TACLOBAN – Standing seven stories high and housing 138 rooms, Summit Hotel Tacloban is now the biggest hotel in Leyte’s capital.
Located beside Robinsons Place Tacloban, it also has a 600-capacity grand ballroom, three meeting rooms, a homegrown dining outlet, a swimming pool, and a pool bar.
As Eastern Visayas’ regional hub, Tacloban is progressing more quickly than expected, especially after the devastation in 2013 caused by super typhoon Yolanda.
More businesses are investing in the city, especially the tourism and hospitality sector.
“As one of the largest hotel groups in the country, we identify possible areas we might come in. Sometimes we will enter when the market is a bit more mature, but you don’t want to be too early and you also want to be too late,” explained Robinsons Hotels and Resorts senior vice president and business unit general manager Arthur Gindap.
A group under Robinsons Land Corporation, Robinsons Hotels and Resorts also operates Go Hotels and other international brands like Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn (Ortigas), Dusit Thani (Mactan), and the soon-to-open The Westin in Ortigas.
Summit Hotel came in time because Tacloban needs more rooms than ever. Right now, the city doesn’t have a lot of choices when it comes to accommodations.
The demand for rooms in the city has been picking up due to the steady increase in visitor arrivals.
According to statistics by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Eastern Visayas office, there were more than 1.7 million guests that arrived in 2018, 200,000 more than the previous year. Bulk of these numbers is coming from the domestic market.
These days, visitors and tourists are not just looking for any accommodation, but a full-service hotel that can cater to their needs.
Standards and expectations are much higher with modern-day travelers, and Summit Hotel Tacloban is changing the hospitality landscape in the city by bringing its own brand of service.
This is the fifth branch for the brand.
“For our traveling populace today, their expectations now are higher. Our standards have been raised as we become a prosperous nation, ganun naman talaga. I’m very bullish on local tourism,” Gindap said.
One of the bestselling features of the hotel is its location. It’s just a few minutes away from the airport, it’s conveniently located beside a mall, and is just a few minutes away from downtown Tacloban.
Since it opened last year, it has received foreign and domestic tourists as well as corporate clients in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) market.
“Our future for Summit is to have a MICE component. So you will see in Tacloban, we are the largest facility for MICE for a hotel. We’re moving toward full-service and MICE and convention. We are even considering convention centers. Why only have one in the game?” he revealed.
Summit Hotel Tacloban has the same modern and sophisticated design like other Summit hotels. The striking red and gray colors of the building exterior contrast the contemporary and neutral colors of the interiors.
The spacious rooms are simple, modern, and follow the same neutral palette. It offers the same comfortable beds the brand is known for. Guests can likewise choose from the hotel’s pillow menu, from chiropractic ones to the super soft down pillows.
The rooms are divided into four categories: Super Twin, Super King, Super Family, and Super Suites. These cater to individual travelers, couples, and families.
The hotel also has Patron, an all-day dining outlet. Operated by a local food and beverage company, this restaurant serves local eats and international dishes.
Must-try dishes here include the Visayan staple pork humba and the comforting seafood tinola.
JUMP OFF TO ADVENTURE
Tacloban City is the regional hub for Eastern Visayas. It serves as a gateway for the region, for people traveling to Leyte and neighboring provinces of Biliran and Samar.
“Infinite Escapes [is our tourism brand] because we have many to choose from. There are a lot of reasons to escape here in Eastern Visayas,” said Bing Lumbre of DOT Eastern Visayas.
The region has been aggressive in promoting its tourist sites. Biliran Island, located northwest of Leyte, is known for its beaches, mountains, and waterfalls.
Besides the historical Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, the province is also known for dive sites and it’s waters are home to whale sharks or butanding.
Samar, on the other hand, is a perfect destination for adventure seekers. The island has one of the largest forest canopies in the country, providing needed habitat for local wildlife.
Tourists can visit a pink beach in Northern Samar, or one of the largest caves in Asia.
Since it’s still summer, a lot of visitors flock to Leyte’s most popular beach destination, Kalanggaman Island. From Tacloban, it’s a two and a half hour drive to Palompon and another 45-minute boat ride to the island.
The name of the island came from the Bisaya term for bird, which is langgam. It is also home to some local birds.
Kalanggaman is a popular destination but is also a relatively unspoiled island. It boasts of white sand beaches, clear waters, protected reefs, and picturesque sandbars. Guests can spend a whole day on the island or stay overnight in tents or small shack-like cabanas.