meetings.
But for many Apec watchers, especially among womenfolk, the greatest mystery that remains to be cracked is where newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will stay.
As it is, people have been swooning over pictures and news articles about the Canada’s new head of state (the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) online. So expect people to try to catch a glimpse of the dashing and youthful leader once his hotel of choice becomes known. Daxim L. Lucas
Airplanes in demand
WITH ELECTION season upon us, expect candidates for national office to cozy up to businessmen and tycoons who own private aircraft —whether jets, turboprops or helicopters—to help them get from one campaign sortie to another.
We’re talking about candidates for those vying to be the country’s next President, Vice President as well as senators, all of whom have to be at the most number of locations in the shortest time with minimal hassle.
Of course, as a general rule, businessmen are generous when it comes to lending these valuable aircraft to their preferred candidates. One known Liberal Party supporter even went to all the trouble of acquiring a fleet of Cessna Citation business jets and Eurocopter helicopters last year for the use of party stalwarts, for example.
But candidates shouldn’t expect to be able to borrow the Gulfstream G550 of businessman Enrique Razon Jr.
As a matter of fact, the ports magnate has several aircraft, but they’re being used by his Solaire Resort and Casino to ferry high rollers between Manila and overseas.
As for his gleaming G550, Razon uses it most of the time, we were told. The Forbes billionaire is on the road 250 days a year flying to his various port operations around the world.
Besides, we understand his Gulfstream is a US-registered aircraft. That means it can’t be used for domestic flights without having to go through the time consuming process of acquiring permits from local aviation regulators. Sorry politicians. Approach someone else. Daxim L. Lucas
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