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Events Feature Food

Cafe Marco celebrates Indian cuisine in culinary event Khana

Cafe Marco highlights the cuisine of Incredible India as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu pays homage to the Indian Festival of Lights Diwali through the culinary celebration “Khana.”

Last year’s Khana favorites and new creations are available on top of the regular Cafe Marco lunch and dinner buffet until October 30, 2016 in a food exploration that seeks to satisfy the palate and explain Indian cuisine.

Marco Polo Cebu Khana Indian Cuisine spices
MOUND OF SPICES. Spices play an integral role in Indian cuisine. Café Marco is serving favorite Indian dishes on top of its regular international lunch and dinner buffet spread until October 30.

Indian dishes

Marco Polo Cebu brings back such Indian dishes as chili pakoora, samusa, palak paneer, pulao biryani, fish marsala, prawns kebab and adds new fare like pawa soup (goat leg), chana dal (lentils), mon dal, dai puree, and much more in the Cafe Marco lunch or dinner buffet.

Judeline L. Murjani, a Cebuana married to an Indian national and the mother of former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha, has been Marco Polo Cebu’s consultant for Khana. She worked with Marco Polo Cebu’s culinary team to come up with the Indian menu for the culinary event.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana chicken kebabs
Chicken kebabs.

At the launch of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s culinary journey Khana last Tuesday, October 25, she showed guests how to best eat “puri.”

You create a small hole on top of this deep-fried unleavened bread and fill it with lentils and chutney or whatever suits your fancy before eating it.

Marco Polo culinary tradition

“Marco Polo has this tradition of bringing in the flavors from different parts of the world,” said said Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar said during the opening last Tuesday.

“Mrs. Murjani has excelled this year in bringing in the spices and all the different cuisines from appetizers to desserts. I am very excited to have this year present her extraordinary cuisine,” Najar added.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana chicken biryani
Chicken biryani.

Other Indian dishes on the menu: shahi paneer, chicken biryani, goan fish curry, chicken mulligatawny, lamb kebab or lamb vindaloo, sheik kebab and tandori, dosas with chatni, sambal and parata.

Satisfy your sweet cravings with desserts like gulab jamun, apple jalebi, rabri, kolfi, rose ice cream, and falooda.

Couldn’t wait to start sampling Indian cuisine? Call Marco Polo Cebu office at (+6332) 253 1111 Local 8249 or Manila office at (+632) 887 1263 for inquiries and reservations.

 

More photos

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine Julie Najar
MARCO POLO TRADITION. Julie Najar, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager, talks about their culinary tradition during the opening of Khana.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine apple chutney
Apple chutney

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine
Rosewater panna cotta and carrot halva.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine chicken tandoori salad
Chicken tandoori salad.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine
Colored rice provide an accent to the food spread.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine
Couscous with Indian spice.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine
Desserts.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine falooda
Falooda, a delicious Indian dessert.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine Judeline Murjani
Culinary consultant Judeline Murjani lights up candles at the rangoli to mark the opening of Khana.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine kebabs
Roast chicken and lamb and chicken kebabs.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine Lentil bread
Lentil bread

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine lime chutney
Lime chutney

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine puri
PURI. You break a hole on these puri and then fill it with lentils and chutney.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine rangoli
RANGOLI. The colorful installation at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine rosewater ice cream.
Rosewater ice cream.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine desserts
DESSERT PLATE. Rosewater panna cotta and other Indian desserts.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Indian cuisine Sandiego dancers
Sandiego Dancers perform during the opening of Khana.
Categories
Feature Lifestyle

Marco Polo Ortigas retraces hotel icon’s journey in opera gala dinner

East met West in a delightful evening of food, music, and fashion as Marco Polo Ortigas held its first ever opera gala dinner “Silken Voices, Silken Roads” that commemorated the journey of hotel icon, Venetian merchant and adventurer Marco Polo.

