|Photo of Sofitel Hotel by Bayan Patrollers Willy Ong and Joel Pena
MANILA, Philippines – Guests of a 5-star hotel in Manila were forced to evacuate Tuesday afternoon after flood waters entered its lobby.
The Sofitel Philippine Plaza, located inside the CCP Complex, boasts of spectacular views of Manila Bay. However, the heavy rains and strong waves from Manila Bay were too much for the sea wall that was supposed to protect the hotel.
Flood waters started entering the lobby of the hotel, forcing staff to immediately evacuate the guests.
MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez, who was able to enter the hotel, said water was waist deep in some parts of the lobby.
Jimenez added the hotel’s popular buffet restaurant, Spiral, was also submerged in knee-deep water.
The hotel guests boarded available vehicles, including those provided by emergency personnel who responded to the incident.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Manila Bureau of Fire and Protection and other emergency personnel were in the area assisting the guests.
A hotel employee, who refused to be named, said the guests were being transferred to other hotels.
According to Jimenez, the Sofitel management said the hotel was not fully-booked at the time of the incident.
Vehicles at the hotel's parking lot, meanwhile, were almost submerged in water.
Other hotel staff refused to give any statement on the incident, and barred the media from entering the establishment. – Report from Noel Alamar, dzMM