“Summit Hotel Greenhills is the first Summit Hotel to offer self-service and check-in kiosks,” says Arthur G. Gindap, senior vice president and business unit general manager . This creates a seamless experience especially for guests who book through digital platforms and do all their transactions online.
How Arthur Gindap takes Robinsons Hotels & Resorts to the Summit of success
OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2019 - 12:00am

This hotelier carries traveling in his DNA. With a career in the hospitality industry spanning 39 years, Arthur “Art” Gindap Jr. was born to, yes, travel.

Being an envoy’s son, he has circled the world literally. 

“My dad, Art Acord Gindap, worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs, but he was always assigned overseas,” related Gindap over a cup of good coffee at Cafe Summit, an all-day dining restaurant at Summit Hotel Greenhills in San Juan, which had its soft-opening yesterday.

Art was born in Thailand, grew up in Toronto (where his family immigrated after his dad’s retirement in the ’70s), and worked in various restaurants and hotels abroad before he finally moved back to his “country of heritage” where he settled for good with his wife Jennifer and children Jessica and Armand.

“I worked in Toronto for the first 10 years of my working career — running restaurants, resto chains and nightclubs,” shared Gindap. “I only went to the hotel industry when I took a job as F&B director of Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing.”

While in China, Gindap had an offer to become F&B manager from Mandarin Oriental Manila, which he grabbed in a heartbeat.

“I was so excited to be back in the Philippines. It was Christmas Day of 1990,” enthused Gindap.

And for a Filipino national with the mindset of a westerner, Gindap had a hard time adjusting to the system.

“The Filipino values are instilled in me, but I couldn’t speak the language. Also, you have to mince words in dealing with your (Filipino) staff. In the west, they’re more direct, they speak their minds. Here, you have to be a little gentler, and always make pakikisama,” observed Gindap. “It was challenging at times for me at the beginning. But what really helped, of course, was I married a Filipina. Slowly, I retraced my roots with her by my side.”

Café Summit is a casual dining restaurant that offers a refreshing take on international flavors.

The makings of a hotelier

Making a career in the hospitality industry entered Gindap’s young mind during a family vacation in Singapore when he was 10.

“There was a pretty new hotel — what is now known as the Meritus Mandarin — along Orchard Road. And my jaw just dropped when I entered the lobby. That grand image got stuck in my head. I guess that somehow inspired me to go towards hotels,” Gindap shared.

An unforgettable getaway begins from the moment you step into the lobby of your hotel. Spectacular lobbies are sure to win you over, going well beyond the norm when it comes to grand first impressions. Gindap worked with Mandarin for five years, then went back again to Shangri-La Beijing, this time as hotel GM. 

“After Shangri-La Beijing, I moved to Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur. I went back to the Philippines for a short stint as opening GM of Linden Suites before I moved to Jakarta. In 2004, I joined the Ascott Group,” said Gindap. 

Last year, Gindap joined Robinsons Hotels & Resorts (RHR) as senior VP and business unit general manager.

The future looks brighter for RHR

The Summit De luxe King room

RHR is a subsidiary of Robinsons Land Corp. which operates hotels like Summit, a 3 1/2-star hotel chain; GoHotel,the essential-value hotels; and (owns, not runs) international brands such as Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn in Artigas; Dusit Thani in Mactan Cebu; and the soon-to-open Westin Sonata in Ortigas.

When asked what’s his vision for RHR, Gindap hastily replied: “In five years time — in 2024 — RHR will be the largest hotel group in the Philippines!”

Well, nothing excites Gindap more than the thrill of building a brand and a company.

“That’s the reason why I stayed for so long with the Ascott Group. And now that I’m with RHR, the passion gets stronger,” he enthused. “In 2024, RHR will be the largest in terms of revenues, the number of rooms (we currently have 25 hotels, including our five franchise hotels), the latest being the newly opened Summit Hotel Greenhills.”

Next year RHR is adding another four hotels in its portfolio: Summit Hotel Naga, which is a dual-brand (Go Hotel and Summit Hotel in one building); Go Hotel in Tuguegarao; and Summit Hotel in General Santos.

“Filipino tourists’ expectations are now higher. Our standards are higher as we become a prosperous nation. They aren’t just looking for any accommodation, but a full-service hotel that can cater to their needs. Before, we would settle for crappy accommodations. Well, not anymore,” noted Gindap.

Go Hotel, being an essential-value brand, is getting a makeover.

“The Go Hotel concept is already 10 years old. So we want to revitalize its look and feel. Renovation has started in our first Go Hotel in Mandaluyong,” noted Gindap. “We are also changing the color of the logo from green and gold to bloody red. We’re going for a younger look, something more current.”

