CEBU CITY, November 8, 2003 (STAR) CĎEST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - Carmela Bocanegra, InterContinental Manilaís gracious sales and marketing director, together with sales manager Angela Soriano, hosted recently a reception at the ballroom of the Cebu Marriott Hotel to introduce as Cebu sales representative SW Internationalís Janet Alfafara, who has been providing excellent marketing services to international airlines companies like British Airways and Qantas both in Cebu and Davao.

"With such representation in our midst," observed one happy guest, "we can now do away with long distance calls whenever reservations are needed."

But thatís not all the good news, for Makatiís pioneer and most experienced hotel likewise launched the Christmas bazaar package for local residents, which was well-received.

Designed to suit every guest and, in particular, shoppers gearing up for the holidayís best buys, the package offers substantial discounts on accommodations while offering shopping opportunities at various specialty bazaars in Metro Manila at this time of year.

Other amenities include the free use of the Clark Hatch Fitness Center, complimentary entrance to Wherelse, the very popular world-class discotheque, a 20 percent discount on Cafť Jeepneyís lunch buffet and a special gift from Rustanísí Essenses. All these for a three-day-two-night stay in a superior deluxe room, inclusive of breakfast, for only P5,800.

While at the hotel, another facility worth checking out is the Instant Refresher, which is a complimentary 15-minute neck and shoulder massage that helps travelers relax after a long-haul flight. This is available from 6 to 9 p.m. daily. Reservations may be booked through the guests relations officers at the Club InterContinental Lounge.

"But after the whole day shopping expedition," warns Bocanegra, "thereís nothing like spending some time at our Suraya Spa, which offers personalized service designed to soothe the mind and body and nurture the soul".

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Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort, a superbly run luxury hotel surprisingly close to the heart of the city, which is a mere short 30-minute ride along a road that skirts the edge of the sea, is a true haven of tranquility. Its calmness is only disrupted by the gentle breaking of waves over a white sand beach that stretches in a gentle curve.

However, there is a buzz these days, one that we canít physically hear, yet certainly can mysteriously feel. And how!

It is the excitement of the propertyís magnificent team, headed by its charismatic general manager Desmond Hatton, executive assistant manager Daniele Vastolo, sales and marketing director Maggie Garcia, communications director Neil Rumbaoa and his ever dependable assistant Jaja Chiongbian, Dexter Cheng, who is responsible for the selection of the exquisite, superb menu, executive chef Stephen Mueller, whose limitless talent in food and beverage brings life to many dishes, Gwendolyn de la Cruz of the Front Office and Mike Monsod, the manager of the spa and the recreation center.

The reason: The resortís over $8 million renovation program is on schedule and will definitely be fully completed by the last quarter of this year.

Started this January, it touched on the rooms, the Shang Wing, main lobby, reception area, Atrium Wing at the entrance lobby and the health club.

Guests will experience a different level of accommodation and gracious service, combining the latest in room design with nature as the concept is to blend majestically with the resortís environment.

The taste buds have not been forgotten. Several innovative restaurants serve delightfully exquisite cuisine inspired by Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Filipino influences. Of course, there is the pool bar to help you through a lazy day, a lobby lounge with live entertainment where you can relax and a terrace to watch postcard perfect sunsets.

So, can you blame them? Can you imagine a better Shangri-la Mactan Island Resort? I canít, for how can you improve on paradise?

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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