‘Modern coastal’ menu
Boracay has no lean season,” Karl Hendrik Chusuey declared. And he knows the island well, being the vice president for marketing of the Henann Group of Resorts, the family-run chain he grew up with.
Chusuey was only 8 years old when his parents, Henry and Anna Chusuey, established Boracay Regency in 1998—then a 43-room affair offering two key elements that beach lovers look for: comfort and value for money.
People liked it, and continuous expansion prompted the family to cluster the properties under one brand, Henann—a portmanteau of the names of the company chair and the matriarch.
On Boracay island, Henann resorts cover the stretch of Boat Stations 1-3: Regency Resort & Spa, Lagoon Resort, Garden Resort, Prime Beach Resort, and the recently opened Henann Crystal Sands—a 188-room, beach-front resort on Station 2 right smack where the cafés, pubs and shopping nooks are.
Chusuey listed Crystal Sands’ three main draws: It’s new, so everything is fresh. Next, the central location makes everything accessible whatever time of night or day. Third is the impressive upper-deck pool lined with chaise lounges under beach umbrellas.
“The Sky Pool is elevated and offers a nice view of the island,” Chusuey said. In the daytime, it is the ultimate place to chill. By night, it is an exclusive party place serving bar chow and awesome cocktails from the Crystal Pool Bar.
The two main swimming pools are long, geometric parallel pools that appear to be split in the middle by a “runway” (giving us the “parting of the Red Sea” feels).
Jump straight into the water from your room by booking a Premier Room with Pool Access, a trademark feature among Henann resorts. It’s the “consistent bestseller” said Chusuey.
Some guests prefer the Premier Beach View Room, which has an outdoor dinette, veranda, plush sofa and a king-size bed that lets them wake up to the sight of the sea.
Other accommodations are the Premier with veranda and tub, and the Deluxe Room with balcony.
All rooms include turn-down sweets and access to the gym
—which may come in handy since promos offer not only standard buffet breakfast, but also buffet dinner at the Sapphire in-house restaurant which carries a “modern coastal” menu.
For à la carte, Chusuey made suggestions: Croquettas Negra and glazed Kpop Stuffed Wings for starters, and Truffled Carbonara Pizza and Salmon Kimchi Fried Rice for mains.
The 27-year old hotelier said taking over the family business right after finishing Hotel and Restaurant Management at the College of Saint Benilde was expected, and the job came with a lot of pressure.
“I had to be responsible at a young age, and was in charge of everything marketing-wise,” Chusuey explained.
He also handles the tricky part of the hotel trade: social media.
“I check all of them, from the Facebook feedback to Trip Advisor reviews. Social media is the first thing people check when they wake up, and it gives hoteliers headaches,” he said, laughing.
“Sometimes the complaints are unreasonable, other times accurate. We listen because we know the advantages of using social media the right way.”
Thankfully, his training started at age 16 while helping out in his father’s office in Iloilo City. He used to accompany his dad Henry to Boracay thrice a year. Now it can be thrice a month for “product development.”
Henann has also established a resort in Panglao, Bohol. Another in Coron, Palawan, is in the works.
With two more resorts soon to open in Boracay on top of the five existing ones, choosing a place to stay among the Henann resorts can be quite a holiday challenge.
“My No. 1 task is to make Henann the biggest locally owned resort chain in the country,” Chusuey said. “Competing among ourselves would be a good problem.”
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