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The Marco Polo experience

Have you ever experienced a moment when the stars aligned at just the right time? When you felt like the universe heard you and gave you something to be thankful for?

After weeks of gruelling press work and other tasks that just won’t quit, I felt like I needed some time off. Just one day, I told myself. One blissful, unoccupied day that would free my cluttered mind.

Imagine my surprise when a kabalen from the hotel industry — Francis A. David — reached out and invited some members of the Pampanga Press Club to a brief staycation at the Marco Polo in Ortigas, where he is now Director of Sales and Marketing.

I met Francis when he worked for another hotel inside the Clark Freeport. Then and now, he showed genuine hospitality that is expected from someone in the industry. Without batting an eyelash, he would make you feel more than welcome, wherever you are. 

His colleague, Director of Communications Melissa V. Ferrer, was so gracious to have fetched us from Pampanga and take us directly to the hotel’s doors. 

And welcome was exactly how I felt when Francis met me and other members of the PPC at the entrance of the hotel. It was heartwarming how Francis, Melissa and Marco Polo Ortigas itself exuded warmth and cordiality, as it should be.

We felt all the more at home when we met the hotel’s Resident Manager Olivier Foucke and Michael Poutawa, from the Wharf Corporate office.

After hugs and handshakes, we were treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch at Cucina, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant located at the 24th floor. We enjoyed the variety of offerings from salad, seafood, and sushi to slices of steak and lechon, as well as Filipino dishes. Oh, and the desserts were heavenly, especially the burnt cheesecake!

Worth mentioning is the Connect Lounge, also located on the 24th floor, where guests can gather for light meals, afternoon tea and cocktails.

After we’ve had our fill, we were taken on a tour of the hotel’s rooms and amenities, including a spa, jacuzzi, a 24-hour gym and an indoor heated pool that one can’t get enough of. We also caught a glimpse of the Lung Hin restaurant, which offers authentic Cantonese cuisine and fresh seafood.

In the afternoon, we had a tête-à-tête with Sir Olivier at the Continental Club Lounge, which has an exquisite view of the city. There, we watched the sun retreat to give way to a full moon. A breathtaking experience, too, while munching on some cocktails.

According to Sir Olivier, they are targetting clients from Central Luzon and Pampanga, as the area is just a few hours away and “growing fast” in terms of economic growth. He pointed out that people from the region are coming to Manila to do business.

The hotel’s location is also an advantage, Sir Olivier said, making Marco Polo accessible to clients coming to Manila. He also highlighted the hotel’s 5-star services, offering the best experience to guests, from near or far.

We capped the night at the Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge where again, we were surrounded by city lights. The lounge also has talented performers to entertain guests, and offers two inviting al fresco spaces where guests can gaze at the moon while enjoying sisig, nachos, mozzarella bites, buffalo wings, drinks and more. What made the night more special were Francis and Melissa, who accompanied us all throughout the experience.

We had a good night’s sleep, to say the least. Comfy beds and soft pillows helped with that, as well as the room’s inviting ambience.

I had a breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs, but there was more to be had, so I had soup too, to warm my tummy. And because I miss the taste of guava, I had guava juice — and it was so good, I had a second glass.

Because we had time to spare before our departure, my colleagues and I tried the pool… and there were no regrets. It also had a nice view of the city, and the heated water helped us relax and enjoy our dip.

After checking out, Francis and Melissa were there to bid us goodbye. And they had a little surprise waiting for us, too — cake and sandwiches from their coffee shop, Pronto, located at the ground floor. The surprises just kept on coming!

Saying goodbye to the experience was not easy, but it was inevitable. I had more than fun during the stay, because it felt like home. The staff were so courteous and accommodating, you would not hesitate to approach them if you needed help with something.

Going home relaxed and refreshed was the goal — and Marco Polo simply nailed it.