Solaire Resort and Casino, set to launch phase one of development in March 2013 in the bay area of Metro Manila, is to develop into a future international brand.
The future bayside Solaire leisure complex
Enrique Razon, Jr – the Filipino container terminal tycoon, who has sunk in US$350 million to develop one of a slew of mega leisure projects rising in the bayside-located Bagong Nayon Pilipino Entertainment City – told Business Traveller that was a plan his company Bloomberry Resorts would consider “down the road”.
Razon is no stranger to thinking big. He is one of the handful of Filipino businessmen who has gone global, succeeding in seeing his International Container Terminal Service (ICTSI) supervise or manage other container ports, not only in the Philippines but in 16 other countries, including, most recently, Tamil Nadu in India and Croatia.
Tourism has now been added to his investment portfolio. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in a tourism project,” he said. “I’ve travelled a lot and always wondered why the Philippines didn’t have a world-class resort and facility with superior amenities and leisure options that were all within easy reach.
“The Filipinos are known for their great hospitality and service. You don’t have to teach them how to smile. The country also has so much to offer in terms of natural attractions. Solaire can be the gateway to the Philippines, as the Philippines can be the gateway to Solaire.”
Artist’s rendering of hotel lobby
Solaire Manila, the hotel component of the 8.3-hecatre complex, will open with 500 guestrooms, including four bayfront villas. Room sizes start from 43 sqm and suites from 75 sqm. Other facilities include a 1,300 sqm spa and fitness centre, 1,200 sqm pillarless ballroom able to host 1,000 guests for a reception, a two-level casino as well as an outdoor themed casino and entertainment bar.
A podium area will house 14 restaurants for fine dining, casual meals and a food court.
Once these are all launched and running, an all-suite tower with another 200 rooms will be completed next, Razon said, adding they purposely did not accept management offers from international hotel companies “to be able to build up our own brand”. These offers, however, could be considered in the future, he said.
Razon said he was also keen on establishing a budget-type hotel.
Red Lantern Chinese restaurant
Since the Philippine government opened up the gaming scene five years ago, local businessmen have been quick to take advantage of the policy change.
The first was billionaire Andrew Tan, whose joint venture with Genting Hong Kong, led to Resorts World Manila at Newport, opposite Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the future Resorts World Bayshore poised for a 2016 debut. Henry Sy, the maverick behind the prolific SM department store chain and other enterprises, set up Belle Corporation which is looking to start operating its US$350 million leisure complex in a few months’ time.
These developments, besides positively raising the Philippines’ tourism profile, have allowed a number of foreign hotel chains to plant their flags in a market that has seen very little movement for over a decade. Hilton has recently announced a management agreement to open in Newport (see news), while Sheraton and The Westin, both under Starwood, are slated to open at Resorts World Manila and Resorts World Bayshore respectively.
For more details, visit www.solairemanila.com
Margie T Logarta