By TINA HIDALGO JACINTO
It’s nothing short of monumental when a luxurious, landmark hotel, known for its unparalleled service, reaps the most prestigious international award,—the ‘Oscar’ of the travel world— the Forbes Travel Guide. As the sun had set over Makati a few evenings ago, The Peninsula Manila’s partners in business, media, and society gathered together to celebrate The Peninsula Manila’s first 2019 Forbes Travel Guide, the gold standard—a fivestar award in the international hospitality industry since 1958; and likewise having received hospitality’s highest distinction, where all 10 Peninsula hotels across the globe hold five-stars, a first in the 61 years of Forbes Travel Guide awards.
The famous Pen Lobby was converted into a huge party place, with shimmering silver decor which hung from the towering ceiling. The charismatic general manager, Mark Choon, warmly said in his speech: “It’s a milestone event in our 43-year history for The Peninsula Manila to be named a Forbes Travel Guide fivestar hotel, the only one in the principal business districts of Makati and Fort Bonifacio Global City to receive this coveted ranking. We are delighted and immensely proud to join our sister hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris, Beijing, and Bangkok in this five-star rating, in turn, making The Peninsula hotels the first and only hotel group to achieve the highest possible Forbes Travel Guide rating across all our hotels. We are a perfect ten!”
Filip Boyen, Forbes Travel Guide CEO, with his team Peter Kressaty, EVP for partner services and Ryo Koike, VP for partner services flew into town especially for this occasion. On this special evening everything seemed to be at the right time and at the right place; for what better occasion than this event, for Mark to announce a soft room renovation of guestrooms and suites which will be finished by October this year. This all-encompassing facelift will include a change to pastel palette, materials, and fabrics, as well as updates on technology. The Pen Gallery, which has been the venue of Rupert Jacinto’s “Faaabvlous” photo exhibits, as well as his other one-man exhibits for three decades shall be but a lingering memory for my husband Rupert; the gallery shall be converted into The Gallery Club lounge, a 100- seater club. In view of these developments, this year’s “Faaabvlous, The Decade,” ten years of Faaabvloous shall be moved to Marriott Manila this coming November.
In honor of International Women’s Day, the entertainment at the Forbes Travel award was girl power: DJ Badkiss, Princess Ibanez on violin, Nicole Tejedor, saxophonist, Heloise la Harpe, electric harp, and Nicole Laurel Asencio enthralled the revelers.