If a vase of fresh flowers can transform a room with its subtle fragrance and vivid colors, imagine what a wonderfully wrought floral centerpiece can do when positioned strategically in a hotel or resort lobby.
More and more these days, floral arrangements amount to a style statement, where hotels are concerned. They are eye-grabbers, and make a perfect backdrop for selfies.
Wittingly or not, hotels seem to be competing when it comes to floral arrangements—in the process, raising aesthetics levels.
Foremost among these are The Peninsula Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, Edsa Shangri-La Manila, the Makati Shangri-La, and the new City of Dreams.
Sleek architecture, veined marble slabs and mirrored surfaces are hallmarks of many luxury hotels, but they need the warmth and life that only flowers and lush foliage can provide. Guests gravitate to these beauties despite—and maybe even because—of their very short shelf life.
They feel that it’s important to capture the flowers’ fleeting beauty.
“We change the floral centerpiece at the lobby weekly but we do touch-ups daily, removing the tired-looking or wilted blooms and replacing them with fresher flowers,” said Mia Cabawatan-Lozada of Bloomwoods.
She makes it a point to check out the competition in the other hotels and has noticed that many of them don’t replace their flowers weekly.
For seven years now, she has been doing the floral centerpieces for Edsa Shangri-La Manila and the Makati Shangri-La. Unless it’s a special event like the Chinese New Year or the IPTL (International Premier Tennis League)—in which she comes up with several pegs like a gigantic tennis ball made of green button mums and white chrysanthemums—Lozada is given free hand when it comes to the hotels’ weekly requirements.
At Solaire, masses of pink and white amaryllis tower over violet and fuchsia hydrangeas. In the resort’s other public areas, giant green, spade-shaped leaves crown an assortment of vivid red blooms including amaryllis and poinsettia, traditional Christmas flowers.
A low arrangement of yellow, pink and violet flowers mimics the explosions of color on the painted canvas behind it.
The country’s pioneer floral designer, Toni Parsons, is behind Solaire’s floral designs.
The floral team at The Peninsula Manila combines shiny, mirrored surfaces with white flowers and green foliage for a look that is clean and polished.
For another setup, green-tinged orchids spill out of a glass vase with a wide mouth; the better to celebrate the flowers’ temporary beauty.
“It’s become an attraction for the guests. When they arrive at the hotel, they gather to have pictures taken with their family before heading to their favorite F&B outlet for lunch or dinner,” Lozada said.
She narrated how, last year, Makati Shangri-La decided to do away with the flowers for once and use a sculpture of a horse during the Chinese New Year. “The guests asked why there wasn’t a floral centerpiece; they wanted to have their usual photo taken.”
While it is a lucrative business—especially if you or your team never runs out of ideas—a florist’s life is far from a bed of roses. “You have to please your client while staying true to your aesthetic. You always want to be classy,” she said.
Her most recent high-profile gig was doing the flowers for the church wedding and reception of actors Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera Gracia. At the reception, she created four peacocks made entirely of flowers that she arranged beside the couple’s gazebo. These preening birds were some of the most Instagrammed images of 2014.