By Zsarlene B. Chua
ISLAND COVE Hotel and Leisure Park opens the new year with the completion of a major renovation of its accommodation facilities, a move that was long overdue, according to a resort executive.
“Every year, for the last eight, nine years, we’ve been adding new features, but just in the past year and a half we’ve concentrated in the hotel — hotel rooms in particular. It’s long overdue but we finally decided… to put some money into renovations,” Gilbert C. Remulla, managing director, told the press during a tour of the property on Feb. 18.
The renovations introduced new room categories such as the junior suite, family deluxe, and the updated premier deluxe and villas. The number of rooms also increased from 113 to 123.
“The rooms are now more in tune with the times, with USB charging ports, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, flat screen TVs, and modern bathrooms, while still maintaining a Mediterranean feel,” Mr. Remulla was quoted as saying in a company press release.
He noted that the room renovations were the most expensive part of their long-standing renovation program though he declined to state figures.
“For the market we serve, we achieved a modest level of success… we don’t aspire to be a Shangri-La Mactan, but we are what we are — a very good family destination: safe, very close to get away from the traffic,” he said before adding that they also offer what a lot of people in Metro Manila want: a lot of open spaces, trees, huge swimming pools, and a safe environment with good food.
Mr. Remulla said that the resort’s market largely comes from Metro Manila, although Malu Samaco, executive assistant manager, said that they attract their fair share of expats who sometimes turn into long-staying guests.
Aside from the room renovations, the resort also introduced a new playground for children, called King Crawler — a vertical urban play structure combining “several functions including different types of play and climbing opportunities” designed by a Dutch company called Carve, according to the press release.
“We could build another 200 rooms but to sell it would be a different [story]… so we’re concentrating on facilities which other resorts and hotels don’t have,” Mr. Remulla said.
The resort — which has the reputation of being the events center of Caviteños — has also introduced a new dish for banquet events: Lechon sa Pugon, where the pig is roasted in a brick over for two-and-a-half to three hours.
Looking forward and beyond Island Cove, Mr. Remulla revealed plans to create another destination aside from Island Cove in Cavite.
“We have plans, but that’s still under wraps. We’re trying to serve a different market, more of the adventure types — still in Cavite. We don’t know anything else,” he said.
The new destination will “a little bit bigger” than Island Cove’s 36-hectare location, and will be developed into some kind of cycling park.
“It’s an existing farm right now which the family owns. With that, we’re building a bike trail — a mountain bike trail — through the property and the plantations and then right now, we built stairs to go down to a waterfall,” Mr. Remulla said.