By Zsarlene B. Chua
AFTER AN absence spanning more than 20 years, the Hilton brand has returned to the Philippines, with its hotel at Resorts World Manila offering its signature “upper upscale” service for its patrons.
The Hilton Manila grand launch was held last Feb. 21, although it opened its doors four months prior.
“[We’ve] only really been in the market for four months, we do a lot of a lot of research and a lot of looking and a lot of studying in regards to pricing to ensure that we’re positioned correctly, but also competitive,” Simon McGrath, Hilton Manila general manager, told the media during the launch event.
Meant to address the dearth of premium rooms within the Resorts World Manila complex, the Hilton Manila boasts of 357 rooms and art deco interiors.
“Inbound travel is continuing to grow on the back of the Chinese and [South] Korean market,” Mr. McGrath said, attributing this to Hilton’s Huanying program, which offers Chinese travelers a customized hospitality experience at more than 110 Hilton Worldwide properties globally.
He is also counting on strong domestic demand to drive Hilton Manila’s growth, as well as the meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibition (MICE) crowd flocking to the convention centers in Newport City.
Aside from the 357 rooms, all of which employ the keyless entry via the Hilton Honors mobile app, the hotel features several food and beverage outlets including Chinese brasserie Hua Ting, Madison and Kusina, a restaurant focusing on Filipino cuisine, as well as a heated pool.
“One of the things we enjoyed very quickly is the connection to NAIA Terminal 3 [which] is just down the road,” Mr. McGrath said, referring to the so-called Runway Manila — a 220-meter elevated pedestrian bridge linking Newport City to the airport.
He noted its corporate clientele is growing, as people recognize the hotel’s proximity to the international gateway.
The Manila Hilton, then the first five star hotel in country, opened its doors in 1958. It later became Holiday Inn from 1995 to 2003, after which it was acquired by the Gatchalians’ Waterfront Philippines and turned into Manila Pavilion.
Hilton Manila is developed by Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., a joint venture of tycoon Andrew L. Tan’s Alliance Global Inc. and Genting Hong Kong Limited.
Aside from Hilton, Travellers is looking to add two more international luxury hotels at the Resorts World Manila Grand Wing — Sheraton Manila Hotel and Hotel Okura Manila. The three hotels will have a combined 940 rooms.
Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly said the Sheraton Manila is set to hold its formal opening by end of the first quarter, while Hotel Okura is poised to open “by end of the first half of the year.”
After the two hotels open, Mr. Reilly said the next step was to close the Maxims hotel to start renovations to turn it into the Ritz-Carlton which will have “villas [and] a presidential suite.”