The Christmas Season is always a joyous one not only for us, locals, but also for the country’s de luxe hotels, as their business always takes a remarkable surge in revenues. Not only are their guest rooms full throughout the Season but also their Food and Beverage outlets.
Here are two world-class properties that have recently prepared themselves for the onslaught of good business. One thing these two hotels have in common, which they use to the fullest as their Marketing tool, is their unparalleled, breathtaking views of nature.
This hotel definitely upstaged its competitors with its recent Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at its main lobby, which affords guests a panoramic view of the world-famous Manila Bay sunset. The management unveiled an ultramodern version of a stylized Christmas tree, made of steel wires and aluminum balls, crafted by Imelda “Impy” Pilapil, the sculptor known for her graceful works in glass, metal and stone. The tree’s unique, avant garde design certainly matches Conrad Manila’s trendsetting facilities and service.
Not only were guests awed by the unique Christmas Tree, we were also fascinated by the performance of the adorable Vienna Boys Choir who, with their angelic voices, rendered a couple of Christmas songs. On hand also to entertain guests was the Hail Mary The Queen Choir composed of children dressed in brightly colored costumes.
Members of the Sy family lent their presence to the event, led by the matriarch herself, Felicidad Sy, who at 86 years old looks very spritely and fit, and who shared with me her fitness regimen---take time to walk every day, then eat anything and everything, but with moderation. Director of SM Prime Holdings Hans Sy, President of SM Hotels and Convention Corp. Elizabeth Sy, and SVP of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. Peggy Angeles were also around to attend to the guests.
Also, not too long ago, the hotel’s forward thinking general manager Harald Feurstein, realized that there was a lot more that could be done for their C Lounge, to encourage more patronage from the locals. He asked his Culinary Team to have more finger food on the Menu so that the outlet could attract office workers from nearby buildings who may want to have a quick and easy lunch, and further increase its clientele during the cocktail hours. Sure enough, the team came up with a winning list of delectable items, and C Lounge’s business has taken an unprecedented upward turn!
Its enhanced menu now includes these that have instantly become my favorite—Salad of Shiitake Mushrooms; Olives and Roasted Beef Cubes in Rosemary; Tuna Rice Bowl; Sliders on 3, which are three pieces of Mini Wagyu Beef Burgers, each with a different cheese in it: Cheddar, Brie and Blue Cheese; and Steamed Chinese Butterfly Bun with Honey, Barbecued Pork and Cucumber Pickles.
I’m glad the C Lounge now has much more culinary treats to offer guests. These perfectly match the guests’ ringside seats to the panoramic view of Manila Bay, which is an ultimate stress reliever.
Taal Vista Hotel
The nippy air of Tagaytay provided the perfect ambience for the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony of this hotel held in the garden right outside its main lobby, affording guests a magnificent view of Taal Volcano and Lake.
Executive Vice-President for SM Hotels and Convention Center Peggy Angeles, together with hotel General Manager James Bevans switched on the beautiful, brightly decorated Tree, with the choir from De La Salle-Dasmariñas providing background music to the event.
Recently, the hotel completed the renovation of its Veranda Restaurant, giving it a fresh new look. It now has lighter, airy, more pleasant colors complementing the million-dollar view which the hotel prides itself with throughout the 77 years of its existence.
Thanks to the creativity of a local architecture firm, AnDesigns, tasked to do the layout and the interiors, the restaurant now offers everybody more room to move about in, while making choices from the dozens of tasty items on the buffet spread. A welcome addition to the venue is the children’s buffet, constructed lower than the main buffet, so that children can easily see and take their pick from the many choices on it.
Of course, my favorite corner is the Dessert Buffet, where a server made me an ice cream sandwich, with my favorite flavor squeezed between two large pieces of macaroons. And if you want to relive the golden days of your youth, there is a machine that makes your favorite color/flavor of Cotton Candy, which the hotel management prefers to call Sugar Floss.
So, if you want to try something new and lift your spirit for the Holiday Season, spiced up with an unparalleled breathtaking view of nature at its best, set your Waze to any or both of these hotels, and you’ll be on your way to a Merry Christmas.
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Q: If your wife is shouting outside the front door and your dog is barking outside the back door, who will you let in first?
A: The dog, of course, because he’ll shut up after you let him in.
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