As we in the metropolis are still having a Christmas hangover while looking forward to the New Year, unfortunately one beloved landmark in the city will bade farewell along with 2015 with the Hotel InterContinental Manila having its final day of operations on New Year’s Eve and its New Year’s Eve countdown to be held there being the last event to be held in this storied hotel.
The Hotel InterContinental Manila has been pretty much a part of the cityscape of the Makati Central Business District (CBD) and the greater metropolis of Manila for over 46 years. While the hotel may not be as iconic as the Manila Hotel or The Peninsula Manila, it has a unique charm of its own that has been remembered fondly by guests and visitors who have stayed and/or visited over those years.
Hotel Intercontinental Manila’s opening back in April 11, 1969 was a landmark event in itself as it held the distinction of actually being the first 5-star hotel to open in the growing Makati cityscape. Being the the second hotel of the Intercontinental brand to open in Asia, it also earned the distinction of being the longest operating international chain hotel in the Philippines.
With 14 floors and 332 guest rooms, the hotel building itself was designed by a National Artist, Leandro Locsin. And while its concrete ediice may not be that eye-catching architecturally, it helped that it was located right smack along Ayala Avenue near EDSA, welcoming visitors coming from EDSA to the Makati CBD area. As such, it was a landmark that’s pretty much hard to miss.
More than the location, the hotel itself offered some novel experiences for its guests and visitors. For one, there was the iconic outdoor hotel pool which, while not really special in itself, is a beloved area in the hotel as only a few hotels in the metropolis offer such amenity.
And there its iconic hotel hangouts. One of them is Cafe Jeepney, one of InterContinental Manila’s restaurants which sport a jeepney-themed motif. As such, the place is filled with model jeepneys, jeepney parts plastered on the walls, and other jeepney-related stuff like the iconic horse figures that adorn Sarao jeepneys.
The other one is its bar and dance/disco club called Compass but perhaps better known by its old names Wherelse and Euphoria. In its heyday, the venue was known before as (Metro) Manila’s premier disco venue.
The impending closure of Hotel InterContinental comes as Ayala Land unveiled its plans of redeveloping the Makati CBD and Ayala Center in particular with the soon to be former site of Hotel Intercontinental to become a mixed-use development site, a component of it being an intermodal transport hub.
Considering the location of this landmark, that should serve as no surprise as such hub is needed given how much traffic the area gets these days. We can only hope this development would benefit from some good planning so it would be a benefit for everyone who goes to and from the Makati CBD.
HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL MANILA 2.0?
One question that remains to be answered is the future, if any, of the Intercontinental brand in the country and in the metropolis in particular. While Mandarin Oriental is set to be reborn by the end of this decade in its new location at Ayala Triangle, no plans have been announced yet if such a case will happen for Hotel InterContinental. So there is a possibility that, at least for a long while, we are seeing the last of the brand’s presence here.
Nevertheless, the brand’s parent company, the InterContinental Hotels Group, (IHG) has already an established presence in the Philippines, in particular here in the metropolis. To date, the IHG has a Crowne Plaza and a Holiday Inn hotels in Ortigas Center (both beside Robinsons Galleria) as well as a Holiday Inn at the Makati CBD itself. (right in the area of Glorietta)
Be that as it may, there is no denying that even as these hotels will continue what InterContinental has started in the country, there is no match to the legacy and the milestones Hotel InterContinental Manila has made throughout its more than 46-year history. As such, it is one landmark this city is going to miss.
Farewell and thank you, Hotel InterContinental Manila. Your legacy to the city will not be forgotten.