Marco Polo’s journey took him from Venice to such countries as Burma, India, Tibet, the Middle East and China and Marco Polo Ortigas celebrated its second anniversary by retracing his steps through musical selections that range from the Lakme Bell Song to Kashmir to the Turandot Liu Aria and such timeless Neapolitan songs as Funiculi Funicula and O Sole Mio.

Silken Roads, Silken Voices Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
NIGHT OF MUSIC. Gerphil Flores (center), Francisco Aseniero (3rd from left) and the Philippine Opera Company regaled guests of Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner in Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

Frank Reichenbach, Marco Polo Ortigas general manager, said last Monday’s Silken Voices, Silken Roads marks the beginning of what will become a yearly tradition of the Marco Polo group of hotels.

Marco Polo beginnings

“This was something we had in mind for our second anniversary this year. We hope to make it a travelling event and bring it to Cebu and Davao. I will also ask Marco Polo Hongkong to consider this. The Filipino talent we heard tonight is definitely worth exporting to the world,” he said during the event.

He was referring to famous tenor Francisco Aseniero, Asia’s Got Talent runner-up Gerphil Flores, violinist Joseph Brian Cimafranca, and performers from the Philippine Opera Company who serenaded guests with classic musical pieces as they enjoyed a full-course dinner carefully picked to reflect Marco Polo’s journey.

Marco Polo Silken Voices Renee Salud
RENEE SALUD’S pieces, paraded in batches throughout the night, took inspiration as well from Marco Polo’s enriching exploration of the Silk Road.

Flores soared that evening with a stirring rendition of Un Bel Di, the famous aria from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

The Marco Polo Hotels started out as a restaurant visited by travelers and they became the inspiration for the group’s chain of luxury accommodations. That consummate traveler, Marco Polo, became the hotel’s icon.

Marco Polo Frank Reichenbach
FILIPINO TALENT. Marco Polo Ortigas general manager Frank Reichenbach says Silken Voices, Silken Roads marks the beginning of what will become a yearly tradition of the Marco Polo group of hotels.

Opera gala dinner

Just as Marco Polo’s expedition along the Silk Road was also a discovery of diverse cuisine, the Silken Voices, Silken Roads gala dinner brought guests on a rich and scrumptious journey through dishes inspired by the flavors of the West and the Middle and Far East.

The Italian beef tenderloin carpaccio marinated with herbs, parmesan, and shaved truffle dressing for appetizer paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio was followed by baby calamari and roasted duck simmered in red curry and topped with lemongrass cappuccino accompanied by Trebi wine.

Marco Polo Silken Voices
Italian beef tenderloin carpaccio marinated with herbs, parmesan, and shaved truffle dressing.

Executive chef Lluis Pesarrodona wowed with his chicken kebab roulade with orange flavored hummus and dried fruits while Chinese chef Ken Leung put 20 years of culinary experience into the creation of the stir-fried Lapu-Lapu and tiger prawn in XO sauce and soft tofu. Dessert was a riot of tasty treats made up of hazelnut opera cake, coffee jelly, and Tahiti vanilla sauce complemented by Bellagio red.

Renee Salud’s elegant creations, paraded in batches throughout the night, took inspiration as well from Marco Polo’s enriching exploration of the Silk Road.

Marco Polo Silken Voices, Silken Roads
CEBU MEDIA. Marco Polo officials Frank Reichenbach (left), Lara Scarrow (4th from left), Julie Najar (center), Manna Alcaraz (6th from left), and Judith Los Baños (2nd from right) with Cebu journalists at the “Silken Voices, Silken Roads” gala dinner.

(All photos on the page were provided by Marco Polo Ortigas Manila)

Categories
Feature Food

Sabores de España celebrates Spanish influence on local cuisine

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu‘s popular culinary event “Sabores de España, Viva Madrid!” returns with a smorgasbord of Spanish flavors that Cebuanos have come to love.

Spanish tapas or appetizers like the croquetas de bacalao, croquetas de jamon, almendras picantes or spicy almonds, soups like sopa de mariscos and sopa gallega, main dishes like robo de toro, bakareta, lengua estofada, callos and paella, and desserts like meringue and torta de melocoton are available until April 10 at Cafe Marco on top of the buffet restaurant’s regular international spread.

