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THE LIGHTS are on again at the Makati Shangri-La.
Last week, we saw every foot of the hotel’s grand chandelier had been lit as we walked up the stairs towards the reopened Sage restaurant for lunch. The hotel officially opened to guests again on Aug. 8.
Its temporary closure had been announced early in 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a previous BusinessWorld story, management of the three-decade old Makati landmark said that “the closure decision was made after low business levels and a prolonged recovery timeline.”
“It was always our intention to open the doors of Makati Shangri-La again,” explained John Rice, Vice-President for Operations for Shangri-La Group Philippines, during an interview with BusinessWorld. “We never actually closed, we just suspended operations for a period of time, until the economy improved and until we felt that the demand was there,” he explained.
“It was a difficult decision,” he admitted. “It wasn’t a situation where we closed at all. We just stopped… until we could get to a situation where economic conditions improved and the demand was there, and we could reopen for business.”
In the interim, he said that they had kept on a core team of people on the property. “It’s been incredibly well-maintained,” said Mr. Rice.
“Makati Shangri-La, Manila is an iconic landmark that has long been woven into the rich history of Makati City. For the past three decades, the hotel has provided a tranquil sanctuary within the city’s bustling business district,” said Udo Wittich, hotel manager at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila. “The reopening symbolizes a fresh beginning for Makati Shangri-La, Manila. It presents us a unique opportunity to provide guests with refreshed experiences and colorful joys of life that span our accommodations, dining destinations, and even in the ways we work with our community.”
RESTAURANTS ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESSAs of Friday, reopened dining outlets include Sage, Shang Palace, and the Lobby Lounge. The Japanese outlet Inagiku will also reopened soon. Other dining establishments such as the Circles Event Café and Sage Bar are slated to reopen in the coming months.
The hotel’s banquet operations are in full swing, as are its function rooms (the ballroom will actually play host to a party quite soon). Mr. Rice said that they will “progressively reopen other outlets as we move further into the year.”
The rooms will also be progressively released — with a refreshed look — as well as a new category called Horizon Business, which will feature ergonomic furniture and state-of-the-art IT equipment for business travelers. Each Horizon Club Business Room comes equipped with a range of remote work-friendly amenities such as an Omnidesk adjustable standing table paired with an ergonomic chair, and fuss-free modern electronics featuring dual-screen 4K monitors, a speakerphone, mobile stands, and fast-charging cable adaptors. The business traveler-centric design offers a conducive and distraction-free environment for work, ensuring elevated productivity.
Other hotel amenities — like the Health Club, the outdoor pool, children’s pool, and tennis courts — will gradually open. The hotel spa will reopen in the first quarter of 2024.
Udo Wittich, the Makati Shangri-La’s hotel manager, also announced changes such as adopting more environment- friendly measures at the hotel. These include four new parking slots with electric car-charging capabilities, and a reduction in the use of single-use plastics. This measure includes changing keycards and pens to wood from plastic, and replacing single-use toiletries with refillable options.
They are also planning on opening a rooftop herb garden, and a greenhouse by the first quarter of next year — which will help when they release their own gin (Mr. Rice said that the gin was being bottled as we spoke).
“A few other initiatives will come up as soon as we reach the end of the year,” said Mr. Wittich. — Joseph L. Garcia