[PHOTO AT LEFT - The Spa at Shangri-La, considered one of the largest and most luxurious spas in the region. MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, JULY 3, 2009 (STAR) By Lester Gopela Hallig -  Years ago, when Joachim Schutte was a guest at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, he saw its general manager at work and thought, “Well, that’s a nice job.”

Little did Schutte realize that he would be occupying the very same “nice job” that he fancied. The new general manager of Shangri-La Mactan says, “I have always liked this hotel because guests are treated really well.”

He is happy to become part of a resort that is a preferred destination of local and foreign guests. He says, “The simple answer I can give you is this: the quality service of our well-trained employees, dedicated management staff, and a wide variety of top-end facilities which cater to different market segments.”

He cites the high margin of returning guests as evidence that Shangri-La Mactan is, indeed, the choice of holiday goers. “We read guest comments every day, and they all tell us they would love to come back — and they do come back.”

Shangri-La Mactan has distinguished itself as the only true deluxe resort on Mactan Island, with over 13 hectares of land and first-rate spa facilities. There are indoor adventure zones, the beach, and the cool blue waters, all of which make Shangri-La Mactan a family- and child-friendly resort. The resort has taken upon itself to protect the marine sanctuary surrounding it.

Water sports enthusiasts have much to do at the Seasports Centre: snorkeling, jet-skiing, kneeboarding, sailing, parasailing, sea kayak, windsurfing, fishing trips, and more. For those who prefer dry land, there is a tennis center and a six-hole golf park. The Health Club is equipped with a gym, sauna, massage rooms, Jacuzzi, and a Cold Plunge.

For kids under three years old, the fun begins at the Toddler Zone, which is full of kiddie activities and toys. A popular venue here is the E-Zone, an entertainment hub that sees a lot of guests taking turns at the video and arcade games, two karaoke rooms, and café bar. The newly renovated ballroom will open this September.

“We also get compliments for the food we serve. Internationally acclaimed Executive Chef Emmanuel Guemon directs our award-winning food and beverage outlets. The attention to quality extends from food to overall service,” he says.

Shangri-La Mactan currently has six restaurants and bars: the Lobby Lounge, the Beach Bar, Tides, Tea of Spring, Acqua, Buko Bar, and Cowrie Cove.

No mention of the resort would be complete without the much talked-about Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La. A sprawling 10,000-square-meter spa village, Chi is considered one of the largest and most luxurious spas in the region. It is a world of its own, with six villas, eight garden suites, a private garden patio, and the Chi Water Garden Pavilion, among others. And, of course, it is all about the pampering one gets from the services offered, from facials to body massages.

Schutte mentions that he would like guests to experience the same kind of indulgence that he took pleasure in as a visitor. He recalls, “I was welcomed by many hotels before, but not with the same warm-hearted feelings I got here.”

“I understand from my colleagues who have worked in the Philippines of the Filipinos’ warm hospitality. I did not expect to meet such extremely tolerant and social people,” he says.

Fresh from his four-and-a-half-year stint as a director for development of Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd., Schutte shares that the Philippines is the 12th country that he has worked in.

“It is my pleasure to adapt to the Philippine culture. There is so much to learn for me. I know that time will fly, even so if some people explain to me that time runs a bit slower than in other places,” he says.

During these challenging times, Schutte declares that they will concentrate on the best quality service that a top resort can offer, from guests to employees. The latter will go through further training, education, and development.

“The focus is on our brand, the qualities we stand for and are known for. We will communicate and provide value service as today’s guests are looking at and deserving of every peso they spend,” he says.

His latest posting excites even his family. “For my Chinese wife Christina and me, this place will be a fantastic balance of life between the hustle-and-bustle city of Cebu and the oasis-style of resort life on Mactan Island,” he says.

He adds with a smile: “Here, taking care of guests is something we do best. It feels like home. I came to the right place.”

Shangri-La Mactan’s guests will wholeheartedly agree.

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Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is located at Punta Engaño Road, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan, Cebu. For more information, log on to or call (63 32) 231-0288.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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