CEBU -- After just four months since it opened, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu resort ranks a comfortable No. 2 on TripAdvisor's best hotels ranking for Mactan, Cebu. Based on traveler reviews, the newest hotel to open on Cebu's resort island is outshining most of its more established competitors.
Stepping foot inside the hotel, one can see why it's getting the attention of local and foreign tourists. The spacious and open-air lobby gives off a refreshing Balinese resort vibe. And what guests will first see is the view. Aptly called The View, the hotel's lobby lounge looks out to the calming sight of Magellan Bay and the mountains of mainland Cebu on the horizon.
Located on the sprawling property of Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) at Barangay Punta Engaño, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is the only luxury resort that is situated on the western coast of Mactan Island.
It neighbors RLC's residential complex Amisa Residences and is a few minutes away from the northwestern most tip of the island. The hotel is owned by RLC, while it is managed by Thai hospitality management company Dusit International.
“I just came back from Japan and gave many presentations. And I told them, this is Mactan and this is Punta Engaño. This whole peninsula is just three-and-a-half kilometers. But right now, the hotels are pretty sparse in between and it's not a resort stretch. But if you add this to the three to four projects coming, then this three kilometers becomes a real hub for tourism,” explained Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu general manager David Anthony Baldwin.
Punta Engaño is a peninsula on Mactan Island and several properties are being developed in the area like hotels, a casino, and other tourism facilities.
Unlike most resorts on the island, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is not as imposing. The mid-rise structures of the resort blends well with the topography of the area. The hotel is also designed in a way to complement the surroundings.
The resort sits on three hectares of land within the whole property. It has three six-storey buildings that houses 272 rooms, half of which faces the sea.
And like most high-end resorts, the color palette is on the sophisticated and clean neutral side with emphasis on earth tones paired with the classic white. Materials used are, of course, all natural, from the Mactan stone used on walls to wooden carving accents.
Ammonite shaped wooden carvings border the ceiling of the lobby,while the same pattern in a bigger scale made of brass decorate the hallway ceiling of the ballroom and function rooms area. The walls of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) space are decorated with Raffy Napay's beautiful thread artworks.
The resort's 1,235-square-meter ballroom is one of the biggest in Mactan. There are also four meeting rooms and an outdoor Sky Garden that can also be used for functions and events.
There are four dining outlets including the all-day dining restaurant Sea Breeze Cafe, the lobby lounge The View, sports bar Sunset Bar, and the soon-to-open and Dusit's signature Thai restaurant Benjarong.
“We're excited to bring our signature Thai restaurant Benjarong, which will open in September,” Baldwin said.
One of its most beautiful feature is the 100-meter infinity pool. According to Baldwin, the pool is a favorite spot for the guests, especially during sunset.
“Because we're the only ones on the western shore, every other resort is on the east side of the island. So they get the sunrises, we're the only one to get the sunset, and they're really stunning. So our infinity pool, from six o'clock, everybody's lined up against the far wall with their cameras doing sunset selfies, and it's really fun to watch,” he said.
It also has a very spacious indoor playground for kids called Fun Zone and the DFit Fitness Center gym. The resort will also be opening Namm Spa soon.
In terms of sustainable practices, the resort has its own desalination plant for their water supply while gray water is used in watering the lush landscape. The resort also employs proper waste segregation. RLC is likewise moving toward removing all single-use plastic from all its hotel operations.
Dusit's people is what sets the resort apart from the rest. The resort's service is firmly rooted in Thai hospitality but mixed with the Filipino's own brand of hospitality. Both Thailand and the Philippines are famous for their people's hospitable nature.
“Dusit Thani itself also, we'd like to think that our Thai DNA in hospitality, lends something that's a little different. I mean, everyone builds a beautiful resort that's taken for granted but it's really the people and the culture of hospitality that can make an impression. And that's where Thailand and Philippines go so well together,” he said.
Currently, the resort is partially operational and not all rooms and facilities are finished. There's a lot to be done before the target date when the operations are in full swing, which is around October. Some of the plans include expanding the beach area, a breakwater, a boat transport service from the marina to the resort's own dock, and many more.
And so far, bulk of the guests of the resort is coming from the domestic market and South Korea. Trailing close behind is the US and Japan.
“There's such healthy demand in Cebu. You know, Palawan sounds more exotic and Boracay gets more attention. So those are the more notable islands but Cebu is really the workhorse of Philippine tourism. I mean, there's more arrivals to Mactan than there is to any other resort area,” Baldwin said.
“So the potential is great and that's good. And there are new developments coming. So that's something to be excited about it,” he said.