The Pen earns its 5th star

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The Peninsula Manila
Its location in the heart of the Makati business district was one of the highlights mentioned by The Forbes Travel Guide’s inspectors, as it’s being an oasis of calm amidst the bustle. -- THE PENINSULA MANILA FACEBOOK PAGE

MAKATI’S grand dame, The Peninsula Manila, has gained a five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide thus making the Hong Kong-based Peninsula brand the first hotel company in the world to garner five stars across all its properties.

“It is extremely gratifying to know that The Peninsula Manila… has become the 10th and final Peninsula hotel [to earn the rating], allowing us to become the first hotel company in the world with all-Forbes 5-star hotels in their portfolio. This validates our company’s never ending pursuit to be the best in anything that we undertake,” Mark Choon, general manager of The Peninsula Manila, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Feb. 22.

The award, he added, was a “testimony to the daily commitment and passion for service we expect from each other as colleagues, combined with gracious Filipino hospitality.”

Fondly called The Pen, the 43-year-old hotel in Makati was the first Peninsula hotel to open outside Hong Kong.

Mr. Choon said what made them gain the award was their people.

“The difference — and our most valuable asset — are our people. We worked with our trainers and managers who helped develop a common mindset and the ‘grit’ necessary to get over the hurdles (consistency and personalization and service with heart) to achieve the Forbes 5-Stars,” he explained.

Not resting on their laurels after winning the rating, Mr. Choon said there will be “many exciting new changes in store for The Peninsula Manila which will complement our recent Forbes five-star designation.”

“We will undergo a soft room renovation of all of our guestrooms and suites, plus 2019 will see the creation of a new 100-seat Club Lounge in our Lobby 3rd Floor Gallery and we will introduce a new concept of becoming Manila’s Only ‘All Club Hotel.’ We plan to elevate the concept of luxury Peninsula service which we have been known for in 2019 and beyond,” he said.

According to the Forbes Travel Guide, the “inspectors highlights” are the hotel’s being a foodie destination “thanks to top restaurants Spices and Old Manila”; its service “from airport pickups in the hotel’s fleet of Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles to 24-hour room service and personalized amenities”; the spa whose “minimalistic aesthetic with bamboo-and-wood-paneled accent walls that transport you out of bustling Manila and into one of the Philippines’ breathtaking islands or jungles”; its being “a blissful oasis despite its location in the middle of Manila’s busiest district”; and its location “in the heart of Manila’s financial district has made it a favorite meeting place for international and Filipino businessmen and women.”

Aside from The Pen, Marco Polo Hotels Ortigas was also awarded a five star rating for a third year. It is the only non-gaming hotel in Philippines to have earned the rating for five consecutive years.

Other hotels in the country which recieved 5-star ratings this year are Nüwa Manila at City of Dreams and Sky Tower at Solaire Resort & Casino.

“At Forbes Travel Guide, we verify luxury. Our independent inspection process is the gold standard in the hospitality industry,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide in a press release.

“Discerning travelers can trust that each winner is the best of the best. We are pleased to honor the 2019 Star Rating recipients, an exceptional collection of hotels, restaurants and spas dedicated to guest service.”

The Forbes Travel Guide, established in 1958, is a global star rating service and online travel guide for hotels, restaurants, and spas. Anonymous inspectors evaluate “based on up to 900 objective standards” with “an emphasis on exceptional service, to help discerning travelers select the world’s best luxury experiences,” said the release.

The awards ceremony will be held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on Feb. 26 and 27. — ZBC