• Life’s a beach at the 45th floor

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    TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA

    Marco Polo Ortigas turns Vu’s Sky Bar to a summer escape
    “If you can’t come to the beach, let the beach come to you.”

    This has been the mantra of fun-loving urbanites trooping to —and shooting up—the 45th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s posh and popular Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge for the last three weeks.

    Mostly comprised of the young and vibrant corporate crowd of the area’s business hub—as well as a spattering of trendy coeds on vacation from neighboring upscale villages—this beautiful party set has made Vu’s their regular summer escape because it is.

    How so? Well, there’s actually sand up there on the bar and lounge’s deck, complete with beach umbrellas, beach balls, live Latino music, and of course, cool delicious cocktails. Everything you need for a perfect night out on a scorching summer night, ala seaside.

    “We like to call it our beach in the sky,” said the hotel’s multi-awarded general manager Frank Reichenbach as he took the T-Zone in his dapper suit along the “sandy shoreline” of the penthouse.

    ‘We like to call it our beach in the sky,’ says the hotel’s multi-awarded general manager Frank Reichenbach as he stepped onto the ‘sandy shoreline’ of the penthouse in his dapper suit PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

    He recalled how he and his counterparts in Marco Polo Davao and Marco Polo Cebu got together just before summer to come up with a simultaneous promotion in all three properties for the hot, hot season.

    “We take pride in being the only five-star brand that has properties in each of the Philippines’ three major islands, so we always want to do something as a team,” the deserving recipient of the 2016 Hotelier Awards General Manager of the Year for Asean rightly noted.

    When the idea of a beach party series came up, Reichenbach—who is known for expertly combining innovation with tradition in his brand of service—did not back down on what was certainly a challenge to Marco Polo Ortigas.

    “Unlike Cebu and Davao, our pool is an indoor pool with hardly any space for a party, so we had to find a way to convert a part of the hotel to simulate summer,” he chuckled.

    And so, the mantra came to be.

    “If you can’t come to the beach, let the beach come to you—right in the middle of Ortigas,” the seasoned Swiss hotelier recalled his eureka moment.

    The not-very-easy task of creating a beach side soon began with truckloads of sand making its way up the 45th floor, while the in-house florist got busy draping colorful hibiscus atop beach umbrellas and lounge chairs, with an avalanche of inflatables bouncing about the deck.

    Vin Lee, Jach Manere, and Hannah Locsin enjoy the beach vibe in the middle of Ortigas

    “I think people always appreciate it when they see the special efforts you make for them,” Reichenbach noted as he humbly shrugged his shoulders. He happily related to The T-Zone how a constant stream of “beach bodies” have come to the hotel night after night since the promotion began, presumably those too busy to go on a summer escapade and enjoy the sea and sand.

    “Here, they get to savor the feel of a beach party with our refreshing signature drink, the Sapphire Road, named after the street of our locale, as well as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and Marco Polo Davao’s signature cocktails, Oasis in the Sky and Davao Punch,” chimed in Judith Los Baños, director of Marketing Communications, who also joined us on the beach in the sky. “We call the promotion our ‘3Ds: Drink, Dance and Dip’, and we’re very happy with how it turned out.”

    Finally, The T-Zone asked the general manager if such innovations at the hotel are brought about by the need to live up to the accolades both he and Marco Polo Ortigas Manila have been reaping lately. The hotel received the Five-Star award from Forbes Travel Guide—the longtime global authority on luxury travel— just before Reichenbach was given the General Manager of the Year for Asean.

    He replied, “Of course there is more expectation if you have these accolades so that people expect us to deliver innovations, but then again, the basics still have to be there, which is why I always emphasize Marco Polo’s tradition of service. Food and drinks need to be served on time and with quality; rooms need to be made up on time; the staff needs to be hospitable and friendly, and so on and so forth. You can’t just have one and not the other.”

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    Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Drink, Dance and Dip beach party series will go on nightly at Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge through the end of summer.

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