Sabores de España tapas
TAPAS. Spanish tapas are back on the menu in Cafe Marco as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates its annual “Sabores de España, Viva Madrid!” culinary event.

“Cebuanos love Spanish food because it is a part of our heritage. We are used to marinated food like adobo and caldereta. We’d rather have chorizo than bacon,” said Ms. Gema Pido, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s longtime consultant for the culinary event.

A Calle Tapas set up for Friday night’s launch of the 2016 Sabores de España provided a preview of the Spanish dishes on the Cafe Marco menu served with flowing Spanish drinks like cerveza rojo, cerveza de toro, and sangria.

“We chopped up our main dishes into small parts, placed these in savory pastries, and served them here together with appetizers like the queso manchego or your typical Spanish cheese served with olives in vinaigrette,” she added shortly before the start of the launching ceremony.

Paella Sabores de Espana
PAELLA. “Cebuanos love Spanish food because it is a part of our heritage,” says culinary consultant Gema Pido.

Sabores de España menu

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu executive chef Stefano Verillo said they’ve retained many of the Spanish dishes that have become favorites through nine years of Sabores de España and added a few more in the tapas, salad, and dessert sections.

“People look forward to the jamon serrano, which is our centerpiece dish. The tapas section in the buffet is everybody’s favorite as well. Our reputation and the way we ensure freshness in our food are also what attract diners to Cafe Marco,” he added.

Meringue Sabores de Espana Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Meringue

According to him, the Spanish tapas are available as well to guests who opt to dine at the hotel’s Lobby Lounge.

Chef Stefano, who is Italian, said Ms. Gema brings her own touch to the Spanish dishes and he always looks forward to this yearly collaboration with her for Sabores de España.

Flaming Spanish coffee

Sabores de España launch guests were treated to a demonstration of Spanish coffee preparation, which involves flaming the concoction before it is poured into the glass. The mix included, of course, brewed coffee with a little bit of orange, and anise liqueurs added in and lighted before it was poured into a glass and topped with cream.

The cutting and partaking of the jamon serrano, dry-cured Spanish ham, was an anticipated portion and a sultry Spanish dance performed by a dance sports team served as another highlight of the evening.

Sabores de Espana Robo de Toro
ROBO DE TORO. Bull tail stew in savory tartlets.

Julie Najar, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager, said Sabores de España, which is on its ninth year, has become one of the hotel’s significant culinary events.

In celebration of Spanish cuisine and its influence on Cebu dishes, several Spanish dishes are available at the Cafe Marco buffet up to April 10 at the same regular net price of P1,099 for lunch and P1,395 for dinner.

Make your reservations by calling Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at (+6332) 253-1111 (tap to call on your phone).

More photos

Sabores de Espana jamon serrano
CENTERPIECE. The jamon serrano is the centerpiece dish of the annual culinary event.

 

marco-polo-sabores-desserts-2

 

Sabores de Espana Spanish coffee
SPANISH COFFEE. The drink is a delightful mix of brewed coffee with a little bit of orange, and anise liqueurs added in and lighted before it was poured into a glass and topped with cream.

 

Marinated olives with Manchego cheese.
Marinated olives with Manchego cheese.

 

Sabores de Espana Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
SPANISH DANCE. This performance was one of the highlights of the Sabores de España opening in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.
Categories
Feature Food Lifestyle

Marco Polo presents Sinulog feast in Sugbusog 2016: Seafood Edition

From lechon to tinola, talong salad to fish kinilaw, ginabot to crispy fish bihod, escabeche to kalderetang kanding, the Sugbusog 2016: Seafood Edition at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Café Marco is all the Cebuano dishes you love and more, prepared the five-star way.

To get inspiration for Sugbusog 2016, the Marco Polo Plaza culinary team “stormed the Pasil fish market” at 1 a.m. which is when the fishermen will be bringing in the day’s fresh catch, said Jessica Avila, the hotel’s consultant for its nine-year running food event.

