|By Euden Valdez, The Manila Times,
PhilippinesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 04, 2012--Two famed hotel brands--The Raffles and Fairmont--opened their doors at exactly 3:33 p.m. on Wednesday with simultaneous ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Cutting the ribbon for the Fairmont hotel were Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay of Makati City, Ayala Corp. Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel, Ayala Land Chairman Fernando Zobel, Ayala Land President Antonino Aquino, Managing Director Tom Meyer of Raffles and Fairmont in Makati, together with hosts, Executive Vice President David Roberts of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and SVP for Human Resources Carolyn Clark.
The guests and executives then proceeded to the Raffles entrance at the opposite side of the building to also cut the ribbon. Joining them was President John Johnston of Raffles Hotels and Resorts.
Jimenez said that the presence of the hotel brands in the country is a "stamp of approval" on Philippine tourism.
"When you have these brands, obviously [it means] you have the staff, the environment, everything you need so that these brands are able to project the same quality they are known for around the world. That's a very significant signal," he added.
Home of hospitality The Raffles Hotels and Resorts history dates back to as early as 1887 with the opening of the Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
The Raffles Makati is only the ninth luxury hotel to carry the name, with the other eight located in Cambodia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Paris.
The Raffles Makati boasts of 32 astounding suites, while the adjacent Fairmont has 280 rooms. Both stand on a 30-floor tower at the center of Ayala, Makati's business district.
Johnston said that tourists can expects "warmth, caring and sincerity" while at the hotel.
According to him, these qualities would come from the hotel's good professional service and the enthusiasm of Filipino employees.
"The fantastic thing about being here in the Philippines is that we have 400 unbelievable enthusiastic Filipino employees. I think there is no question that the Filipino culture is the culture of hospitality," Johnston said.
"We are very fortunate that throughout the world, whether Raffles or Fairmont, we have many Filipino employees. So to be here in the home of hospitality, it's a real plus for us. I think this hotel will exude the warmth and friendliness that only you could get from Filipinos," he added.
He said that they chose Makati because "it has shown a great deal of success in business."
"This is an excellent location so the fit was absolutely right. As Secretary Jimenez said, this is really a very important time of the tourism industry, in Makati, in Manila or in the Philippines. We are very pleased that we will be part of that growth and hopefully contribute to it as well," he told the Manila Times.
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