As lockdowns have eased considerably with the imposition of the less restrictive Covid-19 Alert Level 1, hotels are now scrambling to open their rooms and restaurant outlets showcasing full and enhanced menus to dine-in guests besides various forms of take-outs.
Amidst all the adjustments and innovations of hotels’ amenities, staycations became a popular activity in the Metro as people wanted to feel a semblance of leisure and travel with their families, needing a break from the routine of staying at home. Presently, staycations have become a showcase of how we have progressed in the field of hospitality and serviced-apartments.
It is seen that hotels with an experience in apartment dwelling has the advantage in terms of facilities and service. In this category, Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites managed by Accor, a midscale de luxe serviced residences with 229 fully furnished suites, has led in the mixed-use office and serviced apartment category with its 13 years of operations.
The combination of a full service hotel with the option of self-catering gives patrons the best of both worlds, even as an increasing number of guests rely on technology advancement in a hotel stay.
According to Joy Nostalg General Manager Odette Huang, guest interactions remain a prime consideration even if there are a number of new solutions brought in by technology.
“Whatever touch points we have with the customer, we should be able keep it in mind. When before luxury was defined with several things, but now health and safety are the important things but the other thing that the pandemic has accelerated not just in our industry but across all—is digitalization. I think that is even going to have more opportunities to operate in the digital world. Customers have even gotten used to it like ordering online, perhaps even automation in the long run.”
“But will still be moving to high tech and high touch, not high tech and low touch because the level of personalization will be improved and enhanced. Technology will be an enabler to make it more engaging in terms of experience in the long run,” Huang stated.
On the other hand, Laurie Balderrama-Cardeño, director of sales and marketing of Joy Nostalg, staycations has had a great jump in demand recently.
“People are so excited to stay in hotels, even revenge travelers, to escape from the confines of their homes being locked in for two years. It is a good thing now that children are now allowed, comparing when they were restricted, there is a wider demographic gap. It is a major come-on to bring the children along when families go on staycation,” she related
The main draw is not just the home away from home ambience, but also in our case, the office away from office environment that Joy Nostalg affords its guests. One can cook, wash, dry, and iron clothes, watch news on TV in between work at the center table, sending and receiving emails without fail, and taking naps in between with nice beddings, feathers and down pillows, soaking in the tub, all in controlled air-conditioned comfort. You have your work all to yourself and you avoid all unnecessary delays brought by the home to office and back routine.
The hotel places accessibility in the forefront of each room starting with the kitchens up to the bathrooms within easy reach from the living/working area. It dictates that you can rest and relax or be invigorated enough to do office work along with standard household chores just a few steps away.
Some rooms are equipped with a washing machine, a 4-burner oven, and dining utensils, while 1 to 3-bedroom suites are completely equipped with all the amenities of a deluxe hotel residence.
Along with the upgrading of the hotel’s amenities and services are the expanded menu of its restaurants—the main dining area called Nostalgia, and the rooftop bar aptly called The Roof.
From our experience, we recommend the hamburger at Nostalgia and the chicharon bulaklak (pork intestine fritters) at The Roof. These remains top of mind whenever we visit the Joy Nostalg, when we eat our breakfast and go snacking at Nostalgia. Night time also finds us chillin’ at The Roof’s al fresco ambience where the menu competes with the Ortigas skyline for one’s attention.
If you are not into cooking your own food, the hotel has daily breakfast buffets and lunch buffets (from Wednesday to Friday that will make you won’t think of eating elsewhere for a couple of days). Breakfast has become the regular procedure unlike during the height of the pandemic when it was assisted-serve which we personally prefer as it does away with queues. The hotel’s staff surprisingly give you honest choices without any ambition to up sell. Even a knowledge of ingredients make it a point that you decide in a short time, something many restaurants lack.
An added merit is that the hotel has an indoor pool so you can swim even on hot days or rainy nights, and pet-friendly regulations for those who have pets as part of their family.
Established in 2007, Joy Nostalg is a spiritually-centered, socially missioned business platform enterprise that has committed itself to be a nurturing community. It is headed by Jacinto Ng Jr. the eldest son of Rebisco founder Jacinto Ng SR.