The Peninsula Manila has been society’s toast of the town, captivating clientele from generation to generation. Changes are being made to continue the tradition. This 2019 marks a milestone for the hotel as it is scheduled to unveil a refreshed look and a Gallery Club Lounge. Apart from that, the phased soft renovation is the most extensive the property has seen since 2008, it is also the largest capital investment they’ve undertaken in the past 10 years.
“This long-anticipated renovation has been planned with the intention of keeping The Peninsula Manila relevant and distinctive for our guests, without losing its charm,” says The Peninsula Manila general manager, Mark J. Choon. “Our challenge was to succeed at maintaining a balance between the much-loved ‘old’ and comfort and innovation of the ‘new,’ breathing new life into an institution.”
The updated hotel experience will begin on guest-floor foyers and corridors, with freshly laid, plush carpeting. The interiors of the beautifully refreshed guest rooms will feature a natural color palette of blues and grays, creating a bright space that reflects a light tropical style. Soft furnishings will be complemented by locally sourced wood surfaces, stripped by hand to reveal the warmth of their natural grain.
Enhanced finishes include new mattresses, 55-inch HDT-screen TVs, and bedside light fixtures. To meet the demands of today’s tech-savvy travelers, more accessible power outlets will be positioned throughout the guest rooms. Functions can be managed from a bedside control panel and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls, which allow guests to make international calls free of charge will be provided for added convenience. The refurbishment of guest rooms and suites is expected to be completed by the first week of December.
Taking center stage in this renovation is the brand new, 90-seat Gallery Club Lounge on the third floor. This overlooks the hotel’s iconic lobby and monumental “Sunburst” sculpture, a specially commissioned piece by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva. Estimated to be completed by the first of October, the private lounge is being created in-house by the Hong Kong Shanghai Hotels’ (HSH) Design Team with direction and guidance from the hotel’s COO, Peter Borer.
What sets the Gallery Club Lounge apart from other lounges? The Peninsula Manila Director of Public Relations, Mariano Garchitorena, proudly spills the beans. “We will be the first hotel in Manila offering full and complimentary access to our Club Lounge to guests who book their accommodations directly with the hotel. There will be no additional charges. Currently, the practice in the market is to offer an additional surcharge, should a guest wish to avail access to the Club Lounge.”
The 18-foot-high floor-to-ceiling glass windows running the length of the gallery lets in bright, tropical sunlight that transforms the space into an “Art Gallery in the Sky” where guests can encounter and experience original commissioned works of the figurative expressionist, Ang Kiukok, alongside cartoonist and humorist, Larry Alcala. The two are National Artists for Visuals Arts. The Gallery Lounge also features prints by Filipino-Spanish contemporary photographer Francisco “Paco” Guerrero in an up-and-close intimate setting.
Guests can visit the 24-hour lounge for a hot breakfast buffet, all-day refreshments, and nibbles, The Peninsula Afternoon Tea, gourmet canapés, plus an open bar stocking a curated selection of spirits and sommelier-selected wines while enjoying live music. Other perks include express check-in and check-out, garment pressing, complimentary local calls, and one-hour free use of the board room. The facilities encompass round-the-clock business and concierge services. All these benefits are complimentary to guests of The Gallery Club Lounge.
To pave the way for the Club Lounge, The Peninsula Manila has had to say goodbye to 118 guest rooms. “By reducing our current room inventory of 469 guest rooms to 351, we will have the perfect balance of resources (i.e. staffing) that will allow us to shift our focus more towards the growing leisure travel market (both from long-haul, regional, and local sources) as well as our discerning corporate travelers. We believe that our guests will find value in our completely updated guest room product as well as the new third floor Gallery Club Lounge experience,” shares Mr. Garchitorena.
By the looks of it, it seems that both The Peninsula Manila and its clientele will receive the winning end of the adage – less is more. There may be lesser rooms, but more in terms of customer delight and experience. (Denise Roco-De Leon)