Soon, RHR will get into the Dormitel business to cater to business professionals and students.

“Say what you like, but the traffic in the metro isn’t going away. A lot of us waste so much time getting stuck on traffic. There are those who work in Makati but live in Bulacan. We want to give them the option of staying in a dormitel (near their workspace) during weekdays to save precious time and money. They can go home during weekends,” explained Gindap.

RHR is launching its first Dormitel at the Bridgetown Business Park, RLC’s new P30-billion office project in C5, which was launched recently.

“Bridgetown will have a lot of BPOs and call centers. Dormitel is really about trying to value your time more. Instead of sitting on a bus for three to four hours, you can be ‘home’ in less than 10 minutes if you’re staying in a dormitel,” added Gindap.

But what Gindap is really excited about is creating RHR’s own Filipino five-star hotel brand.

“The inspiration behind that came from our frequent travels. If you travel the world, the service ambassadors are Filipinos. We’re known for being hospitable and having such a warm service culture. But we don’t have our own brand,” lamented Gindap.

The Thais have Dusit Thani. In Hong Kong, they have the Marco Polo hotel chain. The Shangri-La brand was started out of Singapore. In the Philippines, there’s no real iconic Filipino five-star hotel brand.

“And that’s our inspiration. We are now working on the planning of our first five-star hotel brand that will be launched by the end of 2022 in Bridgetown Business Park,” said Gindap.

RHR is now working with a branding consultant for the project that will rival the foreign brands.

“There are local four- and five-star hotel brands but the designs are conventional. What we want for in our own brand is to capture a more Filipino look in terms of design and amenities. There will be a restaurant offering Filipino cuisine and a spa that specializes in hilot. Of course, the highlight will still be the impeccable Pinoy service and hospitality,” enthused Gindap.

So is it still a positive time for the hospitality industry in Manila?

“The time is perfect,” replied Gindap.

Remember what happened to Westin Philippine Plaza? Well, it turned out that management contract was up for renewal. But they walked away because they felt that the Philippine market wasn’t important enough for them to stay.

“Today, there is a long lineup of (foreign hotel) brands wanting to come to the Philippines,” added Gindap. “Foreign and local tourism is booming.”

Meet you at the Summit (Hotel Greenhills)

Summit Hotel Greenhills has a Pool Lounge where you can unwind while enjoying the view of the city skyline.

RHR added another feather to its cap as it opened its first Summit Hotel in the heart of the metro — Summit Hotel Greenhills.

“RHR is having a dearth of Metro Manila hotel locations. All these years, we couldn’t find land. We were always known as an outside, provincial hotel player. That’s why Summit Hotel Greenhills excites me. Finally, we have a Summit in the metro,” Ginday says with an impish grin.

Located along Annapolis St. in San Juan City, the new hotel is nestled between business and leisure districts. It is just a few minutes walk away from Greenhills Shopping Center and a short drive to Ortigas Center.

Inspired by Scandinavian design, the 100-room hotel is elegantly crafted. It features a neutral-tone palette and a modern herringbone pattern on the walls and floors. The rooms are furnished with wood-and-wood laminated furniture.

The hotel has three room categories: Deluxe King, Deluxe Twin and Junior Suite. All rooms are equipped with all the premium amenities with high-speed internet.

One unique feature is the Cafe Summit, a homegrown brand and a first for Summit Hotels. The restaurant serves local and international flavors, carefully curated for discerning palates. It promises good comfort food — from classic sandwiches to filling rice bowls.

“It’s also the first Summit Hotel to offer self-service and check-in kiosks,” noted Gindap. This creates a seamless experience especially for guests who book through digital platforms and do all their transactions online. 

Summit Hotel Greenhills also employs the hotel group’s new sustainability initiatives. 

“As a whole, we started eliminating single-use plastics. Summit Hotel Greenhills is the first to remove plastic water bottles and plastic bottle-packaged bathroom amenites,” added Gindap.

Each room is provided with a pitcher, which guests can freely fill up through water dispensers placed in the hallways. In-shower dispensers are also provided for guests’ shampoo and soap needs. 

Staying at Summit Hotel Greenhills is truly a whole new experience. The unique features and practices of the hotel give guests a certain peace of mind, which is the perfect mindset when it’s time to have some fun.

*    *    * 

Summit Hotel Greenhills introductory rate starts at P2,222 nett for room only and P2,888 nett with breakfast. Offer is valid for Deluxe Rooms (Twin and King) for an overnight stay and also includes complimentary use of indoor swimming pool and fitness center.

For inquiries, call the central reservations hotline at 998-8888, 998-7788 or SMS 0917-8887788.

ARTHUR GINDAP ROBINSONS HOTELS & RESORTS SUMMIT HOTEL GREENHILLS
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