It has been several months since my friend, Loleth So, shared with me details of their properties in Newport City. She is the Area Sales and Marketing Director for Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, one of the largest hospitality chains in the country.
I told Loleth that I have had the opportunity to stay at Savoy Hotel but I didn’t know they also had a Belmont Hotel in the same area. I told her that I’ll find time to check it out “one of these days.”
Last week, I felt the need to get away from my usual sphere of activity, to go to some place new, but within Metro Manila, as I didn’t want to drive too far. I remembered my promise to check on Belmont Hotel, so I booked myself for the weekend.
I seldom go to Newport City so I am really not familiar with the buildings there. I had to drive slowly looking for the hotel on the street behind Savoy Hotel going towards Newport World Resorts. After passing by more than half of the buildings on that street, I finally found Belmont Hotel.
This 470-room, 4-star property is strategically located across NAIA Terminal 3. In fact, it’s the first hotel one sees when using the footbridge that connects Terminal 3 to Newport City. To me, its location right beside the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus is also a big plus factor. Catholic “staycationers” will find it easy to do their Sunday duties when booked at the hotel, as I did.
The check-in process by the efficient Front Office staff was a breeze and, in no time, I found myself enjoying the comforts of my very spacious and well-designed room which had all the accoutrements of modern-day living.
What made the room even more appealing was the relaxing smell of aromatherapy oil. I am a true disciple of these essential oils because I know they are suitable for respiratory disinfection, are effective decongestants, and have proven psychological benefits, that’s why I also have them at home.
Before I yielded to the powerful temptation of just enjoying the comforts of my king-sized bed and shutting off the outside world with some restful sleep, I decided to check out the hotel’s swimming pool. When staying in hotels, I always do some laps as part of my exercise regimen and try to shed some unwanted calories after a hearty meal.
Rooftop swimming pools always sweep me off my feet. There is something about them that makes me want to jump in right away. It could be the breathtaking view that I see from that height or the non-stop breeze that blows from all directions, or the combination of both that motivates me to try it out right away.
Well, when I got to the hotel’s rooftop, it didn’t take long for me to find myself doing my laps from one end of the pool to the other. Luck was on my side because I had decided to check out the pool at a time when nobody else was there, giving me all the peace and quiet that my weekend stay was meant for.
But the piece de resistance of my stay at the Belmont Hotel was my dining experience. No wonder Café Belmont, the hotel’s main dining outlet, was always teeming with customers. They were all enjoying Executive Chef Jayvee Barraca’s culinary masterpieces. When I had my dinner, one item on the menu immediately caught my attention—Beef Salpicao. It was described as “sirloin cubes sauteed in garlic, onion, mushroom, capsicum, red wine and glazed in brandy.”
It was the first time I knew of that dish cooked that way so I had to have my taste of it. As expected, it was heavenly. The meat was so tender and the alcoholic ingredients raised its taste to perfection! Needless to say, it was a dinner worth talking about.
The following day, I had the urge to check out the other “gems” the Café Belmont menu may have for lunch. Sure enough, another item got me excited—Pork Humba. Its description as a Humba Recipe from Ronda, Cebu thrilled me because Ronda is the town next to Dumanjug, my father’s hometown in Cebu. My siblings and I would spend our summers in Dumanjug and one of the favorite recipes of our paternal grandmother was the “Humba of Ronda.” So this item on the hotel’s menu immediately evoked pleasant memories of my youth. And, yes, the slow braised pork belly with black beans, soy sauce, and vinegar of Café Belmont tasted exactly like what my grandmother used to cook for us. The only difference is that the hotel’s version is more special because it is garnished with breaded boiled eggs.
The other thing that made any meal in this dining outlet most enjoyable is the service of its staff. I know that all hotel employees are always trained to be very courteous but the team at Café Belmont raises courtesy to a higher level. I felt like royalty every time I walked into the place, and everyone knew exactly when those little snippets of table service have to be done without anybody telling them. I was so pleased with their service that I made it a point to personally congratulate Jeffrey Arcelon, the outlet manager, and his team, to make them aware that their exemplary service didn’t go unnoticed. Food and Beverage Manager Francois Punzalan certainly did wonders with their training.
As a stakeholder in our tourism industry, I am in high spirits to have Belmont Hotel right in front of our country’s main gateway. It is an exhilarating oasis and the perfect welcome for weary travelers from long hours of flying. Kudos to General Manager Socrates Alvaro, for everything that the hotel stands for. He has made it a sterling showcase of what our country is all about—great, friendly, happy people, good food, and a haven of modern-day Filipino leisure living.
More information on Belmont Hotel and its offerings may be obtained through (+632) 5318-8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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