“This year, we wanted to come up with a Sugbusog that’s more than the usual. We want to serve food that people like to eat all the time, food that is healthy,” she added.

Sugbusog 2016 Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Fish tinola.
Kinilaw or fish ceviche.
Kinilaw or fish ceviche.

 

Grilled saang.
Grilled saang.

 

Chicharon or pork cracklings
Chicharon or pork cracklings is a Cebuano delicacy.

 

This culinary feast of popular Cebuano dishes on top of the Café Marco international buffet spread is timed with the celebration of the country’s grandest festival, Sinulog 2016.

Sugbusog 2016: Seafood Edition runs from January 6 to 17 and features the freshest bounties of the sea and other Cebuano favorites.

Sugbusog 2016 menu

On these dates, Cebuano staples like squid adobo, humba, chicken pork adobo, fish sarsiado, nangka as well as guso, lato, sunlutan, and bat salad, tinap-anan na isda are available at the Cafe Marco buffet.

At the tinola and sinigang station, you get to pick what goes into your soup, from the kind of shell or fish to the ingredients that accompany it.

There’s nothing like nangka (jackfruit), puso (banana heart), or gay salad, fresh lumpia, green mango with bagoong, boiled cardava or sweet potato with guinamos, or suglaw to whet your appetite for more of those sumptuous Cebuano fare that is at the heart of Sugbusog.

Chicharon bulaklak.
Chicharon bulaklak.

 

Goat kaldereta.
Goat kaldereta.

 

Tinola and sinigang station
Tinola and sinigang station. Here, you can choose ingredients that go into your soup.

The list goes on and on with bangus relleno, several kinds of sisig and meat barbecues, beef kare-kare, halabos na pasayan, pochero, pancit, dinoldog with malunggay, batong guisado, pinakbet, and sotanghon guisado.

Pinipig delights, gulaman at sago, biko with latik, toron, maja, and polvoron are just some of the desserts but they are more than enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet cravings.

Festive Sinulog celebration

These exceptional dishes are made possible by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s team of chefs that worked tirelessly to bring about this year’s exceptional Sugbusog, said Avila.

“This is not something you will see in any restaurant in Cebu, even in Manila,” she added.

Sugbusog 2016 Marco Polo Corngrits Rice
KAN-ON MAIS or corngrits rice is a favorite among old-timers in Cebu.

 

Sugbusog 2016
Kiampao or stingray with blackbeam sauce.

 

Guso or seaweed salad
Guso or seaweed salad.

 

Puso sa saging or banana heart.
Puso sa saging or banana heart salad.

 

Sago at gulaman.
Sago at gulaman.

 

Maja and leche flan.
Maja and leche flan.

 

boiled kamote
Boiled kamote or sweet potato ready for pairing with guinamos.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said there was no limit to the innovations undertaken by Avila and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar to make every Sinulog celebration in Cebu even more festive.

“There’s nothing that can get people together more than good food and we have it here. I guess we can rightly say that it’s more fun in Cebu,” she added.

Can’t wait to try this smorgasbord of Cebuano favorites? Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at (+6332) 253-1111 or email the hotel at [email protected] for reservations or inquiries. This buffet treat comes at the net price of P1,099 for the lunch and P1,395 for dinner.

Sugbusog 2016 opening
OPENING. (From left) Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar, culinary consultant Jessica Avila, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, and Msgr. Roberto Alesna lead the formal opening of Sugbusog 2016 at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

 

Jessica Avila and Agnes Magpale
Marco Polo consultant Jessica Avila and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale at the opening of Sugbusog 2016.

 

Sandiego dancers
The famed Sandiego dancers perform a Sinulog dance to mark the opening of Sugbusog 2016.

 

Antique Santo Niño icons on exhibit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.
Antique Santo Niño icons on exhibit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

 

FESTIVE. The Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.
FESTIVE. The Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.
Categories
Events Lifestyle

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lights up Tree of Hope to mark start of ‘Festive Season’

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lit up last night, November 28, the Christmas tree that now dominates its expansive lobby to mark the start of the hotel’s annual “Festive Season” to celebrate the holidays.

