A Crimson heartbeat for Christmas

Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay by night.

With most of the big real estate companies here, a chain of hotels and resorts become one of the ways to partner with a global brand, and/or add hospitality and tourism to the industries they’re affiliated with. As a developer, Filinvest did take this route, but were proud to establish Chroma Hospitality Inc., and create their own hospitality brands - one such brand is their high-end Crimson Hotels and Resorts. Alabang, Mactan, and Boracay, are the destinations where one can stay at a Crimson. 

Relaxation beckons on their beachfront.

Pre-pandemic, both Crimson Alabang and Mactan would see me as a regular visitor; and for some strange reason or another, despite the invitations to visit their Station Zero Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay, I never made it there. So it was extra special to be invited for their Christmas Tree-lighting, and along with Issa (Litton), finally get a chance to stay at the resort, and say Yes to dear friend, Carmela H. Bocanegra, VP, Sales and Marketing of Chroma Hospitality. 

With tourism as one of the pillars of our road to national recovery, this visit to the Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay was a wonderful eye-opener to how the resorts on this fabled island have developed when we’re thinking of luxury and privacy beyond Bora’s popular White Beach strip. When the water is calm, the location of Crimson means you can disembark from Caticlan right on the Crimson property. And from there, you’re whisked to the suite, Villa, or accommodation that you’ve booked for your stay.

Patrick Manthe, a Swiss-German hotelier is the current General Manager (since September 2020), and he’s immediately become a favorite of the region’s Arts and Culture community. Besides his hospitality duties, Patrick has carved a reputation as an artist - working in diverse art forms such as scupltures, paintings, paper collages, and photography. While ostensibly turning to Art as a form of relaxation and reflection, he’s also made it a mission to turn the island into a Creative Hub - for art, design, fashion, and music. 

From GM Patrick Manthe’s IG page.

With stints in Australia, the Maldives, Vietnam and Thailand, Patrick first joined Chroma for the pre-opening stage of their Crimson Koh Samui, Thailand acquisition - Chroma’s first venture that would extend beyond the Philippines, and turn it into a global brand. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened, and when the Koh Samui plans did not proceed, it became a fortuitous opportunity to bring Patrick to Boracay. As Patrick has enthusiastically remarked, Chroma was the very first hospitality company that encouraged him to infuse these art programs to the property, and thereby forge a unique identity for an island resort. It means interacting with the community in a manner that extends beyond how most resorts would operate. 

There’s an Artist-In-Residence, and the present one is Govinda from Cebu. Accompanied by an acoustic musical act, Govinda gave us a demonstration of his art during the Art on a Plate at Mosaic 6-course dinner that marked the first evening of our stay. Just as playful as the artist, was our Executive Chef, who offered up a Foie Gras Terrine mixed with dark chocolate and cotton candy, served up like a lollipop on a stick!

The Foie Gras Terrine and the Black Cod.

The Cream of Asparagus with its braised chicken agnolotti was my personal favorite; while others raved about the Pan Seared Black Cod, served with mint pea purée and roasted cauliflower. In short, there’s a lot of kitchen wizardry going on at Crimson Bora, and I haven’t even touched on the bounties of their daily breakfast buffet. Their version of the Calamansi Muffin is not to be missed. 

The Crimson Bora Christmas Tree lighting.

Our second day at the resort was taken up by the Christmas Tree lighting, and how it became a celebration of things Filipino! The lunch at the impressive Presidential Villa was Filipino cuisine elevated to new heights, and all your traditional desserts and pica-pica were served while the Christmas tree ceremonies went on. A choir singing Christmas carols was punctuated by GM Patrick Manthe welcoming the local officials and guests. While a good majority of the guests over the days we were there were local tourists, I can just imagine how great memories will be created when foreign visitors start arriving in droves next year. 

One activity we had in the afternoon was an Art Class conducted by Govinda, and while most of us were at first reluctant to join this activity, it soon became a wonderful experience - and I know I was especially excited and surprised by Issa’s deft touch in her little artwork. As Govinda, commented, she was working with watercolor techniques, even if using acrylic paints. 

In more ways than one, and not just as a resort, but also as beacon for the Arts community of the island, Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay welcomes guests with a proposition that’s been tailor-made by its current GM. And I for one, am excited for how this will be received by the many visitors who’ll descend to this corner of our island paradise.