By Zsarlene B. Chua
INTERCONTINENTAL Hotel Group (IHG)-led Holiday Inn Express has established its first branch in the Philippines with the opening of the Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City on July 3.
Formerly the Remington Hotel, the new Holiday Inn Express Manila is considered the largest Holiday Inn Express in Southeast Asia, according to its general manager H.T. Cheah.
The 737-room hotel features newly renovated rooms alongside other Holiday Inn Express standards — a coin laundry room, a fitness gym and a meeting room.
For reference, Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay has 442 rooms while the Jakarta Thamrin branch has 101 rooms.
In his opening speech prior to the unveiling, Resort World Manila (RWM) Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly noted that while Remington was a successful hotel, “it has served its purpose” and it was time to introduce a new brand to the 25-hectare Newport City Development.
Holiday Inn Express is a mid-priced hotel chain from IHG that offers reasonable prices, and practical and convenient services perfect for business travellers and people on short term stays.
According to the fact sheet available on the IHG website, as of March 2018 the brand currently has 2,618 hotels with a total room inventory of 265,269 worldwide with 767 more hotels in the pipeline.
“There’s a little bit of overlap [with the market of Holiday Inn] but Holiday Inns are full-service hotels, Holiday Inn Express is what we call a limited-service concept. So what we do is we try to provide all the basics…things we know travellers would want: Wi-Fi, good beds, good linens, and all that,” Mr. Cheah told BusinessWorld shortly after the event.
But being a limited-service hotel, Mr. Cheah said that they do cut down on other services. He said the lobby cafe don’t have wait staff and functions much like a Starbucks where customers go to the counter to order and claim their own orders.
The same cafe offers a breakfast buffet or a Grab & Go buffet every morning.
Of the 737 rooms, Mr. Cheah said renovations have been completed on three floors as of the moment. Each floor has more than 80 rooms and the hotel has a total of eight floors.
He said the entire renovation is expected to finish by early 2019, including the lobby which will be made into a “Great Room,” a multi-purpose space where people can “dine, work, have meetings, meet friends or meet and relax.”
Construction on the Great Room is expected to start at the end of the month and will take about six months to complete.
Each hotel room measures 21 square meters with a choice between a Queen-sized bed or two single beds. The rooms include the signature Holiday Inn soft and firm pillows, blackout curtains, a Wi-Fi router in each room, universal power sockets, in-room safe, 42-inch LED TV and a seating area.
The hotel is also in close proximity to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, which can be accessed via the Runway Manila bridge or via the free Resorts World Manila Airport shuttle. Other terminals can also be accessed using the free shuttles.