It's Christmastime in the cities

So we asked key people behind some of our favorite hotels, wonderlands of hospitality, oracles of holidaymaking, what they have in store for us in this merry, merry season.

It has become customary for The Manila Hotel to celebrate Filipino ingenuity and creativity through our Christmas décor at the Grand Lobby. People are usually filled with joy getting their photographs taken here, and even buying gift items from our Christmas shop. This year’s theme is “Pasko ng Pagkakaisa,” which is a call for unity amid the challenges we have been facing. The décor, designed by our creative team, headed by creative consultant Rachy Cuna, is a little more subdued now than in the past years but they can still enjoy the vibrant colors and thematic ornaments, and celebrate the spirit of love and hope this season brings.

For Filipinos, the spirit of Christmas also means enjoying good food, the traditional favorites, like the putobumbong and the signature Bibingka Manila Hotel, which are served at the Lobby Lounge. Small groups of close friends and immediate family members can enjoy lunch and dinner at the famed Café Ilang-Ilang, while those who prefer to stay home can still enjoy their favorite dishes via our Take Home service. There are different ways to have a very Merry Christmas at The Manila Hotel and we assure people that “You Are Safe Here” when you visit, so we invite everyone to come over. —JOEY LINA, president, The Manila Hotel

It will be a different Christmas, but that does not mean it can’t be a merry one. We want our guests to know that the moment they step through our doors at The Peninsula Manila we have their well-being in mind. Aside from adhering to the advice of government authorities, we have gone over and beyond with our company-wide health and safety protocols that will allow our guests to cherish the festive season with those closest to them at our hotel.

Our rooms are now open to welcome those who have been sheltering at home. Our room packages even come with one complimentary rapid antigen test. The Lobby, which has long been the heart of the hotel, is also open for festive dining, as is Spices where slightly larger groups can dine al fresco at our outdoor garden area.We also deliver bento boxes of three or four courses with menus from Old Manila, The Lobby, and Spices to clients’ homes for virtual reunions and parties. Something very new this year is our online Christmas Gingerbread House Decorating Class that will be launched on Dec. 1.  Children, or children at heart, will have a Peninsula teacher and chef take them on a short tour of our lobby and its décor, visit our pastry kitchen where they’ll learn how gingerbread is made, and finally settle down for a fun decorating session of their gingerbread house. To join, all they need to do is purchase their gingerbread house decorating kit at The Peninsula Boutique. We have a little bit of everything for everyone who wants to enjoy an in-person, virtual, and even outdoor Peninsula Christmas this year. —MASAHISA OBA, general manager, The Peninsula Manila

The spirit of joie de vivre (joy of living) endures at Sofitel Manila this festive season even amiduncertain times. Keep the magical spirit of Christmas alive and spend a safe and leisurely time with the family as you enjoy Christmas Eve dinner al fresco at Sunset Bar’s Food Truck Festival. Enjoy a wonderful assortment of international cuisine with free-flowing beverages and have a merry night with the iconic Manila Bay and the city skyline as backdrop. 

On Christmas Day, take a photo by the 30-foot Christmas tree at Spiral and celebrate with some truffle and foie gras Wellington, cheese fondue, crudo bar, and a lot more for a truly memorable holiday fête. For intimate holiday parties, the Spiral experience is not to be missed with Spiral at Home boxed sets, which can also serve as a perfectly delectable gift this Yuletide season. —CHRISTOPHE BATAILLE, resident manager, Sofitel Philippine Plaza

In true homegrown fashion, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo greets the Christmas season and welcomes guests with homemade and one-of-a-kind decor adorning the lobby and its outlets.Made from locally sourced crafts and supplies put together by the employees, these tinsels and trinkets are truly symbolic of love, happiness, and joy this holiday season. 

The hotel also brings joy to the community by supporting grassroots livelihood.In efforts to drive the local economy, the hotel presents Holiday Gift Boxes made with buri packaging sourced directly from the local weaving community in Guimaras.Some of the boxed goodies to choose from are Choco and Banana Walnut Loaf, the signature Classic and Ube Ensaymada, new selections such as Asian Loaf, Ohana Bread, Iloilo Paris Buns, and Panettone. These are bundled with tsokolatetablea rolls and pure muscovado sugar, both wrapped in boxes handwoven by the Ati community and cocoa farmer’s coop in Cabatuan, Iloilo. Basilur premium tea and Superhouse coffee drips are also part of the set. For an indulgent staycation, Richmonde offers the biggest hotel rooms in Iloilo City coupled with amenities such as the infinity pool and alfresco pool deck with the best sunset view in the city.These are available for the exclusive use of in-house guests, a true escape from the maddening crowd.Enjoy in-room private dining with special menus especially prepared for the season of joy or celebrate the New Year with close friends and family in a safe space with the Private Bar Experience at Bizbar.Truly, bringing happiness and cheer to all in this season of giving means so much more this year. These are just some of the ways to have a very Merry Christmas atRichmonde Hotel Iloilo. —NAT LIM, resident manager, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

