Bringing Classy Back: The Manila Hotel To Undergo Renovations




When Kristine asked me to imagine Gone With the Wind, she was right. It was like going back in time. Putting aside the modern amenities like computers and incredibly-fast wi-fi, the Manila Hotel is a scene taken out of the classic film Gone With the Wind.

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The classy staff of the Manila Hotel

The staff and guest service officers wore elaborate costumes and had an air of old-world charm. The staff are required to wear a different uniform each day, and the authenticity of their costumes have become attractions at the hotel as well.

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The grand lobby of the Manila Hotel

The chandeliers at the lobby were the large and ornate kinds you don’t see anymore. Everywhere you look there were warm wood and capiz shells. And yes, those large paintings in the lobby are by Fernando Amorsolo.

But the Manila Hotel is about to get a major facelift. I was lucky to have seen the Grand Dame before its renovation, which is set to start this year. All these was discussed over dinner at the Mabuhay Palace with Atty. Joey Lina, the president and director, and Dr. Enrique Y. Yap, Jr., the executive vice president.

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The renovation begins with the logo. The cursive script of the Manila Hotel has become iconic, but hotel president Atty. Joey Lina said it is no longer practical. Romantic as it may be, the logo is hard to read and harder to replicate on non-traditional items like towels and bathrobes.

They’re going to roll out a simpler and more minimalist font, which we saw at the dinner. It’s a huge step away from what we’re used to, but according to Denise Tambuatco, senior vice president of marketing, it was the logo during the Commonwealth Period, one of the hotel’s most prosperous years.

As the Manila Hotel is embracing modernity, many of its rooms are going to going to be renovated, in time for Manila’s hosting duties for the World Economic Forum this May and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2015.

The Fiesta Pavilion, the Maynila Ballroom, the Millennium Salon and the Presidential Suite will be some of the rooms at the Manila Hotel to be renovated. The new Fiesta Pavilion can now be divided into five rooms that can seat 200, but it can be rented for full where over 2,000 individuals can sit.

The lighting system will also be improved to change colors depending on the mood or color the clients want. And if you are a fan of the Oscars, the overhead lighting will take inspiration from the circular fixtures at the Kodak Theater.

After these, the Champagne Room, Lobby Lounge and Roma Salon will also be renovated next year.

Now, if you’re thinking that the Manila Hotel is leaving behind its iconic old-world charm and replacing it with modernity, don’t worry. According to Denise, the Manila Hotel is maintaining the classic feel of the Grand Dame and adjusting it to the modern times.

So expect to see the same staff in their beautiful uniforms, the same old-fashioned but magical interiors, and the world-class service the Manila Hotel is known for.