What Fellow Hoteliers Think of Makati Shangri-La's Temporary Closure
But it's no less heartbreaking.
(SPOT.ph) With the closure of hotels and resorts, restrictions on travel, and a prohibition against most crowd-gathering activities, Philippine tourism is one of the industries worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most hotels have been closed since March 2020, and while 15 Metro Manila hotels finally reopened to the public for staycations, they have yet to become fully operational. Given this business environment, Makati Shangri-La announced the decision to temporarily close their doors.
Makati Shangri-La is one of the three hotels managed by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Metro Manila, the other two being Edsa Shangri-La, Manila in Mandaluyong City and Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila in Bonifacio Global City. They opened on April 27, 1993, and has since provided their five-star luxury service for travelers of all kinds, or families taking staycations in the city. They also served as one of the biggest and oldest players in the industry, having been around for almost three decades, training and grooming generations of hotel employees and staff who eventually moved on to other brands.
Hoteliers Share Their Reactions on Closure of Makati Shangri-La
"With a sad and heavy heart, I bid farewell to Makati Shangri-La and its employees, whose influence during my long stint in the Shangri-La group, had shaped me into the person that I am now. Forever grateful for the learnings and the memories we shared together as one Shangri-La Family," said Mavic Recio, current resident manager of The Bellevue Manila and former Shangri-La employee, in an exchange with SPOT.ph.
Chrystel Ilano-Acuna, marketing communications manager of Chroma Hospitality, was also disheartened by the news. "Makati Shangri-La, Manila was more than just a five-star hotel, it was home to employees who have dedicated their life and time since it opened. Its temporary closure was a heartbreak for its employees as they treated the hotel and the people they work it like their family and as most call it their one true love. It's heartbreaking to see its grand doors temporarily close but it's more heartbreaking to see the thousands of employees not having another day to enter its doors," she said.
Ilano-Acuna also recalled the words written on the hotel's employee entrance 'Through this door pass the most courteous, helpful and sincere employees in the Philippines,' which—according to her—holds true about each and every one who served their guests like how they would to their family.
"Makati Shangri-La showed their love and care to their employees and when the closure was announced, all the current and former employees took time to post and share how it’s painful to say goodbye to their once called home. But as with endings, come new begginings so we will choose not to say goodbye, but see you again, Makati Shangri-La."
"Hotels become a home not only to its guests but also to its employees—where events, milestones, and memories are made. While the news of Makati Shangri-La brings a feeling of shared sadness among its beloved guests and hoteliers, I still hold on to the hope that all of these are just momentary difficulties, and that Makati Shangri-La and other affected tourism players will soon be able to welcome their guests and employees back home," shared Anne* from the marketing team of a global hotel brand.
For still others in the hotel industry, Makati Shangri-la's announcement came as a shock.
"When we first read the news online, we felt disheartened and at the same time, scared for our industry. If a hotel as grand as Makati Shang is badly hit by the pandemic, what more for the smaller properties? It feels like it is just a matter of time before the whole industry collapses. However, it also serves as a gentle reminder to be grateful for our jobs, to do better, to still provide exceptional service to our guests, and to continue to be hopeful that someday, travel and hotel stays will thrive once again," said Vin*, the marketing head at a local hotel chain.
"The temporary closure was a shock to me because Makati Shangri-la was a beacon and flag bearer not just for their brand but also for the Philippine hospitality industry in general. I also know people who worked there whom I should say [have] become trailblazers in the industry because of the amazing training they got from working with Shangri-la. As a hotelier, my heart goes to all the displaced employees and I pray to see Makati Shangri-la open its doors once again," said Rigil Kent V. Acapulco, marketing officer of The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts.
Shangri-La Group expressed optimism in their statement and "[looks] forward to reopening Makati Shangri-La, Manila at a later date when business conditions have improved," a sentiment shared by other people in the industry.
"I think it’s a temporary measure while there are ongoing travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. It’s one of the first iconic five-star hotels in Manila and when it reopens in better times ahead, for sure it will provide the same luxurious service the brand is known for," shared Rachel*, public relations director at a global hotel brand.
Until then, the economy relies on domestic travelers to jumpstart tourism.
*Real name withheld upon request.