Christmas  at Conrad Manila is a jubilant celebration of love, peace, and happiness as much as it is a fete on the abundance of goodwill and our gratitude expressed in inspired ways starting with the dazzling Christmas tree lighting ceremony with special guests of honor, following health and safety protocols: Teodoro Locsin Jr., secretary of Foreign Affairs, Antonino Calixto, Pasay City congressman,Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, Pasay City mayor,Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AOof Australia, Ambassador Norman Bin Muhamad of Malaysian, Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino of Italy, Elizabeth Sy, president of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, Peggy Angeles, executive vice president of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, and Hans T. Sy, chairman of Executive Committee, SM Prime.

The joyful Christmas tree lighting ceremony highlights the start of the hotel’s luxurious dining, rooms, and spa offerings for the holidays with gastronomic pleasures at Brasserie on 3, epicurean feasts at China Blue by Jereme Leung, gourmet delights and dreamy Christmas hampers at Bru Coffee Bar, and a New Year’s Eve celebration with tunes and mixes at C Lounge. —LINDA PECORARO, general manager, Conrad Manila

Despite the collective challenges, uncertainties, and changes the pandemic has brought about, our guests can still look forward to a very heartwarming and merry,festive season here with us at Shangri-La at the Fort. The “new normal” shift has allowed us to experiment, research, and create experiences that strike a balance between that signature Shangri-La hospitality they have come to know and love, and at the same time enjoy it in a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment.

So whether it is rediscovering their Shangri-La experience by dining at our restaurants and enjoying a leisurely staycation, or celebrating with their loved ones in the comforts of home, know that we have tailormade offerings made just for the season that they can share with the ones they hold closest to their heart. Aside from our familiar festive goodies, hampers, gift sets, and the like, guests who wish to bring the Shangri-La at the Fort festive experience home can delight in the likes of our High Street Cafe’s buffet in the box, where we bring a feast to their doorstep. Kick it up a notch with our range of bespoke bottled cocktails from The Back Room and seasonal treats from Bake House. In the most uncertain of times, guests can always count on us to deliver that same signature experience. Of that, we are most certain. —JOHN RICE, general manager, Shangri-La at the Fort

Now more than ever, we realize how valuable time spent with family and loved ones is. That’s why the Christmas theme of Discovery Resorts this year is “Home for the Holidays.”We want them to remember that Discovery Shores is an extension of their home where they can be one with nature, enjoy the warmth of the sun on their skin, the luxury of open spaces and simply appreciate the gift of life. It’s a perfect time to destress from all the worries and recharge the mind, body, and soul.

Discovery Shores Boracay has a lot of activities and gastronomic treats for all members of the family, plus Filipino holiday traditions that would truly make them feel at home.Since Christmas is a time of giving, we’re also launching a Share-A-Bear campaign where guests will receive the resort’s teddy bear named Bogart for every P500 donation to Discovery Shores Boracay’s adopted community.We invite everyone to take that much needed holiday retreat and make lasting memories with loved ones on the beautiful island of Boracay because the holidays are truly the perfect time to celebrate togetherness. —ERWIN LOPEZ, hotel manager, Discovery Shores Boracay

In many ways we have perfected Christmas at Marriott over the years. This year will be different on many levels but also familiar and comfortable in others. It all began with our Virtual Christmas Tree Lighting. The significance of maintaining our lobby decoration and appeal as in previous years brought not only the spirit of Christmas to the hotel but lifted the spirits of our associates and guests instantaneously. A simple visit and a family photo by our magnificent tree will surely lift yours too.

 There have been many things missed in 2020, from special occasions and celebrations to milestones and simple gatherings of family and friends. However you choose to spend your Christmas this year, we hope to have something for every flavor, budget, and venue. Dine at Marriott or let us bring our flavors to you.Gift for family and friends? We have several hampers and we can customize for you. Need to send company giveaways for Christmas, 500 persons? 2,500 persons? We can do it too! The possibilities are endless and we at Marriott are ready to welcome you back. —BRUCE WINTON, general manager, Marriott Manila