After 10 years, Camp John Hay opens new hotelBy Desiree Caluza
Inquirer Northern Luzon
BAGUIO CITY—It took 10 years to build but The Forest Lodge, Camp John Hay’s newest 208-room hotel, expresses what its owners have said all along: the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) will fulfill its promise to create a tourism estate in this former American rest and recreation baseland.
Robert John Sobrepeña, CJHDevco owner and chair, formally launched The Forest Lodge on Sept. 1, Baguio City’s foundation day, toning down its contractual squabble with government.
“We started building [The Forest Lodge] 10 years ago, and we were having problems,” Sobrepeña says in his speech. “But in spite of that, we are committed to open. With tourism, we want to bring people to Baguio.”
He says CJHDevco’s vision is to build 1,000 hotel rooms, which it intends to fulfill with The Forest Lodge, as well as with a proposed 400-room facility at the nearby Mile-Hi Center.
“We are committed to a thousand hotel rooms and celebrate the culture and environment in John Hay,” he says.
Formerly called The Suites, The Forest Lodge features a log cabin design that “inspires togetherness, bonding and the traditional Baguio hospitality,” according to a company statement.
It has an airy and spacious lobby which showcases modern paintings and tribal decors, as well as a surrounding view of the forest and mountain range.
The Forest Lodge, which brands itself as “the biggest deal, the best fun,” offers “extremely friendly” rates: P2,900 for its superior room, P3,300 for its deluxe room, and P5,400 for a one-bedroom suite on a triple-sharing arrangement.
One of the features of the hotel is The Twist, an indoor cafe designed and supervised by culinary artist Billy King.
The new John Hay facility responds to a tourism survival plan enacted by Baguio’s service industry in 2011 which recommends improvements to the city’s access roads and parks and an increase in room accommodations.
Heiner Maulbecker, managing director of CJHDevco’s The Manor, and board director of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB), says the summer capital is still a preferred destination for conferences and seminars.
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