The putting up of the Tree of Hope is a yearly tradition of the hotel in partnership with the GMA Kapuso Foundation. To mark the “season of giving,” people can donate through the Tree of Hope at P200 per Christmas ball, which are then used to adorn posts placed around the tree. Donors leave messages along with the balls.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Tree of Hope
PERFORMANCE. Dancers entertain the crowd that gathered for last night’s lighting of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Tree of Hope.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu GM Julie Najar
CALL FOR PEACE. That’s the theme of this year’s Tree of Hope, said Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar.

 

Donations will be accepted until January 5. The funds that will be raised will be handed to beneficiaries and programs identified by the GMA Kapuso Foundation.

Tree of Hope partnership

“The Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and GMA partnership has touched so many lives,” said Mel Tiangco, executive vice president of the GMA Kapuso Foundation in a recorded video message shown during the tree lighting. She thanked those who donated money and encouraged people to extend their generosity to beneficiaries of the program.

The lighting up of the Tree of Hope is also a call for peace and goodwill, said Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar during the ceremony.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Frenchesca Farr
FRENCHESCA FARR, a GMA 7 artist, sings “All I Want For Christmas Is You” during the lighting of the Christmas tree.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Tree of Hope
WHO’S NAUGHTY, WHO’S NICE? Children and their parents line up to have their photos taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus near a mock fireplace at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu hotel lobby.

 

The ceremony was highlighted by performances by the Celestial Voices choral group and GMA singer and model Frenchesca Farr, who gave a lively rendition of “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Msgr. Roberto Alesna opened the ceremonies by blessing the Tree of Hope. A highlight of the event was the opportunity for the people to have their photos taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus near a mock fireplace put up at the lobby.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Tree of Hope
TREE OF HOPE. The Christmas tree dominates the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby throughout the holiday season. People can donate to the GMA Kapuso Foundation at P200 per Christmas ball, which are then used to adorn posts around it.
Categories
Feature Food

Marco Polo Cebu celebrates Swiss National Day

It was a night of music and dancing, drinks, and a feast of Swiss cuisine, as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrated the Swiss National Day in Cebu City in keeping with an almost decade-old tradition.

The dinner party last Saturday, August 8, was held near the end of a nine-day Cafe Marco culinary journey dubbed Swissness from A-Z featuring authentic Swiss food prepared by hotel executive chef Stefano Verillo.

NIGHT OF CHEESE. With Swiss cuisine known for its cheese, the fare was aplenty during the celebration.
NIGHT OF CHEESE. With Swiss cuisine known for its cheese, the fare was aplenty during the celebration.

Switzerland is known for its cheese varieties and there was a lot to go around during the celebration, not to mention the cheese fondue and other cheese-based dishes.

Swiss favorites

Marco Polo also featured other Swiss favorites, from meat and sausages to desserts like apple flan, almond tart, and Kirschtorte.

Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber said Switzerland commemorates several historical milestones this year as it celebrated its 724th founding day on August 1, 2015. He cited battleground victories of the Swiss Confederation’s founding cantons in the late 14th century.

With history as its guide, Switzerland is well prepared to chart the future despite the challenges in Europe, he said.

SMOKED HAM, MEAT LOAF were served during the event, which also marked the end of the nine-day Cafe Marco culinary journey dubbed Swissness from A-Z.
SMOKED HAM, MEAT LOAF were served during the event, which also marked the end of the nine-day Cafe Marco culinary journey dubbed Swissness from A-Z.

Hotel tradition

The Swiss ambassador to the Philippines, who will soon be leaving for a new posting in Thailand, called on Swiss nationals in Cebu to vote in Switzerland’s federal elections this October. In a recorded message, Swiss Confederation President Simonetta Sommaruga made the same call to the around 800,000 Swiss people living abroad including the Philippines.

Julie Najar, Marco Polo general manager, said the Swiss National Day celebration at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was a tradition started nine years ago by former hotel GM Hans Hauri. She added at the start of celebration that she hoped the Swiss community in Cebu would enjoy the fabulous banquet, games, entertainment, and exciting raffle prizes the hotel has prepared for them.

