4 Baguio hotels spruce up cool service
Philippine Daily Inquirer
They’re out to strengthen the city’s longstanding reputation as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” one room at a time. They feel that now is the time, as the tourism industry has been given a boost (and a quota of 10 million tourist arrivals in the Philippines by 2016 by the Aquino administration), to spruce up the mid-level hospitality industry in Baguio City.
In February 2012, two new hotels held their launches, while two established ones announced new offerings for the summer season.
All-suite for vacationers
Azalea Residences, the first all-suite vacation residence, has finally opened in Baguio City. It presents holiday-goers to the city the full experience of a serviced apartment, complete with living, dining and kitchen facilities in all its rooms.
Its location is in a secluded hill five minutes from Session Road, so expect a more quiet and tranquil environment.
Azalea Resorts and Residences chief operating officer Dulah Lipardo said, “It is the hotel that offers the brand of convenience and amenities of top international hotels, yet maintaining the natural texture and traditional character of the Philippines at a very affordable price.”
Composed of 99 suite rooms—46 deluxe suites, 17 one-bedroom suites, 33 two-bedroom suites and three three-bedroom suites—Azalea offers a living area with a sofa bed and flat screen TV with cable connection; toilet and bath with hot and cold shower and other amenities; dining table and chairs and crockery kitchen appliances and utensils; coffee and tea-making facilities; queen-sized beds with imported linens; balcony in choice rooms. The two- and three-bedroom suite’s master toilet and bath have a bath tub.
It also features a lobby lounge, playground, NDD-DDD-IDD telephone connections, 24-hour doctor on call, tour arrangement and vacation services, laundry and dry cleaning management.
CJH’s newest ‘resident’
Le Monet Hotel, which held its grand opening in the last week of February, is located on Ordonio Drive, Loakan Road, Camp John Hay, near a butterfly sanctuary and an eco-trail. It is also conveniently surrounded by retail shops, golf courses and restaurants.
The hotel has been named after the great French impressionist painter Claude Monet, and to experience staying in any of the hotel’s 70 well-appointed rooms and suites is truly an example of “life imitating art”—with each having a veranda that its management said would “provide sweeping views and refreshing scents of pines.” Each room comes with LCD Internet television, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi connectivity, mini-bar, coffee- and tea-making facility, well-stocked refrigerator, complete shower and bath amenities.
The lobby with its grand chandelier gives a touch of European elegance, and the Malt Room bar’s pulsating club music takes guests on musical journey of the hottest beats. Le Monet also offers a fully equipped business center, gym, swimming pool and the Vida Verde Spa.
Best view of Panagbenga
One hotel, which sits right at the heart of Baguio City, probably occupies the most enviable location in the city, especially when it’s the season for Baguio’s most famous festival—the Flower Festival or Panagbenga. Standing at the foot of Session Road across Burnham Park, a stone’s throw away from the main shopping district, is Hotel Veniz. Its address says it all: One Abanao Street—and during the actual Panagbenga, the parade of flowers, celebrities and entertainers stop and perform at the very intersection where it stands. Virtually all major roads, and the busiest pedestrian overpasses, converge at Hotel Veniz.
The hotel has been in operations since 2002, and has over 100 air-conditioned rooms and suites and 16-room types to choose from. It has eight function rooms for groups of 20 to 500 for conferences, workshops, seminars and parties. Hotel Veniz also maintains several restaurants.
The unusually strong mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals are due to a cell tower standing right above the building.
Expanding American brand
This “micro” of a hotel is going big in Baguio. Microtel Inns and Suites, which boasts of chiropractor-approved beds, maintains the same American standard of style, design, structure and service across all its other locations elsewhere in the country as well as in the United States.
“Even if you stay in a Microtel in the United States, you would see the same room that you see here. All Microtel Inn construction is uniform from the ground up, you can’t do a conversion,” said Microtel Hotels Resorts area general manager for North Luzon Dean Y. Cid.
The signature Microtel design includes a distinctively shaped roof up front, as well as three types of rooms: single, double and suite. “In our newest properties, we eliminate the single rooms to be more flexible, such as Microtel Inn in the Mall of Asia and in Boracay,” Cid said.
As an inn, Microtel’s ideal number of rooms should have been, at the most, up to 60. Recently, however, it is expanding that number.
Cid said the bases for locating a Microtel would be: 1) if the location is a tourist destination; or, 2) if it’s near industrial parks. There are currently nine operational Microtel Inns: Baguio, Tarlac (near Luisita Industrial Park), Cabanatuan, Mall of Asia (Manila), Batangas, Cavite, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Boracay, Davao.
This year, he revealed, there will be more Microtel Inns: Libis in Quezon City, General Santos, UP-Ayala Technohub and Santa Rosa in Laguna.
Cid said Microtel Inns in the Philippines have different ownership structures and different owners. It could be 100-percent franchises or a joint venture.
“We’re the hospitality arm of the Phinma group. We’re looking at 25 Microtel Inns by 2016.”
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