Business As Usual

Different strokes for different folks

SPARE TIME - The Philippine Star

Most hotels and resorts market themselves in such a way that clients are already told what to expect and what they are bound to experience.

This can be comforting for some who do not like surprises. But for first-time visitors and those who are looking for something new, this can be quite limiting.

Movenpick Hotel, an upscale resort in Mactan Island, is unique in the sense that it can be anything to anybody. One has to experience it to find out what it is.

Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island  is a five-star beachfront hotel  which was recognized as the second most searched destination in the Philippines, according to Google’s 2013 year-in-review search list. The 2014 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice awards has also named it a winner in the top 25 Philippine Hotels in the luxury category.

Part of an international upscale Swiss hotel chain, the Mediterranean-inspired Movenpick Mactan takes pride in its 245 elegant guest rooms offering a remarkable view of the ocean, the ultimate beach club experience, and various island activities for all types of guests.

The hotel’s furniture and interiors add to the elegant ambiance, courtesy world-class Filipino designers Manny Samson, Ivy and Cynthia Almario, and Fred and Butch Valdes.

Movenpick’s Ibiza Beach Club, the hotel’s onsite restaurant and lounge bar, has also become a destination of its own (it is open to the public). It features indoor and outdoor ocean-view seating, sunset cocktails, tapas, Brazilian Churrasco with amazing nightly entertainment. It has been dubbed “the most hip and happening entertainment and lifestyle venue in the country.” Located at the end of the marina, one can enjoy an intimate dining experience with panoramic ocean views and award-winning Manny O Wines, courtesy of resort owner and businessman par excellence Manny Osmeña.

Now let’s hear from Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island general manager Knuth Kiefer, a German who has literally made the rounds of Asia’s best hotels before rejoining the Movenpick Hotel group six years ago:

Q: Movenpick’s tagline says “passionately Swiss.” What does this mean exactly?

A: Well, the Swiss are known for their high-quality products, for being reliable, and for delivering only the best. (According to the group’s website, being of Swiss heritage and headquartered in Zurich, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is passionate about delivering premium service and culinary enjoyment – all with a personal touch.)

Q: So what sets Movenpick in Mactan apart from all the rest?

A: We bring a lifestyle experience that is different from most luxury hotels in the Philippines, and in particular, here in Mactan. This is what sets us apart because Movenpick has different themes for every location, (thereby) creating that variety and versatility in hotel management. (Movenpick operates seven hotels in Asia, and plans to put up a couple more in the Philippines, probably in Makati and other tourist destinations like Palawan, Boracay and Bohol). We do not compete with other resorts here in Mactan because we believe that each is unique. But at Movenpick, we want to give our guests a choice. Whether they just want to relax, or listen to music, we give them a choice.  We cannot impose what we want to be to our guests. We learn from them and we give them what they want.

Q: Are your guests mostly foreigners or locals?

A: We have a good mix. And even among our foreign guests, while in Cebu, the Koreans make up probably 62 percent of the foreign population, at Movenpick Hotel, they only constitute about 40 percent. We do not want to focus on and we do not cater to one particular group of people. So it’s good that are able to attract different groups to come here.

Q: You have a lot of European guests? Is the Philippines now becoming a prime destination for European tourists?

A: While it has helped that Philippine Airlines is now flying to London, the European market is still not a large market for the Philippines. Let’s face it: for the Europeans, it is still expensive and inconvenient for them to travel from Europe to different parts of the Philippines. There are direct flights from Frankfurt to Phuket but one has to fly from London to Manila then to Cebu or to other destinations.

Q: I noticed that there are three distinct buildings here at the resort.

A: We have the hotel, then the Movenpick Residences which are fully-furnished units that are leased back by the owners to us under a rental pool arrangement, then the condominiums which are privately owned and cannot be leased back to us.

Q: Despite being a five-star hotel at a prime tourism area, your rates are reasonable.

A: Even while we want to give our guests the best, we still want them to have value for their money. It is also one reason why they stay longer, and more often.

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