By Marifi S. Jara
Mindanao Bureau Chief
ROBINSONS Land Corp. (RLC) formally marked its venture into the luxury hotel sector with the recent launching of Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu, and it will be the first in a planned network of top-end accommodations.
“We’ve had hotels for a while now. Moving forward, we thought we should go to the high-end segment,” Arthur G. Gindap, senior vice-president and business unit general manager of Robinsons Hotels and Resorts, told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the Dusit Thani Mactan inauguration on Dec. 5.
The RLC hotels division had a portfolio of 3,705 rooms as of end-2018, covering its partnerships with international hotel operators Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, along with its own two brands — Summit Hotels and Resorts and the Go Hotels.
The next five-star hotel lined up for RLC would be located at its upcoming Bridgetowne complex in Quezon City.
Mr. Gindap said going upmarket does not mean the budget and mid-range segments are already saturated, but more a recognition of the Philippine’s service sector capability.
“You know the Filipino is globally-renowned for its service capacity,” he said.
“The team here has been doing such a great job and we have been received so well so soon,” Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu General Manager David Anthony Baldwin said at the launching ceremony.
The property had its soft opening in April this year and full operation — with all the 272 rooms and suites, facilities, and services, including exclusive boat transfers to and from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport — set this month.
TRIBUTE TO CEBU
RLC’s first luxury hotel venture, Mr. Baldwin said, serves as a “tribute to Cebu,” hometown of the late John Gokongwei Jr., founder of the JG Summit conglomerate that includes the Robinsons group.
“It is an honor (for Dusit International) to be part of making that dream come true,” said Mr. Baldwin, who himself has roots in Cebu through his Filipino mother.
The Dusit Thani Mactan, currently the only top-end resort hotel on the western side of the island’s busy Punta Engaño strip, has exclusive claim to an uninterrupted view of the sunset with the Cebu mainland on the horizon.
Mr. Baldwin said that is expected to change in the near future with the slew of developments in the area, but being first would always be an edge they can bank on.
He added that they have taken full advantage of Dusit Thani Mactan’s location fronting the Magellan Bay with “everything designed to highlight the sea.”
It starts off at the spacious open-air lobby with its almost floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a view of the sea, then there’s the Sunset Sports Bar that opens out into the 100-meter infinity pool, and a boardwalk that gives ample personal sitting spaces.
The hotel also carries the Dusit International signature brands such as the Benjarong Thai Restaurant and Namm Spa, among other dining choices and amenities.
Facilities and packages for meetings, conferences and events have also been planned to include outdoor options.
“We are letting the sea be the star here,” Mr. Baldwin said.