Judging by its exterior, the Sulô Hotel in Quezon City hardly seems changed by the past 40 years.
Inside, however, there is a different story. Recently, the hotel’s new management has improved its interiors, ushering the QC landmark into the 21st century with an updated, modern Filipino look. A new name has also been given—The Sulô Riviera.
At the forefront of these changes is executive director Cristina G. Cuevas, who conceptualized entirely the hotel’s new interiors. Cuevas came home after spending around 20 years in Barcelona, Spain, to oversee The Sulô Riviera’s operations after her family acquired the property two years ago.
“My concept is a boutique hotel with a modern Filipino touch,” says Cuevas. “It’s updated, clean, refreshing.”
One is greeted, for example, by a burst of white at the hotel lobby and reception area, from the walls to the floor tiles with intricate leaf detail.
The color shifts to a deep brown as one crosses to the main dining area, Café Paraiso, where there is a full view of the Aqua Lounge (aka the pool area).
Adjacent to the café is the Divino Lounge, which used to be the old Sulô’s Japanese restaurant. Now it is where one can find the bar, and another dining area which will soon have live band performances at night to entertain guests.
The Divino Lounge is a stark contrast to the crisp white lobby—everything is in black, giving it a more chic, cosmopolitan vibe. “You can have lunch or, at night, drinks and dinner with your friends—nothing stiff,” says Cuevas.
The Sulô Riviera has 70 hotel rooms, nine function rooms and a grand ballroom (the Manansala ballroom) that can accommodate 300. The palette is constant throughout the whole hotel—predominantly white with black and deep brown, some rooms punctuated by colors like green or violet, a far cry from the former peach-y, terra-cotta theme of the hotel.
“The rooms are home away from home,” says Cuevas. For the suites, guests even have a garden area where one can dine al fresco or just relax on the chill-out bed.
Cuevas also made sure the hotel was not short on artworks. A large metal installation, which looks like woven fabric, by the staircase leading to the third floor, as well as other paintings on the same floor leading to the Manansala ballroom, are by Robbie Mananquil.
The third-floor anteroom’s posts are covered by recycled paper done by Japanese artist Wataru. The basement’s function rooms, all named after artists, contain reproductions of the artists’ works (there’s Bencab, Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, among others).
Even the fixtures are accent pieces. Misshapen, oversized floor lamps add drama to the common areas. The chandeliers, all done in capiz, look like huge crystals hanging from the ceiling.
Cuevas is not a licensed interior designer (“you can call me a stylist,” she says), but credits her eye for interior design to her work as furniture importer and wholesaler during her stay in Spain. Her exposure to international trade fairs has kept her updated on different design trends. “Nasasanay ang mata,” she says.
Although Cuevas has completely overhauled Sulô’s interiors, she has kept its architecture intact. She also kept some of its old paintings, had them reframed and hung on the walls along the corridors leading to the rooms.
“I wanted [the hotel] to look old from the outside, I think that’s the charm,” she says.
The hotel never stopped operations since renovations began in 2009. Next month, the new and improved Sulô will finally be launched, right in time for the holidays.
The Sulô Riviera is on Matalino Road, Diliman, Quezon City. Call 9245051, visit www.sulorivierahotel.com.