Business is pleasure at Cebu City Marriott Hotel

- Althea Lauren Ricardo () - May 25, 2003 - 12:00am
Cebu’s charm is a perfect coupling of the historical and the modern, the city and the province, the bustling and the relaxed, paved roads and fine sand, water and land. Anyone who’s been to the Queen City of the South will surely nod in approval for Cebu City is indeed the ultimate spot where business and pleasure can mix, where one can get away from it all – without having to go away.

The past few decades have witnessed Cebu’s rise as a favorite tourist destination because of its natural treasures – prime dive spots, brilliant beaches, lush mountains. A recent surge, however, is its blossoming into one big business center.

Cebu, with its strategic location in the center of the Visayas, has been a popular entry point for merchants. At present, it boasts an export processing zone on Mactan Island and a profitable furniture export industry, among many growing businesses, earning for Cebu the prestige of being one of the country’s top business destinations.

Literally in the middle of it all is the Cebu City Marriott Hotel, five years old and, according to general manager Christiane Wasfy, already number one in market share. Cebu City Marriott is an international business hotel located in the Cebu Business Park, the city’s newest business district. Wasfy, who has seen the hotel grow in the over three years she has led its operations, counts this strategic location as one of the hotel’s competitive strengths.

"Our biggest advantage is our location," she explains, "because although we are in the middle of the city, it feels like we are in the middle of a park. We are also near a shopping mall, which has everything – an entertainment center, restaurants and a cinema." Wasfy shares that most of their corporate clients enjoy the kind of arrangement the hotel’s location allows: they attend to their businesses at the Mactan Export Processing Zone, and after a long day’s work, are entertained and even shop in a place just a short walk away. For a breath of fresh air, the nearest beach is a mere 20 minutes away.

Exclusive beach resorts are also easily accessible from the hotel. In fact, Wasfy says, the hotel can help their guests make arrangements for a relaxed, sun-kissed and nature-refreshed weekend.

Cebu City Marriott Hotel has 303 guestrooms, 22 suites and an executive lounge on the 12th floor. Guests on the executive level can avail themselves of express check-in and checkout, complimentary meals, snacks, cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres and the services of the business center.

The guestrooms – a choice of deluxe, business suite, executive business suite and executive suite – provide comfort for just about any kind of guest. All rooms are equipped with cable television, mini bar, desk lamp and writing desk, electronic safe, automatic hair dryer, voice mail telephone system, radio and alarm clock.

The hotel also has its own Fitness Center for guests who don’t want to lose their exercise sync even while lazing in relatively stress-free Cebu. The center has mirror walls and the latest state-of-the-art equipment. It is manned by experienced instructors and well-trained attendants.

Of course, a hotel won’t be a hotel without good food. Cebu City Marriott Hotel has the Garden Café, an indoor coffeeshop that offers a wide selection of dishes, both local and international. Then there’s the Palm Lounge, in the hotel lobby, which serves coffee, tea, light snacks and cocktails spiked with live entertainment. The Pool Bar is a poolside restaurant, which offers local and international meals.

Wasfy, who can gush endlessly about Cebu, stresses that the quality of life in the city that has been her home for over three years is also responsible for the hotel’s endless stream of guests, a lot of whom are regulars. "It has all the leisure and benefits you can imagine," she points out with enthusiasm. "There are so many things to do here – trekking, diving, water sports, golf, shopping. There are beaches, mountains, waterfalls. There are islands all around, some just an hour away. The hospitals and universities are good; infrastructure is good. And there’s an international airport."

Asked what Cebu City Marriott Hotel truly considers its greatest strength, Wasfy answers without hesitation, "The people, definitely the people." She explains, "You can have the best hardware, but it’s nothing if the people don’t have the natural instinct for hospitality. Here, it’s not because they’re trained, it’s natural." Indeed, Cebuanos are well-known for their warmth and engaging smiles.

Wasfy reveals that guests heap praises on the hotel because of its staff. "When they come inside, there are wonderful, smiling people, and that’s the important touch. When they leave, they write in the survey, ‘This is the best Marriott hotel in the world.’"
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