HOMEGROWN Alvarez-Borromeo Development Corp. is investing about P100 million to upgrade Montebello Villa Hotel to match today’s growing competition in the hospitality industry.
The renovation plan, according to Luis Martin Alvarez, the hotel’s general manager and president of Alvarez-Borromeo Development Corp., will be spread over three years. It will include upgrading more rooms and function rooms, and setting up new structures to boost the hotel’s charm as “the only garden hotel in the city.”
“We are looking at enhancing the hotel, especially its garden, aesthetics, and also in its maintenance, being a 44-year-old hotel,” said Alvarez, who pointed out that the last new major construction was done in 1979. “We realize that it is about time to invest again.”
Montebello embarked on major renovations in 2014, upgrading its premier wing that features 43 superior rooms and two suites. The hotel, which sits on a 3.5-hectare property in Banilad, has 150 rooms and six function rooms, including a ballroom.
“Renovations will continue so we can keep up with the changing times,” he said. “It will be done in phases.”
Alvarez noted that the initial renovations have further improved the hotel business.
In the first half of the year, the hotel averaged an occupancy rate of 65 percent. Fifty-five percent of the hotel’s guest come from the leisure market, followed by government bookings at 20 percent and corporate at 20 percent.
The hotel is popular among American tourists, followed by the Japanese and Koreans.
According to Alvarez, it is the hotel’s resilience and the family’s commitment to serve the hospitality needs of travelers that made them stay in the business amid the entry of new and big hotel names in the province.
“If you look at Montebello it is really a leisure destination. It was built upon the idea of providing leisure facilities. It became a hotel but still focused on leisure. Then it moved on; from there we built function facilities and additional venues for parties and other occasions,” he said.
By next year, a new structure will be put in place in the hotel’s sprawling garden to boost its outdoor meetings, incentive, convention, and exhibition (Mice) offering.
Alvarez said they will set up an outdoor glass tent that can accommodate up to 150 persons.
The company will also boost its health and wellness offerings through activities like yoga, tai chi and soon, an in-house spa, he said.
Alvarez said these renovation plans also reflect the company’s confidence in the province’s strong tourism sector. He said the firm is optimistic that the current tourism momentum will be sustained during President Rodrigo Duterte’s watch.
“The previous administration did a good program to attract more tourists to come to the Philippines. I am likewise hopeful that the new tourism secretary will be able to come up with better programs to boost arrivals,” said Alvarez. Improving the tourism infrastructure throughout the country, he added, will further increase tourism traffic.