RLC senior vice president and Robinsons Hotels and Resorts business unit general manager Arthur Gindap; Lapu-Lapu City first lady Maria Cynthia Chan; Lapu-Lapu City Congresswoman Paz Radaza; Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat; RLC president and CEO Frederick D. Go; Dusit International COO Boon Kwee Lim; Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort general manager David Baldwin
Dusit Thani Mactan is made for selfies
Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There are no bad angles in this property,” enthuses David Anthony Baldwin, as he leads us to the spacious, open-air lobby of the newest luxury resort on Mactan Island in Cebu.

Baldwin is the general manager of Dusit Thani Mactan, which ranks No. 2 on TripAdvisor’s best hotels ranking for Mactan, Cebu, barely four months since it opened.

Managed by the renowned Dusit International hospitality group based in Thailand, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is Robinsons Land Corporation’s first foray into the luxury resort arena.

“To put it in more current terms, it’s the most Instagrammable property here in Mactan,” Baldwin says.

And, as we go around the property, we’re convinced that Dusit Thani Mactan is, indeed, made for selfies.

Aptly called The View, the hotel’s lobby lounge gives off a refreshing Balinese resort vibe. The lounge looks out on the calming sight of Magellan Bay and the mountains of mainland Cebu on the horizon.

And, as with most high-end resorts, the color palette is on the sophisticated and clean neutral side with an emphasis on earth tones paired with classic white. The materials used are all natural, from the Mactan stone, which was excavated on-site, to wooden carving accents.

“What little color you see complements the sea,” notes Baldwin. “Everything is earth-toned. We also use a lot of natural fabrics and other things from the region. A lot of woven materials are used all throughout the hotel.”

Ammonite-shaped wooden carvings border the ceiling of the lobby, while the same pattern in a bigger scale of brass decks the hallway ceiling of the ballroom and function room areas. The walls of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) space are adorned with the colorful thread artworks of Raffy Napay.

The resort’s 1,235-square-meter ballroom is one of the biggest in Mactan. There are also four meeting rooms and an outdoor Sky Garden that can also be used for functions and events.

One of its most beautiful features is the 100-meter infinity pool, which faces the sea. At sundown (6 p.m.), guests line up against the far wall of the infinity pool to take their selfies with the Cebu mountains and the amazing sunset as a backdrop.

“We’re the only resort on the western side of the island, which means we have the best view of the sunset,” Baldwin says with an impish grin. “The other resorts apparently get the sunrise. I’m not sure. I’m not up that early. But the spectacular sunset is something we enjoy nightly. Even during cloudy days, we still get pretty colors at night.”

Nobody Dusit better

Located on the sprawling property of Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) at barangay Punta Engaño, Dusit Thani Mactan is the only luxury resort situated on the western coast of Mactan.

The whole peninsula is just three-and-a-half kilometers. And several properties are being developed in the area, like hotels, a casino and other tourism facilities.

The resort/hotel is only 11 kilometers from the busy Mactan-Cebu International Airport, but with ongoing constructions and road repairs, it took us almost an hour to reach our destination.

“Traffic is quite tough here in Cebu. I was surprised by that,” laments Baldwin. “However, being on this side of the island is an advantage to us.”

Aside from the breathtaking sunset, being on the western side of the island allows Dusit Thani Mactan to transport its guests to and from the airport faster using water transfers.

“We have small boats for couples,” shares Baldwin. “Big groups can opt for catamarans for a nice, leisurely sail. On a fast boat, you can reach the hotel in 15 minutes. On a slow boat, it will take you half an hour. But once you’re onboard, you won’t be looking at your watches. Simply because being on the water signals the start of your resort holiday.”

Again, only Dusit Thani Mactan can offer such a service.

“Because, even if the other resorts are closer to the airport, to get to sail, their boats have to go all the way around the island. That 15-minute sail becomes 45 minutes or an hour. And that’s when guests will start looking at their watches. They don’t want to be out too long.”

