Cebu’s most Instagrammable new playground blends Filipino, Thai aesthetics | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The infinity pool, where selfies and wefies happen during sunset -PHOTOS BY ANNE A. JAMBORA
The infinity pool, where selfies and wefies happen during sunset -PHOTOS BY ANNE A. JAMBORA

Cebu’s latest playground is also becoming the province’s most Instagrammable place, luring visitors who are looking to boost their carefully curated IG profile into drool-worthy galleries.

“There are no bad angles in this property,” said David Anthony Baldwin, general manager of Dusit Thani Mactan, Cebu, the first luxury resort of Robinsons Land Corp. with the Dusit International hospitality group based in Thailand.

Dusit Thani Mactan, the sole property—for now—on the northernmost tip of Mactan island, offers not only an exclusive view of the breathtaking sunsets of the Punta Engaño Peninsula, but also a smaller, more private vibe, away from the row of resorts near the entrance of the island.

“All properties on the island have sunrise views. We’re the only one facing the west, so our poolside at sunset is now the most popular spot on the island for selfies and wefies,” Baldwin said.

Sweeping views

Guests are greeted in the open-air lobby that showcases the sweeping view of the blue waters of Magellan Bay, beautifully framed by the mountains in the backdrop, instantly kick-starting the resort holiday mood.

The resort-hotel was designed to complement its environment, so there are muted earth tones and neutral whites everywhere. Blending Filipino and Thai design sensibilities, Mactan stones excavated on-site were used during construction, with some decor sourced from locally carved wood, and fabrics and weaves culled from the region, Baldwin said.

Dusit Thani Mactan is the delicate combination of Filipino and Thai hospitality and design aesthetics. The property has three low-rise, six-story buildings with 727 rooms—half of which face the sea.

Robinsons Hotels and Resorts senior vice president and business unit general manager Arthur Gindap, Lapu-Lapu City first lady Ma. Cynthia King Chan, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu general manager Anthony Baldwin, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza, Robinsons Land Corp. president and CEO Frederick Go, Dusit International COO Khun Boon Kwee Lim

Baldwin said Mactan is a coral island, so there is no natural beach. “It’s a rock, so every beach that you see here is man-made,” he said. Dusit Thani Mactan, however, has the longest beachfront so far.

“I have worked with very design-forward hotels in New York, Miami and L.A.—and they’re fun. But here you don’t need to overdo it. We don’t want the design to be obtrusive, Baldwin said. “The Philippines and Thailand complement each other very well, as both cultures are inherently hospitable.”

One huge similarity in both cultures, he said, is the Filipino’s warm welcome that usually involves asking guests if they have already eaten before even getting their names. The Thais, Baldwin continued, have a certain grace and manner in doing things.Baldwin’s unique perspective is culled from living in Thailand for years and growing up with a Filipina mother from Cebu City. “So the Philippines and Thailand have been a part of my life. It makes me feel good to be able to come to Mom’s home, but I don’t have a family here. The hotel is my family here.”

Filipino, Thai hospitality

Whether Thai or Filipino, experienced or a rookie in the hospitality business, at the end of the day, Baldwin said the hotel runs only for one reason—and that is to take care of the guests.There are six dining options in the resort-hotel—the all-day dining TradeWinds Café for buffet breakfasts; The View lobby lounge; the Deli for sweet cravings; Sunset Bar for quick fixes like burgers and franks, or a glass of the popular Numero Uno, the refreshing home brew of lambanog and ginger ale; the Club Lounge; and Dusit’s iconic Thai restaurant, Benjarong, run by Thai chef Thanaphon Jeenphuad.

The view from the room overlooks the stunning infinity pool and the sea.

“We have asked him (chef Thanaphon) to tone down the use of spice a little bit because ‘mild’ to him made me cry,” Baldwin said, laughing.

The chef’s welcome dinner highlighted the classic Thai favorite, the spicy tom yam gung, and gang khi wan see kong near toon (tender beef ribs in green curry), Thai spring rolls, and familiar mango and sticky rice for dessert.

Corporate and business clients will be happy to know Dusit Thani Mactan is also now the preferred location for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). The resort-hotel has six event venues, the largest of which is the 1,235-sq m Dusit Ballroom, now also the largest pillar-less ballroom in Mactan. The hall can seat up to 600 and host up to 1,000 for cocktails.For guests wanting to de-stress, the hotel has the Namm Spa offering a variety of massage services.

Children are welcome, too. Hyper kids can be kept occupied in the 500-sq m Fun Zone. It has colorful jungle gyms and slides, ball pits, interactive learning games, rock climbing, basketball and soccer. Parents may also avail of the babysitting services offered by the hotel.

Pad Thai Goong (stir-fried noodles with shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts, peanut and tamarind sauce) at Benjarong

In just three months of operations last year, Dusit Thani Mactan made it to the top of the list of TripAdvisor. The people and the culture of hospitality do make or break a hotel, Baldwin said.

“And that’s where Thailand and the Philippines go so well together,” Baldwin said. INQDusit Thani Mactan is at

Punta Engaño Rd., Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; tel. 881-388 local 8849, 8850, or email [email protected].

View from Benjarong restaurant
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