The City of Manila is enjoying a resurgence driven by two things. First, the 800-hectare Entertainment City rising on the western portion of Roxas Boulevard. Second, a skyline and expanse that is a welcome respite from the traffic-ridden, blighted CBDs north of the Manila Bay area.
“Look at our view! In any other country you’d pay a million bucks for this view,” exclaims Gordon Aeria, GM of Traders Hotel, Manila, playing gracious host to China Business at the T Lounge. Traders is managed by the Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.
We are seated a yard away from a panoramic view of the Manila Yacht Club. Only plate glass separates us from the still-pristine atmosphere above the historic shores of Manila Bay, one of the best natural harbors in the world.
“I think we’ll have a good two- zero-one-four,” says Aeria in a style characteristic of detail-oriented Asian businessmen. (He is native Singaporean.)
“It has its challenges,” he continues, “but I think it’s going to be better than two-zero-one-three. We finished the hotel and we’re starting on a good footing than, say, a year ago.”
The price of this good footing: Php330 million, beginning with the 45-million-peso renovation of the ballroom and its four satellite function rooms. (The T Lounge and guest rooms took Php285 million.)
The ballroom is, of course, the Embassy ballroom on the second floor, which can take up to 500 persons. Four smaller function rooms can take from 50 to 150 attendees. The meeting facilities complement the hotel’s 312 freshly renovated guest rooms and the breathtaking Traders Lounge.
Aeria is candid. “This year we had to close the ballroom and swimming pool for four months. That affected some of our business operations. This entire renovation program, I must admit, took nearly five years. I did the last three-and-a-half years of it, but it started before my time with a few floors and the all-day dining facility. When I came in, the T Lounge was just completed.”
The renovated ballroom is a contemporary symphony of crystal chandeliers, art glass, stained mirrors, metal doors, and cream, textured, leather-padded walls. The color motif is a kaleidoscope of earth tones and the carpets are a counterpoint of abstract and linear patterns.
Heralding all this is the grand foyer—an Italian marble masterpiece.
Aeria looks forward to a busy late-2013 and beyond. “The opening of the global entertainment casinos in the bay area is helping development and will help bring in more guests. The conventions and the MICE market has always been here. And there’s going to be Wicked (January 2014) and Les Miserables in two-zero-one-five, I’m told.”
But, for now, the self-effacing Aeria and his team are buckling down to work and bracing themselves for an exciting new year. “We’re going to have a brand new hotel starting January 1,” he smiles.
Print ed: 11/13