SAYING GOODBYE. Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber tells the room he will be leaving for a new posting in Thailand. He also asked Swiss nationals in Cebu to vote in Switzerland's federal elections this October.
SAYING GOODBYE. Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber tells the room he will be leaving for a new posting in Thailand. He also asked Swiss nationals in Cebu to vote in Switzerland’s federal elections this October.
Categories
Business News

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu to spend P300 million on hotel upgrades

An even bigger ballroom with sophisticated sound system, more seating and music choices for Blu Bar and Grill, and upgrades to the five-star hotel’s 101 premium rooms and suites are just among the many changes at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu this year and in 2016.

Cathay International Resources Corp., the owning company of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, has set aside P300 million to fund this extensive hotel renovation, said general manager Julie Najar in an interview with MyCebu.ph.

She said work on the hotel’s Grand Ballroom started in March and is being done in phases. The first phase is set for completion by August.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu upgrades
DESIGN ELEMENTS. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar shows MyCebu.ph design elements for the hotel’s expansion and upgrade. With her are (from left) director of sales and marketing Lara Constantino-Scarrow and communications manager Manna Alcaraz.

Once done, according to Najar, the ballroom will have an expanded area of around a thousand square meters and be able to accommodate 800 guests, from the original 500, in a banquet set-up.

“Cebu is a top destination in the Philippines. We decided to upgrade the Grand Ballroom because the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibits) market for regional, national and even international groups is growing fast. The need for a bigger venue is there and management wanted to address that,” she said. The MICE market contributes 40 percent to hotel revenues.

APEC hotel

Part of the ballroom renovation is the upgrading of the audio-visual equipment, and this will allow the hotel to set different moods for different events through lighting and music.

Although it will be a much bigger Grand Ballroom, it would still be able to accommodate smaller functions, Najar said, saying that it is designed in such a way that it can be divided three ways.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was also one of the three major hotels identified by the national organizing committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 events from August to October this year.

Najar said that during the APEC meetings, at least 50 percent of hotel rooms will be set aside for delegates.

Hotel operations will go on as usual for other guests during this period but more stringent security measures will be in place, she also said.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu upgrades
GRAND BALLROOM. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar shows MyCebu.ph plans for the grand ballroom redesign and expansion. With her is communications manager Manna Alcaraz. Once done, the ballroom will have an expanded area of around a thousand square meters and be able to accommodate 800 guests, from the original 500, in a banquet set-up.

Blu Bar and Grill

Blu Bar and Grill, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s award-winning restaurant located a thousand feet high, will also undergo renovation.

Started in 2008, the Blu Bar and Grill offers fantastic views, good food, and quality entertainment, said Najar, adding it has been steadily gaining popularity. Blu Bar and Grill was named by the Philippine Tattler as one of the country’s best restaurants.

Improvements to Blu Bar and Grill, according to Najar, will start on May 15 and result in a much bigger area, one that can now seat 150 persons from the original 60.

It will retain its alfresco space but will also now have an indoor dining area with a private room for exclusive dinners and events.

According to Najar, the outdoor dining space will have a roof covering so diners wouldn’t be disturbed even if it rains. After the renovation, the restaurant will have different zones, each with different furnishings, lighting, and music to cater to a wide range of clientele.

Premium rooms

In line with the Marco Polo’s core value of continuous improvement, upgrades will also be introduced to the Cebu hotel’s 101 premium rooms and suites, Najar said. The hotel’s 228 deluxe rooms had already undergone a makeover last year.

Work on the premium rooms in five floors will start after the APEC meetings. The premium rooms in two floors will be renovated in 2015 and the remaining ones in three floors will be done in 2016.

Najar said that after the renovation, the rooms will be able to meet “international standards” and give every convenience to guests.

They will have new furnishings and upgraded with the conveniences of new technology in relation to communication, she said. The hotel is working closely with PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. to bring this about.