The lobby, grand ballroom and other public spaces of Radisson Blu Cebu sparkled bright blue and shiny silver when the hotel celebrated its fifth anniversary earlier this week.
The event kicked off with the annual lighting of the hotel’s 45-foot-tall Christmas tree, led by Elizabeth Sy, president of SM Hotel and Conventions Corp., hotel general manager Nishan Silva and Andre de Jong, vice president, operations for Southeast Asia and Pacific of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The lighting ceremony was punctuated by carols performed by the Mandaue Children’s Choir.
The 250 guests were then ushered into the Santa Maria Grand Ballroom, where a five-course dinner prepared by executive chef Roberto Kunitz and his team was served.
Throughout the dinner, talented 17-year-old saxophonist Joshua Espinosa serenaded guests onstage with a repertoire of standards and classics.
This was only the start of the program directed by former Cultural Center of the Philippines head Nestor Jardin that included performances by soprano Rachelle Gerodias and baritone Byeon-in Park, accompanied by the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra; and a performance by ballet dancers Regina Magbitang and Peter San Juan of the Philippine Ballet Theater.
In its five years of operation, Radisson Blu Cebu has garnered a number of awards, but its most recent accolade was being identified by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) National Organizing Council (NOC) to host 50 out of 84 Apec submeetings and accommodation of delegates earlier this year. Jardin oversaw several dinners staged in the hotel.
Carlson Rezidor’s De Jong said Radisson Blu Cebu ranked first in hotel guest satisfaction services.
The hotel group has strategic partnerships with SM Group in the Philippines. Their other properties include Park Inn by Radisson in Davao, which opened in 2013, and Park Inn Radisson in Clark, scheduled to open in December.
Cebuano couple Alex and Raquel Klepp are big fans of the Dilmah t-Bar at Radisson Blu Cebu, the first to open in Asia earlier this year in March.
“We often book a long table for High Tea with our friends, and enjoy the scones and finger sandwiches with our favorite teas. There are 21 single origin teas to choose from but I usually order the Moroccan Mint green tea,” Raquel said.
After spending the afternoon drinking tea, they usually transfer to Feria, the hotel’s all-day dining establishment, for dinner.
Hotel general manager and Sri Lankan national Nishan Silva helped convince Dilmah founder Merril J. Fernando to open the tea lounge at Radisson Blu.
“The Dilmah t-Bar has great potential as revenue earner. When we first opened, our sales reached P20,000 a month but now we’re bringing in P200,000 monthly. When we start selling more of our packaged teas—at the moment, we only sell tins of eight of the 21 loose leaf tea variants—and eventually our tea sets, we could average half a million pesos a month,” Silva said. That’s because Dilmah is also the only tea served at Feria and at banquet services; it is also placed in guest rooms next to the electric kettle.
The Klepp couple enjoys dining at Feria because, as Alex pointed out, “they readily serve roast beef and lobster during the theme nights unlike other hotel buffets in the city where the beef is hidden and you have to request for it.”
Feria is also known for the authentic Indian dishes prepared by its in-house Indian chef. Cocktail portions of some Indian dishes are also served at Business Class, the executive lounge on the 20th floor.
Cebuanos are known for being cautious spenders, but many are willing to spend if they know they are getting good value for their money.
“That’s what we’re known for, and we’re grateful that our customers appreciate our efforts,” hotel general manager Silva said.