ASCENDING the steps to Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and seeing the hotel rise high above me is something that I stopped giving much thought to. I used to visit the hotel frequently for their events, meeting with friends, or business occasions. After not leaving the house for anything other than errands or important appointments in the last six months, it was almost surreal to walk through its front doors again.
As Cebu cooperates to flatten the curve, the city is slowly reopening to give the economy the dire revival it needs. While we continue to be on quarantine, every precaution must still be taken.
“Our team is working round the clock to ensure that stringent sanitary measures are in place,” said hotel general manager Brian Connelly, as the hotel quickly adapts to changes brought on by Covid. “We are ready to open.”
Upon entry wearing my mask and face shield, my temperature was taken and my hands sanitized, and I showed security the proof on my phone that I had submitted my customer health declaration form before arrival. To enjoy much-needed social interaction beyond the internet, I met with media and communications manager, Manna Alcaraz and fellow writer Patty Taboada, all of us at least a meter apart from each other.
Hai Shin Lou is open to accept diners, with the Cantonese restaurant’s partitioned rooms making it an ideal choice for small gatherings. The hotel also welcomes a limited number of guests to enjoy its Dine and Dip promo to enjoy day use of the pool with consumables at El Viento to get some much-needed sun and fresh air. Reservations are required for all dine-in visitors for proper contact tracing and ensuring safe distancing.
With too many changes in 2020, I was glad to note that the hotel’s signature menu items have remained exactly the same—the fried rice and sweet and sour pork in Hai Shin Lou, the special ensaymada and rich brewed coffee at the Lobby Lounge.
As we wait for the day when we can finally put Covid behind us, one can feel safer about enjoying a Malicious Cookie or two at the hotel, with the assurance that Marco Polo’s biosecurity protocols are aligned with the World Travel and Tourism Council’s global standards.