Okada Manila Receives Five-Star Award, Will Open New Filipino Buffet Soon

FOR the third consecutive year, Okada Manila has been awarded the Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) Five Star Award.

Forbes Travel Guide, which rates the service, has more than 900 rigorous items on its list, 75% of which focus on customer experience and the rest on installation.

“Travel has returned with a vengeance, and the resilient hospitality industry is creatively mobilizing to meet increased demand for occupancy in most regions,” Hermann Elger, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, said in a statement. “As the industry faces lingering challenges, the 2022 winners have shown themselves ready to meet these challenges and more, demonstrating the best in luxury hospitality.”

“Forbes sends mysterious guests and unbeknownst to us they test rooms, eat in restaurants, test spas, swim in pools, and test each of the facilities on offer,” said Ivaylo S. Ivanov, senior vice president of Okada for hotel operations. in a speech at a press conference on April 26.

“We take every feedback, good or bad, to heart and use it to improve our service. Above all, we thank our dear team members,” he said.

RESTAURANT-BUFFETS
Along with the Forbes Travel Guide Award announcement, Okada Manila announced the opening of a new Filipino buffet restaurant at the Coral Wing.

This restaurant will also serve as the breakfast restaurant for wing guests. Located by the pool, the name of the restaurant has not been identified – its working name for now is Sinag. There is also a cocktail bar named Luna.

Permanent names will be announced before the official opening on July 1.

Apart from its proximity to the pool, the location of the restaurant also offers a beautiful view of the Manila Bay sunset.

Okada Manila Vice President for F&B, Andreas Balla, admits it was difficult to cope with the rapid changes in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions.

“Some guests are still reluctant with the buffet style, but I think everything has quickly returned to a new normal,” Mr. Ballad said. Business world.

The idea of ​​a Filipino buffet restaurant had been in the works since before the pandemic.

“[The lockdown] gave us more time to think about what we really want to do. The concept is still the same. This will be the hotel breakfast [buffet] of the Coral Wing. For the rest of the time, it will be a Filipino restaurant,” Mr. Balla said.

The restaurant can accommodate 250 guests.

“I look forward to having many Filipino lunch parties on a busy Saturday or Sunday,” Mr. Balla said.

For Executive Chef Gene del Prado, it has always been his dream to open a Filipino restaurant.

“’Yung mga cooks noon, tuturuan ka ng good cooking of native dishes [na] hangang ngayon ginagamit ko pa rin (The cooks I knew before taught me the good cooking of indigenous dishes that I apply until now),” said Mr. Del Prado, who has four decades of experience in the industry.

To craft the menu, Mr. Del Prado and his fellow chefs dined at famous Filipino restaurants in Quezon City, Makati, Pasay City and Tagaytay.

“The food is almost the same,” observed Mr. Del Prado and his team. “But even though they serve the same food, puno pa rin ‘yung restaurant (the restaurant is always full),” he said. “The labanan in the larger pagkain is consistency and quality (the competition with this type of food is in consistency and quality).

In the days leading up to the restaurant’s opening, Mr. Del Prado focused on training his staff.

Bihira tayo makapunta in restaurant na gusto mong balik-balikan, ‘yun ang gusto kong mangyari (We rarely find a restaurant we want to revisit, that’s what I want to happen here),” he said. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman