By Denise A. Valdez
WESTERN VISAYAS will get its first international hotel brand when the Courtyard by Marriott opens at Iloilo Business Park, Iloilo City in May.
Offering 326 rooms in its 15-storey building, Courtyard Iloilo will be the biggest hotel in the city.
The new hotel, located inside the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park, is aiming to cater to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) travel market.
Courtyard Iloilo general manager Cleofe C. Albiso said the opening of the Marriott-managed facility is a move that matches the local government’s efforts to make Iloilo City a business hub.
“Our presence will validate the goal of Iloilo because it is the first international hotel in the region,” she said.
She noted Courtyard Iloilo will complement the Iloilo Convention Center, which is also located within the Iloilo Business Park.
“Having put the Iloilo Convention Center at the same time, they have to support it with an international brand hotel to really attract the international market for MICE businesses,” said Ms. Albiso.
Iloilo Convention Center has been chosen to hold large local and international gatherings, such as the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council Meeting in 2017.
The opening of Courtyard Iloilo is expected to attract more guests who will attend similar events in the future.
A full-service hotel, Courtyard Iloilo has a 3,000 square feet meeting space that could accommodate up to 180 persons. VIPs are also welcomed at the executive lounge, a feature that the Courtyard by Marriott brand is incorporating in its new properties.
Ms. Albiso said they are targeting “go-getters,” aiming to provide this market with facilities that would suit their goal-driven lifestyle.
She said the hotel has complimentary WiFi with speeds of 250 mbps, making connectivity “seamless” and allowing guests to work more easily.
The hotel’s dining facility, the Runway Kitchen, offers all-day dining with three buffets every day. Ms. Albiso said that the name is inspired by the location of the building, which is what used to be the runway for the Mandurriao Airport.
Runway Kitchen’s executive chef is a Thai national, but guests could expect Iloilo specialties and other local dishes on the menu.
A modern gym, grand pool and pool bar are also available.
Ms. Albiso also emphasized the hotel’s security and safety, which she said surpasses even local standards to meet the Marriott brand’s standards.
Two additional Marriott brands are expected to open this year — Marriott Clark in Pampanga and Sheraton Manila in Newport City. Ms. Albiso said Sheraton Mactan in Cebu is also in the pipeline.
Marriott International is in charge of Courtyard Iloilo’s operations, and so far has 160 employees from Manila, Cebu and Iloilo.
Marriott Design Group started work on the hotel in 2013 with Megaworld Corp. Megaworld last year sold the hotel to Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., a joint venture partnership between its parent company Alliance Global Group, Inc. and Genting Hong Kong Ltd.