Club Paradise is the only resort in Dimakya Island in Coron, Palawan. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
The group behind award-winning properties such as Discovery Shores Boracay and Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay is slowly incorporating its brand of service to an island resort in Coron, Palawan.
The Discovery Group has been pulling out all the stops since it took over the 25-year-old Club Paradise Resort in Dimakya Island in September 2013, with staff from other properties brought in to make sure that everything is consistent with their brand.
Produce and other ingredients were flown in frequently from Manila and nearby provinces as Coron is unable to meet Club Paradise’s supply requirements. And because it is very costly to bring in live entertainment every other day – the island resort can be reached after a 45-minute boat ride and 30-minute drive from the airport – employees were trained to sing, dance and even play with fire.
Resort staff at Club Paradise boast of many different talents. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
Resort manager Joegil Escobar said he is proud of what he and his team have achieved so far, but admitted that it was no easy task.
“Logistics is one. For example, these flowers are flown from Manila. The produce are from Manila because Coron does not have produce of its own, so it’s really a challenge,” Escobar told ABS-CBNnews.com and select members of the media during a familiarization trip to Club Paradise.
“The food cost is really high not only for us, but also for the resorts of Coron in general,” he added. “We’re doing our best to be of service to the customers without sacrificing quality.”
Aside from logistics, Escobar also pointed out the challenge brought by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which hit Coron and other parts of the Philippines last November.
He said they had to close Club Paradise for a month for repairs, especially with the resort scheduled to become a wedding venue by December that year.
Club Paradise had to be closed for a month last year for repairs. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
“We reopened December 12 because we had two weddings after Yolanda,” he recalled. “We took over last September 16 and we closed the resort shortly after to give way to the repairs.”
While the construction of rooms and renovation of existing ones will start early next year, the Discovery Group’s presence can already be felt in Club Paradise through the resort’s very friendly and efficient staff.
Just like in other Discovery properties, there is great attention to detail. Upon entering the room, guests are welcomed on their first day at Club Paradise by towel origami, a banner and a plate of sweets bearing their name, and a frame by the bedside table with their photo.
Towel origami at a room in Club Paradise. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
The rooms are cleaned and the items fixed daily, and guests are offered anything from cold towels and foot wash to sandwiches, iced coffee and cocktails – all without being annoying – during their stay.
“Whatever our guests’ fancies are, we can do it for them. What we want to do is even before our guests think about doing it, we are ahead of them,” Escobar explained.
Resort staff travel by boat to bring drinks to guests at the other side of the island. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
“It’s more about the simple things, like when you get out of the water, your stuff is fixed. Or somebody’s giving you cold towels without even asking for it. We want to focus on the little things because those matter a lot,” he added.
Despite this, Escobar said there is much work left to be done. While it is a beautiful secluded resort, the past 25 years have taken a toll on some of the pieces of furniture, which need a level-up.
These beachfront cottages will be the first to be renovated. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
The food and beverage outlets of the resort are slowly getting a facelift as well, with new ones set to open in the coming months.
“We’ve been trying to improve the menu when we took over… Later on we’ll have themed dinners like American and Filipino, and also for special occasions,” Escobar said.
“We want our customers’ experience to be complete,” he added.
As it continues to improve Club Paradise, the Discovery Group hopes to attract more Filipinos to the property, which used to be under German management.
Escobar noted how the resort is known mainly to the European market for the past 25 years.
Club Paradise has been attracting mainly European customers. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
“What we’re trying to do now is to expand the market base of this resort and opening it up to other Filipinos, especially guests who have experienced other Discovery properties,” he said.
When asked about the edge of Club Paradise over the other Discovery properties, Escobar said: “Unlike in Boracay, we have an entire island here to ourselves. And we have more room to expand and develop.”
“It’s very exciting,” he ended.
Coron, Northern Palawan
For more information, visit www.clubparadisepalawan.com