Clark Development Zone gets another internationally branded hotel with the recent opening of Clark Marriott Hotel, a 260 room, 16-storey property that promises to give the best view of the Freeport Zone and experience the world-renowned Marriott hospitality.
Clark Marriott Clark General Manager Goeran Soelter stated that being the internationally branded hotel gives them the opportunity to showcase many other firsts associated with the Marriott brand such as the first hotel to bring keyless access to the rooms, the first to bring the biggest rewards program in the world, and the tallest structure inside the Freeport Zone.
Clark Marriott was built in an extremely short time taking around less than two years to build since its groundbreaking on October 2016.
Hotel features and amenities
The hotel features 5 restaurants and bars: The Goji Kitchen + Bar, its all-day dining restaurant; Noodle Inc, where one can choose the ingredients for a personalized Asian noodle treat; Smoki Moto, a Korean barbecue section on one side and a Japanese Teppanyaki on the other; Urban Coffee for deli, sandwiches and drinks.; the Pool Bar; and The Lounge. There is also the Kids Club, a fitness center, and the Quan Spa. The addition of a Halal chef is being mulled in anticipation of an increase in Air Asia flights, but no plans to build a Halal kitchen.
Its grand ballroom can accommodate 360 guests while its meeting rooms can host 20 to 80 people. The focus for the “bleisure” traveler can be noticed as you enter any of the rooms. It is minimalist, multi-functional, and convertible. There is only one chair with a circular glass table but you can request more if needed.There is an absence of cabinets and drawers as they are replaced by ingenuously designed open spaces. The luggage rack is also molded into the fixtures that make for a quick change of wardrobe.
Looking at MICE
Soelter also stated that MICE business should be something that should be developed in Pampanga as the Clark Airport expands and more flights are added.
“It will be much easier to bring bigger routes into the market. They don’t have to rely on Manila anymore. Organizers would not have to think about the distance to Manila”.
Marriott International Senior Director for Sales and Distribution in the Philippines Peter Foreman said: “Our customers are really excited with our two openings this year. We have the Marriott Manila right next to a Convention Center, and also here. With the size of the meeting facilities here, hopefully we can get the bigger events out of Manila and bring them out here, that’s our goal.”
The property is owned by Widus International Leisure, Inc. that also operates the adjacent Widus Hotel and Casino. Widus owner Daesik Han said, “October 2016 was the date of the groundbreaking. A little less than 2 years.”
Mr Han spoke of his initial difficulties in choosing between an international brand or going homegrown.
“It took some time for me to decide whether I will bring in an international brand or I will make do with my own, because at the time I signed up with Marriott, people were not very sure with the market. Right now, after 2 years, a lot of investors are now eyeing Clark, but before, maybe 5 years ago, they were contemplating if this is the right market for them. I thought seriously about the matter, but I strongly believe that Clark has potential; and they are welcome and I want to be the first mover. I went with Marriott and they have been very supportive of me,” Mr. Han related.
The Philippines in the Marriott radar
The country will have over 30 Marriott Hotels offering 2,800 rooms by 2021.The Clark Marriott alone employs more than 200 people and more hotels mean more employment for Filipinos.
“Our presence here is a statement that our company has interest in the Philippines in general, and Clark in particular. We are extremely excited to be here, there is a demand obviously for the specific market and we would like to have hotels where our customers like to travel to. We are extremely happy with this event to have partnered with such a great ownership group that has delivered a fantastic hotel,” emphasized Victor Clavell, Vice-President (Philippines) Marriott International.
While Clavell confirmed that he thinks the representation of Marriott in the Philippines is still quite small, he revealed that they are moving into opening more hotels in the country.
“We are very, very excited with the great opportunities that this great country has to offer in all sectors from the business standpoint, meetings and conventions, and specially on the leisure standpoint. It has incredible beauty and the potential to develop many brands, even luxury brands is there and we are bullish, he added. Among the their hotels in the pipeline, Clavell mentioned the Sheraton Manila that will open in first quarter of next year. The Pan Pacific Hotel in Manila will be rechristened
Sheraton by the Bay as well as other projects in Boracay (Marriott), and Cebu (Sheraton).
“We are also planning to introduce the Fairfield brand here,” he added