Unlike most resorts on the island, Dusit Thani Mactan is not as imposing. The midrise structures of the resort blend well with the topography of the area.

The resort sits on three hectares of land within the whole property. It has three six-story buildings that house 727 rooms, half of which face the sea.

“In my personal opinion, 300 rooms and below is really the neighborhood we want to be in,” says Baldwin. “If you get above 300 rooms, it’s hard to provide personalized service.”

Befitting the tropical-paradise feel of the resort, their rooms follow the same soothing ambience, made even more special with local touches in the interiors such as regional textiles and furniture pieces made by Cebuano artisans. The amenities are topnotch with breathtaking views to match.

Dusit Thani Mactan also boasts six dining outlets, such as the all-day dining TradeWinds Cafe, The View lobby lounge, Sunset Bar, the Deli, the Club Lounge and Dusit’s signature Thai restaurant Benjarong.

“The TradeWinds Cafe is where buffet breakfast is served. Sunset Bar is our sports and poolside bar. We have outdoor seating on the pool deck. There’s also live music there every night. Two different bands play every Friday and Saturday and the one plays the rest of the week. Sunset Bar is a popular lunch spot because guests can dine there in their swimsuits. And true to its name, it’s the perfect spot to catch the sunset,” enthuses Baldwin.

Benjarong Mactan is still on a dry run. It’s more casual compared to its sister restaurant at Dusit Thani Manila.

“Since Dusit Thani Mactan is a resort, we want guests to feel comfortable,” notes Baldwin. “They can dine here in their sundresses and shorts.”

Helmed by Thai chef Thanaphon Jeenphuad, Benjarong at Dusit Thani Mactan brings to Cebuanos the authentic flavors of Thailand.

At the welcome dinner, the chef set our palate on fire with his delectable but über-spicy tom yam gung, phad Thai, gang khi wan see kong near toon (tender beef ribs in green curry), Thai spring rolls, and sticky mango rice for dessert. Each dish provides a delicate balance of the different flavors, textures and aromas Thai food is known for.

“Chef Thanaphon does a great job in teaching our local team about the flavors and spices of Thailand,” says Baldwin. “We asked him though to tone down the spice a little bit, because ‘mild’ to him made me cry. To think that I lived in Thailand for four years.”

Dusit Thani Mactan also has a very spacious indoor playground for kids called the Fun Zone, the DFit Fitness Center gym, and the Namm Spa. 

In terms of sustainable practices, the resort has its own desalination plant for their water supply, while gray water is used in watering the lush landscape. The resort also employs proper waste segregation. RLC is also moving toward removing all single-use plastics from all its hotel operations.

But what sets Dusit Thani Mactan apart from its competitors is its people. The resort’s service is firmly rooted in Thai hospitality, mixed with the Filipino’s own brand of hospitality.

“There are a lot of beautiful, luxury resorts in the country, but it’s really the people and the culture of hospitality that can make an impression,” enthuses Baldwin. “And that’s where Thailand and the Philippines go so well together.”

Dusit Thani Mactan’s operations are in full swing. But Baldwin and his team are still working on expanding the resort’s beach area.

“Mactan is a coral island, so there’s not one natural beach on this island,” notes Baldwin. “It’s basically a rock, so every beach that you see here is manmade. We have the longest beachfront by far, but we’re still learning the tide. Half of the day, the beach is gorgeous, half the day the tide goes out. It’s not the same high tide every day. We’re still learning.”

Soon, scuba diving and other water activities will be offered at the resort.

It only takes an overnight stay to see why Dusit Thani Mactan is getting the attention of local and foreign tourists.

The IG-ready resort, which isn’t far from the busy airport, makes you feel secluded and isolated. It also has everything your weary body needs to recharge. And, unlike other properties in the area that are made for sleeping and freshening up, Dusit Thani Mactan encourages guests to cocoon.

Nobody Dusit better, indeed.



* * *

Dusit Thani Mactan is at Punta Engaño Rd., Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

For reservations, call 881-388 local 8849 and 8850 or email dtmc@dusit.com.

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