WITH everyone’s eyes focused in Davao today, another icon is giving a good reason why they should do more than look but visit and experience what the city has to offer. Marco Polo Davao is that icon.

It was in 1998 when the first international chain hotel in Davao and Mindanao opened its doors to guests. It was the talk of the town and the must-stay hotel with its well-appointed rooms both business and leisure travelers can luxuriate in, dining halls offering an array of cuisines, a chic day spa and other amenities a top-rating hotel could offer. Its birth upped the ante in Davao’s hospitality arena.

In the history pages of Marco Polo Hotels, the Davao hotel is the first Marco Polo in the Philippines, which paved the way for other Marco Polo Hotels to rise in Visayas and Luzon.

Eighteen years later, it has held on to its stars. Marco Polo Davao maintained the high standards it built its foundation on, grew with the city and welcomed the changes of the times.

Perhaps the most distinctive of these changes is its appointment of the first female general manager and the first Filipina in its organization.

A wise move, I must say. Dottie Wurgler-Cronin may have added the very positive Filipina female charm into the almost two-decade old corporate veins of the hotel, but she runs her organization with firmness, unwavering in her cause enables everyone in her team to place Marco Polo on top of mind of both locals and tourists alike.

Marco Polo is aging with grace and like any other lady it deserves a grand party when turning 18.

Recently, a debut-themed, thanksgiving celebration was hosted by the hotel with its loyal clients and friends in the corporate, tourism, politics and the media on its guest list.

Johnny Litton was invited as the event’s master of ceremony.

Like the Davao icon that it is, Marco Polo shared the limelight by showcasing the best of Davao in its celebration—the Malagos cheeses on the cocktail spread, artist Kublai Millan’s painting for the hotel was unveiled, a young decorator emerges and turns the ballroom into a dreamy white garden, and among the guest models in a fashion show that featured Ann Ong’s jewelry, were the new generation of beautiful and driven Dabawenyas who turned heads as they took to the ramp.

The culinary team went all out in its preparation and presentation. Good food was bountiful and wine was flowing—the perfect recipe for a fabulous party.

Congratulations, Marco Polo Davao. Here’s looking to more grand years ahead. Keep on shining beyond 18!

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com.